Field will be dampened, but what about Trojans' spirits? - LA Times
By Gary Klein
Los Angeles Times
December 12, 2009
The field will be wet and rain could be falling.
Those are the conditions USC expects to face Saturday when it begins practice on campus for its game against Boston College in the Dec. 26 Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
It remains to be seen whether the inclement weather further dampens the Trojans' enthusiasm for their first non-Bowl Championship Series bowl appearance since 2001.
USC has not practiced since its season-ending defeat to Arizona last Saturday at the Coliseum.
Early this week, players insisted they would be motivated despite playing in a second-tier bowl game.
After three days of final exams, sophomore tight end Rhett Ellison said the Trojans were ready to get back onto the field.
"The bowl games have always been about a lot of energy and a lot of fun," Ellison said Friday. "I don't think it's too hard to get up for that."
NCAA rules allow for 15 pre-bowl practices.
USC, however, will work out only nine times because of final exams, which continue next week.
"You'd always like to have more," Coach Pete Carroll said of workouts. "But that's the way it broke so we'll make the most of them."
Carroll said Saturday and Sunday practices would include increased opportunities for younger players.
The Trojans will begin installing their game plan when practice resumes Wednesday.
Garrett on season
USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett, appearing on "The Petros & Money Show" on 570-AM, said he was "very dismayed" by the Trojans' 8-4 regular season.
"I don't think we played very well," Garrett said. "I was very dismayed by our whole season. I don't think we had one good game. I think we sloppily won some and sloppily lost four, and it was not a picture-perfect kind of a season. . . . We were very inconclusive the whole year so [it was a] very painful year."
Carroll praised new Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly, who was introduced Friday as the replacement for the fired Charlie Weis.
Kelly guided Cincinnati to a 12-0 record and a berth in the Sugar Bowl this season.
"He's done everything you could ask him to everywhere he's coached," Carroll said.
"I've watched [Cincinnati] a little bit. It looks like a wide-open spread offense."
Carroll is 8-1 against Notre Dame.
Kelly will be the fourth Fighting Irish coach whom Carroll will face, following Bob Davie (2001), Tyrone Willingham (2002-2004) and Weis (2005-2009).
Junior cornerback Shareece Wright, who was academically ineligible this season, said he has been told by USC compliance officials that he would be eligible to play in the Emerald Bowl, pending the posting of fall semester grades.
Wright is hoping to earn playing time on special teams or as a nickel back.
"It's two years of frustration, of not playing," said Wright, who redshirted in 2008 because of a neck injury. "I feel sorry for anybody that has to get hit by me.
"I'm happy to get back out there. It gives me some real motivation."