By Scott Wolf, Staff Writer
USC went up the Coliseum tunnel first against Stanford, but that wasn't the only change in their halftime routine Saturday. The Trojans refrained from using the chant, "war time" as they walked toward the field for the second half. The "war time" chant is also part of USC's pregame ritual.
But some fans are irritated by the chant, which they believe is insensitive to soldiers actually fighting in
Maualuga leaves: Linebacker Rey Maualuga flew home to
The other option is moving Thomas Williams, who sat out Monday's practice with a sore groin, to middle linebacker and starting Cushing at outside linebacker.
Special season: As expected, USC remained atop the Bowl Championship Series, slightly increasing its lead over No. 2 Texas. With only three undefeated teams, Carroll said he appreciated what USC (9-0, 6-0) accomplished. "I know it's fleeting," Carroll said. "I know it's special and I love it. I take great pride in it. It's hard to do this. Sometimes people think it's easy."
Flying helmets: A recurring problem this season is players' helmets flying off during games. Wide receivers Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett have each lost their helmets several times this year. According to football equipment coordinator Tino Dominguez, the helmets come off because USC switched from metal buckles on the helmet straps to plastic, which become stretched out and loose. The metal buckles were eliminated because former players Troy Polamalu and Alex Holmes cut their hands on them during practices. USC is now trying a metal buckle with a plastic covering to solve the problem. "The (plastic buckles) take a couple hits and become oblong," Dominguez said. "We've gone back to a hybrid metal buckle."
Some players, like Smith and Jarrett, were not always snapping every buckle in place, which also made the helmet looser. "It's really been the flash-and-dash guys that we've had problems with the buckles," Dominguez said. The other issue for USC is face masks. Maualuga broke three face masks and chin straps against
Injury report: Lua was originally feared to have torn knee ligaments on Saturday but it turned out to be a bruised bone. "Oscar's got an opportunity to play if we can get him motoring Wednesday or Thursday, because structurally, he's sound," Carroll said. "He had a clear MRI."
Tailback Michael Coleman, whose hip continues to hurt following offseason surgery, said he will not play the remainder of the season. Cornerback Will Harris suffered an injury to his ACL, although it's not yet determined if he needs surgery. Carroll said Harris will not play the remainder of the season. Tailback Reggie Bush skipped most of Monday's practice because he was sore.