Thursday, November 16, 2006

Los Angeles Times: SC Tailback Washington Plans Long Runs

USC tailback Chauncey Washington answered doubts about his breakaway ability by scoring on a long run last week against Oregon.  On Wednesday, after taking part in limited drills because of a knee sprain, Washington said there was no doubt that he would play Saturday against California and that more long sprints to the end zone were on the way.  "They're coming," he said. "You'll see more."  Washington rushed for a career-best 119 yards and scored three touchdowns against Oregon, including one from 43 yards. It was Washington's longest gain this season. Cal running back Marshawn Lynch goes into Saturday's showdown for the Pacific 10 Conference title with four touchdown runs of 40 yards or longer, including one of 71 yards against Portland State. Lynch leads the conference in all-purpose yards and is the only player rushing for more than 100 yards a game. USC Coach Pete Carroll said Lynch's quick cuts were reminiscent of Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. "He can just cut on a dime and then he has enough speed to leave guys too," Carroll said.  Travon Patterson, USC's 5-foot-11, 180-pound speedster, has been playing the scout-team role of Cal's DeSean Jackson, his former Long Beach Poly High teammate.

"I probably know him better than anyone on the team so it's a good look," Patterson said. Jackson averages a nation-leading 20.7 yards a return and has run back four for touchdowns.

Carroll compared Jackson to former Kansas State kick returner Aaron Lockett, a breakaway threat who was memorably leveled by former Trojans All-American Troy Polamalu before catching a punt at the Coliseum in 2001. "He's kind of at his best when stuff breaks down, when he gets you kind of scattered and he's ducking and dodging," Carroll said of Jackson. "We just have to do a great job of corralling him.  "We've got really good athletes on this team and all of our fast guys coming…. He's obviously a game breaker and we have to be very careful of the situations."

USC compliance officials are interviewing players this week about recruiting dinners they attended at Papadakis Tavern in San Pedro. The dinners came under scrutiny for possible NCAA violations last December when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that owner John Papadakis, a former USC football player, made impassioned speeches to potential recruits. Papadakis has said he did not instruct recruits to choose USC. "It's just a routine thing they have to go through to make sure they are doing their due diligence about an issue that was raised," Carroll said…. Defensive end Lawrence Jackson did not practice because of upper-back spasms, but said he would return today. Defensive lineman Chris Barrett did not practice because of a calf strain, but said he hoped to play Saturday…. Linebacker Rey Maualuga (knee sprain) practiced and said he was near full speed. Nose tackle Sedrick Ellis also returned after sitting out Tuesday to rest a knee…. Carroll said he planned to speak with freshman fullback Stanley Havili about his status. Havili broke a leg against Arizona on Sept. 23 and was not cleared to play Saturday. He is eligible to redshirt.

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