Tuesday’s USC practice provided three rare sights (besides almost half the team being unable to participate because of injuries):
- C.J. Gable ran with the first-team offense.
- Aaron Corp ran the scout team.
- Kristofer O’Dowd ran well.
With Allen Bradford and Joe McKnight nursing knee injuries, the coaching staff had no choice but to turn to Gable, last season’s starter and this season’s odd man out.
Gable made some nifty runs and drew praise afterward from Trojans coach Pete Carroll.
“C.J.’s ready to go,” Carroll said. “He’s been waiting. He’s done a great job being patient about it. It’s been hard for him so far, but he’ll jump to the call whenever he gets the chance. He’s a great team player for us.
“I don’t mind him being frustrated. I think he should be because of the kind of guy he is and the kind of competitor he is. But I think he’s dealt with it very well. He worked on the service team for us when we needed him. I think he’s been just right. I hope he gets the chance to jump in and play some more in really critical situations, because he can answer that call. He’s done it for years, and I know he can do it now.”
Corp doesn’t have the same wealth of experience, only bad experiences from what was supposed to be his breakout season. He did not land on the scout team by demotion but by default: Usual scout-team QB Garrett Green was needed to play wide receiver, another area hit hard by the injury bug.
With all due respect to Green — among the best athletes on the team — I can’t help but wonder if the swifter, more elusive Corp wouldn’t have better prepared USC’s defense for Jeremiah Masoli.
It was just three months ago that Corp and O’Dowd were the starting QB and center. Injuries derailed both, but O’Dowd seems to be on the comeback trail. I saw him pulling on outside running plays and looking quicker and niftier than he has in weeks.
“He’s looking stronger,” Carroll said. “He needed a break. We piled it on him, and he was willing to stay in there and keep battling. But we had such a good alternative with Jeff (Byers) and with Butch (Lewis) going that I think it was the right thing to do in long haul for Kris. I think it was pretty clear that it helped us.”
More from the USC blog:
- USC football: Barkley hates losing (he just doesn’t show it)
- USC football: Further injury updates
- USC football: Leg injuries limit McKnight, Bradford
- USC football: ASU’s Erickson braces for ’scary’ Trojans
- USC football: Have opponents ‘caught up’ to the Trojans?
- USC football poll: How will the season end?
- USC football: Trojans won’t lose again this season
- USC football: Carroll, Galippo point fingers — at themselves
- USC football: Galippo should be available for ASU
- USC football poll: What is the worst loss of the Carroll Era?
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