McDonald recounts time on sideline

Safety T.J. McDonald waited until second quarter to warm up against Colorado because of suspension.

LOS ANGELES – "It was a weird experience," safety T.J. McDonald said of the first half of USC's 42-17 win at Colorado.

Weird might be an understatement.

Suspended for the first half by the Pac-12 for a devastating hit on a Stanford wide receiver the previous week, the junior did not dress or warm up until the second quarter, going through the normal pre-game routine but once the game was already well under way.

"I was just ready to play. Sitting out that first half … that's no fun. I wanted to play," McDonald said.

McDonald finished with four tackles against Colorado, tied for second-most on the team, but USC head coach Lane Kiffin wondered aloud during his weekly conference call the next day if the suspension impacted the Thorpe Award semi-finalist's play.

"I think you could see in the film he looked a little tentative one time and missed the tackle," Kiffin said. "I know, whether he admits it or not, it's probably messing with him like it would anybody."

McDonald, who was flagged three times for personal fouls at Arizona State, disagreed with that assessment.

"I'm going to play the game how I know it ought to be played," he said. "I'm going to change my technique up. But when the situation presents itself, I'm going to come full speed.

"I've got to be physical. I'm not going to change that part of it. But I am going to change the way I go about it as far as when I'm tackling, the placement of my helmet and my arms and everything."

McDonald must now prepare for a Washington offense that is averaging 33.6 points per game behind sophomore quarterback Keith Price. The Huskies have also knocked off the Trojans with a field goal as time expired in each of the past two seasons.

"Anytime a team gets you've got a sense of revenge, you want to get back (at them)," McDonald said. "We definitely want to be able to come out here and take what's ours.

Mixed Messages
After a 34-17 loss to Oregon, Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt said, "I'd rather play USC than Oregon quite honestly. I know how to stop them."

Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday during his weekly press conference that Holt was merely referencing the contrasting styles of offense, Oregon's quick tempo spread with USC's pro-style attack.

Kiffin, for his part, said, "I don't make much of it.

"We have great respect for those guys and their staff and their players. They can say whatever they want. They beat us, two years in a row. "

Still, someone took the time to print out Holt's quote and tape it to the doors of Heritage Hall.

Quick Hits
-Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris (ankle) and linebacker Hayes Pullard (neck) did not practice, while safety Jawanza Starling (rib) and running back Marc Tyler (shoulder) did not practice.

Linebacker Dion Bailey (concussion) also participated, but Kiffin said the redshirt freshman still has not been cleared for contact.

-Quarterback Matt Barkley was named Pac-12 offensive player of the week after throwing a school-record six touchdowns at Colorado.

It is the third time the junior from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei has been honored this season.


USCFootball.com Top Stories