Back at it for back-to-back roadies

Back in business Tuesday, a healthy Trojan team was looking ahead to a second straight road trip this week -- three time zones to the East to Boston College.

They're freshmen, they survived Stanford so who can blame Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivao for feeling pretty good about the experience -- and their part in it.

"An awesome experience," Talamaivao said after Tuesday's full-pads practice. "Give credit to Stanford. They're a great team. But it was a fun game to be a part of, a hell of a game to play in."

Splitting time at right guard with Mama -- "50-50," the 330-pound freshman said -- the one big lesson Viane learned, he said, is "what it takes to make plays when the game is on the line. That was exciting . . . a memorable experience for me. You got to execute and yet you have to do it just like it's practice . . . I think we did all right . . . but we have to get better."

Mama, down to 372 pounds last weekend and playing with a knee he'd sprained earlier in the week, said "there was a time I was doubtful I'd be able to play. But I had to go . . . I felt great, felt like I did OK."

The lesson for Mama? "Be prepared for everything . . . and be prepared to adjust to everything, adjust and pick it up."

The best thing about the win, Mama said, was simply this: "Seeing the older guys' faces [after the game] was special. They lost the last time up there. Watching them enjoy it was special."

Sark says it's all good Tuesday

"They were flying around out there," Sark said. "They knew it was going to be warm"

They also knew something else. "Healthwise coming out of the Stanford game," Sark said, this team is good to go. "You worry about that."

One thing Sark said he didn't worry about was AD Pat Haden's relationship with him -- and this football team after both he and Haden were reprimanded and Haden fined $25,000 for confronting the officials on the sidelines Saturday. "Pat has a great relationship with this team," especially all that he and the Trojans went through last season. It's something not typical for a team and AD, Sark said, and it showed Saturday.

One thing Sark liked about the two days before getting back to the practice field was the way "the training staff did a great job of recovery Sunday and Monday" for this team. There's also this in looking at back-to-back travel weeks. The Stanford game was early Saturday (12:30 p.m.) and the Boston College game is 8 p.m. EDT. "And we're going to travel Thursday," Sark said, giving his team enough time to rest, adjust and even go to a movie Friday. But no sightseeing. "This is a business trip," he said. "They can go on vacation later . . . we're not going to check out any sights."

Michael Hutchings will step in at middle linebacker for Hayes Pullard, whose ejection for targeting the second half of the Stanford game will require him to sit out the first half at Boston College "just the way he did Saturday," Sark said. Freshman Olajuwon Tucker will rotate with him there.

Sark also said since this is the first time he's ever had to deal with an ejection and forced sitout, he's not sure how that works. Can Pullard warm up with the team or be on the sidelines the first half. Sark said he's not sure.


Now that the game is behind him, Cody Kessler admitted he was in catchup mode last week after missing Tuesday's practice a week ago after a procedure on his toe and wasn't full speed on Wednesday. "It was tough for me especially Tuesday," Cody said. "It's nice to get back and have a normal Monday and Tuesday." . . . Buck Allen said he hasn't been to Boston and won't mind seeing the sights, if they get the chance, but the thing he's most looking forward to is another heavy workload carrying the football. "I got the ball a lot (23 carries for a career-high 154 yards), we did a good job conditioning." . . . One injury to report, Sark said, was a strained achilles for freshman safety John Plattenburg . . . Tre Madden didn't make it to practice Tuesday and his turf toe has a way to go before he's back which would look like the Sept. 27 Oregon State game at the earliest after next week's bye following the BC game . . . Look for Lamar Dawson to follow the same schedule even though he is here and in gear and doing individual position work.

For a wrapup of Tuesday morning's practice, check out TUESDAY GHOST NOTES.

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