With the focus of the country on events elsewhere the Trojan football team continued their preparations this week for the game on September 22nd against Oregon.
The spirits of the team are good right now following the tough loss to Kansas State and the return of linebackers Frank Strong (injury) and Chris Prosser (suspension) should be a welcome boost to a defense that suffered against the Wildcat running game. Malaefou MacKenzie was also scheduled to return against the Ducks after missing the start of the season with a leg injury but the passing of his father on Tuesday in Samoa has caused him to miss practice time and his flight to Samoa for the funeral has been delayed due to restricted air travel.
Meanwhile, the situation with Marcell Allmond has taken an interesting twist and has the potential to become a distraction for the team. Allmond sat out the first two games while an investigation took place into his role in an off campus fight last month in which he allegedly struck a student. Allmond has denied hitting anybody and recently said it was teammate Frank Strong who actually threw the punch. A hearing was held earlier this week with several witnesses to the incident and the results of the investigation should be made public soon. At this point we certainly don't know all the facts but the past year has been a rough adjustment for Allmond off the field as he was forced to sit out with a major leg injury and, regardless of the results in the investigation, Pete Carroll could have an interesting decision on his hands in the coming weeks. When Paul Hackett took over as head coach he was stuck with R. Jay Soward, a player who continually pushed the limits of acceptable team behavior, and one of the early flaws for Hackett was his decision to treat Soward with kid gloves and let him get away with it. If Marcell is found guilty of these charges then we certainly have bigger issues than football and it will be time for the young man to step away and deal with his problems. As it effects the football team, however, the situation is worth watching because the last thing this team needs right now is another distraction but anyone who has played team sports knows that Allmond broke a code among teammates by naming Strong. Many players, including Strong, have publicly stated that this will not be an issue but privately it is a different story and the players will be watching Carroll to see how he handles the situation.
Matt Grootegoed continues to be limited in practice time due to the stinger he suffered in the Kansas State game but he expects to be fine for Oregon. Charlie Landrigan, Sultan McCullough and Lenny Vandermade were also nursing minor injuries.
The Trojans will lift weights and run on Friday, take Saturday off and return to the practice field on Sunday.