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Carroll Continues Search for Solutions at Linebacker
When–Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV–Fox Sports Net 2
Coming into fall, the Trojans wanted a quick education for Grootegoed and Frank Strong, both of whom switched from safety to outside linebacker. But from the start, injuries have kept one or the other out of the lineup and ruined the unit's continuity.
"That has held us back a little bit," Coach Pete Carroll said.
The run defense is a particular worry in Saturday's game against Stanford, which has the conference's best rushing offense with backs Brian Allen and Kerry Carter.
Reserve linebacker Chris Prosser has practiced with the first team this week, but Carroll said he hasn't decided on his starters.
USC officials want fans to arrive early for the game Saturday to accommodate for stricter security measures at the Coliseum.
No large bags, backpacks or coolers will be allowed inside. Extra police and security personnel will be on hand to help search purses and smaller bags. There will be no private planes allowed to fly overhead and all vehicles entering the stadium will be searched. The parking lots will open five hours before the 3:30 p.m. kickoff and the gates will open at 2 p.m.
"Fans should feel very safe and secure in the Coliseum," Athletic Director Mike Garrett said. "In return, we appreciate their cooperation and ask their understanding and patience."
Tailback Malaefou MacKenzie will undergo an MRI on his injured knee today and is not expected to play against Stanford. Safety Antuan Simmons, who did not practice on Wednesday, is considering acupuncture treatment on his ankle in hopes of getting back for the game.
Bobby DeMars missed the end of practice with a stinger but is expected to split time with Kenechi Udeze at defensive end.
USC wide receiver Marcell Allmond apologized to his teammates in his first meeting with them since being suspended for the semester following several campus-related altercations.
"He came and apologized," linebacker Frank Strong said. "That's what the leaders wanted. It was just a meeting on figuring out what's going on with him."
Allmond was suspended following an altercation last month with another student at an off-campus party. Several other incidents surfaced during an investigation. He is scheduled to return to USC for the spring semester. Because Allmond is prohibited from being on campus, he was escorted to the meeting by campus police.
Allmond also talked to the team about missing football. He declined comment.
MacKenzie out: Tailback Malaefou MacKenzie is scheduled to have an MRI today on his knee and is not expected to play against Stanford. MacKenzie re-injured the knee during practice Tuesday.
He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in August and missed USC's first two games.
"I can't run right now," MacKenzie said. "This is the weirdest (injury). Pain-wise, it's less than before, but when I move my knee, it's real flimsy."
It's the latest setback in a career full of injuries for the fifth-year senior, who was expected to be a vital part of the offense.
"It's extremely frustrating," MacKenzie said. "Sometimes they say I overwork. That might be true."
Strong recovering: Strong said he injured his hamstring against Oregon but should be OK to play Stanford.
"I'm just taking it easy on it," Strong said. "I should be taking it easy to be ready for the game."
New treatment: Free safety Antuan Simmons said he might have acupuncture treatment on his sprained ankle.
"I'm wide open to alternative healing," USC coach Pete Carroll said.
Simmons is scheduled to practice for the first time today.
DeMars dinged: Defensive end Bobby DeMars of Westlake High suffered a shoulder stinger in practice, but it's not considered serious. Carroll said DeMars and freshman Kenechi Udeze would both play Saturday. Udeze was in for just three plays against Oregon.
Orange County Register
McCullough eager to run
Slowed by Oregon and K-State, he wants to rev up the ground game.
September 27, 2001
By TODD HARMONSON
After starting the season with 167 yards against San Jose State, the tailback was limited to a combined 71 yards on 38 carries against Kansas State and Oregon, both stacking the line of scrimmage to stop USC's running game and force the Trojans to throw.
"We ended up with more than 400 yards passing, so that's good," McCullough said. "But it's supposed to be different against Stanford."
McCullough gained 130 yards last season against the Cardinal, and it's clear that USC's offense works at its best when he is able to break loose for big gains.
McCullough disputed that he had become a bigger factor in the passing game, even though he turned a short pass into a 75-yard touchdown against the Ducks.
"It was a screen, and a screen is just like a run," McCullough said. "I'm out there, but I haven't caught the ball, yet. When that happens, then I'll be a part of it."
STILL ON HOLD
USC senior tailback Malaefou MacKenzie (Capistrano Valley High) tried to have an MRI on his injured right knee Wednesday, but he was told the MRI machine at USC University Hospital was broken and he would have the test today. MacKenzie said the knee was extremely sore and he most likely won't play against Stanford. He said he is concerned that he will learn that the injury is more serious.
"Right now I wouldn't be surprised at anything," Mac Kenzie said. "It could be a week or it could be the season."
USC coach Pete Carroll said a thorough examination on the knee is needed, especially since it seemed as if MacKenzie was on his way back from the original injury suffered in training camp in August.
Tight end Kori Dickerson, a former linebacker, will meet with USC linebackers coach Nick Holt today to get a briefing on what the Trojans do at the position in case he is needed Saturday.
Linebacker Matt Grootegoed (Mater Dei High) sat out practice again because of his injured right shoulder.
Free safety Antuan Simmons sat out with an injured left ankle and said he aggravated the injury by practicing Tuesday. He said he might try acupuncture treatments today to speed the healing.