Quoting Carroll - Wednesday

SCPlayBook's Clay DeLeon caught up with USC Trojan Head Coach Pete Carroll after Wednesday's practice. Carroll commented on Joe McKnight, the health of the linebackers, and a good surprise on the offensive line among other topics.

Pete Carroll was animated as he started speaking about injured center Matt Spanos and his prospects of suiting up this weekend.

"Really good report about Matt Spanos making it out here today. I'm anxious to see how he (did) on his one-on-ones where he really had a chance to compete. I don't know what that means for us right now other than to have an experienced guy and depth on the offensive line. So that might be a great surprise to get him back. Another good day tomorrow, and he'll be traveling with us. That's a big boost for us; we're surprised to have that happen."

Each year for the last few years a position on the team gets setback by injuries. Last year it was the fullback position. This year, injuries have plagued the strong side linebackers. Brian Cushing began the year as the number one SLB and suffered an ankle injury. His replacement, Clay Matthews suffered a broken thumb two weeks ago and a bruised shoulder this week.

Since early in the first game against Idaho, Brian Cushing has been battling to return from an ankle injury, 

"I don't think he's going to make it (to Washington)," said Carroll about Cushing. "He's real sore still, and we just have to give it some time. Thomas Williams is ready to start, he's taking all the first string reps. Clay (Matthews) will play there also."

"Matthews has a broken thumb, and he's got a sore shoulder so we're just resting him with the shoulder, don't bang on it." Carroll continued, "He's going to play in the game, and he's going to make the trip. We're just giving him every chance to not take a shot on the shoulder right now. So he'll be as ready as possible."

Enter Thomas Williams, Matthews' replacement.

"Thomas has played a bunch already in the first three games so we're going to go with him. He's fit and ready to roll and take advantage of the game plan. This is a game plan that takes some work with a different style of offense. A guy that sits on the sideline all week long is not going to be as sharp with all of the things we need to do to make it work."

On cornerback Cary Harris' ability to play this weekend, "The doctors aren't letting him go. He's fighting every step of the way. But it doesn't sound like they're going to let him go in the game."

When questioned about Chris Galippo not participating in practice today, Carroll replied, "He has some fairly serious issues with his back. He's going to see the doctor tonight, he went to see him this morning to check it out. He's got some issues and we're going to find out how extensive (it is)."

Continuing the conversation, Coach Carroll said, "It's something he's had for a long time, in camp and then it got quiet and it recurred. The symptoms have changed a little so it's getting kind of serious right now. Not a debilitating serious, but serious for him being able to play this week or next week. We'll know more in the next couple of days."

Is surgery possible?

Carroll replied, "Surgery is not out the question. They're (doctors) watching this right now, they've adjusted his medication to see if it helps with the inflammation and irritation. We'll just have to wait and see how that works for him."

Coach Carroll was enthusiastic when commenting on Shareece Wright's progress at cornerback

"He's had a great week. He's really excited about the opportunity. He's all pumped up. He's practiced two really beautiful days out here a number of good plays today. He's played with terrific force so far. I really like what he's done. We're excited to give him this responsibility and he's ready to jump at it."

So how have the Trojans scored so many points without using the long ball?

"Executing pretty well. A good example is the opening drive the other night, it was 10 or 11 plays or something like that. It's somewhat characteristic of how we played last year. We were a little more methodical in scoring points without getting the big plays. We haven't needed them. We've been able to march it down the field. It does eat some clock up, it was like three possessions in the first quarter and that's all it was."

"I love to see our ability to execute. If the guys that we're playing are staying way off (of the ball), that's fine with us, we don't care…we were on the verge of scoring 60 points last week, we had two touchdowns that were called back…that was a big output for us, I really liked it."

Finally, Coach Carroll commented on Joe McKnight's progress

"We'll see, he's practiced really well, he's practiced fast this week. I think he's feeling better about it, I'm just going to be real patient and keep bringing him through it and not load him up with too much too soon."

He concluded, "I think I've already done that (chuckle)…he's making really good progress. It's a really good situation, he doesn't have to get thrown out there, he can work his way into it. Hopefully we can do that really well from this point forward."

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