Monday Practice: Rivers Still Uncertain

The USC Trojans got ready to play the Arizona State Sun Devils with a spirited practice at Howard Jones Field. SCPlaybook's Kevin Carden brings you all the news and notes from Monday's practice.

Rivers Still Uncertain

USC could be without one of its top defensive player's when the Trojans face Arizona State this Thursday. Keith Rivers suffered a high-ankle sprain against California and has been limited all week.

At Thursday's practice Rivers did some running early but didn't participate in any contact drills.

"He felt better today. He made it through the early practice stuff," Pete Carroll explained. "We are just kind of tippy toeing through this thing right now and seeing what happens."

After practice Pete Carroll said that tomorrow will go a long way in determining if Rivers will be able to play against Arizona State on Thanksgiving Day.

"Tomorrow he needs to run around more and see where he is but he made it through everything he did today and he feels better than he did yesterday. He is still very iffy if he can make it or not," Pete Carroll said.

If Rivers can't play Kaluka Maiava will start in his place and Thomas Williams and Malcolm Smith could see playing time as well.

Baker Could Return

Pete Carroll was a lot more optimistic about the possible return of offensive tackle Sam Baker. Baker has participated in drills this week but hasn't done full contact drills.

"Sam did a lot of work today. Sam is in good shape and if he makes it through tomorrow's practice he is playing," said Pete Carroll.

Carroll also said there is a good chance that Baker could start at left tackle if he makes it through Tuesday's practice without any setbacks.

If Baker returns the Trojans would start Drew Radovich at right tackle, Chilo Rachal at right guard, Matt Spanos at center, Jeff Byers at left guard and Sam Baker at left tackle.

Griffen Impresses

USC freshman defensive end Everson Griffen burst on to the national stage with a 3.5 sack performance against the Oregon State Beavers.

Griffen showed the same speed off the edge and playmaking ability at Monday's practice that he displayed against the Beavers.

He repeatedly speed rushed his way around the scout team offensive line. On the day Griffen had 2 tackles for loss and a sack.

Griffen looks like he could be on the verge of another big performance for the Trojans.

Special Teams

David Buehler connected on 3 of 4 field goal attempts on Monday. Buehler made kicks of 22, 32 and 47 yards and missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.

Stafon Johnson practiced returning punts with Joe McKnight and Desmond Reed.

Who's That Quarterback?

During 7-on-7 drills Pete Carroll looked impressive leading the scout team. Carroll was able to do what most Pac-10 quarterbacks haven't done this season. He completed a deep pass behind the USC secondary for a touchdown. Carroll's pass sailed over the outreached arms of Taylor Mays and Terrell Thomas.

Taylor Mays got even by intercepting Carroll's next pass and returning it for a touchdown.

Practice Notes

A scout from the St. Louis Rams was in attendance for Monday's practice.

Herschel Dennis raced around the right side and beat the defense to the edge for a 30-yard touchdown run. Dennis had a very impressive practice.

Taylor Mays intercepted a Pete Carroll pass and returned it for a touchdown during 7-on-7 drills.

Damian Williams had another good practice catching several passes from Mark Sanchez and Mitch Mustain.

Vidal Hazelton had a tough practice dropping a few passes and fumbling another.

Linebacker Michael Morgan had a very productive practice. Morgan had several tackles, a tackle for loss and recovered a fumble.


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