Tuesday Practice Report

The USC offense put up 56 points on Saturday with a balanced attack and looks to be back on track. Look inside for updates on USC's offense, Taylor Mays and more.

Offense Back on Track?

The USC offense, which has received criticism after subpar performances against Oregon State, Arizona State and Arizona, got back on track Saturday against the outmanned Washington Huskies.

Mark Sanchez and Patrick Turner got the passing game going early, connecting for touchdown passes of 4 and 32 yards on the Trojans first two offensive drives.

With two touchdown receptions against Washington, Turner now has a team-high seven touchdown receptions and has become a consistent playmaker in the passing game.

"Patrick's become a real dominant football player for us. He's always played well for us, but he's really owning the football," Carroll said. "He's older, more confident and has really become a go-to guy."

C.J. Gable started at tailback Saturday and got the USC running game going with two first half touchdowns. Gable finished with a game-high 108 yards on just 10 carries.

The Trojans' converted all six of their first half possessions into touchdowns with a balanced attack and are hoping to build on Saturday's performance for the final stretch of the season.

"I feel that we are back on track," Patrick Turner said of the offense. "Mark put the ball in good spots and the offensive line did their job. When that happens, we are going to put up numbers like that."

"These next four games are going to be a good stretch of tough competition for us," Mark Sanchez added. "We need to learn how to finish strong and keep up the tradition of never losing in November."

The USC offense will face a much stiffer challenge this week against the California Golden Bears.

Mays Named Thorpe Semifinalist

USC junior safety Taylor Mays was named one of thirteen semifinalists for the Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the top defensive back in college football.

Mays has recorded 36 tackles, 3 pass deflections and 2 tackles for loss in 2008.

The 2008 Jim Thorpe Award Semifinalists:

Asher Allen, Jr., Georgia
Eric Berry, So., Tennessee
Emanuel Cook, Jr., So. Carolina
Vontae Davis, Jr., Illinois
Trimane Goddard, Sr., N. Carolina
Malcolm Jenkins, Sr., Ohio State
Trevard Lindley, Jr., Kentucky
Taylor Mays, Jr., USC
Mike Mickens, Sr., Cincinnati
D. J. Moore, Jr., Vanderbilt
William Moore, Sr., Missouri
Alphonso Smith, Sr., Wake Forest
Otis Wiley, Sr., Michigan State

News and Notes

- The Trojans wore helmets but no pads on Tuesday in an effort to keep the players legs fresh heading into the final stretch of the season.

"It's just a bit of a reward for the hard work," Carroll said. "We throw them a little bone this time of year, but we still practice at full speed."

- Fullback Stanley Havili returned to the field on Tuesday after missing Monday's practice with an illness.

- Defensive tackle Averell Spicer will be evaluated by team doctors on Tuesday night to monitor the progress of his sprained ankle.

- Blake Ayles was held out of practice again on Tuesday because of his bruised knee. Coach Carroll was optimistic that Ayles could make it back for Saturday's game against California.

- Coach Carroll had very high praise for Clay Matthews' performance on special teams in his career at USC.

"He might be the best special teams player to ever play here," Carroll said of Matthews.

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