Wednesday Practice Report

The Trojans prepared for a tough contest against the California Golden Bears with a hard-hitting practice on Wednesday. Look inside for news on Patrick Turner, Kevin Ellison and much more.

Becoming the Man

The wide receiver position is arguably the most improved for the Trojans in 2008, with Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson emerging as consistent playmakers, and senior Patrick Turner becoming comfortable in his role as a team leader.

Turner, who received criticism in 2007 for not assuming a leadership role, is at ease in that position as a senior.

"Patrick's become a real dominant football player for us," Pete Carroll said. "He's older, more confident and has really become a go-to guy."

Along with Turner's maturity, the senior wide receiver has also benefited from the impressive play of Damian Williams and Ronald Johnson.

"They are both great players and to be a good football team you have to have more than one good receiver," Turner said. "The defenses that we go against can't just focus on one receiver.

"When you can spread the ball around it makes it harder on the defense."

Last week, Washington's defense couldn't keep up with Turner, who scored two more touchdowns, giving him a team-high seven touchdown receptions.

"Good things are happening," Turner said of his performance in 2008. "Mark (Sanchez) is putting the ball in good spots, and the offense is giving him time, and it just leads to plays."

Heading into the final stretch of the season, the senior wide receiver feels the offense is coming together at just the right time.

"It's been a cool ride and I feel the team is moving along good," said Turner. "All of the receivers are making plays and everything is going smoothly. We just have to stay on that and keep doing what we know how to do."

News and Notes

- Linebacker Luthur Brown had the hit of the day for the defense. Brown leveled Stanley Havili just inches short of the goal line on the last play of practice. The defense erupted with cheers after the big hit.

- Joe McKnight was back at full speed on Wednesday and is on track to play if he doesn't have any setbacks. "He looked full speed now," Carroll said. "He's rollin' out here pretty good."

- Wide receivers Travon Patterson and Brice Butler both caught touchdown passes from Mitch Mustain during 7-on-7.

- Linebacker Mike Morgan (knee) practiced on Wednesday and is expected to be available this Saturday against Cal.

- Safety Kevin Ellison (knee) walked around on crutches Wednesday and officially ruled himself out for Saturday's game.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


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