Wednesday Practice Report

USC safety Kevin Ellison returned to the practice field in a limited role on Wednesday, and is hopeful that he will play on Saturday against the crosstown rival UCLA Bruins. Look inside for all the news, notes and quotes from Wednesday's practice.

Ellison 'Hopeful'

USC safety Kevin Ellison returned to the practice field in a limited role on Wednesday, and is hopeful that he will play on Saturday against the crosstown rival UCLA Bruins.

"He made it through the service team reps in a limited role basis, but he practiced and did everything that everybody else did, so that's a really good sign," Pete Carroll said.

"He did well. He looked fast. He took off on a couple of plays in pursuit and looked like he had fresh legs even. Sometimes the rest can help."

Ellison attempted a return last week, but had to put his plans on hold after his knee didn't respond to consecutive days of work.

"I am just hopeful that I react good tomorrow. Like I said, last Tuesday I felt good too and then Wednesday my knee was real sore.

"It was a little swollen and it was real stiff. I just wasn't able to run on it the next day like I wanted to. It wasn't comfortable."

With the injury, Ellison was forced to watch his final home game from the sidelines.

"It was hard," said Ellison, who is a team captain. "Especially when you are cleared medically, to just take yourself out, and make that decision.

"Leading up to the game it was harder than the actual game. Saturday was cool once the game got going."

Ellison hopes to work off some rust the next few days in practice, but he will be very cautious about his possible return.

"I need the reps because I have been out for four weeks," Ellison said. "I need to get out there and get comfortable playing again and moving around.

"I just wanted to make sure I am smart about it and just make sure it's a gradual buildup."

Carroll said the plan is to prepare Will Harris as the starter and see about Ellison's availability later in the week.

"Will (Harris) is the starter right now but we will wait and see," Carroll said. "I would love to start Kevin (Ellison) if we could, but he is going to have to feel good about it, and he is going to have to respond well after the weeks work."

As for Ellison, the tough-minded defensive back is optimistic about his chance to get one more shot at the Bruins.

"It feels good right now but tomorrow will be the real day," Ellison said. "I am hopeful that I will play."

News and Notes

- Pete Carroll and Steve Sarkisian both declined to comment about reports that Sarkisian had interviewed for the head coaching job at Washington last week.

Carroll did say that he's always willing to help his assistants when a head coaching opportunity is available.

"I would never stand in the way of our guys," Carroll said. "There is a point where it makes sense timing-wise and when it doesn't makes sense, but I try and help our guys every turn when the opportunity arises."

- Tailback Stafon Johnson practiced on Wednesday after missing yesterday's practice because of a right thigh contusion that he suffered against Notre Dame.

- Fullback Stanley Havili continues to be limited by his two sprained ankles. Carroll said Havili could be a game-time decision.

"If he can make it back for game time then we will allow him play," Carroll said. "It's really going to be all the way until Saturday before we know."


Stanley Havili could be a game-time decision. (Paul Pinner Photo)

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


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