Tuesday Practice: Quizz Prep

Jacquizz Rodgers was a productive but relatively unknown running back heading into last year's matchup with the top-ranked Trojans, but you can be sure that he will be the focus of USC's defense this Saturday at the Coliseum.

Quizz Prep

Oregon State tailback Jacquizz Rodgers burst onto the national scene last year with a breakout performance against the top-ranked USC Trojans in Corvallis.

The 5-foot-7 tailback rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries while leading the Beavers, who were a 25-point underdog, to a stunning 27-21 victory over the Men of Troy.

Rodgers' 186 yards on the ground were the most that the USC defense had allowed since Vince Young rushed for 200 yards in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

Rodgers was a productive but relatively unknown running back heading into last year's matchup, but you can be sure that he will certainly be the focus of USC's defense this Saturday.

"Our focus and our attention to it and respect for him is different than it was going into last year's game," Carroll said of Rodgers. "We've elevated it, because it needs to."

As Carroll explained on Tuesday, Rodgers is such a tough back to defend because he is truly one of the elite zone runners in college football.

"They force you to show where you're playing on your defensive assignments and then they run somewhere else," Carroll said. "He's one of those guys. He's really good at it."

Carroll even went as far as to compare Rodgers style of running to NFL great Emmitt Smith.

"Emmitt Smith was a great zone runner. He could make you play the defense, and if you didn't adjust out of it, he was going to get you. He sets you in a way, and this guy does the same thing.

"I have great respect for the way he plays and the way he runs."

Rodgers patient running style caused fits for USC's defensive line and linebackers, who often over pursued during last year's game, and were victimized by his cutback ability.

"We've got to be very disciplined at the line of scrimmage to take care of Jacquizz Rodgers running it," Carroll said. "He's the style of runner that really demands it of your defense.

"You give him a crack, he can take it. If you make a mistake he's going to take advantage of it. So it really calls for a strict approach this week."

Hot Reads

- Luthur Brown, Stanley Havili, Marshall Jones, Hebron Fangupo and Marc Tyler were among the players that didn't participate in practice on Tuesday.

- Fullback Stanley Havili, who suffered a dislocated shoulder against Notre Dame, is questionable for the Oregon State game.

- Alex Parson, Christian Tupou and Adam Goodman all returned to practice Tuesday and are expected to play on Saturday.

- After spending four of the first six games on the road, the Trojans now enter the second half of the season where they have four homes game and just two on the road.

"We need to start the second half on the right foot with a big win here with Oregon State coming in," Carroll said. "It really doesn't seem like we have been at home much."

- With Stanley Havili sidelined, sophomore D.J. Shoemate has worked with the first-team offense at fullback this week and looked very good.

"I am really excited about D.J.," Carroll said. "He has done a really good job of learning his stuff and working hard. He is a good athlete and a good football player, so we are anxious to see him play."

- With the Trojans coming off an emotional win against Notre Dame last Saturday and a big matchup with the No.12 Oregon Ducks in two weeks, many feel that this week's game could be a trap game, but Carroll doesn't feel that is the case.

"I don't think this a trap game. This is a team that beat us last year," Carroll said. "We aren't going to take this team lightly in any way."

- While Anthony McCoy's athleticism and production in the passing game were on display last week against Notre Dame, Pete Carroll said his ability to block is what really stands out.

"He's a really, really good blocker and takes a lot of pride in it," Carroll said. "He has an amazing wing span that allows him to really engulf guys."

- After reviewing tape of the Notre Dame game one area that Carroll wasn't pleased with was the kickoff return unit.

"We were disappointed in kickoff returns," Carroll said. "We thought we could pop some balls on them."

- Carroll once again voiced his displeasure with the replay system, which got plenty of use Saturday and slowed down the rhythm of the game.

"I don't like replay, and I stand alone with this. People love replay, I don't like it because I love the football game to flow and go," Carroll said. "There is human error even when they make their judgments on that stuff as well."

Offensive lineman Alex Parsons returned to the practice field on Tuesday.

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

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