Thursday Practice: McCoy Back, Williams Out

The injury news wasn't all bad on Thursday as tight end Anthony McCoy is expected to return to action after missing the past two weeks with a sprained ankle, and the offense will get a big boost with Stanley Havili back in the starting lineup.

Williams Out, McCoy Back, Havili to Start

The USC Trojans will be without their top weapon in the passing game this week as junior wide receiver Damian Williams will miss the Stanford game with a high ankle sprain.

Williams has been arguably the Trojans most consistent offensive player, recording 45 receptions for 688 yards and five touchdowns, and has been become Matt Barkley's favorite target.

The absence of Williams will also be felt on special teams and in the locker room, where the junior has emerged as a real team leader.

"He's been a huge player for us this year," Carroll said. "He has made plays in almost every game that were significant, so we will miss his production, his leadership and all that he brings."

While Williams' productivity will be hard to match, the Trojans will call on redshirt freshman Brice Butler to fill the void at wide receiver.

Butler enters the game with just 10 catches on the year but has looked very impressive in his new role during practice this week.

"I am really excited about what Brice did this week," Carroll said. "There will be other guys rotating in at the wide receiver spot but we are hoping that Brice will be able to really just carry his practice preparation to the game. He looked great all week long."

The injury news wasn't all bad on Thursday as tight end Anthony McCoy is expected to return to action after missing the past two weeks with a sprained ankle, and the offense will get a big boost with Stanley Havili back in the starting lineup.

"It's great that Anthony made it back and he will play as much as we can play him in the game," Carroll said. "Stanley is gonna start too as we have been saying. It's good to have him back."

McCoy and Havili are third and fourth on the team in receptions and their presence should improve the Trojans' third down conversion numbers as we all help to offset that loss of Williams.

Hot Reads

- Damian Williams, David Ausberry, Blake Ayles, Averell Spicer, Jarvis Jones and Torin Harris were among the players that didn't participate in practice on Thursday.

- Tight end Blake Ayles missed practice and is doubtful for Saturday's showdown at the Coliseum after hurting his ankle and knee during Wednesday's practice.

"Unfortunately Blake got hurt yesterday. We will wait and see how he is tomorrow but he was getting an MRI today to make sure that he is OK," Carroll said. "But he rolled up on his leg and he might not make it."

- Tailback Joe McKnight will take over the punt return duties this week, in place of Damian Williams.

"He's terrific, we are lucky to have a guy with Joe's ability back there. He has been working really hard at it, he's really ready to go and he has caught balls in games," Carroll said. "He is extremely explosive, so fortunately we have a great guy to go to with Damian stepping out."

- The Trojans have spent a good deal of time on kickoff coverage this week in an effort to contain Stanford's Chris Owusu, who is fourth in the nation with a 36.04 yards per return average and has already returned three kicks for touchdowns this season.

"We worked very hard all week at it. We are hoping that we can keep him corralled," Carroll said. "We have worked very hard to keep the kind of discipline that you need to keep a guy like that down. Hopefully Jake (Harfman) will hit the heck out of the football and gives us a great hang time and the depth that will help us get down there."

- NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown stopped By Howard Jones Field on Thursday to watch the Trojans' practice. The legendary running back briefly addressed the team after practice.

"We got a big visit from Jim Brown today," Carroll said. "It was really, really exciting for the players, Joe and AB went over there and they came back like little kids after seeing one of the great ones of all-time. It was really great to see him out here."


USC Tight end Anthony McCoy will play this Staurday against Stanford


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