Monday Practice Report

Look inside for all the news, notes and quotes from Monday's practice including Pete Carroll's thoughts on Joe McKnight's injury, USC's final touchdown against UCLA and the firing of Charlie Weis.

No McKnight Monday

USC tailback Joe McKnight missed Monday's practice after suffering a bruised left thigh during Saturday's win over archrival UCLA, which sidelined him for the end of the game.

"I took a helmet to the thigh," McKnight said. "I tried to play with it for a while and I couldn't go any longer so I took myself out."

McKnight said he hopes to test the thigh during Tuesday's practice and see if he can do some running.

Pete Carroll said they won't know more about McKnight's availability this week until after he meets with team doctors on Tuesday night.

"We got to wait and see how he responds. He's got a quad bruise," Carroll said. "We won't know really until after he sees the doctors tomorrow night."

McKnight said he will be back for the regular season finale.

"He says he is going to be able to make it back," Carroll said. "He is tough on himself and he usually can pull that stuff off."

Vote Early…And Often

The heated final minute of play is still the main topic of discussion when looking back at USC's 28-7 win over the Bruins this past Saturday.

Pete Carroll admitted that he has heard some of the talk, and was aware that some of the local newspapers were having polls where readers could vote on the controversial finish.

"I think there's a certain amount of response to it. I heard some papers did polls and things like that," he said. "I don't know who would ever want to do that."

When Carroll was told that the results were nearly split down the middle, he joked, "Want to know how many times I voted? It was a lot of work to get it 50-50."

Carroll Discusses Weis Firing

It wasn't much of a surprise but Charlie Weis was officially fired from Notre Dame on Monday after finishing the season with four straight losses and a 6-6 record.

Weis arrived in South Bend with high expectation but was never able to achieve the kind of success that he promised, finishing just 35-27 over five seasons.

After Monday's practice, Pete Carroll discussed the firing and how hard the situation can be on the families involved.

"Charlie made a good run at it there and it didn't go the way that he wanted it to," Carroll said. "I think he said somewhere along the line that at 6-5, you're in trouble at Notre Dame, and he knows the situation well.

"It's a very difficult place to coach, and the expectations are extraordinary and it didn't quite work out. But he gave everything that he had and busted at it. It's a very hard time for coaches, staffs, staff members and family members."

Carroll, who was fired from the New York Jets and New England Patriots in the NFL, said he knows the feeling.

"First thing you think of is, I know how hard it is, I have been there before. I feel for him," he said. "It's a great program and their expectations are such that they are going to make moves when things aren't meeting up to their standards. It will be interesting to see what they do."

Carroll's dominance over Notre Dame certainly didn't help Weis' cause, beating him five straight times.

Hot Reads

- Joe McKnight (bruised thigh), Blake Ayles (knee), DeVon Flournoy (hip flexor), Garrett Green (ACL) and Byron Moore (hamstring) were among the players that didn't participate in Monday's practice.

- Utility man Garrett Green is truly one of the selfless players on this USC team and has been an unsung hero all year. Green contributes at several positions during practice and has been a key special teams asset in 2009. On Monday, Carroll said he was devastated by the injury to the versatile senior.

"I was crushed. I didn't know it during the game," Carroll said. "I knew he hadn't finished the game, but I didn't know what happened, then I saw him on the crutches and I was just crushed.

"He has had such a fantastic year for us, being the leader of our special teams. He has been so active and so on point in so many different areas. I really hate that it happened to him because he was contributing in so many ways and being such a great example for all the young guys of how you can find a way to help your football team win."

- USC linebacker Malcolm Smith was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after his impressive performance in USC's 28-7 victory over UCLA. Smith scored the only points of the first half, intercepting a pass by Kevin Prince and returning it 62 yards for a touchdown, and also had a team-high 15 tackles.

- Carroll said he had no interest in the Notre Dame job.


USC LB Malcolm Smith was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week.


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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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