Already dealing with allegations running back Joe McKnight had access to an SUV in violation of NCAA bylaws, the Trojans were rocked Monday by the loss of two starters to academics.
Senior tight end Anthony McCoy and sophomore offensive tackle Tyron Smith will not play in the Emerald Bowl against Boston College on Saturday. USC will also be without reserve defensive tackle Averell Spicer.
For McCoy, it marks the disappointing end of a breakout season in which he had 457 yards receiving and one touchdown while averaging a team-high 20.8 yards per catch.
"Guys got to do their work," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "A guy in his senior year, knows his way around the university, knows what's going on really just didn't get it done. He had to come through and finish his finals and do a good job and didn't do well enough. I'm very disappointed."
"Rhett's fine, he's been playing all year long," Carroll said. "We've had to move some guys around to make sure we've got depth to hold on to, but Rhett is going to take the bulk of the work."
"Matt goes into this week as the starter," Carroll said. "Butch has been a long time starter at tackle, but we'd like to go with Matt and see how he does."
"Matt's ready," senior offensive tackle Charles Brown said.
Kalil was told last week he might be called upon and said he is looking forward to showing what he can contribute.
"I'm not stressing out at all," he said. "Last Friday they told me they were worried about Tyron and might need me to step up.
"It's an opportunity (for the coaches) to get a good look at me for next year."
No news on McKnight
The USC athletic department continues to investigate a Los Angeles Times report regarding the junior's use of a vehicle purchased by his girlfriend's employer, but Carroll had no new information on the allegations or McKnight's status.
"Nothing has changed in terms of what I can tell you. I know compliance is working hard to bring all the information together," Carroll said.
"We'll just go one day at a time and see where it stands," Carroll said.
Said junior Allen Bradford, the team's second-leading rusher who would likely start in McKnight's absence: "I'm just staying ready like always."
McKnight was again made off-limits to reporters.
-Bradford compared Boston College's defense, ranked 18th nationally in points allowed and 23rd in total yardage, to that of the cross-town rival Bruins.
"They remind me of UCLA a little bit, how they move around and play strong as a unit," he said.
-St. Bonaventure defensive back Patrick Hall will join the Trojans in January after meeting eligibility requirements.
"He has been accepted to the university," Carroll said. "It's a great deal and we're glad to have him."
Hall tore his ACL participating in fall camp while awaiting a decision from the NCAA clearinghouse.
-To mark their final practice at Howard Jones Field, seniors exited through a tunnel made by their teammates. Safety Taylor Mays was the last to leave the field.
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