USC: Theo Riddick

Wiley watching and learning

October, 16, 2011

Three weeks ago, USC Trojans cornerback Isiah Wiley was the No. 5 corner on a team that never uses more than three on any given play.

Now, it looks as if he'll be the No. 2 corner against Notre Dame on Saturday, having jumped up over the fallen-out-of-favor Tony Burnett and the injured Anthony Brown and Torin Harris to put himself into position to start in South Bend.

It'll be a challenge -- the Fighting Irish have two talented receivers in Michael Floyd and Theo Riddick, and Wiley will probably be asked to spend a considerable amount of time on Floyd because of the seven-inch height difference between he and Nickell Robey.

But he says he's ready. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Wiley, a junior-college transfer who had essentially only played on special teams before last week's game against California, has watched and re-watched the game tape from last week and is convinced he knows what to do against the Irish.

Or what not to do, really: hesitate. He had two interception opportunities against the Bears but missed out on both of them because he failed to react quickly enough.

"What I've seen from the first game is that the speed is a lot faster than junior-college football," Wiley said. "Basically, I've gotta capitalize on all my interception opportunities and focus on the mental aspects of the game and be ready to make plays when they're presented to me."

He's trying to be ready, of course. But, truth be told, USC doesn't really have that many options. Harris looks like a longshot to play Saturday and Burnett's the only other potential starter, so, unless Wiley struggles mightily in practice this week, he's going to be the guy across from Robey.

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