Thursday, August 12, 2010
More bad news at USC
By Ted Miller
The good news for USC fans? At some point, there has to be good news. Just not today.
The latest issues? First, impressive freshman running back Dillon Baxter has been suspended for season opener against Hawaii on Sept. 2 for violating team rules.
And it doesn't sound like coach Lane Kiffin and Baxter are on the same page here. Said Kiffin: "He wasn't happy by any means but he has two choices. This is adversity right now for him and he can deal with it two ways, like I told him. He can sit around and pout and think that he's being picked on, used as an example and he can stay over there and we can move on without him or he can take this and move on from here and work to get ready for the Virginia game."
The LA Times reported this as the violation:
A source with knowledge of the situation said Baxter was the unnamed individual cited in a USC Department of Public Safety incident report for "violating a team curfew" and "being under the influence of a controlled substance" that was filed at 2:47 a.m. Tuesday. The report, which could be viewed over the Internet, indicates the incident occurred at Fluor Tower, where USC football players are housed for the first few weeks of training camp.
But that's not even potentially the biggest issue.
More troubling is the health of two starters: end Nick Perry and guard Butch Lewis.
Perry hurt his knee and ankle and was carted off the field on Wednesday. Lewis has been missing practices with a hip problem and was scheduled to see a specialist Wednesday night, according to the Orange County Register.
Perry recorded eight sacks as a backup in 2009. The Trojans are deep and talented on the defensive line, but paired with the loss of tackle Christian Tupou to a season-ending knee injury in the spring and the transfer of backup end Malik Jackson to Tennessee, things are starting to look a bit thinner.
Unlike the D-line, the offensive line can't afford too many injuries. With Lewis out, redshirt freshman Kevin Graf moves up the depth chart, though there could be some shuffling of the few bodies the Trojans have on the line.
It's been an eventful first few months for Kiffin, both on and off the field. Training camp was supposed to be an escape but so far it hasn't been.