Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Curtis McNeal keeps starting spot
By Pedro Moura ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- Marc Tyler is back in the fold and George Farmer will likely suit up as well, but Curtis McNeal is going to get the start for USC at running back for the second straight week, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said Wednesday.
McNeal, a fourth-year junior, made his first career start last week against Colorado and carried the ball 10 times for 87 yards before going down after suffering a deep thigh bruise in the third quarter. He has practiced this week and appears to be fully healthy.
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"Most likely, Curtis will start," Kiffin said. "And we look for Marc to play as well."
Tyler has missed all but one snap of the last two games because of an aggravated dislocated shoulder suffered first against California and again against Stanford. But he will also play Saturday against Washington.
Interestingly, last year against Washington was the game where Tyler started and ran the ball fine -- 14 carries for 60 yards -- but then-senior Allen Bradford supplanted him and ran wild over the Huskies for 223 yards and two touchdowns in 21 carries.
Washington and defensive coordinator Nick Holt have stout middle linebacker Cort Dennison, who Kiffin called a "true middle linebacker" Wednesday, though the Trojans hope to exploit other areas of the Huskies' defense.
As it was against Notre Dame, a McNeal-Tyler tandem might be the best option against Washington. In that game, the duo combined to rush for 188 yards in 37 carries in a 31-17 Trojans' victory.
Pedro Moura covers USC football for ESPNLosAngeles.com.