USC NOTEBOOK Carroll explains how losses can happen
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.But who would buy it even at that cut-rate price? Even at the Eugene Airport on Sunday morning, fans speculated how many would show up at the Coliseum for Saturday’s game against Oregon State with the Trojans reeling. “It’s different,” USC coach Pete Carroll said Sunday. “We haven’t been in this situation for a long time. It doesn’t change anything. You don’t do anything different. You coach like crazy.” And you start making excuses. Carroll said again USC had been restricted offensively as it weaned quarterback Mark Sanchez the past three games. By Scott Wolf STAFF WRITER For an idea of what two losses before Halloween means to USC, the Trojans are poking fun at themselves now. One player joked after the loss to Oregon that the offensive playbook was “available on the Internet for $9.95.” “It does affect your play calling,” Carroll said. He did not mention USC lost to a Stanford team that had a quarterback making his first career start. Ironically, Carroll brought up the Stanford game when he said Sunday he wished he played Sanchez against Stanford after John David Booty broke his finger. “We made a mistake with John, not knowing the situation,” Carroll said. “I wish I could have assessed that better at the time. Maybe we would have put Mark in and played it closer to the vest.” So Sanchez needed to play against Stanford, but he hurt the play calling against Oregon? That’s the logic following two losses for USC (6-2, 3-2). And after winning five straight Pacific-10 Conference titles, Carroll is suddenly forced to talk up the other teams. “We were talking as a staff today about how many good defensive schemes there are in this conference and skill guys who can make plays,” Carroll said. “Everybody is getting everybody (in the Pac-10). We have to come back with some resolve. A lot of stuff is happening out there.” In past years, it would be hard to imagine USC complaining about officiating, but Carroll brought up several points of frustration Sunday. “Who gets penalties the least?” Carroll said. “It’s always the guys who play us.” USC committed six penalties for 80 yards, while Oregon had one penalty for 5 yards. Carroll complained there were no holding calls against the Ducks’ offensive line. “They could have called four or five holding penalties (for grabbing nose guard Sedrick Ellis),” Carroll said. He also complained about a holding penalty on offensive tackle Drew Radovich that nullified tailback Joe McKnight’s 64-yard touchdown run. “It’s a flash of a grasp and he let go,” Carroll said. Another sore point was the limited use of tailback Stafon Johnson. Although still bothered by a sprained foot, Carroll regretted Johnson did not get more carries against Oregon. He finished with 9 yards in three carries. “He doesn’t feel 100 percent. I was disappointed he didn’t get involved more,” Carroll said. “That happens when you rotate guys.” Injury report Offensive tackle Sam Baker underwent an MRI on Sunday on his sore hip and hamstring. “He’s back where he was a couple weeks ago,” Carroll said. Baker is questionable this week. Linebacker Kaluka Maiava (sprained thumb) and wide receiver Brad Walker (sprained ankle) suffered minor injuries. Carroll complained about USC’s lack of interceptions. USC ranks 96th in the nation with six interceptions and two of those were by defensive end Kyle Moore. “We’re playing really good pass defense but not getting the ball,” Carroll said. “The only issue I can add is not hitting the quarterback enough. We still have 21 sacks. But this group has played the same the past two years (with few interceptions).” Bernard may miss USC game When Oregon State travels to Los Angeles to try and reverse a 48-year road losing streak to USC, it may have to do it without its best offensive player. Yvenson Bernard ran for 62 yards and a touchdown in the first half of Oregon State’s 23-6 victory over Stanford Saturday, but he went out with a shoulder injury and never returned. Coach Mike Riley feared the injury was serious and that the iron-tough 5-foot-9, 201-pound tailback could miss time. “I’m just guessing but he seems doubtful to me,” Riley said. Bernard, a senior, has rushed for 101.8 yards a game this season and is Oregon State’s third all-time leading rusher. The Associated Press contributed to this story.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!