Best Sixth Man
USC offensive lineman Jeff Byers learned on Friday that he will be granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Byers, who has been a major contributor this season, plans to return and be a part of an offense that could return 10 of 11 starters in 2009.
The lineman from Colorado was relieved to learn that he will have one more year to compete as a Trojan.
"I was thankful to finally get an answer," Byers said. "I have been kind of stressing over it. It's nice to know, and nice to have the decision that I think a lot of people wanted to hear."
Byers decided to put his NFL career on hold so he could have one more season to develop as a player at USC and continue to work towards his MBA.
"In my opinion, it's better to develop my skills here at USC where it's still fun," Byers said. "In the NFL you are just another body."
Pete Carroll added: "He will have a chance to further his education. We are lucky to have him around because he's a great kid."
Byers also said he is excited to see just how good USC's offense can be next season.
"As long as they want me back, I would love to come back," Byers said. "It's a great opportunity to come back and play for another winning football team because we are going to be good again next year."
With all the returning talent, USC's offense will certainly have a chance at being a special unit in 2009.
Carl Smith Sighting
Former USC quarterbacks coach Carl Smith sure looked the part at practice on Friday, wearing a USC hat and sweatshirt, but Pete Carroll insists that he has yet to make a decision on who will be USC's next quarterbacks coach.
"This is the longest interview of all time," Carroll joked when asked about Smith. "We are still putting it together."
Smith, who coached at USC in 2004, is familiar with the Trojans' offensive philosophy and would bring a wealth of experience to the offensive staff.
"This is a unique opportunity because we know Carl well and he knows the guys on our staff," Carroll said. "We're just giving everyone a chance to fit together to see if it's going to work out."
Smith remains the favorite to become the Trojans quarterbacks coach, but Carroll said he has been contacted by several coaches about the opening.
News and Notes
- Blake Ayles, Kevin Ellison, Adam Goodman and Damian Williams were among the players that didn't participate in practice on Friday.
- Williams continues to make steady progress in his rehab. On Friday, he caught some passes during drills and could return by Sunday.
"He's really close to coming back out," Carroll said.
- Fullback Stanley Havili returned to the practice field on Friday. Havili continues to be slowed by two bad ankles.
"He got some work done today. He's going to be fine," Carroll said. "His ankles are suspect but he's out here working and getting stuff done."
- Recruit Watch: Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley, Mt. San Antonio CC defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo, Tesoro wide receiver Preston King and Mt. San Antonio kicker/punter Jacob Harfman attended practice.
- After practice, USC received a verbal commitment from Jacob Harfman.
USC offensive lineman Jeff Byers learned on Friday that he will be granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Look inside for an update on Jeff Byers, Carl Smith and much more.
All the news, notes and quotes from Friday's practice.