Thursday Practice Report

C.J. Gable

The Trojans got a scare today when tailback and kickoff returner C.J. Gable went to the ground in pain while returning a kick and had to be helped off the field. Gable was on the ground for several minutes as trainers looked at his left knee.

Gable's Status Uncertain

The Trojans got a scare today when tailback and kickoff returner C.J. Gable went to the ground in pain while returning a kick and had to be helped off the field. Gable was on the ground for several minutes as trainers looked at his left knee.

"It wasn't a twist or anything but it might be a bruised knee," Carroll said. "That happens quite a bit and it can be really, really sore for him"

Gable was able to walk on his own later in practice but his status for Saturday's game against Notre Dame is uncertain.

"We will have to wait and see," Carroll said.

The Trojans are already without running backs Marc Tyler and Stafon Johnson.

Surprise Visitor

It has been a very big week for USC tailback Stafon Johnson.

On Wednesday, Johnson took another step in his road to recovery by being released from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center just 16 days after undergoing seven hours of emergency throat surgery.

And Thursday he paid a surprise visit to his USC teammates just hours before they left for South Bend.

"He made a surprise visit to the guys during the team meeting which was really fun," Carroll said. "We got a chance to visit with him."

The USC players erupted into cheers as Johnson entered the room, slapping high-fives and the senior tailback even did a little dancing.

"He was lit up and in good spirits," Carroll said. "He made everybody else feel really good as he has been doing the whole time. It was a good uplift for him and for our guys as well."

Carroll was later asked if Johnson and had any advice for the team as they prepare for the Fighting Irish.

"Yeah, he wants to win," said Carroll.

Hot Reads

- After spending the past two days playing in the rain, the Trojans practiced under sunny skies today at Cromwell Field.

"Unbelievable change in the weather," Carroll said after Thursday's practice. "It's so drastically different from one day to the next. It has worked out well for us through the week."

The weather.com forecast for Saturday's game is partly cloudy in South Bend with a high of 49 degrees.

- Luthur Brown, Adam Goodman, Marc Tyler, Marshall Jones, James Boyd and Hebron Fangupo were among the players that didn't participate in practice on Thursday.

- The Trojans will be without Luthur Brown on Saturday. The senior linebacker will miss the game due to back problems, Carroll said.

- Malcolm Smith will return to the starting lineup this Saturday at the weak-side linebacker spot.

- Armond Armstead will return to action this Saturday after breaking a bone in his foot earlier this season. Armstead, who was slated start at defensive end this season, will play some defensive tackle on Saturday and may even start.

- Defensive tackle Christian Tupou practiced today and Carroll said he expects him to play.

- Strength vs. Strength: When Notre Dame has the ball, the USC defense, that hasn't allowed a single passing touchdown in '09, will be challenged by Jimmy Clausen who is the nation's passing efficiency leader.

- Saturday's matchup between USC and Notre Dame will be the 81st rendition of the storied rivalry. USC currently has a seven game winning streak against the Fighting Irish and has won the last three contests in South Bend.


USC's strong secondary vs. Jimmy Clausen will be a key matchup.


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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


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