October 28, 2009

Practice Insider: O-line has new look

Days before last weekend's game against Oregon State, the Trojan coaching staff had a tough job to do. They could tell that Kristofer O'Dowd, their preseason all-American center, wasn't right.

So, the coaches did what they had to do; they sat him down.

With O'Dowd on the bench, USC used guard Jeff Byers at center and Butch Lewis at left guard. The changes worked, as USC gained 229 yards rushing and the offensive line didn't allow a sack.

"I think Jeff and Butch had an excellent game," quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates said. "They played hard, aggressive and nasty. I was proud of Butch, who hasn't been in there for a while, to come in and play with the intensity that he had. He knocked some people out in the game. It really helped out our run game.

"We're going to play the best players that give us a chance to win."


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