BY SCOTT WOLF, Staff Writer
Article Launched:12/24/2006 12:33:07 AM PST
USC coach Pete Carroll said fullback Brandon Hancock is expected to apply for a sixth year of eligibility after missing his senior season with torn knee ligaments.
"I'd love to have him back," Carroll said. "He's a leader and a great player to have on our team."
Hancock met with the USC coaching staff this week to discuss the idea.
Carroll said USC's compliance official told him Hancock could likely be granted an extra year by the NCAA.
Players are not allowed to apply until after the season. The compliance office previously said fullback Ryan Powdrell could not apply for a sixth year.
Under NCAA rules, if a player misses two seasons because of an injury, he can apply for a sixth year.
Game speed: USC's top priority when it returns from its Christmas break will be to regain its tempo. Carroll said the game plan has basically already been installed, but will need to be perfected.
"We have to get the game plan nailed," Carroll said. "Next week, we'll install maybe two percent of what we'll do.
"We'll want to come out really fast and hard."
Carroll said he liked the tempo before the break.
Perfect prospect? It's always dangerous to make too much out of a recruit, but a college coach who lost out on defensive Everson Griffen of Avondale, Ariz., raved about the prospect today.
"He's perfect," the coach said. "He could be a first-round draft pick right now."
Even though Griffen is 6-foot-4 and 266 pounds, he could also play running back because of his athleticism, according to the coach.
Since losing to UCLA, USC received two commitments from players heavily recruited by the Bruins: Griffen and offensive lineman Kristofer O'Dowd of Tucson, Ariz.
Unusual outfit: David Buehler, the new kickoff specialist after Troy Van Blarcom was dismissed from school Thursday, said he will continue to wear a neck roll because he might participate on the kick return team, a role he held before getting promoted.
Buehler also wore the neck roll when he kicked a 49-yard field goal against California.
"I've worn my neck roll all through high school and college," Buehler said.
Feeling better: Safety Taylor Mays, who went home to Seattle for the break, removed the cast from his sore hand and is expected to play in the Rose Bowl without it.
Beef Bowl: Michigan will attend the Beef Bowl at Lawry's The Prime Rib restaurant in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. USC will attend on Thursday.