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USC Football Fall Notebook: Gearing Up For Utah

Kate Rooney |
September 6, 2011 | 10:40 p.m. PDT

Senior Sports Editor

Tyler will see action against the Utes Saturday. (Shotgun Spratling/Neon Tommy)
Tyler will see action against the Utes Saturday. (Shotgun Spratling/Neon Tommy)
Running back Marc Tyler will play Saturday against Utah, head coach Lane Kiffin announced after Tuesday's practice.

The speedy return of Tyler, who has spent the last few weeks playing on the service team, comes as something of a surprise based on Kiffin's comments early in fall camp, which indicated that Tyler might never play another down as a Trojan.

Tyler's presence raises some question marks about how sophomore RB Dillon Baxter fits in to the run game. After a promising freshman effort marred by off-the-field issues, Baxter played third fiddle to freshman D.J. Morgan and junior Curtis McNeal in Saturday's win against Minnesota. 

Kiffin met with Baxter and his family after the game to address his lack of playing time, and said the running back is doing well and working hard.

"I had a pretty good fall camp and coming into game week I was just going through the motions," Baxter said Tuesday. "I'm gonna come out here and work my hardest now." 

Preseason concerns about the offensive line seemed well-founded after Saturday's matchup. Kiffin acknowleged that USC's second half offensive struggles weren't reflective of poor efforts by the quarterback, running backs or receivers. The O-line, he said Tuesday, is still the offensive element that needs the most work.

"That performance we had last week won't cut it for this week," said tackle Matt Kalil, echoing what many critics said following Saturday's narrow win.


Neon Tommy Sports will provide complete coverage of Saturday's Pac-12 opener between USC and Utah on Twitter and at this page.


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Videos courtesy of Scott Enyeart. Reach Scott by email or follow him on Twitter.

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