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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

USC football practice delayed to be ‘on the same page’ before finale

LOS ANGELES – The USC football team was 45 minutes late for practice on Wednesday, causing what interim head coach Deontay Williams described as a team meeting to be on the same page.

Players and coaches walk back and forth between the practice area and the John McKay Center, which houses USC’s meeting rooms and on-campus locker rooms. This was the first practice during Williams’ 10 weeks as interim coach that had been delayed of any kind.

During his Thursday morning Zoom call, Williams denied that there was any disagreement about whether to play this week’s game against Cal, which has been rescheduled to conference championship week due to a COVID-19 outbreak over the Bears. had gone.

“Just making sure we were all on the same page and making sure everyone was ready to go,” Williams said. “Especially when it sucks because of the lose-win record that you don’t get to coach in a bowl game.”

Three players in Williams’ position group – cornerbacks Chris Steele, Isaac Taylor-Stuart and Jaylin Smith – were among those absent from practice. Williams said each was dealing with injuries, and several injured players are taking time off the team to deal with academics as the final pops up next week.

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Williams said there is general uncertainty about the schedule about what will happen after Saturday. After the season ends, new head coach Lincoln Riley may begin making personnel changes along with the coaching and support staff.

“Everybody talks about players and full-time assistants, but operational recruiting, power departments, all those guys, they don’t know what their future holds after Saturday, right?” Williams said. “So making sure no one is watching what’s going to happen after Saturday.”

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