News of the day
USC defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson played one season at Army before returning to The Citadel, where he started and ended his college career.
Nearly four decades later, Johnson would like to head back to West Point as the Cadets’ coach. Johnson, whose two older brothers also played at Army, asked an intermediary to let officials know he is interested in the school’s vacancy.
“I have a lot of respect for the place,” Johnson said Tuesday. “It’s something I’d love to have an opportunity for, but I don’t know if there’s anything to it or not.”
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Army fired Stan Brock last week after the Cadets went 6-18 in his two seasons, including a 34-0 loss to Navy. The Cadets have not had a winning season since 1996.
Johnson, a Winnsboro native who turns 57 next week, is in his first season at USC. The Gamecocks are ranked fourth in the SEC and 11th nationally in total defense.
Johnson, who received a midseason extension that kept three years on his USC contract, expressed interest in the Mississippi State job before the Bulldogs hired Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.
Johnson was 12-22 in three seasons as The Citadel’s head coach before becoming Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator before the 2004 season.
Kevin Young. The sophomore guard is third team, but practicing in full pads for the first time in a year following complications with his left shoulder, which has undergone three surgeries.
Plus, Young is fired up about the Outback Bowl, which will be played 15 miles from his hometown of Clearwater, Fla.
“You can go to the beach year-round – awesome beaches,” he said. “I just can’t wait to be home.”
The run defense. There’s never a good time to lose your leading tackler. But USC could have used strong safety Emanuel Cook against Iowa’s Shonn Greene, the nation’s second-leading rusher and winner of the Doak Walker Award that goes to the country’s top running back. Injury report
Guard Lemuel Jeanpierre, who started five games this season before injuring his right knee against Tennessee, is uncertain whether he can play in the bowl game. Jeanpierre missed the final three regular-season games with a partially torn ligament that did not require surgery.
“There’s time, and I’m working hard to try to get back,” he said.
“Sam Bradford said that he grew up always wanting to play for Oklahoma, and he considered it an honor to play for the University of Oklahoma. I told our guys, ‘I hope all you guys can say it’s an honor to play for the University of South Carolina,’ because it should be. Should look at it that way. So hopefully our guys will really represent our school in a first-class manner at this bowl game,” – USC coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier nearly missed the start of Tuesday’s practice because of travel delays returning from New York, where he attended activities following the Heisman Trophy presentation. The Gamecocks moved practice back an hour for Spurrier, who jogged in shortly after players had stretched. …
USC returns to the practice fields at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.