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Saunders targets more catches

Weslye Saunders looks for running room against Georgia on Saturday, September 12, 2009.
Weslye Saunders looks for running room against Georgia on Saturday, September 12, 2009.

Junior tight end Weslye Saunders got off to a solid start this season in USC's first two games. But despite being 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds, he has become almost invisible as a pass-catching threat the past two games.

Saunders hopes to become a bigger part of the offense against S.C. State on Saturday after catching one pass for seven yards against Florida Atlantic and one for three yards against Ole Miss.

"I've got to get Coach (Steve) Spurrier to trust in me," said Saunders, who opened the year by catching a combined 12 passes for 146 yards against N.C. State and Georgia.

Spurrier admits they haven't gone as much to Saunders, but did note that "he's not as open as we like."

Spurrier also added that quarterback Stephen Garcia isn't throwing as crisply as he wants, which has played a role in Saunders' lack of catches. Saunders doesn't fault Garcia but hopes his number will be called more often against the Bulldogs.

Running hard. USC still is sorting through its options at running back. With a handful of them vying for playing time, Spurrier said the pecking order will be as such Saturday.

"Kenny (Miles) and Jarvis (Giles) may get more carries early and Brian (Maddox) after that. Brian didn't have his best game last week."

Miles led the team in rushing with 52 yards against Ole Miss, while Giles took the honors with 113 yards against Florida Atlantic. Maddox hasn't gained more than 23 yards in any of the past three games.

Demario defense. Columbia High product Demario Jeffery, a 6-4, 215-pound true freshman, got his first appreciable playing time of the season against Ole Miss. Playing the spur, he had three tackles.

"It was exciting," he said. "I got out there and contributed to the team."

Wearing a cast on his left wrist, he said the injury would not keep him from playing Saturday.

Extra points. Guard T.C. Campbell was in a yellow non-contact jersey. Campbell started the first few games but slipped on the depth chart. He is not expected to play this week. ... Redshirt freshman Kenny Davis was able to practice, helping the depth at defensive tackle. True freshman Aldrick Fordham is listed as a backup on the depth chart, but the team would like to preserve Fordham's redshirt. ... Spur Antonio Allen practiced after spending the past couple of days in a yellow jersey.

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