LOS ANGELES — USC coach Pete Carroll wasn’t pleased with the news that three of his key players — tight end Anthony McCoy, right tackle Tyron Smith, and defensive tackle Averell Spicer — would be ineligible for the Emerald Bowl.
“We're really disappointed these guys didn't come through,” Carroll said in a statement Monday. “They had all the help in the world to get it done and they didn't do it.”
After a quick half-pads practice, he lamented a lack of discipline displayed by the three ineligible players. McCoy and Spicer are both seniors.
“A guy who, in his senior year at the university, knows his way around — he just didn’t get it done,” Carroll said of McCoy, who also missed two games this year due to injury. “It’s unfortunate. He had to come through and do well on his finals and he didn’t do well enough.”
Rhett Ellison will now start at tight end against Boston College in the Emerald Bowl. The sophomore has just four receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown this season.
“Rhett’s fine,” Carroll said. “He’s been playing all year long and knows everything there is to know about the offense.”
Carroll also said that reserve wideout Jordan Cameron would move over to tight end in practice this week and could see some action at the spot against the Eagles.
At right tackle, the Trojans will look to redshirt freshman Matt Kalil to replace Smith, who earned Honorable Mention All Pac-10 honors this season, in just his sophomore year.
Kalil, the younger brother of former Trojan center Ryan Kalil, said he was first alerted of the possibility Smith could be ineligible last Friday.
“It’s a good opportunity for them to get a good look at me for next year,” Kalil said. “I’m excited about it.”
Kalil has yet to see significant action in a game for USC.
As for replacing Spicer, freshman defensive end Nick Perry took a lot of the snaps from the tackle spot in practice.
“We’ve been doing it all year and there haven’t been any problems,” defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said of Perry lining up next to him on the line. “Everything’s been great with him rushing from the inside, so we’re very confident in him.”
The Joe McKnight saga continues, as the USC compliance office continues to investigate allegations that the junior tailback received “extra benefits” from a Santa Monica businessman relating to the use of a Land Rover.
McKnight has denied any involvement that would break NCAA regulations. Carroll said Monday there have been no definitive updates.
“There’s nothing more I can tell you,” Carroll said. “Because I don’t know anything more.”
Carroll added that he was “pretty sure” the compliance office would have a decision by Saturday.
The Trojans departed for Los Angeles International Airport immediately after practice, but not before completing their annual senior ritual.
The underclassmen created a tunnel that exited out of Howard Jones Field. Each senior had to run through it, being hit by more than 100 hands in the process. Safety Taylor Mays was on the ground for a good 20 seconds before fighting his way up.