Dawson, Harris expect to be back Saturday

LOS ANGELES -- USC was without three starters in its season-opening win over Hawaii on Saturday.

Two of those three, middle linebacker Lamar Dawson and cornerback Torin Harris, say they'll be back this week for Syracuse. Defensive end Wes Horton's status is still unknown.

But Dawson and Harris are rearing to be back.

"This week, yeah, I expect to play," Dawson said on Wednesday. "I've been practicing, getting reps, and I'm just ready to get back on the field."

Of course, he said similar stuff a week ago. But a decision was eventually made "not to rush things," Dawson said, and keep him out of the opener.

If he does indeed suit up, he'd likely displace Anthony Sarao from the starting lineup at linebacker, with Hayes Pullard moving back to the weakside from his makeshift middle position. But Sarao will likely still take considerable snaps either way, based on his solid play against Hawaii.

Dawson said he was about "95 percent" healthy.

Harris, who's been out since the first week of camp with what he said was a hamstring injury, could also move into the starting lineup if healthy, moving Saturday starter Anthony Brown to the nickel slot.

"Yeah, I'm back," he said. "Whatever the coaches have planned, I'll play my role."

Harris hasn't played in a game since last September, when he hurt his shoulder against Arizona State. He said he felt like forever since he's been on the field in a game situation.

But his latest injury didn't discourage him much.

"I've been through a lot worse than just a hammy pull," Harris said. "This is where I want to be, so I'll do anything to get back out here."

Asked if any or all of the three injured players would be back Saturday, Kiffin had little to say.

"I hope so," he said.