August 25, 2007

Saturday Insider: Gable grabs hold

USC wanted to protect C.J. Gable from his lingering groin injury. Gable wanted to protect himself from losing ground in the crowded race for playing time.

The sophomore tailback returned to practice Saturday, following four days off. But even during the first two weeks of fall, he had played sparingly.

He had begun feeling pressure to return.

"We have a lot of good backs," Gable said. "So, if one's not practicing, they're going to show the other one. It's like a talent, after talent, after talent. It never stops."

Coaches said they plan to give the sophomore plenty of work next week, in preparation for the Sept. 1 season opener against Idaho. Gable said he believes the team will feature two running backs in the game.

Only Gable, Stafon Johnson, Desmond Reed and Broderick Green practiced extensively Saturday, from the Trojans' pool of nine tailbacks. Allen Bradford (hip, groin) is expected to be ready by next week, and Joe McKnight (knee) could play against Idaho, if he can return to practice Monday.

Even with so many backs going down, it grew frustrating for Gable to watch his remaining competitors, while he sat, helpless to bolster his case.

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