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September 22, 2012

Quick hits from the pregame

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LOS ANGELES -- As we get ready for kickoff here at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, here are some things to watch for as California (1-2) takes on No. 12 USC (2-1, 0-1 in Pac-12).

Thanks in part to the fact that tight end Richard Rodgers still can't fully cut on his injured foot -- though he was running well during warm-ups -- and the fact that starting H-back Spencer Hagan is sitting on a couch in Sacramento after a season-ending knee injury suffered last week at Ohio State, expect Cal had to turn to another strategy against the Trojans -- using more two-tailback and three-receiver sets.

Offensive tackle Matt Summers-Gavin is dressed today, and ran onto the field with the offensive line. He had been laid up the past two weeks with a knee injury. Summers-Gavin is still a game-time decision, as are the starting tight end and tailback positions.

After not starting last week, senior Robert Mullins will start over Nick Forbes.

On the other side, USC center Khaled Holmes is back and healthy after missing the 21-14 loss to Stanford last week. In fact, it was Holmes' absence that was one of the contributing factors in that loss, as true freshman Cyrus Hobbi was mauled by the Cardinal defensive line.

During warm-ups, none of the USC kickers wore numbers. Recall that leading into last week's game against Stanford, head coach Lane Kiffin was loathe to even broach the subject of whether or not starting place kicker Andre Heidari had surgery or whether or not he'd be available. Of course, he didn't play at all against the Cardinal, but before the game against Cal, Heidari was kicking field goals off of a tee with a sleeve over his knee.

In stretch lines, the Bears let loose with their "Our House" chant. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has been anything but their house under Jeff Tedford. Tedford is 1-9 against the Trojans, and has lost each of the last eight meetings leading into this 100th edition of the north-south rivalry. In those eight games, Cal has averaged just 10 points, and USC has won each of the last five meetings in Los Angeles.

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