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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stanley Havili ready to move forward

USC fullback Stanley Havili moved a chair into his dressing stall and sat with his back to teammates and reporters after last week's embarrassing loss to Stanford at the Coliseum.

Havili could not bring himself to talk about the 55-21 defeat.

The fourth-year junior carried the loss with him through the early part of this week, but at the end of Friday's early morning workout he sounded as if he finally had let it go.

"The way we practice, I think the confidence comes back and guys believe in the program," he said.

"We're excited to get back out there."

With an open date today, the Trojans won't play again until next Saturday when they renew their crosstown rivalry with UCLA at the Coliseum.

Havili has caught 16 passes and rushed the ball 11 times, with no touchdowns, during another injury-plagued season. Now that he is sound again, Havili is hoping for a significant role in what will be only his second game against the Bruins.

Havili suffered a broken leg early in his freshman season and did not play in the Trojans' 13-9 loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl in 2006.

The next year, he caught four passes for 66 yards and also rushed the ball twice for nine yards in a 24-7 victory at the Coliseum.

Last season, he suffered two sprained ankles against Notre Dame and could not play in the season-ending 28-7 victory over the Bruins. He was academically ineligible for the Rose Bowl.

But Havili was an integral, if underutilized, part of the offense this season before suffering a shoulder injury at Notre Dame. The injury sidelined him for most of the three games that preceded the Stanford debacle.

"We just didn't execute," said Havili, who caught two passes for eight yards against the Cardinal. "We didn't do what we were taught to do."

Havili was looking forward to a few days off before returning to practice Monday. The Trojans play UCLA and then conclude the season Dec. 5 against Arizona.

Havili foresees a strong finish for the team and himself.

"I'm going to be ready to go," he said.

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