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Jan. 13, 2006

USC Head Coach Dave Odom met with the media on Friday afternoon to preview the Georgia game at 3 pm on Sat., Jan. 14. Here are a few of his comments.

“Georgia will be a tough assignment. They have an excellent freshmen class that came in this year. They have good depth and athleticism and they basically have all their starters back from a year ago. Their best players, in my opinion, are their perimeter players. I don’t look at Georgia to be the same type of team we played last Sunday as far as a deep threat from the three (like Tennessee).

“We did not practice yesterday as it was our one day off for the week. I think today will be enough. We should be ready to play by 3 pm tomorrow. As far as line-ups, I will know more about that after practice today. I don’t expect to see a lot of wholesale changes in the line-up. Tarence continues to play well and Tre’ has played well. After that, we will work on it. I was pleased with Antoine’s outing the other day.

Brandon Wallace only played five minutes the other night. Why?

Brandon Wallace is not in Dave Odom’s doghouse. It’s easy to put your five best offensive players out there, but at what cost. And same with defensive players. We are trying to find some balance. When a change is made in the line-up, like when Tarence goes in the ‘big’ forward spot and you play him appreciable minutes at that spot then somebody’s minutes are going to go down. There just aren’t enough minutes to go around there. We had hoped we could give them trouble at that spot offensively, but it hasn’t happened in every game. So I looked for our best perimeter shooter who could fight in the post and I said Tarence. My hope today is that Brandon will come back to practice today and he fights for a return ‘I want my minutes back.’

“I was shocked at the end of the day to see our shooting percentage – we missed some chippies and some shots you have to make if you are going to win the game. Antoine made some really strong moves to the basket only to not make the basket against Ole Miss. I think we shot too many three’s the other night. It was a strong effort by our team that has not played well on that court.

What about the development of the big kids?

“I am disappointed in the development of all of our big kids as a group. But in no way do I blame them. I thought I would be able to help with that more than I have. We haven’t been able to get the ball into the low post and do damage like I thought we could. Antoine did a good job playing the other night. I thought Osumane had his best two minutes of active participation the other night. We will try to build on that.”

Is this team ok or are you worried they will get down about things not going right?

“I think they are down. I think they are bothered that they are 0-2 and 9-6. These are normal human beings, they aren’t machines. It’s more important how they react to those kinds of things. I feel things too. We are 9-6 and nobody is pleased with that, the least of all me. Are they OK? No, they aren’t. OK is confident, playing well together and when you go to sleep you hear lullaby’s. But that’s not what’s happening right now. But I will say this, the way the team reacted to the Ole Miss challenge the other night, I was pleased. They were somber on the plane coming home the other night and as long as you’ve got that – that’s good. Nothing stays the same – it gets better or it gets worse. I have to make sure we get pointed in the right direction. I would be really disappointed if they said ‘this is just basketball’.

“I firmly believe our team will work itself out of the shape they are in. For me to worry about that (the team who loses will be 0-3 in the SEC) – it’s a question you have to ask (as media), but not one I have to deal with.

“I think there is a sense of urgency because you don’t wanna lose games or fall further, but you have to relax. Every day makes it more difficult to turn it. But we will keep working.”