LOS ANGELES - Penn State has been known to add a wrinkle to its offense in between the regular season and the bowl season.
Last year in the Alamo Bowl, the Nittany Lions lined up backup quarterback
in the "Wildcat" formation, and the then-sophomore ran six times for 50 yards and a touchdown. Penn State beat Texas A&M, 24-17.
This year, though, the Lions don't have as many options after backup quarterback
transferred. And with
having been used as the "Wildcat" earlier this season and the wide receiver currently taking snaps, there might not be a Rose Bowl surprise for Southern Cal.
, for one, fully expects to see Williams in the shotgun receiving snaps.
"We're expecting to see it," Carroll said. "I don't see any reason why they wouldn't. They like it anyway and they've had to lean on it more so because of [Devlin's leaving]."
is the listed backup, but there's good reason to believe that if Clark were to get injured, Williams would be his replacement. Wide receiver
also has been taking snaps. A high school quarterback, Brackett - recruited in the same class as Devlin - was moved to wideout as a freshman.
During Penn State's Rose Bowl media day earlier this month, Clark did not anticipate the offense changing much despite Devlin's departure.
"I think we'll continue to practice the same way," Clark said. "You really can't do much. . . . We have a great quarterback in Paul Cianciolo."
USC brings the country's top-ranked defense into the Rose Bowl. Penn State is No. 5 in total defense. Just about everybody expects a low-scoring affair.
"This is just about as good as you can get," Carroll said.
The Trojans have been particularly stingy, allowing just 7.8 points a game and 210.6 yards an outing.
"USC has a great defense," Penn State tackle
said. "They are - quote, unquote - one of the best in the country. We just have to go out there and execute."
The Lions, by comparison, surrender 12.4 points and 263.9 yards a game.
"We are ready for all aspects," USC running back
said. "We play against the best defense in the country, so we're ready."
When asked to explain USC's success against Big Ten teams since he arrived in Los Angeles, Carroll shrugged off his 5-0 record against the conference. Four of those wins came in the Rose Bowl, by an average score of 37-17.
He said it had nothing to do with stylistic differences between the Pacific Ten and Big Ten conferences. "That's the old days.
]," Carroll said, referring to the legendary Ohio State and Michigan coaches. . . . Trojans fullback
was absent from practice, but Carroll refused to say why. "He's back, but he can't practice yet," he said. . . . Former Penn State greats
were at the Nittany Lions' practice.