Tape It Up: Top 25 Updates

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Top 25 Updates

Week 5 is upon us and with conference matchups heating up around the country, the injury tally is climbing faster than Tim Tebow's Heisman rating. From No. 1 USC to No. 25-wanna-be Miami, everyone is dealing with something injury-related this week, but some news has been better than others.

Taking it from the top, No. 1 USC's injury report begins with some good news, as senior linebacker Thomas Williams returns to the starting lineup this week for the first time since 2005. Williams sprained his knee cap against Cal in the 2005 season, relegating him to the sideline for the remainder of that year, only to see linebackers Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing overtake him on the depth chart in 2006. He played in all 13 games as a fullback last season, but never returned to his preferred strong-side linebacker role. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound senior should get his first start in 19 games on Saturday when the Trojans travel to Washington.

With the unheralded depth at USC, it is a testament to Williams' talent that he was able to crawl his way back up the depth chart (even if Cushing helped in that department by re-spraining his ankle, thereby taking himself out of this week's game). In the 10 games Williams played in 2005, during which he started eight times, Williams recorded 29 tackles, including 4 for a loss and a sack, 3 pass deflections, a forced fumble and an interception he returned for 10 yards. Williams is touted as a utility linebacker that can play any of the three spots, but prefers the strong-side role where he will start on Saturday.

Other good news on the Trokan injury front includes tailback Joe McKnight, who tweaked his knee during a 7-on-7 drill in practices this week, but will be ready for Saturday's game. Senior Chauncey Washington will start the game at tailback and senior center Matt Spanos' triceps is healthy enough to allow him to travel to Washington as a backup to freshman Kristofer O'Dowd.

Headlining the bad news department for USC is freshman linebacker Chris Galippo. After Galippo was bothered by lower back pain all week, he finally got an answer to the source of his troubles, but it wasn't the answer he was hoping to hear. Galippo has a herniated disc in his lower back and will have surgery on Oct. 9 to repair it, meaning he will redshirt the rest of this season. Rehab will be a long, arduous process, but Galippo is confident he will be back in time for spring practices.

Ulatoski Probable For Saturday
No. 7 Texas should have sophomore tackle Adam Ulatoski back for this week's conference game against Kansas State. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound right tackle injured his right elbow three weeks ago in a win over TCU and has missed the last two games while waiting for the elbow to heal.

Not so lucky in Austin are defensive end Eddie Jones, hampered by a left shoulder injury, linebacker Sergio Kindle (right knee) and defensive end Brian Orkapo (right knee), who will all miss Saturday's game.

Cashing In Without Paysinger
No. 11 Oregon is facing off against No. 6 Cal this week in a huge Pac-10 matchup, but inaddition to dealing with the Bears' offense, the Ducks will have to compensate for the loss of wide receiver Brian Paysinger, who is out for the season after injuring his knee last week. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound senior caught nine passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns this season, which led the team through his three games played, and was unquestionably one of the most explosive players on the Ducks' offense - he was responsible for the winning touchdown catch against Oklahoma last season. Since Paysinger redshirted in 2003, he cannot be granted a sixth year of eligibility, so his career at Oregon ends on an injured note.

Senior Cameron Colvin assuaged some of the fears of the newly depleted wide receiver corps when he caught eight passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in last week's win over Stanford, gaining more yards in one game than he earned in the entire 2006 season. Formerly inconsistent Oregon receivers will have to continue to find consistency this week as they face a tough test in No. 6 Cal.

Brennan Back In Action
Never fear, Heisman voters - Colt Brennan should be back in action this week. The leading-insert-statistical-category-here quarterback missed last week's game with a sprained ankle, but expects to lead the No. 19 Warriors when they take on Idaho on Saturday.

Brennan played through initial pain two weeks ago, with the help of a cortisone shot, leading the Warriors to a 49-14 win over UNLV. He sat out last week's contest as a precaution, allowing backup Tyler Graunke to take the stage to the tune of 285 yards and three touchdowns in a 66-10 blasting.

Brennan is understandably excited to take the field again this week as Idaho poses not only a conference opponent, but the Vandals' suspect defense gave up 68 points to Brennan's attack last year, and he's hoping to pad his numbers this week, perhaps with another five-TD performance.

Happy To Wear A Helmet
Miami wide receiver Jermaine McKenzie has never been so excited to put on a helmet. The 6-foot-2, 170-pound freshman broke vertebrae in his neck in a car crash on July 16, and more than two months later, doctors have finally cleared him to put a helmet on. He still does not have the green light to take part in contact drills, but being able to line up in a helmet is a huge step forward for the young player.

Of the three players involved in the crash, McKenzie's injuries were the most severe. Quarterback Robert Marve broke his wrist, which has kept him out of certain drills, while linebacker Colin McCarthy suffered only minor injuries.

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