September 10, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California defensive end Leonard Williams was limited in practice Wednesday because of an ankle injury, one day after being held out of practice entirely.

Based on recent history, that doesn't bode well for Boston College, the ninth-ranked Trojans' (2-0) opponent on Saturday.

''It actually feels better this week than it did last week before the Stanford game,'' Williams said. ''Just running on it and being out there for the Stanford game kind of helped it out, I guess.''

Williams delivered a dominant performance to spur the Trojans' 13-10 upset of the Cardinal last weekend, playing through injury to record 11 tackles with one sack. The junior was named the Pac-12's defensive player of the week.

But with a bye week looming before the crux of conference play, coach Steve Sarkisian said he would not hold Williams out against the Eagles.

''Our goal is to go win the game, and if Leonard is healthy enough to play, he's going to play,'' Sarkisian said. ''We need to go win the game.''

Williams certainly did his part against Stanford, even after struggling through pregame warmups and coming out of the game in the first quarter. Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox admitted he was not sure if Williams would be able to return, but was not surprised by what Williams accomplished once he was back on the field.

''Leonard is a rare guy in not only his skill, but just how hard he plays, how much it means to him,'' Wilcox said. ''It was a pretty awesome performance by him.''

It was the third career game with double-digit tackles for Williams, who starred last season despite a torn labrum in his shoulder that required offseason surgery. That injury was easier to play through than this sprained ankle, Williams said, but gave him experience in dealing with pain.

''It was nothing new,'' Williams said. ''I'm kind of used to it now.''

USC was also able to employ an effective four-man rotation to keep Williams fresh, getting strong performances from junior Antwaun Woods, junior college transfer Claude Pelon and Texas Tech transfer Delvon Simmons. Simmons blocked Stanford's 49-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, but was only officially credited with the play Tuesday after both schools reviewed the television broadcast of the game.

''Everybody is better when they are fresh,'' Sarkisian said. ''So if we can keep a good rotation going, I think we'll maximize our opportunities when we are on the field, and Leonard is just one example of that.''

Sarkisian is looking for a more consistent pass rush from Williams and the rest of the defensive front, noting several failures to wrap up Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan. USC did bring down Hogan on consecutive plays to end the game, but the Trojans have only three sacks this season.

Boston College has allowed three sacks through its first two games, with the mobility and size of quarterback Tyler Murphy making him a difficult target to take down.

Williams, who has 15 career sacks, is ready to contribute.

Asked if there was any possibility he might not play against BC, Williams scoffed at the mere suggestion.

''There's no chance,'' Williams said. ''I'm going to play.''

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