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SC NOTEBOOK: OCEANSIDE RECEIVER SAYS IT'LL BE USC BUCHANON, SON OF FORMER NFL PLAYER, AMONG BEST IN NATION.

Byline: Scott Wolf Staff Writer

USC has received an oral commitment from wide receiver William Buchanon of Oceanside High School.

Buchanon, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, is one of the top four receivers listed on PrepStar magazine's Dream Team of the nation's top players. He caught 24 passes for 553 yards and five touchdowns last season.

He is the son of former Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers football player Willie Buchanon.

Including Buchanon, USC now has commitments from six players. The others are quarterbacks Matt Leinart of Mater Dei and Billy Hart of Mission Viejo, tailback David Kirtman of Mercer Island, Wash., defensive tackle Jason Wardlow of Upland and defensive back John Walker of Birmingham High.

--Not-so special teams: After having a punt blocked and missing two extra points against San Jose State, USC coach Paul Hackett said he will begin placing more emphasis on the kicking game this week.

``It's not one thing, it's a number of things we need to work on,'' Hackett said. ``We certainly will (stress it) now. I don't feel we're way off but we need to clean it up.''

Hackett said a bad snap caused the first of the two missed extra points and that kicker David Newbury was responsible for the second miscue.

``I thought I hit it good but it hit the upright,'' said Newbury.

USC will continue to use freshman Norm Katnik as the snapper on punts, after he made his debut last week. The Trojans want to rest starting linebacker Zeke Moreno, who has been the punt snapper.

``He's going to be the snapper. We're real raggedy right now,'' Hackett said. ``The problem is Lonnie Ford is out and Zeke is out.''

Ford, who has a sprained ankle, is expected to return this week against Oregon State.

--Still confident: The oh-so-close victory over San Jose State hasn't deterred the eighth-ranked Trojans from continuing to think the Orange Bowl, site of the national-championship game, remains a possibility.

``We're undefeated, and only the undefeated teams will go to the Orange Bowl,'' Moreno said.

--Change in philosophy: After some criticism that USC had not run any pitch plays to tailback Sultan McCullough in its first two games, Hackett was quick to point out that he called the play against San Jose State.

``I've taken a lot of flak for not pitching the ball and now we're pitching the ball,'' he said.

--Secondary situation: Although junior Chris Cash made his first start, filling in for Kris Richard at left cornerback, Hackett said Cash would return to the right side and again share time with Darrell Rideaux.

``I think that's worked well,'' Hackett said.

Richard will continue to be backed up by sophomore Kevin Arbet.

--Arizona kickoff: USC's game against Arizona on Oct. 7 at the Coliseum will start at 12:30 p.m. and be televised on Channel 7.

--Fast start: Entering the week, USC is 27-1 in football, water polo, women's volleyball and women's soccer. The only team to lose a game is women's soccer, while the water polo and volleyball teams are ranked No. 1 in the nation.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 26, 2000
Words:516
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