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USC's Marc Tyler practices with scout team, faces "more hurdles"

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Suspended tailback Marc Tyler took his first steps towards rejoining the USC Trojans on Wednesday.

Tyler, who has been involved in a number of off-field incidents this year and has been suspended for the season opener against Minnesota, was allowed to practice with the scout team and will now be permitted to rejoin team meetings.

While practicing Wednesday was a positive for the Trojans' leading rusher in 2010, it is just the first of many steps the embattled running back must take before being allowed back on the team.

"He's done what we've asked him to do to be able to come back and practice," said Athletic Director Pat Haden, who attended the early part of practice. "He's not playing. He's on the scout team. He still has a lot more hurdles to overcome."

Echoing the comments of Haden, head coach Lane Kiffin was also clear in saying that Tyler's practicing with the scout team was just the first phase in rehabilitating his status with the program.

"It's the next step in the process [of] Marc hopefully coming back," Kiffin said. "This isn't a major step. He's not cleared for the second game. This is just something that we had in place as he goes through this process."

If and when Tyler is permitted to rejoin the team, whether it is in week two or further on down the line, it is unclear what his role will ultimately be with the Trojans.

Junior Curtis McNeal and sophomore Dillon Baxter have established themselves as the frontrunners to start at tailback, while freshmen Amir Carlisle, one of fall practice's biggest surprises, and D.J. Morgan also factor into the equation.

Still, if Tyler can recapture 2010 form - the 5-foot-11, 230-pound 'back averaged 5.3 yards per carry for 913 yards and 9 touchdowns in last season, there is reason to believe he may factor into the Trojans' tailback equation before it's all said and done.

© 2011 Neal J. Leitereg -- All Rights Reserved

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