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Trojans Live - Fresno State Week

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USC head coach Steve Sarkisian will be the lead guest tonight as Trojans Live on KFWB 980 premieres for the new season at 6 p.m. PT at The Lab gastropub across Figueroa Street from campus.  He will be followed by redshirt junior RB Buck Allen, senior OLB J.R. Tavai, women's soccer head coach Keidane McAlpine, former All-American Shaun Cody, broadcaster Kelli Tennant and senior associate athletic director J.K. McKay.

Click here to watch a live video stream of the show!

If you are in the area, come down to watch the show.  There will be food and drink specials for all attendees.

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Smith Named Coach of the Year

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC men's tennis head coach Peter Smith earned national recognition on Saturday when the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) named him the 2014 College Coach of the Year for the second time. 

Led by Smith, the Trojans won their 21st national title and USC's 100th NCAA championship in 2014. The victory marked Smith's fifth NCAA title in the last six seasons making him the second winningest coach in program history. 

Smith enters the 2015 season with a record of 270-70 at USC and his Trojans have made eight straight NCAA appearances. The two-time recognition by the USPTA is yet another honor to add to Smith's resume as he is also a two-time ITA National Coach of the Year and five-time PAC-12 Coach of the Year.


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Heritage Hall Open on Game Days

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During the 2014 season, Trojan fans will be able to enjoy USC game days on campus in even more locations. The first floor, or museum level, of Heritage Hall will be open on game days in which fans will able to explore interactive exhibits, view the school's Heisman trophies and more. 

The patio behind Heritage Hall will also be open and available to fans as a picnic area. Grills and/or any open flame are not allowed. The adjacent Brittingham Field will be open to families who want a place for children to play but it is not open for tailgating. Also, Galen dining center will be open and serving food several hours before each game. 

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Meet Damien Mama

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

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Name: Damien Mama

Position: OG

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-5, 370 pounds

Age: 19 

High School: St. John Bosco

Scouting Report: Quite simply, the freshman is massive.  He is a traditional road grater in the run game who is expected to contribute immediately.

Prep Career: Mama was a highly touted Southern California prospect racking up numerous accolades including a spot on the ESPN 300 list and the 2013 USA Today All-USA First Team, plus he was named the Los Angeles Times All-Area Lineman of the Year. In high school, he absolutely dominated opponents on both sides of the ball leading St. John Bosco to victory at both the 2013 CIF Pac-5 Division championship and the CIF State championship Open Division bowl. 

Fall Camp: After two weeks of camp, the big offensive lineman has dropped 20 pounds, which he credits to the outstanding strength and conditioning coaches and nutritionists who have worked with him all summer to get him in proper condition to work in the offensive line rotation. With Sarkisian's fast-paced offense, the Trojans expect a lot of lineman to rotate in to keep their legs fresh and with the potential absence of OG Khaliel Rodgers, Mama has filled in adequately at the right guard position as he continues to improve and adjust to the pace of college football. 

Sark on Mama: "He's a really mature guy. He's a big human being in there at right guard and he's hard to run around. He does remind me of Deuce Lutui when Deuce played for us, real mild-mannered, fun-loving guy off the field, but he gets between the lines and he is physical and tough and plays the game the right way."

Here is Caroline Deisley meeting Mama:


Fresno State Tuesday: Notes

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USC begins its game week preparation for the season opener as Josh Shaw's story looms over the practice field.
  • Head coach Steve Sarkisian addressed the media after practice about football and then Shaw.  Regarding the injured senior cornerback, Sarkisian said, "Josh Shaw first and foremost is a good person, he's a good kid. He came to us with what had occurred Saturday night. I have no reason, no history, to not believe Josh and his story with what has occurred."
  • However, USC received phone calls contradicting the story, said the head coach, so the vetting process continues before Shaw addresses the media himself.  "Josh is adamant with what occurred and we are going to continue to vet the other stories that have come across our desks, and see where we can go from there," said Sarkisian.
  • Shaw's teammates continued to rally support behind him.  "I pray for him for a speedy recovery.  If he needs anything, I am here for him," said RB Buck Allen. "I'm going to motivate him and I know he's going to motivate us the best he can."
  • On the field, the Trojans will definitely be without Shaw, the team's best cornerback, against Fresno State.  "I've been talking about Chris Hawkins since spring ball.  I think that he's really improved for us," said Sarkisian about the next man up. "It really pushes Adoree' [Jackson] to the forefront. It pushes Jon Lockett to the forefront and Lamont Simmons has to be ready to play."
  • As for this week's opponent, Fresno State is something of a mystery offensively since the Bulldogs have not name a starting quarterback.  Head coach Tim DeRuyter is expected to give both junior Brian Burrell and senior transfer Brandon Connette opportunities to lead the team on Saturday.  So, the Trojans are focused on preparing for Fresno's system and focusing on themselves. "When you focus on yourself, generally, you go out and you perform well," he said. "Let's not lose sight of ourselves and get caught up in our opponent."
  • The final depth chart of Fall Camp sprung a few surprises, but Sarkisian said, "We're going to run a lot of plays, and everybody is going to play." 
  • The Trojans are back in school, so the morning practice schedule and a long day ahead made for a sluggish start, but Allen explained that the team pushed through it.  "We're tired of beating up on each other. Game week is here. Everybody is excited to go with Coach Sark's game plan," he said. "To be a great team, we've got to come out and do the little things."
  • Here is Sarkisian on football and Shaw:


Shaw Suffers Injury While Rescuing Nephew

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On Saturday night, USC senior cornerback Josh Shaw was named a team captain at the annual Salute to Troy dinner.  For Shaw, leadership is bigger than how he acts on a football field, and he put that to the ultimate test later that night.

While attending a family social function at his cousin's apartment in his hometown of Palmdale, Shaw looked on from a second floor balcony to the pool below and saw his 7-year-old nephew, who cannot swim, in distress without help nearby.  Shaw instinctively leaped off the balcony, landing painfully on the concrete below.

He was able to crawl into the pool and ushered his nephew to safety.  Despite the intense pain in his legs, he was then able to grab the ladder and lift himself out of the pool with his upper body.

Shaw's nephew Carter is a bit "traumatized," but physically okay.  Shaw was taken to the hospital and subsequently diagnosed with two high ankle sprains, which will sideline him indefinitely.

"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw said today.  "My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world.  I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible."

Said head coach Steve Sarkisian: "That was a heroic act by Josh, putting his personal safety aside. But that's the kind of person he is. It is unfortunate that he'll be sidelined for a while and we will miss his leadership and play, but I know he'll be working hard to get back on the field as soon as possible."

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2014 Fall Camp Depth Chart

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Head coach Steve Sarkisian released a depth chart at the conclusion of Fall Camp.

Of note: 
  • Freshmen guards Toa Lobendahn and Damien Mama are listed as first string at left and right guard respectively. If the pair starts on Saturday, it will be only the second time in USC history that two freshmen have started on the offensive line, and the first time in a season opener.
  • Freshman Ajene Harris is listed at one of the first string wide receiver positions alongside Nelson Agholor and George Farmer.
  • Scott Felix nabbed the first string SOLB spot with Hayes Pullard and Anthony Sarao listed at the ILB positions, and J.R. Tavai as the RUSH end.
  • Redshirt senior Gerald Bowman and sophomore Leon McQuay III are both listed atop the free safety list.

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Sarkisian Q&A: Fresno State

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With Fall Camp behind him, head coach Steve Sarkisian looked ahead to the season opener against Fresno State at the Coliseum in his weekly Q&A with our David Foley.


USC Women's Soccer Opening Weekend

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor 

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The Women of Troy led by new head coach Keidane McAlpine brought home the first Trojan victory of the 2014-2015 season as they beat Long Beach State in their first match of the USD tournament on Friday. The first half started slow with only one shot on goal from junior Katie Johnson, but the Trojans found their rhythm late in the second half when senior Alex Quincey put the Trojans up 1-0 in the 79th minute with a diving header past the Long Beach State goalie.


The new head coach was even more impressed with the Women of Troy's performance against the USD Toreros on Sunday which resulted in a double overtime 1-1 tie, breaking the Toreros' streak of 40 consecutive matches ending in a decision. The Trojans struck first as junior striker Megan Borman scored in the 24th minute off a pass that was deflected from junior Reilly Parker, but the Toreros bounced back quickly tying the game in the 32nd minute. The Women of Troy missed lots of opportunities to put the game away as they finished with 13 shots on goal compared to the Toreros' six; however, McAlpine appreciated the effort from his squad in just their second match of the season. 

The women's soccer team will look to continue their good start on Friday at the Notre Dame Adidas Invitational when they face Iowa State at 2:00 p.m. PT as well as on Saturday against the Fighting Irish at 10:30 a.m. PT.

Duda Launches Another One

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Former USC first baseman and outfielder, Lucas "the Dude" Duda, continues to make a name for himself in the big leagues as he carried the New York Mets to an 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers knocking in a career-best five runs with two home runs on Sunday.

The Southern California native was called up to the New York Mets in 2010; however, it took Ike Davis being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the beginning of the 2014 season for Duda to earn a full-time starting position at first.  After finishing the 2013 season with15 home runs and 33 RBIs in 100 ABs, Duda already has a career-best 26 home runs and 76 RBIs in 404 ABs for the 2014 season.

Sunday's victory over the NL West leaders wrapped up a five-game California homecoming for Duda who finished with four home runs and 10 RBIs against the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Dodgers. Heading into the weekend series, Duda ranked second in home runs, third in RBIs and fifth in slugging percentage for NL first basemen.

Home run No. 25 came in the third inning of Sunday's game when Duda launched a ball off Kevin Correia that reached the back right pavilion of Dodgers stadium putting the Mets ahead 5-1. Check out the three-run bomb from the former USC slugger below...