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The 21 for 2014-15

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In what has become a new annual tradition at USC, the 21 sports each choose one student-athlete who best represents the program to be part of a photograph in front of an iconic Los Angeles backdrop.  The photograph is displayed in the lobby of the John McKay Center for the entire school year.

This year's 21 shot actually features 24 different student-athletes with two divers and a thrower making up the added numbers.  The photograph was taken and produced by John McGillen.

From left to right: Samantha Bricio (women's volleyball), Gabriella DeSimone (women's tennis), Micah Christenson (men's volleyball), Mandy Freeman (women's soccer), Kevin Swick (baseball), Haley Ishimatsu (women's diving), Hayes Pullard (football), Alex Collatz (women's track and field), Cristian Quintero (men's swimming), Jenna Tong (women's cross country), Eric Johnson (men's tennis), Annie Park (women's golf), Coco Ndipagbor (women's track and field), Monica Vavic (women's water polo), Katin Reinhardt (men's basketball), BeeJay Lee (men's track and field), Kendyl Stewart (women's swimming), Rico Hoey (men's golf), Sam Hirschmann (women's sand volleyball), Jordan Gear (men's diving), Vineta Moca (women's rowing), Courtney Tarleton (women's lacrosse), Alexyz Vaioletama (women's basketball) and Kostas Genidounias (men's water polo)

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Trojans in Business: Brad Otton

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

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Name: Brad Otton

Resume: Owner, Settebello Pizza

Sport at USC: Football

Caroline Deisley (CD): My first question is what was harder to learn: How to make pizza or your playbook?

Brad Otton (BO): Well, easily pizza because the football playbook I had done my whole life. The first day I ever worked in a restaurant was the first day we opened. So, I knew nothing about the restaurant industry. So, definitely learning how to make pizza and how to run a restaurant was harder for me. 

CD: Where did you get the idea to start a pizza restaurant from? I saw that it originated from your two-year mission in Italy, specifically Naples, but why pizza?

BO: It was just kind of a staple of the diet there. You ate it literally three, four times a week. A lot of people eat it once a day either for lunch or dinner. There's such a distinct way they make pizza down in Napoli where pizza was created that I just craved it when I got home, but no one made anything close to it. Every time we moved to a different city I would go to all the different pizzerias owned by Italians in hopes that they were making something similar to the way they did in Italy, but they all catered their pizzas to what they thought the American pallet was so you just couldn't find anything like it. I was actually coaching football and was on a recruiting trip to Seattle and stumbled upon a place that was doing real pizza from Napoli so I talked to the owner, and I decided if I ever lost my job in football I would quit coaching and open a restaurant. I was coaching with John Robinson at the time, and he retired at the end of that year so I just decided to give it a go. I went over to Italy and learned how to make it and hired someone from Italy to come over and work for me and went from there.

CD: So when you're 17, 18, 19-years old like some of these athletes how do you try and plan for life after football? Because, you never know when it's going to end...

BO: I think the problem with most kids myself included is that you don't think it's going to end. It's hard to think when you're 20 what life is going to be like when if you're lucky you'll play football until your early thirties. It's hard to even think that far ahead let alone your forties and fifties what you're going to be doing. I just always had a desire when I was growing up to own my own business someday, so when I got to SC, I got involved with the business school. There's just so much entrepreneurial spirit there at the business school that I kind of caught that fever and got really involved in it. It was a little easier for me because I had something in mind that I always wanted to do after football, but a lot of these guys are going to school to play football, going to school to continue playing football after they're there. They miss out on a chance to find something at the school that they love and can get involved in and find something they are passionate about that they get involved in after football. 

Keidane Preps for Pepp

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No. 15 USC women's soccer will close non-conference play this weekend with a pair of home matches starting Friday at 3 p.m. against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and then Sunday at 3:30 p.m. against No. 12 Pepperdine. 

Click here for previews.

While head coach Keidane McAlpine wants his players to treat every opponent the same, the Top 25 showdown with Pepperdine is a great opportunity for the Women of Troy to bolster a growing NCAA Tournament resume after a 5-0-2 start.  USC has not made the postseason since 2010.

Here is McAlpine on last week, this week and everything else pertinent to the program:


Bye Week Thursday: Notes

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The Trojans held the annual Scout Bowl this morning on Cromwell Field as the developmental players squared off in a highly competitive scrimmage.
  • The defense ended up winning the game leading to the offense army crawling as a repercussion.  The highlight plays of the contest included a long TD run for RB James Toland IV plus TD passes by Jalen Greene to Steven Mitchell and Robby Kolanz.  The defense also got in on the scoring with a pick-six by Malik Dorton and a scoop and score by Lamont Simmons.
  • Head coach Steve Sarkisian on the Scout Bowl: "Kind of a fun ending to a difficult week for a lot of people. It's the spirit of being around young people that they are able to bounce back better than older ones. That's why you love what you get to do to be around young people and their spirit and their energy. I thought our guys gradually got better throughout the week and obviously that finished up today with a good scrimmage with our developmental players."
  • Sarkisian mentioned several players who stood out during the bye week including QB Jalen Greene, WR Ajene Harris, WR Steven Mitchell, LB Uchenna Nwosu, CB Adoree' Jackson, CB Rahshead Johnson and OL Jordan Simmons.
  • DL Greg Townsend will be back full go next week, but RB Tre Madden and LB Lamar Dawson are still "doubtful" to be full go next week according to Sarkisian.
  • At the very end of the press conference, Sarkisian announced that 2015 QB Ricky Town, LB Cameron Smith and OL Chuma Edoga are already signed to financial aid agreements, so they will enroll for the spring semester.  We will have much more on those players in the coming weeks and months.
  • Here is Sarkisian's press conference, which ends abruptly since the intense heat shut off our iPhone, so we apologize for missing the last bit of his final answer in which he praises Edoga as one of the nation's top offensive linemen...


Trojans Live - Bye Week

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If you missed last night's Trojans Live, watch our segments with CB Chris Hawkins and TE Randall Telfer below. Remember, the show is live with in-person guests plus food and drink specials every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at The Lab on Figueroa.

Click here for our first segment with Steve Sarkisian.

Click here for our second segment with Steve Sarkisian.

Click here for USC women's soccer goalie Caroline Stanley and Dominique Randle.


Save the Schedule

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Bye Week Wednesday: Notes

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The heat is on the Trojans literally and figuratively.
  • The acronym of the day was "DYJ" meaning "Do Your Job."  In the anxiety of the moment Saturday night, the defense did not stick to its responsibilities and tried to do too much, which led to large gaps and explosive plays.  "Everybody needs to do their own job and is on their own assignment. That's really the biggest thing," said DT Antwaun Woods. "We just weren't doing our jobs."
  • Option football can expose a defense that is not sticking to its assignments. "I think there were times during the game where we were fine," said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. "And other times, we started to press, where we were trying to do too much and when you do that against an option team, that costs you."
  • Wilcox took responsibility for the overall defensive breakdown Saturday. "We've got good kids. They care," he said. "We've just got to be more detailed and disciplined with our eyes. We've got to play with better technique and we will. But obviously it starts with me, it's my job, and I've got to do a better job preparing them."
  • LB Hayes Pullard echoed the same sentiments about keeping to the task even when things go bad. "You've got to trust your teammates and be able to stay focused out there, when bullets start flying you can't lose your fundamentals and what we've been taught all week."
  • Su'a Cravens had a strong game with three tackles-for-loss, but he is playing out of his natural position as a hybrid safety/linebacker in this system. "I like him around the ball," said Sarkisian. "I don't know if it best suits our team and him exactly right, but what I do know is that he is closer to the action. He's able to make more plays."
  • As for the freshmen, Adoree' Jackson was the "player of the day" in practice forcing three turnovers.
  • WR Ajene Harris, who has not gotten many opportunities in the first three weeks, is on the rise again. "For this week, for him, it's kind of gotten him back to training camp mode, which is when he really impressed us the most," said Sarkisian. "We have refocused this week on Ajene in the slot, and it's showing up again. His toughness, his playmaking ability, and that's allowed us to move Nelson [Agholor] a little bit more outside, where he is really comfortable too."
  • Here is Sarkisian's morning press conference...



2015 USC Football Schedule

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The 2015 USC football schedule was announced tonight on Pac-12 Networks. 

Click here for season ticket info.

Click here for more on the schedule.

Take a look and mark your calendars:

September 5 -- Arkansas State

September 12 -- Idaho

September 19 -- Stanford

September 26 -- @ Arizona State

October 8 (Thursday) -- Washington

October 17 -- @ Notre Dame

October 24 -- Utah (Trojan Family Weekend)

October 31 -- @ California

November 7 -- Arizona (Homecoming/Reunion Weekend)

November 13 (Friday) -- @ Colorado

November 21 -- @ Oregon

November 28 -- UCLA

2015 marks the return of Oregon and Washington to the Trojans' schedule, and the removal of Oregon State and Washington State.  The 2015 Pac-12 Championship Game will be played on Friday, Dec. 4, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

USC has not played at Autzen since ending the Ducks nation leading home winning streak in 2011.
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UNFILTERED: Boston College

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The Trojans were dealt an early setback at Boston College suffering the first loss of the Steve Sarkisian era.

Here's an UNFILTERED look at how it happened and how the Trojans plan to bounce back:


2014 NFL Week 2

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TE Xavier Grimble was signed to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad to go along with another positive week for Trojans in the NFL.

The Best

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - Two blocked kicks plus a game-saving knockout

TJ-Mac.jpgThe hard-hitting safety was instrumental in the Rams first victory of the season.  In the second quarter, he blocked a punt to setup a field goal.  In the fourth quarter, he blocked a field goal to save three points and lead to another St. Louis field goal.  And finally, he made five solo tackles including a powerful hit on Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans, which forced the trainers to come on the field thus running the clock out.

Best of the Rest

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 2 sacks

Shareece Wright, CB, Chargers - Team-high 7 tackles (5 solo) and a pass defended

Silas Redd, RB, Redskins - 8 carries for 41 yards and his first career NFL touchdown

Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers - 8 tackles (6 solo)

Nickell Robey, CB, Bills - 5 tackles (4 solo)

Rhett Ellison, TE, Vikings - 24-yard catch

Malcolm Smith, LB, Seahawks - 5 tackles (4 solo)

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 5 tackles (4 solo) including a sack plus a pass defended