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Holiday Bowl Practice #10: Notes

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The Trojans will take the next two days off before returning to the practice field on Tuesday for the final week of Holiday Bowl preparations.
  • Today's practice mirrored a typical Thursday on a game week, and head coach Steve Sarkisian was happy with the team's "execution" today, saying, "We would be ready to play if the game were this week."
  • Like Fall Camp, the injured players work out on the side during bowl practice in what the team calls "Muscle Beach." Seeing physical specimens like RB Tre Madden, OLB Jabari Ruffin, DL Kenny Bigelow, LB Lamar Dawson and OL Chad Wheeler in that area is a positive reminder of the influx of talent on next year's roster to go along with a 25-man recruiting class. "It's going to be exciting to get them back," said Sarkisian. "We're moving in the right direction from a roster standpoint."
  • Here is Sarkisian after practice speaking with the media...



Basketball in Beantown

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USC football had its season derailed at Boston College back in September, so the men's basketball team will be looking to exact a measure of revenge on the Eagles when they battle on the hardwood in Chestnut Hill this Sunday at 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Click here for the preview.

The Trojans will have had more than a week off to fix the mistakes made in the home loss to Army on December 13. USC will be playing its second true road game of the season, but the Trojans fared exceptionally well in a hostile atmosphere at New Mexico beating the Lobos 66-54 on November 30.

USC defeated BC 78-62 at Galen Center last season.
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Elsa, Anna and the Women of Troy

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Fresh off a 96-54 blowout victory over Loyola Marymount, USC women's basketball will host No. 16 Oklahoma State at Noon on Sunday. Fans in attendance will enjoy "Frozen at USC," featuring white Trojan beanies for the first 500 kids (12 and under) plus a chance to take pictures with Elsa and Anna as well as sing the songs from the hit movie.

Click here for ticket info.

The Frozen fun starts at 10 a.m. in the Galen Center. USC is 8-2 overall and 4-0 at home this season.

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Holiday Bowl Practice #9: Notes

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Other than Antwaun Woods, the Trojans are returning to full health in anticipation of the road trip to San Diego.
  • Click here for the USC Holiday Bowl Guide.
  • Without Woods, the Trojans have a hole at nose tackle. However, head coach Steve Sarkisian explained "that it is really not that much of a difference" in terms of the technique for a defensive end or defensive tackle in this system.
  • Delvon Simmons is a potential candidate to replace Woods, and he could use his 6-foot-5 frame to disrupt Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. "When you're that tall and you're in the middle of the defense and you can get your hands up, it can affect a quarterback some throwing the ball over the middle," said Sarkisian.
  • TE Bryce Dixon made a tremendous one-handed catch during 7-on-7 with his left hand. "I think Bryce's future is very bright in our program. He is a really talented guy," said Sarkisian, who pointed out that Randall Telfer's leadership was key in developing Dixon.
  • The Trojans will have a light practice tomorrow before taking Sunday and Monday off.
  • Here is Sarkisian's presser...


Big Signature

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Head coach Steve Sarkisian announced the signing of WR Isaac Whitney, a four-star talent from Riverside City College, who will join the Trojans in January with two years of eligibility remaining.

Whitney, who is originally from Oklahoma, is listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, so he adds size to a receiving corps that is smaller in stature.

"Dynamic. Isaac brings a size and speed combination that we do not have currently in our room," said WR coach Tee Martin. "He brings some experience, and we are excited that as a mid-year, he will be able to go through spring practice with us. We are looking forward to adding him to a talented group that is really coming into its own."

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One Week From Christmas

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For this holiday season, USC athletics is giving away LG G Pad tablets on our #FightOn page, which aggregates all #FightOn content from Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to enter to win!!!

Sign-up now and lucky winners will have one more gift to play with this Christmas.

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Holiday Bowl Practice #8: Notes

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The Trojans bounced back with a much more spirited practice on Cromwell Field this morning.
  • After a disappointing Wednesday, head coach Steve Sarkisian challenged his team to restore the physicality and competitiveness to the practice field. "The guys responded well like I knew they would," said Sarkisian, who put the team in full pads and squared the offensive starters against the defensive starters.  As the scholarship numbers grow, the head coach "would love to do that all the time."
  • While some position groups are thin, the wide receivers have to scratch and claw for reps and balls. "It is definitely a very competitive group," said junior WR George Farmer. "I think that is a good thing because every day we know we have to come out here and push each other because you know the man next to you is going to work harder than you are which pushes you to work. That's a positive thing. We came here to compete."
  • Farmer has been working for years to finally get the breakout payoff against Notre Dame with two touchdown bombs. "I had confidence in myself that I was capable of doing what I did," he said. "I think it is just a matter of opportunity meeting preparation."
  • Redshirt freshman WR Steven Mitchell is another talented player getting better every week after coming off a knee injury. Sarkisian said that the hit Mitchell took during the Notre Dame game, while still holding on to the ball, was "probably good for him" as he continues to build confidence in his body and ability.
  • The Trojans have three more practices on campus (Friday, Saturday and Tuesday morning) before heading down to San Diego on Tuesday afternoon. Once they are in San Diego, the itinerary is packed. "I'm looking forward to the zoo," said Farmer. "I am very excited for this Holiday Bowl. I can't wait for all the great food and gifts we will receive, all the great players we will meet and all the fun times we will spend hanging with the team."
  • Most importantly, the Trojans want to end the season with a victory. "I am really looking forward to ending my career at SC with a win," said senior TE Randall Telfer. "Nebraska is a good team, a team with a lot of history and tradition, and so are we."
  • Here is Sarkisian's morning media briefing...



Photo Gallery: 2014 Football Awards

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The USC coaches, players and supporters celebrated the achievements of the 2014 season at the annual awards banquet Wednesday night held in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.

Here are the Pierson Clair photos of the festivities:


2014 Football Awards

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USC football honored its departing senior class and paid tribute to a gutty bunch of Trojans who displayed trademark resiliency throughout their first campaign under head coach Steve Sarkisian.  USC finished 8-4 with a Holiday Bowl battle due up on December 27 against Nebraska led by Team MVP Leonard Williams.

Here is the list of winners and our season-in-review video:

Most Valuable Player - DE Leonard Williams

Most Inspirational Player - TE Randall Telfer

Trojan Way Leadership Award - QB Cody Kessler

Trojan Commitment Award - LB Hayes Pullard

Linemen of the Year - C Max Tuerk and DE Leonard Williams

Perimeter Players of the Year - WR Nelson Agholor and OLB Su'a Cravens

Special Teams Player of the Year - LB Quinton Powell

Service Team Players of the Year - QB Jalen Greene and LB Reuben Peters

Jack Oakie "Rise and Shine" Award (Longest Run) - RB Buck Allen vs. ASU (53 yards)

Player of the Game vs. Notre Dame - QB Cody Kessler

Howard Jones/Football Alumni Club Academic Award - QB Anthony Neyer

Bob Chandler Award (Best All-Around Underclassman) - OT Chad Wheeler

John McKay Award (Most Competitive Underclassman) - WR JuJu Smith

Joe Collins Walk-on Award - PK Alex Wood

Chris Carlisle Courage Award - OLB J.R. Tavai

Community Service Award - TE Chris Willson

Lifters Award - QB Max Browne and LB Anthony Sarao

Team Captains - QB Cody Kessler, C Max Tuerk, WR Nelson Agholor, LB Hayes Pullard and DE Leonard Williams


Holiday Home Stand Continues

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USC women's basketball is 3-0 inside the friendly confines of Galen Center this season, and the Women of Troy are in the midst of a seven-game home stand with a pair of games due up this week against Loyola Marymount (Thursday at 4 p.m.) and No. 16 Oklahoma State (Sunday at Noon).

Click here for tickets!

The Women of Troy sit at 7-2 overall with the hope that Alexyz Vaioletama, Jordan Adams and McKenzie Calvert could all return from injury.  This week's games conclude the Trojans non-conference slate before a titanic rivalry clash with UCLA to kick off Pac-12 play on December 30.

Courtney Jaco leads the Trojans with 23 made three-pointers.
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