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Real USC fans wear officially licensed gear. Please shop online or the USC Bookstore for your Trojan merchandise and #FIGHTFAKE.

2015 Game Day Kit

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Home or away, USC football will dress to impress in 2015.


Arkansas St. Wednesday: Notes

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Only three days until kickoff...
  • RB Justin Davis, LB Lamar Dawson and DL Claude Pelon are "doubtful" for the season opener, per head coach Steve Sarkisian, but "hopeful" for Idaho in week two. Freshman DL Rasheem Green has been cleared to play and will participate Saturday.
  • 3-countdown.jpgWithout Davis, senior Tre Madden will be the bell cow back for the Trojans on Saturday. "What I forgot about Tre is that he's a little more explosive than I probably gave him credit for," said Sarkisian. "His cutting ability, his ability to accelerate through the hole, he's got great balance and he's a big guy who's got natural pass-catching ability. His football IQ is about as high for a running back as I've been around. That goes back to playing quarterback in high school and on both sides of the ball here."
  • USC has a talented opponent this week that has made four consecutive bowl games, so the Trojans are not overlooking Arkansas State. "They're a great team, very explosive. We've just got to be disciplined," said senior CB Kevon Seymour. "They go fast, uptempo, they've got speedy, nice receivers who like to hit the edge."
  • Playing opposite Adoree' Jackson, Kevon Seymour knows that he will be a busy man once again this season, but the senior is more prepared for it. "I've really improved over the years and now it's really clicking," he said. "I see concepts better, routes, really our whole defense."
  • Jackson's only major weakness at cornerback last year was that he is still waiting for his first collegiate interception. According to defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, he was able to get by at times on his athletic gifts, but he has focused on the "fundamentals of the position" to improve his playmaking abilities.
  • While any defensive coordinator would like Jackson to play 100% of the snaps, Wilcox understands how dangerous he is on offense because he goes against him in practice. "You don't want to tackle him. I don't want to tackle him. He's about the only guy that covers himself," he joked.
  • When the depth chart was released, the biggest news was that Chris Hawkins and Leon McQuay topped the competition at safety, but Wilcox stressed that it is a "fluid situation" and all four candidates will see extensive time on Saturday.
  • Freshman Marvell Tell III is in the mix at safety and Iman Marshall will make his USC debut at corner on Saturday. Jackson, now a wise old sophomore, will keep his advice simple, "All you have to do is tell them go out and play ball. The speed changes from high school, but it's not that different. You just need to go out there and play like you always have."
  • While the freshmen are excited about their first game, senior Antwaun Woods is already a little sentimental. "I'm kind of sad that it's my last first game in the Coliseum," said the captain. "But I'm going to make sure that I take advantage of every snap, of every moment I have. It's going to be a great one."
  • Sarkisian on the freshmen: "The transformation from high school to this practice field is a huge one. Then, the transformation from Howard Jones-Kennedy to the Coliseum is another big step. We'll find out a lot about these guys, and the guys that are comfortable enough to go in there and play. But so far, I've been very impressed."
  • Here is head coach Steve Sarkisian after practice...

Generations: Matt Leinart & Cody Kessler

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Cody Kessler and Matt Leinart are all over the USC record books, but Kessler strives for the rings that made Leinart an iconic Trojan. In a new episode of "Generations," the quarterbacks break down film together and look ahead to Kessler's final season at Troy.

Ready for the Road

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

After fighting for a second-half victory over UC Riverside on Friday, the USC women's soccer team moved up two spots to No. 15 in the rankings released Monday. This weekend, the Trojans continue their challenging road streak as they head east to play a tough pair of games against No. 18 Duke and No. 4 North Carolina.

"For us, it's another opportunity to really check ourselves, see how we can get better and see how we can improve against the best," explained head coach Keidane McAlpine who wants to see his team get into a better offensive rhythm as it moves through the season. "As we strive to continue to grow in this program and grow through this year and be a better team, it doesn't get better than playing teams of this caliber."

USC faces Duke on Friday at 4:30 p.m. PT and North Carolina on Sunday at 8 a.m. PT as part of the Duke Classic. Both games will be aired on ESPN3.

Here is McAlpine with his weekly women's soccer update...

Zero Waste Goal

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The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has a goal and plan this season. The venerable home of the Trojans has updated its trash cans into compost bin, attempting to achieve "zero waste" status in collaboration with USC's Office of Sustainability.

IMG_3013.jpgClick here for the full story.

Industry standards define zero waste as diverting 90 percent or more of waste materials from the landfill or incinerator through recycling, composting or repurposing. The initiative builds on the university's efforts to reduce the tons of waste produced each game day.

"Today, we're glad to support sustainability efforts like the zero waste initiative and the university's Green Team certification program," said USC Athletic Director Pat Haden. "Implementing environmentally responsible practices, which can be as simple as carpooling or using a refillable water bottle, on game day and throughout the year is the right thing to do."

Ware Disposal is contributing to the effort by placing more than 20 co-branded recycling bins (pictured) around the Coliseum.

"This is a critical first step for the Coliseum," said Brian Grant, director of operations for the Coliseum. "We will learn a lot through this process but we are striving to merge the history that the facility has with progressive sustainability efforts. Making the Coliseum zero waste is our goal."

Best of Beijing

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The USC Track & Field program once again reminded the world of its embarrassment of riches both past and present, taking home seven medals at the 2015 IAAF Track & Field Championships in Beijing last week. Led by USC alum Allyson Felix, who won a gold medal in the 400m and silver medals in both the 4x400m and 4x100m relays, four Trojans medaled throughout the nine-day competition.

For a complete recap, click here.

Bryshon Nellum (pictured third from left), a former All-American sprinter at USC, earned a gold medal for Team USA after running the third leg in the team's 4x400m relay final. Racing for Canada, rising senior Andre De Grasse and former Trojan sprinter Aaron Brown seized bronze medals as members of the 4x100m relay. De Grasse also won bronze in the men's 100m final earlier in the week.

(Photo credit: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Painting the Helmets

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USC's football helmets are iconic, so we followed them to the Riddell factory in Union City, CA, to see them painted from start to finish.

Of note, California law mandates that all helmets are inspected every year, so USC sends them out after spring football. Riddell, which makes most of the helmets for teams west of the Rockies, strips all the guts from the inside and removes all the screws and metal. Then, they are inspected for cracks and any other defects.

The official color is "USC Cardinal Metallic." They paint two coats of cardinal primer beneath two coats of paint, so when the paint gets chipped and scuffed during the game, you still see cardinal.

Once the helmets are painted, the guts are reassembled inside, and they are shipped back to USC. The equipment staff then puts on the face masks and decals.

Meet Cameron Smith

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Name: Cameron SmithUSC_Football_Spring_Coliseum_033115_MCG4065.jpg

Position: LB

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Granite Bay (Roseville, CA)

Game: Physically, Smith looks the part of a prototypical middle linebacker, but what's really made him stand out to the USC coaching staff this early in his career is his ability to diagnose opposing offenses and his natural instincts on the field. The freshman will wear No. 35, joining a long list of dominant linebackers of the same number reaching back through USC history.

Prep Career: As a senior linebacker at Granite Bay, Smith accumulated 148 tackles, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and four interceptions. His outstanding play earned him 2014 Prep Star All-American Dream Team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team and USA Today All-California honors. Smith had 11 interceptions in his career.

Fall Camp: Smith gave himself the upper hand in adjusting to the speed of the college game, graduating early from high school and enrolling at USC last spring. The linebacker's playmaking ability, displayed both in spring practices and Fall Camp, as well as his intellect have placed him in a position to make an immediate impact on the field this fall. Smith is currently slotted behind redshirt senior Lamar Dawson, who is out with a rib injury, which means the freshman could earn his first start on Saturday against Arkansas State.

Coach Sark on Smith: "The guy has been making plays for us [since spring]. He's been performing at a high level. He's got a high football IQ. He's just a heady guy. That position, sometimes you think it's got to be the big tough guy, which he is, but it takes smarts to play that position. We saw it with Hayes [Pullard], and Cam definitely has that real good sense and good feel in there."

Here is Smith on his first day of media availability...

State of Troy: September 2015

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Each month, we interview USC Athletic Director Pat Haden to get his take on the hot topics around Heritage Hall.

Haden on his handling of the Sarkisian situation...

Coli-Sunset-SH.jpgThis decision was given careful thought after conversations with medical professionals and trusted staff members. We developed a confidential plan going forward. Steve has discussed the counseling part of it, which he has already started. He has told me that it has been helpful, and he has approached it with an open mind. I understand that some people disagree with my decisions, this happens all the time. I believe this course of action was in the best interest not only of our university and Steve Sarkisian, but especially of our players, who have really rallied around their head coach.

Haden on the NFL coming to the Coliseum...

I have not spoken directly with the NFL in some time, but from all accounts, I absolutely believe the NFL will be here in 2016 or at the latest 2017. It could very well be two teams, but we would welcome one team in the Coliseum, and we have told that to the NFL. They would be a tenant of ours for likely two seasons, while they built their own stadium. And, we would use those dollars as part of the money that we need to remodel the Coliseum.

Haden previews the fall sports...

USC_WVB_UNC_082815_MCG6641.jpgWomen's volleyball is off to a terrific start with a new offensive and defensive system, and they have already surged up the national rankings to No. 8. I watched the wins over North Carolina and BYU on Pac-12 Networks and came away very impressed. Women's soccer is 2-1 with its only loss to the No. 1 team in the country, so we are optimistic about what Keidane McAlpine is doing with that program. As always, we expect big things from men's water polo, one of our most decorated programs.

Haden previews football...

I am really excited about the younger players, but you always start with the veteran core, and we are lucky to have a senior quarterback in Cody Kessler, who had sensational numbers last year. Adoree' Jackson has a chance to be the most exciting player in college football. He is going to get a lot of touches in a lot of different ways. The biggest change, though, is that when I watch us practice, I see four guys at every position. We should be a lot better team by midseason after these young players gain some game experience.

Haden on men's basketball's trip to Italy...

I got a lot of positive reports from the trip. Andy Enfield's team looks a lot better. All our young players are not so young anymore, and the two freshmen, Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu, are going to be special. I know it has been hard in basketball the last few years, but we are really encouraged about the trajectory of the program.