Kickin' It With Keidane - Week 2

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USC women's soccer had a slow start to the season, dropping its first two games, but bounced back on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Pepperdine.

In the second episode of Kickin' It With Keidane, head coach Keidane McAlpine discusses what it will take to keep his team trending upward and what it will be like playing at Auburn, where he used to be an assistant coach, this upcoming week.

Watch the full episode here:

Stevie Shows Heart

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Former Trojan phenom Steve Johnson, fresh off a bronze-medal-winning performance at Rio 2016, earned an incredible comeback victory in the first round of the US Open yesterday.

Johnson, who is seeded 19th in this year's tournament, was down 6-4, 6-1, 5-2 to Russian Evgeny Donskoy, but saved six match points to take the set and eventually the match (4-6, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3, 6-3).

Johnson showed a similar strength of spirit in his quarterfinal matchup against Great Britain's Andy Murray in the Olympics. Johnson didn't win a game in the first set, but came back to take the second, 6-4. He ultimately fell in the third-set tiebreaker to the eventual Olympic champion, but earned well-deserved praise for the tenacity he displayed.

Next up for Johnson is Argentinean Juan Martin del Potro, who won the US Open in 2009.

Alabama Tuesday: Notes

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The Trojans held their first practice of the week as they get ready to take on No. 1 Alabama in four days.
  • chuma.jpgHead coach Clay Helton reaffirmed that LT Chad Wheeler's plantar fasciitis will prevent him from starting against Alabama. Helton also noted that he expects Marvell Tell III (hamstring) to be "full speed, ready to go" on Saturday, and that safety Ykili Ross was "under the weather" today.
  • Helton also confirmed that LB Osa Masina will not travel with the team this weekend due to a violation of team rules.
  • USC got some extra motivation today in the form of a visit from Sam Cunningham, the hero of the 1970 USC-Alabama matchup that catalyzed the integration of African Americans into Southern football. Helton said Cunningham encouraged the Trojans to each focus on their own roles, rather than being swept up by the size of the game.
  • Helton noted that he hopes his running backs have as big a day as Cunningham did, because "any time that you're dealing with new quarterbacks coming in, it's really important that that run game is clicking to take some pressure off him."
  • QB Max Browne explained that getting the ball out of his hands quickly is "definitely a point of emphasis" in his first career start, but also praised his pass protectors. "I think that's the beauty of our offensive line: a lot of starts among all those guys ... it's a veteran group and I definitely trust them," Browne said.
  • One new addition to the offensive line is Chuma Edoga (pictured, #70), who will start at left tackle in place of Wheeler on Saturday. Edoga appeared in 13 games as a true freshman last season, including two starts at right tackle.
  • Despite a relative lack of experience, Edoga said he feels confident in the strides he's made under offensive line coach Neil Callaway, noting, "ever since he came, my physicality just stepped up."
  • Edoga knows the importance of his role on Saturday. "I'm protecting the quarterback's blind side," he said. "You know, his mom up in the stands don't want her baby to get hurt, so I've got to protect him."
  • The Atlanta native explained that he's experienced at protecting a QB's blind side, because in high school he played right tackle with a left-handed QB.
  • One message came through loud and clear from Edoga, Browne and Helton today: Trojans aren't afraid of big games like Saturday's. "If you don't like the challenge, don't take the job," Helton said. "That's what you live for. You live for the opportunity to play on the biggest stage and compete on the biggest stage, and that's what SC's all about."
  • Here is Helton's full press conference:

The Waiting Game

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After three full years of waiting, Max Browne was finally named USC's starting QB on August 20. Recently, the OC Register's Joey Kaufman spent time with Browne, his friends and his family to get a deeper look into how his years as a backup prepared him for this season.

Read the full story here.

Browne's family shared that from the age of five, Max was enthralled with the sport, and particularly enjoyed watching his eldest brother, Mitch, play QB for Skyline High School.

Since then, Browne has done a lot more watching. He watched two other QBs from his high school class, Jared Goff and Christian Hackenberg, start immediately upon entering college and recently get drafted into the NFL.

"It's weird," Browne said, "but it doesn't work me up or anything. I think I've really become at peace with the idea that everyone has different paths."

During Browne's time here, he has earned high praise from his team, earning awards such as the Bob Chandler Award for undergraduate leadership and the Offensive Weightlifter of the Year.

Former walk-on DT Jeff Miller noted, "He eased into different channels to focus his energy and time, so he's been productive and been busy, when some people would have fallen off the train."

This Saturday, Browne finally gets his chance to show what he's been working on all these years.

Here's Browne on the first episode of Trojans Live, discussing his journey, and more:

Trojans Live: Alabama Preview

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A new season of Trojans Live kicked off Monday night with an all-star guest list in anticipation of the season opening showdown with Alabama.

Head coach Clay Helton led off, as he always does, by wrapping up Fall Camp, previewing the match-up with the Crimson Tide and breaking some news (full video below). Sophomore LT Chuma Edoga will get the start against Alabama in place of injured senior Chad Wheeler whose availability is still to be determined due to plantar fasciitis.

USC athletic director Lynn Swann followed up to discuss his first few months on the job and the way the wide receiver position has changed in college football since he retired as the program's all-time leading receiver with fewer catches in his career than JuJu Smith-Schuster had last season.

Click here to watch Swann's interview!

Starting QB Max Browne was next to the party, but he is used to waiting his turn. The redshirt junior explained the patience it took to sit behind Cody Kessler for three years and how he will handle the nerves of making his first start against the No. 1 ranked team in the country.

Click here to watch Browne's interview!

USC women's soccer picked up the first victory of the new school year for the athletic department, so senior forward Katie Johnson joined the show and set championship expectations for the rising program.

Click here to watch Johnson's interview.

Reminder, you can come down to The Lab every week to watch Trojans Live in person or you can watch the live stream on Facebook.

Clay Helton Q&A: Alabama

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USC is just five days away from its season opener against top-ranked Alabama. Here is our first Q&A of the season with head coach Clay Helton, in which he breaks down the Crimson Tide's defense:

Hole in Two

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USC men's golf will open the 2016-17 season ranked No. 2 in the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll.

Click here for the full story.

The Trojans, led by 11th-year head coach Chris Zambri, are coming off an impressive season which saw them advance to the NCAA semifinals. This year, they return all five starters from that squad, plus two top-notch recruits.

Only Texas is ranked ahead of USC in the preseason poll.

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Meet Stevie Tu'ikolovatu

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Name: Stevie Tu'ikolovatuUSC_FOOTBALL_FALL_CAMP_081016_mcgillen_2148.jpg

Position: DT

Class: RS Senior

Size: 6-foot-1, 320 pounds

Age: 25

Last College: Utah

Game: Tu'ikolovatu has brought a physical and mental maturity to the defensive line. On the field, he will line up over the ball at nose tackle. Given his immense size, he occupies multiple blockers which frees up the linebackers to make plays. In Clancy Pendergast's system, he is also given the freedom to work off blockers and try to make tackles-for-loss himself, which is different than how he was instructed at Utah. Last year, he graded out as the second-best interior defensive lineman in the Pac-12, per Pro Football Focus.

College Career: Tu'ikolovatu played for the Utes in 2014 and 2015 after missing the 2013 season with a foot injury as a redshirt freshman. He played in all 13 games last year, starting two. He had 28 tackles with six TFL and two sacks, and also led the Pac-12 and tied for second in the nation with four fumble recoveries. As a redshirt sophomore in 2014, he had eight tackles in 12 games.

Clay Helton on Tu'ikolovatu: "He's a load, especially in the run game. What I didn't anticipate is his pass-rushing skills. He's really strong with his hands and does a great job of throwing guys around. The thing that I appreciate about him: he's really brought a level of maturity to the room. Twenty-five-year-old man with a wife, married, and he really has a focus of what he wants to do ... I go to bed thanking the Lord that he's on our football team, because he's really making a difference for us."

Fun Fact: Tu'ikolovatu went on a Mormon mission to the Philippines from 2010-12.

Here is Tu'ikolovatu on his transition to USC and more....

#HowEyeSeeIt: Jake Olson

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USC long snapper Jake Olson has long been an inspiration for the Trojan football team. From his years as a young fan to his recent accomplishment of walking on to the team, he hasn't let his blindness stand in the way of his passions.

Olson, who won the 2016 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award, hopes to make his USC debut this season.

Watch Olson teach his teammates to play without the use of sight in the #HowEyeSeeIt Challenge:

Trojans Live Tonight

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The new season of Trojans Live kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. PT from The Lab gastropub on Figueroa. Fans are encouraged to come down to the restaurant and meet the in-person guests, but you can also listen on ESPN Los Angeles 710, TuneIn and Facebook Live.

For Alabama week, we have a huge guest list, including head coach Clay Helton, QB Max Browne, women's soccer forward Katie Johnson and athletic director Lynn Swann. Jordan Moore and John Jackson will once again serve as the hosts.