Meet Tyler Petite

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor

USC_Football_Idaho_-1544.jpgName: Tyler Petite

Position: TE

Class: Freshman

Size: 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds

Age: 18

High School: Campolindo (Moraga, CA)

Game: From the first day Petite officially signed as a Trojan, head coach Steve Sarkisian has praised the tight end's versatility. Quick-footed at 6-foot-6, the freshman is a potentially dangerous downfield passing option who also possesses the instincts of a physical blocker. His tall frame is ideal for his position and suggests he'll be a consistent red zone target when his number gets called.

Prep Career: Petite arrived at USC as the No. 2 tight end in the nation on the ESPN 300 rankings for the class of 2015. In his senior season as a tight end and defensive end at Campolindo, Petite had 37 catches for 969 yards (26.2 avg) with 9 TDs on offense and 4 sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and 2 forced fumbles on defense. His impressive numbers landed him on the 2014 Prep Star All-American and Max Preps All-American Small Schools first team lists, along with spots on the USA Today All-California and Max Preps All-State Division III first team.

Fall: With a wide open competition at tight end entering the fall, the freshman immediately embraced the high expectations that awaited him at USC. He's provided a consistent pass-catching option through the Trojans' first two games and will continue to have the opportunity to make plays as the season continues. As with all freshmen, the key to Petite's development is working at some of the finer points of his position, specifically his blocking, which will enable him to significantly support and enhance USC's run game.

Coach Sark on Petite: "He's a really good weapon for us. We're anxious to try and get him the ball a little more. The game hasn't been too big for him."

Here is Petite after practice this week...

ASU Kick Time Still TBD

The USC at Arizona State game on September 26 will kick off at either 5 p.m. PT on ABC, 5:30 p.m. PT on FOX or 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN. The final determination will be made by the television networks on Monday, September 21.


Kickin' It With Keidane: Week 4

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The Women of Troy thrived on home cooking, going unbeaten last week, but the schedule sends them back out on the road this week to Pacific (7 p.m. PT on Friday) and Saint Mary's (Sunday at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday).

Here is head coach Keidane McAlpine looking back and then forward as the Trojans wrap up the non-conference slate:

Stanford Wednesday: Notes

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Back-to-back tough practices for the Trojans to get primed for the Cardinal...
  • As part of Pac-12 Student Awareness Week, head coach Steve Sarkisian pointed out the great work done by S Leon McQuay III and WR Robby Kolanz away from the field. McQuay III is a music industry major and talented producer, while Kolanz is a budding broadcast journalist just like his grandfather Stan Chambers, a legend in the business.
  • On the field, CB Kevon Seymour is on the mend, participating in a portion of practice. LB Lamar Dawson was back to work today as well.
  • Stanford's offense was in full focus today, and while the Cardinal struggled in its season opening loss, David Shaw's team is not without threats. Sophomore tailback Christian McCaffrey is chief among them, leading the team in rushing, receiving and return yards. "I think a lot of what they do revolves around McCaffrey. He's a really versatile back," said Sarkisian. "We need to know where number five is every snap.
  • On the outside, Michael Rector has elite speed, while Devon Cajuste is 6-foot-4. "Rector and Cajuste are both back, so I've been studying film on those two guys," said CB Adoree' Jackson, who battled the same duo in his first big moments as a Trojan last year. "They're always going to give you 100 percent. They're always going to give us their all."
  • Redshirt senior QB Kevin Hogan runs the show, and the Trojans have seen plenty of him over the years. "Kevin, when he gets hot, is very very scary," said Sarkisian. "When he can get going, he just starts to find his rhythm. It's going to be big for us to not allow him to get into that rhythm, to keep him as uncomfortable as we can."
  • While Seymour's status is in question for Saturday, Jonathan Lockett had taken his starting spot last week anyway, a reflection of how well the sophomore corner has played in practice. "He was competitive in camp and did some really good things in camp. I'm still trying to push him," said defensive backs coach Keith Heyward about Lockett. "Our depth chart is fluid. I don't know who is going to start on Saturday. We've still got two practices before then. But Lockett is competitive, he's a scrappy type of player and he always works hard. That's why he got it last week."
  • While the media asks USC about preparing for Stanford, the Trojans are more concerned about dictating how the Cardinal reacts to them. "The first two games, we were trying to define us and who we are," said Jackson. "Those guys (Stanford) are going to watch the film from the first two games and see who we really are. Those first two games were games we really needed, now we're ready to go out there and compete."
  • One thing about Jackson, he thrives when the competition heats up. "I'm happy and I'm out there having fun. Those two things go together. When you're willing to learn and you're having fun, everything becomes more comfortable," said the all-purpose sophomore.
  • Here is Sarkisian after practice this morning...

#USCHero: Ed Roski

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

As a part of Joint Forces Day, USC honored trustee Ed Roski on the field with a USC medal of courage for his sacrifice as a commanding officer in Vietnam. The veteran earned two purple hearts and a bronze star for his efforts in Operation Satellite. 

Upon returning from Vietnam, Roski went on to start the largest privately held development firm in the United States. Furthermore, the #USCHero began the Land of the Free Foundation to honor and support the men and women serving in the Armed Forces. 


Trojans Live - Stanford Week

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC's Pac-12 opener is just days away, which means week three of Trojans Live was chock-full of insight from head coach Steve Sarkisian on the Trojans' first physical test. Be sure to drop by The Lab every Monday at 7 p.m. (with the exception of a few weeks) to hear from Sarkisian and other special guests!

Click here to watch Sarkisian.

Also on Monday's show, 2013 men's water polo national champions and current upperclassmen Mac Carden and Nick Bell explained the motivation that comes from not being defending champions this season.

Click here to watch Carden and Bell.

Former USC defensive back and current Seattle Seahawks safety Dion Bailey called the show to reflect on his first NFL start and life in the Northwest.

Click here to listen to Bailey.

USC linebacker and theater major Scott Felix and kicker Alex Wood, who boasts a 3.34 GPA, also joined Trojans Live on Monday night to talk Stanford week and their unique qualities as student-athletes.

Stanford Tuesday: Notes

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It's Stanford week and USC is eager to face its first Pac-12 opponent this Saturday at the Coliseum. First, the Trojans endured a tough practice in the rain on Tuesday...
  • In his first press conference of Pac-12 Student Awareness Week, head coach Steve Sarkisian highlighted senior captains Cody Kessler and Antwaun Woods who both graduated with their undergraduate degrees in May.
  • In addition to being one of the most efficient quarterbacks in USC history, Kessler also excels in his service to the community. Last year, the redshirt senior, who is now pursuing a Masters of Communication Management, formed a special bond with a young cancer patient named Joey Rodriguez. Joey was officially adopted by the football team in October, and Kessler has gone above and beyond to make sure the brave young patient feels right at home as a member of the Trojan Family.
  • Woods became the first member of his family to attend college when he stepped on USC's campus four years ago. In May, the redshirt senior defensive tackle crossed the stage at the Galen Center to become his family's first college graduate. Click here to watch a profile on Woods and the unwavering strength he inherited from his father who raised him as a single parent in Baldwin Village.
  • On Saturday, the Trojans will face their first real test as they take on the ever-physical Cardinal. Last season, Sarkisian's first as head coach, the Trojans clinched a victory in the game's final moments with a 53-yard Andre Heidari field goal. This year, the head coach anticipates another competitive contest. "We've got a really good opponent coming to town in Stanford," Sarkisian said after Tuesday's practice. "They're a disciplined team, very well coached by David Shaw. It's been really a cool rivalry that's somewhat developed here over the last few years."
  • "Every time we play it's always fun," Kessler added regarding the Cardinal match-up. "It's a great game, it's a great atmosphere and it's a great way to start off conference play. It's going to be a great test for us early. They're a great team, they pride themselves on how physical they are and watching their film, they're every bit of that again this year. It's going to be a tough challenge for our offensive line but I think they're ready."
  • An encouraging statistic this early in the season is the 15 different receivers who have caught passes in USC's two games. Kessler believes this is one of the major strengths of this year's offense, and one that could make the rest of the season "really fun to watch." "We don't treat it as if there is a 1, 2 or 3," the quarterback said of the receiving corps' depth. "Whoever is in at that time is the guy."
  • Junior linebacker Su'a Cravens played a major role in the last two epic USC/Stanford clashes, and expects the same brand of hard-hitting, grind-it-out football this weekend. "They're physical, they slow the game down and they play their own tempo," Cravens noted. "If you're not going to be as physical as them and match their physicality, it's going to be a long game."
  • Cravens also highlighted the threat posed by Stanford's redshirt senior QB Kevin Hogan, who threw for 285 yards last year against USC. "They like to pass a lot more than they have in the past. Hogan is a good quarterback and he's a big guy who can move outside the pocket, so not only do we have to guard their big tight ends but we have to keep an eye on him scrambling."
  • The key for the Trojan defense, which gave up 413 yards to the Cardinal last year, is aggression on first and second downs. "We've got to get off the field on third down and the best way to do that is win on first down, defensively," Sarkisian explained. "If they're going to run the football, we need to try and not give up the four and five yard runs...and when they throw the ball, we need to make sure we try and make the quarterback as uncomfortable as possible and be really sticky on the receivers."
  • Senior cornerback Kevon Seymour tweaked his knee against Idaho, putting his status for the upcoming game in question. Freshman Iman Marshall took reps with the 1s in practice, and Sarkisian noted that the coaching staff is "taking a good long hard look at Isaiah Langley" to help on special teams, a player who has consistently impressed the staff through the first two weeks on the scout team.
  • The No. 6 Trojans carry a high ranking and lofty expectations heading into the start of conference play but Sarkisian is focused on making sure his team takes the season one week at a time. "Right now, what we're focused on is winning a Pac-12 South championship, because none of those other aspirations that we have can happen unless we take care of that," explained the head coach. "That starts Saturday quite honestly. We need to try to get to 1-0 in conference play...It's a great challenge for us to start off this way and we're going to have to put our best foot forward to win the ball game."
  • Here is video of Sarkisian after practice thanks to the OC Register's Michael Lev...

Turning Defense Into Offense

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USC women's soccer junior defender Kayla Mills was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, the second Trojan to be so honored this season. Mills not only keyed a back four that gave up just one goal over two games last week, but she came forward to score the game-winner against San Diego in the Women of Troy's home opener.


A Dream Fulfilled

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Jake Olson, the young boy who lost his eyesight to cancer, but not his passion for life and USC, is now all grown up. Today, he officially joined the team as a walk-on long-snapper and fulfilled his dream to be a Trojan.

USC_Jake_091515_MCG1615.jpg"It was a surreal feeling being out there at practice," said Olson on his first day suited up in the Cardinal and Gold. "I can't thank enough everyone who helped make this possible, all the coaches, staff and players at USC, the compliance and medical staffs here, the Swim With Mike program and the NCAA. I'm excited to help this team in any way I can and be a great teammate. I love this team and I always have, and now it feels great to be a part of it. Fight On!"

Olson just wants to be one of the guys. In that simple quest, he is an inspiration to all of them.

"It's really cool to have him here now," said QB Cody Kessler. "This team is so welcoming to him. It's great having him in the locker room and have guys around him. It gives us a different perspective on things, how much we really appreciate the game. I respect so much what he's doing. He never makes excuses, never complains about anything, and he's out here working his butt off."

Olson will wear a yellow non-contact jersey in practice, but he is in the mix, working on his snapping and helping out special teams. While his ability to compete is a remarkable individual achievement, his participation in college football was a team effort between USC and the NCAA.

Jake-Emma-Olson-lead-band-cancer-MM-PI.vadapt.620.high.27.jpg"We are excited to welcome Jake onto the team and have him back around our program," said USC head coach Steve Sarkisian. "We thank the NCAA for its support and assistance in working with our compliance staff to provide a waiver for Jake to be a member with our team. Jake had a successful high school career as a snapper and will be a great addition to our team. We will prevent contact during any practice drills in which he is involved to make sure he is protected. Someday, we hope to get Jake into a game."

Olson received a scholarship to attend USC from Swim With Mike's Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund, but because that scholarship is regarded as athletic aid, USC sought a waiver from the NCAA on August 19 so that he did not count against the Trojans' NCAA-mandated 85 scholarship roster limit.

"Jake's case is a great example of the NCAA national office and its members working together to provide opportunities to college athletes," said Dave Schnase, NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs. "We are happy that Jake has the opportunity to wear a USC jersey and perhaps even join his teammates on the field this fall."

During Saturday's game against Stanford, Swim With Mike will be honored for 35 years of raising money for physically challenged athletes. Olson will run out of the tunnel as a shining beacon for what that program has accomplished.

He earned the scholarship thanks to his achievements at Orange Lutheran High, serving as a long-snapper his junior and senior seasons, guided onto the field and positioned over the ball by a teammate. He also played golf in high school, regularly shooting in the 80s.

Click here for ESPN's story on Olson.

Olson (bottom photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images in 2009) was born with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the retina.  He lost his left eye when he was 10 months old and, despite numerous procedures on his other eye, he had his right eye removed when he was 12 in 2009.  He spent the day before his 2009 surgery at a USC football practice.

Pac-12 Student Awareness Week

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

completepac12.pngAt USC, we know that our student-athletes are just as compelling off the playing field as they are on. This week, the entire Pac-12 is dedicated to highlighting the complete athletes on every football team in the conference. From the notes in game programs to the television coverage on Pac-12 Networks, this week is designed to celebrate the all-around success of the talented student-athletes at all 12 schools.

Click here to check out a compilation of student-athlete features from around the Pac-12.

This week will include everything from compelling stories to fun facts on USC football players. Did you know that redshirt senior linebacker Scott Felix is a theater major? Or that Cody Kessler can play guitar?

For more insight on our #complete12 Trojans, be sure to follow us all week on Twitter, Instagram and here on the RipsIt Blog.