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Utah Thursday: Sarkisian Presser

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In his last time addressing the media before the Trojans depart for Salt Lake City, head coach Steve Sarkisian recapped his team's week of preparation to face the Utes on Saturday.  

Trojans in Business: Jeff Byers

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

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Name: Jeff Byers

Resume: Financial Advisor at the Drexler Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

Sport at USC: Football

Caroline Deisley (CD): So Jeff, what exactly do you do for Wells Fargo?

Jeff Byers (JB): I work for the Drexler Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. Steve Drexler and I are partners. Our goal is to really simplify, enhance and preserve our clients monetary well-being. That can mean a wide range of things, but what we really take pride in and specialize in is individual portfolio management. We build individual portfolios for our clients, and we manage them to the risk tolerances that our clients have so that their goals and objectives can be met through these portfolios. We really focus on disciplined portfolio risk management. We have defined process-driven results that we go through for how we build portfolios. Everything is based on personalized goals and strategies for our clients. We have clients all over the country, we're national in scope and we take pride in building meaningful and close relationships across the country.

Football and athletics has taught me so much about my job and so much is applicable whether it's discipline, work ethic, planning, strategy, how to deal with relationships, etc. Everybody deals with things in a certain way. Those different personalities? You learn about that on a football team and you learn how to interact with different people who are very different minded than yourself. 

CD: Throughout your athletic career, you faced many obstacles. What would you say is your biggest takeaway from learning how to overcome life's challenges?

JB: I guess what I've learned most is that you can only control what you can control in life. The two things that I really believe in is that you can control your attitude and your effort. You can't control these other things in life. You can't control if you get hurt, if you lose your job, whatever it may be. Those things are out of your control - what you can control is what you should worry about. Focusing on your attitude and your effort in life really helps you overcome any obstacle because there's always positives in all these negatives that come up. I got hurt at SC and it gave me an opportunity to get my Master's. It's really easy to look at things very near-sided, short-term wise and it can be very negative. But, I've always found that there's some positive in every situation, some learning opportunity, some way that you can better yourself or grow as a person when the obstacles arise because everybody faces adversity - that's how life is. The really great, successful people that I've been around and have had the opportunity to know are the people that just take adversity in full swing and say, 'This only makes me stronger. I'm going to let this define me in a positive way rather than the negative way.' 

CD: For a lot of the athletes that we talk to, it is challenging to be both a student and an athlete. Do you think that you would have gotten the same academic experience if you hadn't gotten hurt or gotten the most out of it like you did?

JB: That's a great question. I got hurt my second and third year. There was definitely a refocus in my mind towards academics. When I was 18, I thought football was top priority and all that. When you get hurt, you realize that life has different goals and life should have different goals. Sports is a small microcosm of life. I'm at USC and I have this tremendous opportunity to get this education and better myself. Maybe in five years I'm still playing football, but I guarantee you in 20 years I'm not. So, SC has given me a future outside of football and for football as well. 

Men's Hoops' Media Day

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USC men's basketball was picked to finish 10th in the preseason media poll, but the Trojans will have plenty to say about that over the coming months.  Head coach Andy Enfield and sophomore Nikola Jovanovic will have the first word on the subject as they represent the program at Pac-12 Media Day in San Francisco.

Click here to watch the free live stream.

The USC rotation will feature six new players in 2014-15 as key returners Jovanovic and Julian Jacobs are joined by transfers Katin Reinhardt and Darion Clark plus a star-studded freshmen class led by PG Jordan McLaughlin.


A Day at the Coliseum: Colorado

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There is nothing better than Homecoming Saturday at the Coliseum.  In our epic, cinematic look at the win over Colorado, you'll almost feel like you are back in your favorite seat.


2014 Pac-12 Media Day: Women's Hoops

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Here are USC women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and forward Alexyz Vaioletama on Pac-12 Networks previewing the upcoming 2014-15 season:


Champions of the Green

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

It was a good week for USC golf as both the men's and women's teams won the Bill Cullum Invitational and Stanford Intercollegiate respectively. The men, led by sophomore Rico Hoey and freshman Jonah Texeira, bested second-place Arizona State by 11 strokes, finishing 31-under 833.

For the complete recap, click here.

The No. 6 Women of Troy came from behind to share the title at the Stanford Intercollegiate with host Stanford. Juniors Kyung Kim and Annie Park, senior Doris Chen and sophomore Karen Chung all finished with under-par final rounds to bring the Trojans back from a three-stroke deficit.

Click here for the full release.

The Women of Troy finish the fall season at the Pac-12 Preview in Hawaii from November 3-4. The men finish at the Gifford Collegiate Championship in San Martin, Calif. from November 5-7.

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Women's Hoops' Media Day

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USC women's basketball head coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and forward Alexyz Vaioletama are representing the Women of Troy at Pac-12 Media Day today in San Francisco.

Click here to watch it live.

Coming off winning the Pac-12 Tournament title and making the NCAA Tournament, the Trojans are picked to finish sixth in the conference this season.


Trojans Live - Utah Week

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On Trojans Live this week, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian prepared us for the Top 25 battle in Utah and looked back at the record-setting afternoon against Colorado.

Click here to watch Sarkisian on Trojans Live.

Plus, here is AVP star April Ross on her perfect summer and how she became partners with Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings...


Utah Wednesday: Notes

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

With Utah in the near horizon, the Trojans are focusing on their physicality to prepare for a tough, hard-nosed match-up. 
  • Much like Stanford, this is going to be a physical battle that is won at the line of scrimmage, which is exactly the type of game DL Leonard Williams likes to play. "I'm not a finesse type of player," he said. "I love playing hard, physical games."
  • The defense's number one concern is Utah's prolific running game featuring junior RB Devontae Booker. "He runs angry. He's not trying to run away from people, and he pulls out of as many tackles as any back we've seen this year," said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. 
  • Sarkisian emphasized that the defensive line is the key to stopping Utah's downhill rush attack. "We need to keep [Booker] corralled as best we can near the line of scrimmage so that he can't get his momentum going in the secondary. Our defensive front has a tall order this week."
  • Facing a tough running opponent arouses unpleasant memories from the early season loss to Boston College in which the Trojans sacrificed 452 yards on the ground. Since then, they held Arizona State and Arizona to season-low rushing totals. Sarkisian credits this improvement to the defense's focus on defeating one-on-one blocks, staying true to gap integrity, having a better attitude but most importantly, just executing. 
  • Su'a Cravens has been all over the place for the Trojans' defense getting a sack one week and an interception the next. The linebacker is confident that what happened in Boston will never happen again, and he's also conscientious of Utah's ability to pass with either quarterback. "They've got a speedster in Dres Anderson. He's a monster. They're going to try and throw it deep against our young corners."
  • The Trojans know just how important this Top 25 match-up against Utah is for the rest of their season. Sarkisian specifically highlighted wide receivers Nelson Agholor and JuJu Smith as well as RB Buck Allen in terms of their attitudes and mentality as they prepare for Saturday. On the defensive side of the ball, he singled out the Lott Impact Trophy quarter-finalist Leonard Williams, who the head coach said "worked his tail off" at practice on Wednesday.  
  • Finally, the head coach said the team couldn't be more excited and ready for Saturday's game. He said, "I think we're hitting our stride at the right time."
  • Here is the head coach after Wednesday's practice...

2014 NFL Week 7

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The Best

Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings - 8 tackles (7 solo), 3 sacks and a forced fumble

Everson-Griffen.jpgThe pass rush specialist was at his very best Sunday tormenting Kyle Orton en route to tying his career-high with three sacks in a game.  Griffen signed a monster $42.5 million contract in the offseason, and he has rewarded Minnesota with seven sacks this season, which ties for second in the NFL. "Without my team, I wouldn't be able to get three sacks," Griffen said. "I'm just very happy to be playing with these guys, and we just have to bounce back and win the game. That's all we have to do."

Best of the Rest

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 22/31 for 253 yards and 2 TDs

Shareece Wright, CB, Chargers - 8 tackles (7 solo)

Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers - 2 tackles and a fumble recovery

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 6 tackles (3 solo)

Malcolm Smith, LB, Seahawks - Game-high 10 solo tackles

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars -  1 catch for 20 yards and 2 runs for 5 yards

Devon Kennard, LB, Giants - 4 tackles (3 solo)

Nick Perry, OLB, Packers - 3rd sack of the year