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Trojans Live Returns

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC's weekly radio show, Trojans Live, returned Monday night live from The Lab on Figueroa for its third season. This year, the show will be aired primarily on Mondays at 7 p.m. on ESPN 710 Los Angeles. Here is the schedule for the next five shows:
  • Tuesday, September 8
  • Monday, September 14
  • Monday, September 21
  • Monday, September 28
  • Monday, October 5
There was much to talk about in week one with just four days until the Trojans kick off the 2015 season. USC head coach Steve Sarkisian started the night discussing his decision to hand over much of his play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Clay Helton and later provided a scouting report for the team's first opponent, Arkansas State.

Sophomore wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster joined the show as this season's first student-athlete guest to talk about his name change, his increased confidence in his second season and his unique transportation around campus. USC women's volleyball senior captain Samantha Bricio also dropped by to discuss her more vocal role this season as well as her legacy as a Trojan.

Finally, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden called into the show to discuss Salute to Troy, the potential for the NFL in Los Angeles and the Trojans' upcoming season. Listen to his full interview here...

Arkansas St. Tuesday: Notes

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Game week is well underway as the Trojans ready for the season opener against Arkansas State (Saturday at 8 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks).
  • No new injury news, but the Trojans are preparing as if they will not have LB Lamar Dawson, RB Justin Davis, DL Claude Pelon and DL Jordan Simmons.
  • 4-countdown.jpgIn that case, freshman LB Cameron Smith will get the start alongside senior captain Anthony Sarao. "The guy has been making plays for us [since spring]," said head coach Steve Sarkisian. "He's just a heady guy."
  • Sarkisian also expects all three freshmen tailbacks - Ronald Jones II, Aca'Cedric Ware and Dominic Davis - to play on Saturday. However, Tre Madden is back in the starting role after missing all of last season. "Being my senior season, I wanted to be on the field and have a pivotal role for the team," said Madden. "I'm just having the most fun I can possibly have this year."
  • Freshman RT Chuma Edoga will rotate in with starter Zach Banner. Marvell Tell III and Iman Marshall will see time in the secondary. TE Tyler Petite, who made a great TD catch in practice today, is listed as a co-starter at his spot. OLB Porter Gustin should parlay a strong Fall Camp into meaningful time as well.
  • As a team, Sarkisian said the Trojans will sub or "platoon" at "an alarming rate" compared to previous seasons when they did not have any depth. "We don't have second defense, we platoon, so every defense is a first defense," said LB Su'a Cravens. "Any defense that's in there is gonna be ready to compete."
  • Like the defense, the offensive line will rotate constantly, but they have to be wary of Arkansas State's aggressive pass rush, which accounted for 37 sacks last season. "They're a good team," said LT Chad Wheeler, who is healthy and ready to start. "They led their division with sacks. They have a great pass rush, talented guys. We gotta bring our A-game."
  • Two punting notes: Starting punter Kris Albarado will wear No. 17 this season. And, the newest Trojan is blueshirt punter Chris Tilbey. Originally from Melbourne, he is an Australian Rules-style punter who comes to USC as a transfer from San Francisco City College. He is eligible to play immediately as a sophomore.
  • Clay Helton was the star attraction at practice today since he was publicly named the offensive play-caller on Saturday. "It's been a year in development," said Helton about the plan to run the offense. "Obviously, when you're a first-year group and getting to know exactly what Coach wants as an OC and a play-caller, it was really a great learning experience for me to see exactly what he wants and how he makes calls."
  • Helton will call plays from the field and WR coach Tee Martin will serve as his eye in the sky up in the press box. "If we were in a different situation, and we didn't have Tee Martin and Coach Tui and Coach Sark, you're talking about four quarterbacks on a staff, we've all seen and played the game and so the information coming down is very simple. If we weren't in that situation, and I felt like I needed better vision, I'd be up. But I can't tell you how valuable it is, when you get in a critical situation at the end of the game, to be able to literally talk to the players and say this is exactly what I want you to do. That's critical."
  • Helton and QB Cody Kessler have developed tremendous chemistry over the redshirt senior's career. Helton on Kessler: "It's like having a coach on the field. It's like he's reading my mind. He knows, whether it's myself or Coach Sark calling the play, exactly what we want and exactly why we're calling the play."
  • Here is Sarkisian's morning press conference:


Palinoia

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contibutor 

_MCG8177.jpgOn the first day of 2015 USC Fall Camp, every member of the football team was handed a coin inscribed with a complicated word and its simple definition.

Palinoia: The compulsive repetition of an act until it is perfect.

The word was one that no player had heard before, but it soon became entrenched in the identity of the team as they prepared for the upcoming season. To achieve the lofty goals the Trojans have for themselves this fall, it's going to require a mentality far above the status quo. Each coin serves as a reminder of what it takes to become the championship-caliber team USC believes it can be, and as a source of motivation that will stretch beyond the grueling two-a-days of Fall Camp.

USC Pass

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New this season, the Trojan Family can sign-up for USC Pass to get last-minute notifications about USC football tickets. Simply, enter your name, email and mobile phone number at USCPass.com, and they will text you before the game when tickets become available.

Click here to sign up!

To purchase, click the link in the text. You will immediately receive a mobile barcode for entry into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Sign up now and you will receive special discounted offers for the first two USC home games, including tickets as low as $25 for the season opener against Arkansas State on Saturday.

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Bricio Leads Ranking Surge

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USC women's volleyball rocketed up the national rankings from No. 22 to No. 8 after winning the Baden Invitational this past weekend at Galen Center. Tournament MVP Samantha Bricio was named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for leading the charge.

Click here for more.

Bricio is no stranger to Pac-12 weekly honors, picking up her fourth career nod. In three matches last week, Bricio hit .320 and picked up 58 kills (5.80 kps).

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Bench Boost

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

No. 17 USC women's soccer's bench came up big in the team's second win of the season this weekend, with freshman Mckenzie Taylor and sophomore Sydney Johnson scoring one goal apiece in the second half to put away UC Riverside, 2-0. The hard-fought game went scoreless until the 75th minute when the freshman turned a pass from Dominique Johnson into her first collegiate goal, scoring from 13 yards out to give the Trojans the lead.

Click here for a complete recap of the game.

"The motto is 'One Moment, One Now', and we had two women come into the game today that took their moments and helped their team win," head coach Keidane McAlpine said after the game.

With two road victories under their belts, the Women of Troy are off to a promising start in 2015. Their away slate continues this weekend against two, top-ranked opponents in No. 21 Duke and No. 6 North Carolina. The Trojans take on the Blue Devils on Friday at 4:30 p.m. PT before facing the Tar Heels on Sunday at 8 a.m. PT.

Here are Saturday's two goal scorers, as well as junior goalie Sammy Jo Prudhomme, after the victory...

Photo Gallery: WVB Wins Baden Invitational

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No. 22 USC women's volleyball can expect to surge up the national rankings this week after a spectacular start to the 2015 season, winning the Baden Invitational at Galen Center by defeating No. 7 North Carolina, Chicago State and No. 11 BYU in a two-day span.

Click here for the UNC highlights.

Click here for the BYU highlights.

The Women of Troy dropped just one set over three matches, needing four sets to top the Tar Heels on Friday before sweeping both of Saturday's opponents. The Trojans placed three student-athletes on the All-Tournament Team led by MVP Samantha Bricio, plus senior Alicia Ogoms and sophomore Brittany Abercrombie.

Here are the John McGillen photos from the Top 10 win over UNC:


Season Opening Depth Chart

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USC head coach released the depth chart for the season opener against Arkansas State.

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2015 Football Captains

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USC football announced the 2015 team captains: QB Cody Kessler, C Max Tuerk, LB Su'a Cravens, LB Anthony Sarao and DT Antwaun Woods.

Click here for the captain's press conference.

Kessler and Tuerk are the 13th and 14th multiple-time captains in USC history. Three defensive captains were chosen because the vote was so tight.

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2015 Mock Game: Notes

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The Trojans simulated game day today, arriving two hours early, getting dressed at the Coliseum, and then playing a mock game against the scout team.
  • While nothing noteworthy happened on the field during the non-contact practice, head coach Steve Sarkisian's press conference was full of juicy tidbits.
  • First, he brought out the 2015 team captains: QB Cody Kessler, C Max Tuerk, LB Su'a Cravens, LB Anthony Sarao and DT Antwaun Woods.
  • Because the voting was so close, the coaching staff settled on three defenders.
  • And then, Sarkisian announced that offensive coordinator Clay Helton will take over the primary play-calling responsibilities. After assessing his first season at USC, Sarkisian developed the plan, starting in spring football, to transition the offense over to Helton, so he can focus on his duties as a head coach. Helton will call plays from the sideline.
  • Sarkisian: "I want to be a great head coach. I don't want to set offensive records and be 8-5 or 9-4. I want to win 14 games."
  • Finally, Sarkisian announced the winners of a pair of camp battles. Alex Wood will be the starting placekicker for the season opener, while senior Tre Madden was named the starting tailback. Junior RB Justin Davis, who is dealing with a rib injury, is questionable for the first game, so the Trojans could rely on three freshmen, Ronald Jones II, Aca'Cedric Ware and Dominic Davis, to backup Madden.
  • Here is Sarkisian's lengthy and newsworthy press conference: