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July 2009 Archives

'Very difficult news' for freshman Telfort

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Sadly, Frankie Telfort's career as a Trojan has ended before it even began.

An incoming freshman linebacker out of Miami, Telfort has been diagnosed with a serious genetic heart condition that will prevent him from playing football for USC.

"This is obviously very difficult news for Frankie, his family and all of us in the football program," Coach Pete Carroll said. "But we're very thankful doctors discovered the issue before it led to anything worse."
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Telfort was examined by several of L.A.'s top cardiologists before flying to the Minneapolis Heart Institute last week for a final opinion. Heart specialists determined the 17-year-old had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that affects 1 in 500 Americans and is the most common cardiovascular cause of sudden death in the world. Telfort has consequently not received medical clearance to play football at USC, but discovering the problem at this stage most likely saved his life.

Even though his playing career at USC is over, Telfort will remain a part of the Trojan Family. Athletic Director Mike Garrett will honor his full scholarship, and Telfort is planning to continue on as a student at USC, with an expected graduation date of May 2013.

"Everybody's football career unfortunately ends at some point and no one's ever ready for it," a solemn Carroll said. "For some guys, it comes sooner than expected. But you're a football player and a Trojan for life, and Frankie is definitely both."

Spanning many generations

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Seventy-four years and several generations apart, two Trojans came together last week for a meeting of a lifetime.

Matt Barkley, USC's 18-year-old freshman quarterback, and Louis Zamperini, a 92-year-old Trojan legend, convened for lunch and a tour of Zamperini's early-1900s house in Hollywood Hills last Monday, when Barkley got a first-hand education on the life of an American and USC hero.

Zamperini's accomplishments just don't seem possible for one man. He was a national record-holder in the mile as a high schooler, a 1936 U.S. Olympian in track, a World War II veteran -- including being adrift on the Pacific Ocean for 47 days after his plane went down and spending two years in Japanese captivity --  and is now a motivational speaker.

"His story is unbelievable," Barkley said.

Needless to say, Barkley left his meeting with Zamperini both inspired and impressed.

"His attitude on life -- just staying positive -- was awesome," Barkley said. "He says, 'don't give up on what you love.'"

The two Trojans were brought together by Jeff Fellenzer, a USC journalism professor who is highly connected with many sports personalities in L.A., many of whom speak at his class. Barkley took Fellenzer's "Sports, Business and Media in Today's Society" course this spring.

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Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley, 18 years old, poses for a picture with USC legend Louis Zamperini, 92 years young, at Zamperini's Hollywood Hills home last week. [Photo courtesy of Jeff Fellenzer]

Honoring a legend

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One of Coach Carroll's heroes and mentors, John Wooden was named the greatest coach of all time by Sporting News Magazine this week.

Carroll has modeled some of his coaching philosophies after Wooden, who won 10 national championships in a 12-year stretch. This quote from one of Wooden's former players shows a key similarity between the two coaches.

"When I think of Coach Wooden, the first word that comes to mind is execution," said Gail Goodrich, who wrote an appreciation of his former coach in the latest issue of Sporting News. "We never worried about the opponent, only about how we were going to play."

Jump around

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Linebacker Chris Galippo does box step-ups during the on-field portion of this morning's strength and conditioning session. After today, only two workouts remain this week before the summer program wraps up.

McCoy on the watch list

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Tight end Anthony McCoy has been named to the preseason watch list for the 2009 Mackey Award, given annually to the nation's top tight end.

USC's Fred Davis won the honor in 2007.

Song of the day

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Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle's song of the day today is "L.A. Freeway" by Jerry Jeff Walker:

Silver anniversary

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Exactly 25 years after the opening ceremony of the 1984 L.A. Olympics, today the venerable Coliseum is transitioning from soccer to football, with workers beginning to prepare the majestic stadium for the 2009 USC football season. The Trojans' opener against San Jose State is just 39 days away.

Conference of champions

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In the past two years, the Pac-10 has the best record in bowl games of all the major conferences with a 9-2 mark, including six wins against Top-25 teams. In that span, the Pac-10 is followed by the SEC (13-4), Big East (7-4), Big 12 (9-6), Big Ten (4-11) and ACC (4-12).

Pick two

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The USC ticket office is offering a special discount when you buy two tickets to two home games this fall.

Purchase at least a pair of tickets to two of the three home contests against San Jose State, Washington State and Arizona and receive 20 percent off -- a total discount of $40. Buy now and receive a cool Nike USC drawstring backpack. Click here for more info and to purchase your tickets!

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For the forces

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Just a reminder that the season-opener against San Jose State has been named Joint Forces Day, meaning all active and veteran military personnel, police officers, firefighters and EMTs can receive 2-for-1 tickets. Call (213) 740-GOSC to order your tickets now.

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You are now free to fly to Columbus

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Thinking about traveling to Columbus in September for the USC-Ohio State game?

Southwest Airlines is trying to make the decision a little bit easier -- and cheaper.

The carrier has added an extra nonstop flight from LAX to Columbus on Friday, Sept. 11 and from Columbus to LAX on Sunday, Sept. 13 to give Trojan fans an incentive to attend the Sept. 12 matchup. Fares are currently about $500 per person for a roundtrip fare.

Thanks to loyal RipsIt reader Jeff Collins for passing along this nugget, which was buried in this travel article from Saturday's L.A. Times.

Coming to you live online

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The press conferences during Pac-10 Media Day will be streamed live online for free on Thursday. Coach Carroll and Taylor Mays will be on the dais at 12:10 p.m. for 15 minutes.

Here is the full schedule for the press conferences on Thursday morning at Pac-10 Media Day:

9:30 a.m. • Introduction
9:35 a.m. • Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott
9:45 a.m. • Paul Wulff/C Kenny Alfred - Washington State
10:00 a.m. • Steve Sarkisian/OLB Donald Butler - Washington
10:15 a.m. • Rick Neuheisel/MLB Reggie Carter - UCLA
10:30 a.m. • Jim Harbaugh/RB Toby Gerhart - Stanford
10:45 a.m. • Dennis Erickson/OLB Mike Nixon - Arizona State
11:00 a.m. • Break
11:10 a.m. • Mike Stoops/FS Cam Nelson - Arizona
11:25 a.m. • Jeff Tedford/TB Jahvid Best - California
11:40 a.m. • Mike Riley/OLB Keaton Kristick - Oregon State
11:55 a.m. • Chip Kelly/CB Walter Thurmond III - Oregon
12:10 p.m. • Pete Carroll/FS Taylor Mays - USC
12:25 p.m. • Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott

Song of the day

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Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle's song of the day today is "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole:

The 2009 USCRipsIt Practice Primer

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0805practiceprimerhead400.jpg Being prepared is a key belief of the USC football program.

Prepare for a victory by preparing in practice.

But you've got to prepare for practice, too.

And that also applies for the fans who are coming to practice during Fall Camp, when all sessions between Aug. 8 and 22 are open to the public. Make sure you read up on some important insider tips in the following USCRipsIt Practice Primer.

So check the schedule and plan on coming out to a Trojan practice some time during the two weeks of training camp -- but not before reading the USCRipsIt Practice Primer:

Practice location
Historic Howard Jones field is located in the northwest corner of campus, adjacent to baseball's Dedeaux Field and the McDonald's Swim Stadium. All practices will be on Howard Jones except for the three scrimmages at the Coliseum.

Parking
The most convenient and accessible parking lot for practice guests is Parking Lot 1, which is accessible at Entrance 8, just off of Vermont Ave. on Jefferson Blvd. Parking is metered at $1 per hour.

Duration
Practices usually last about two hours, though some during Fall Camp can go up to three hours long. The first 15-30 minutes of each practice consists of stretching, warm-up drills and a walk-thru period. The final period of practice is the closest to a game-like scrimmage -- and it can often get even more competitive than what you see on Saturdays.

Attire
It's recommended that fans dress for the weather, especially on hot days. Wear hats and bring sunscreen, as there are no shaded areas on the practice field.

Seating
There are no bleachers or existing seats on the practice field, but you can bring a lawn chair and set it up along the sideline.

Field layout

The practice field is actually a field and a half -- Howard Jones is the main, full-sized field, and Brian Kennedy is the half-field on the south end of the complex. The defense uses Brian Kennedy field, while the offensive and full-team drills are typically on Howard Jones field. They're separated by just a few yards, so if you're standing between the two fields, be sure to get out of the way between drills, as the players will come storming through (and they're quite a bit bigger than you).

What's that horn?
Like the bell between classes in your high school days, the air horn is blown to signal a change of periods by football equipment coordinator Tino Dominguez, who also handles the clock duties during practice. Practices are scripted and the timing of each segment is very calculated, so the horn alerts all the coaches and players to change from one drill to the next. It's rather loud -- you can hear it miles away from campus -- so be sure you aren't too close when the horn goes off. Two horn blasts mean it's a change of period, while three horns signify the end of practice.

Food info
No food or drinks are sold at practices, but there are many on-campus eateries that are open during the day, including two new options next to the Galen Center -- the ever-popular Lab and classy McKay's. Also, Figueroa Street just northeast of campus is a Trojan's preferred drag for fast-food restaurants, and if you're in the mood for a full meal, stop by El Cholo Spanish Café, an all-time USC favorite.

Can I take a picture?

Photography (still or video) is not allowed during practice, though you can take as many pictures as you want following practice.

What about an autograph?
Players and coaches are available for photos and autographs following each practice.

Why are they checking IDs?
Football office staffers are usually the bouncers at the practice field gates, standing at the door to Howard Jones field checking picture IDs and marking down the names of people who attend. It's all for security purposes, just so the football staff can keep track of who's coming and ensure that agents and their runners are staying away from the practice field and the Trojan players.

Why are practices so open?
Coach Carroll likes having open practices because it gives what could be a mundane set of drills a game-like feel. Coaches believe players perform at a high level when they know they have an audience. "If we're going to play in front of a lot of people, we should practice in front of a lot of people," Carroll says.

This feature was originally published in August 2008 on USCRipsIt.com and PeteCarroll.com.

Guiding you through the season

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A tell-tale sign that football season is right around the corner?

The 2009 media guide has been printed.

It has been accessible online for a few weeks, but now it's available in print. The 208-page annual encyclopedia of Trojan football features senior safety Taylor Mays on the cover.

To get yours for the upcoming season, send $20 in check (payable to USC) to the USC Sports Information Office, HER 103, USC, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0601.

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How tweet it is

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Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you don't have to be a journalist to take part in Pac-10 Media Day on Thursday.

In fact, you don't even have to leave your computer.

Submit questions to the Pac-10 via Twitter that you want asked of the conference's head coaches and top players during Media Day. So tweet away and see if your question gets asked on Thursday. Get more info here.

Did you know?

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The Pac-10 has had a winning nonconference record for 25 consecutive football seasons.

Forty days and counting

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The 2009 football season is approaching, with the opener against San Jose State on Sept. 5 at the Coliseum inching closer by the second:

Kicking and screaming

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Howard Jones field looked like an elementary school playground this morning.

Instead of the usual agility and conditioning drills, the Trojans played kickball during the on-field portion of this morning's summer strength and conditioning session. It was a welcomed change of pace in the offseason workout program that is now in its eighth and final week.

"We wanted to give them a break and give them something to look forward to," said head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, who pitched for both teams. "We threw them a bone since they've been working their tails off all summer."

In the 15-minute lighthearted game during the 10 a.m. workout slot, defensive end Everson Griffen produced the only run -- scoring on a comical four-error play following a simple groundball to the third baseman -- to give his team the 1-0 victory.

After the fun-filled contest, the players went to Heritage Hall to complete the weight room portion of the morning workout. They'll return to the normal routine Tuesday and through these last four days of the summer program.

"We'll come back and hit it hard tomorrow," Carlisle said.

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During this morning's kickball game in place of the usual on-field workout, defensive end Everson Griffen winds up to hit a ball that would eventually send him home after four errors on the play.

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Defensive back Rob Erickson connects on a ball while his teammates watch intently.

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Tight end Blake Ayles prepares to drill a ball during this morning's lighthearted kickball game on Howard Jones field.

Sing it out

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Today's song of the day -- courtesy of head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, who's the guest presenter throughout July -- is the 1930s hit "Sing! Sing! Sing!" by Gene Krupa:

Worth a look

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Check out this cool behind-the-scenes O.C. Register photo essay from the Angel game on Thursday night, when Mark Sanchez threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The Fall Camp schedule

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Only two weeks remain until Fall Camp 2009.

Players will report to camp Aug. 7 and conduct their first practice Aug. 8, with 29 workouts scheduled between the start of camp and the season-opener on Sept. 5 against San Jose State.

Check out the practice schedule for Fall Camp 2009, mark your calendars and plan on coming out to witness the Trojans leading into the season. All practices are open to the public and will be on Howard Jones field unless otherwise specified. Please note that the dates and times for all practices are subject to change, so be checking the Blog for the latest info:

Aug. 8 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 9 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 10 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 11 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 12 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 13 - Practice 9 a.m.; Practice 4 p.m. (two-a-day)
Aug. 14 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 15 - Practice 9 a.m.; Practice 4 p.m. (two-a-day)
Aug. 16 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 17 - Practice 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 19 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 20 - Practice 9 a.m.; Practice 4 p.m. (two-a-day)
Aug. 21 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 22 - Practice 9 a.m.; Practice 3 p.m. (two-a-day) - Salute to Troy at 5 p.m.
Aug. 23 - OFF
Aug. 24 - OFF (First day of fall semester)
Aug. 25 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 26 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 27 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 28 - Practice 4:15 p.m.
Aug. 29 - Mock game at 12:30 p.m. (Coliseum)
Aug. 30 - OFF
Aug. 31 - Practice 4 p.m. (Normal game week commences)
Sept. 1 - Practice 4 p.m. (Competition Tuesday)
Sept. 2 - Practice 4 p.m. (Turnover Wednesday)
Sept. 3 - Practice 4 p.m. (No Repeat Thursday)
Sept. 4 - Practice 4:15 p.m. (Review Friday - CLOSED to the public)
Sept. 5 - USC vs. SAN JOSE STATE 12:30 p.m. (Coliseum)

Closer by the minute

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The 2009 season is getting closer, and the USCRipsIt countdown clock will take you all the way there. Only 43 days -- and counting -- remain until the Trojans take the Coliseum field on Sept. 5.

This countdown clock is shareable, so embed it into your blog, spread it on Twitter or e-mail it to your friends -- just click "Get Widget" and select one of the many sharing options.

Song of the day

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Today's song of the day, courtesy of head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, is "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi, a shoutout to senior associate athletic director Mark Jackson.

"Gotta keep the senior associate AD fired up!" Carlisle said.

Early risers

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The summer is inching closer to its finish.

With a rapid-fire 6:30 a.m. conditioning-based workout this morning, the Trojans completed their penultimate week of the summer program, leaving just five workouts next week between now and the start of Fall Camp 2009 on Aug. 7.

Check out several images from the early morning session on Cromwell Field:

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Players shuffle through bags as the sun rises Friday morning.

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Wideouts Damian Williams (right) and Brice Butler (left) shuffle through the agility bags.

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Fullback D.J. Shoemate (right), quarterback Mitch Mustain (second from right), tailback Joe McKnight (third from right) and others fly through the agility bags.

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Quarterback Matt Barkley scoots around the agility bags.

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Defensive end Everson Griffen hustles through an agility bag drill.

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Linebacker Michael Morgan finishes through the ladder.

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Center Kristofer O'Dowd (left) and offensive tackle Butch Lewis (right) churn through cone drills.

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Defensive backs Shareece Wright and Drew McAllister shuffle through the ladder.

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Offensive linemen Butch Lewis and Jeff Byers lead a line of players through the ladder.

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Quarterback Aaron Corp back-pedals as assistant strength and conditioning coach Wendell Richards directs.

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Wideout Damian Williams turns the corner around an agility bag.

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Tailback Allen Bradford and fullback D.J. Shoemate go through the ladder.

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Aaron Corp shifts directions around the bags.

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Offensive lineman Alex Parsons shows some emotion as he finishes through an agility bag competition.

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Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle addresses the team following the workout, using lessons from the morning that can be applied throughout the season.

For a good read

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Here's an interesting feature on Aaron Corp, from today's online version of the L.A. Times.

Working away

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Tailback C.J. Gable throws a medicine ball as part of an explosion drill during this morning's workout. Only six sessions remain in the summer strength and conditioning program before Fall Camp kicks off.

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Cornerback Shareece Wright, fullback Adam Goodman and safety Marshall Jones go through a line of box push-ups during this morning's workout on Howard Jones field.

Song of the day

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Today's song of the day -- courtesy of guest presenter Chris Carlisle, USC's head strength and conditioning coach -- is "Voodoo Chile" by Stevie Ray Vaughan:

One week

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Pac-10 Media Day is next Thursday morning at an LAX-area hotel, with Coach Carroll and safety Taylor Mays representing the Trojans at the season kickoff event.

Mannywood

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Manny Ramirez hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the sixth inning of Wednesday's Dodger game, and it's all Coach Carroll is talking about this morning.

"That's just classic Manny," said Carroll, who lit up after seeing the highlights this morning. "The anticipation of watching great players is so captivating. It's like watching a great running back -- you can't wait to see what he does next. And Manny's one of those guys. That's why I love him.

"It reminds me of the old days watching Willie Mays with the Giants."

Nursing a sore hand, Ramirez didn't take batting practice Wednesday and hit the very first pitch he saw into the left field seats to clinch a 6-2 Dodger victory.

Song of the day

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Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle's guest song of the day today is "Smooth" by Santana:

A great night at Dodger Stadium

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It was a night at the ballpark for Coach Carroll on Tuesday night.



At Dodger Stadium to take part in a pre-game ceremony for A Better LA's Summer Night Lights program alongside Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, Carroll enjoy an evening chock full of activity. He chatted with Dodgers manager Joe Torre, caught up with ESPN college football announcer Kirk Herbstreit and saw the Dodgers tear up the Cincinnati Reds, winning 12-3 on a perfect night for baseball.

But most importantly, Carroll and his foundation received a $25,000 donation from the Dodgers Dream Foundation, the first step in a generous philanthropic relationship that is expected to stretch far into the future. The Summer Night Lights program is an anti-gang initiative that keeps the lights on at city parks to give children a safe and fun place to hang out after dark.



Check out some photos from the night at Dodger Stadium. Many thanks to Dodgers team photographer Jon SooHoo for his images:




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Coach Carroll, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and participants in A Better LA's Summer Night Lights program receive the $25,000 donation from the Dodgers Dream Foundation during a pre-game ceremony on the field Tuesday night. [Photo courtesy of Jon SooHoo, Dodgers team photographer]




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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Coach Carroll and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt converse on the field prior to Tuesday's game. [Photo courtesy of Jon SooHoo, Dodgers team photographer]




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Coach Carroll and Dodgers manager Joe Torre chat on the field prior to Tuesday night's game. [Photo courtesy of Jon SooHoo, Dodgers team photographer]




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ESPN college football announcer Kirk Herbstreit, at Dodger Stadium to support his home-state Cincinnati Reds, meets with Coach Carroll prior to the game, with Joe Torre watching on. [Photo courtesy of Jon SooHoo, Dodgers team photographer]




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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Coach Carroll enjoy the Dodgers' 12-3 victory from the owner's box on Tuesday night. [Photo by Ben Malcolmson]




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Coach Carroll, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, TV reporter Lu Parker, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and A Better LA assistant executive director Angela Carter join in signing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch on Tuesday night. [Photo by Ben Malcolmson]

Insightful interview

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A Better LA executive director Brian Center was recently interviewed for an online news site, and the results give you a great perspective inside the workings and philosophy of the charity. Read the highlights here and listen to the audio of the entire interview here.

Watch it again

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We've posted this before, but it's always worth re-watching -- NFL Network's feature on USC being "the No. 1 football factory of all-time." Thanks to reader Mark Ferjulian for passing it along:


Countdown

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Fall camp opens in 17 days and the first game of the 2009 season is just 46 days away.

Song of the day

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Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, this month's guest presenter of the song of the day feature, has selected "Boys of Summer" by Don Henley as today's choice:

Enter the ring

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Unquestionably, Gerald Washington has lived an eventful life.

The 27-year-old spent four years in the U.S. Navy as a helicopter mechanic before going to junior college and eventually transferring to USC, where he played defensive end for the Trojans in 2006-08.
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But he has now set aside the football cleats, picked up the boxing gloves and embarked into a new chapter in life.

"One thing to the next," Washington said.

Washington, who had a blocked punt in the UCLA game, was signed to the Buffalo Bills' offseason program following April's NFL Draft, but his football career appears to be done for the time being. Instead, he's been invited to train in Carson with some of the world's top amateur boxers, with the hope of ultimately becoming a full-fledged professional in four to six months.

"It's intense," said the 255-pound Washington, who will compete in the heavyweight division. "It's a different type of conditioning."

Carroll, 60 Minutes and an Emmy?

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Television awards might have a USC flair this fall.

The December 2008 "60 Minutes" feature on Coach Carroll's work with USC and A Better LA has been nominated for an Emmy Award, a monumental honor for the TV show, Carroll and A Better LA.

The 12-minute segment is one of five nominees for an Emmy in the feature story in a news magazine category. The winner will be announced in a ceremony on Sept. 21 in New York.

Watch the piece here:


Watch CBS Videos Online

For a good read

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Here's a neat feature from Bloomberg News on Riki Ellison, the former USC linebacker, Super Bowl-winning 49er and father of current Trojan Rhett Ellison.

Heating up

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With temperatures rising near 90 degrees this morning, safety Shane Horton, linebacker Chris Galippo, tailback Curtis McNeal and tight end Blake Ayles shuffle through the agility ladder during today's workout.

Spirit lives on

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The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life made a stop in Sun Prairie, Wis., this weekend, and the annual event was a fitting tribute to Ryan Davidson, the 16-year-old Trojan fan who died in February after a nearly 10-year battle with cancer. Check out this touching news feature on this weekend's fundraising event:

Song of the day

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As July's guest presenter of the song of the day, head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle brings you the 1960s hit "Boom Boom" by the Animals as today's offering:

Faith and football

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LAKE FOREST -- Defensive coordinator Rocky Seto traded the coaches box for the pulpit this weekend, much to the delight of thousands of churchgoers in Orange County.

As the invited guest speaker at Saddleback Church's high school ministry, Seto tied football and faith together in an eloquent and powerful sermon at four youth-directed services this weekend, undoubtedly touching the lives of high school students, their parents and many other curious attendees.

Speaking at one of the largest youth ministries in the country, Seto's talk focused on the idea of fear and how that relates to peer pressure. While sharing a personal journal entry entitled, "Everything counts," he discussed the dichotomy between character and reputation to drive home his point.

"Reputation is what others think of you; character is who I am before God," Seto told the audience. "So what's the focus here? We need to focus on pleasing God."

Seto spoke to about 2,000 people over the four services, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. After each talk, several admirers lined up to meet the coach, and overall, his words were very well received.

"You could tell everyone really liked it -- the whole crowd was really into it," said Katie Ryan, a student leader in the high school ministry group who delivered a short introduction of Seto before his sermon. "My friend told me how much of an inspiration Rocky's talk was to him. He was just gushing over the talk."

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Defensive coordinator Rocky Seto speaks at Saddleback Church's high school ministry service on Saturday night, one of four services he preached at the Lake Forest church this weekend. Combined, about 2,000 people attended the four services.

Reminder: Seto to speak at Saddleback Church

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Defensive coordinator Rocky Seto will be the guest speaker at Saddleback Church's high school ministry during four services this weekend -- Saturday at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9 and 11:15 a.m. Get more info, including the church location and other details, here.

Making A Better LA

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Check out this well-produced short film that shows exactly what A Better LA does in the community:

Remembering a legend

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Herb Klein, a former White House official, newspaper executive and USC alum, was honored with a special memorial service on the deck of the USS Midway in San Diego on Tuesday, a ceremony that included a performance by the Trojan Marching Band.

Klein, who was a former USC board of trustees member and Daily Trojan sports editor, died July 2 at age 91.

Did you know?

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During the past year, the Trojan Marching Band performed 442 times -- at 88 USC athletic events and 354 gigs -- for an average of 1.2 performances per day, according to the band's Twitter page.

Playing the academies

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RipsIt reader Rob Rae e-mailed in with a question about the last time the Trojans played a service academy.

USC's previous game against one of the three service academies was in 1962 against Navy, a 13-6 victory at the Coliseum. In fact, in 1,123 all-time games since 1888, the Trojans have played only five contests against the service academies -- two against Army and three against Navy -- and have never faced Air Force.

How bad do you want it?

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We're continuing with our guest songs of the day today, as head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle is offering "How Bad Do You Want It" by Tim McGraw as the TGIF tune:

Spotlight on some unsung heroes

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The players and strength coaches are out bright and early each day for summer workouts.

That's a given.

But there's a group of support staffers who are there as well -- out earlier and staying later -- and who don't receive any credit or attention through the long summer days and all during the fall.

The USC athletic trainers -- headman Russ Romano and assistants Paul Diaz, Chris Grosskopf, David Borchardt, Sandy Olsen, Sue Lerner, Hillery Magness, Catherine Hill and John Meyer -- arrive at Heritage Hall around 6 a.m. each morning and stay late into the afternoon all summer, as they keep the players healthy and hydrated and work through rehab with the injured athletes. It's the athletic trainers' work that allows the Trojans to take the field each fall nearly unblemished after an offseason of surgeries, injuries and other nicks.

It's a thankless, unheralded job that simply shouldn't be.

Rising up with the morning sun

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The end is near.

And with it, so too is the beginning.

The entire team hustled through an hour-long Trojan Run workout early Friday morning, completing their sixth week of the summer program and leaving just 10 more workouts before Fall Camp and the 2009 season officially kick off.

Through agility and conditioning drills under the watchful eye of the USC strength and conditioning staff, the Trojans finished off the fifth competition-based Trojan Run workout of the summer, with the defense capturing the victory today. Team-wide workouts such as this morning's foster the endurance, strength and, most importantly, chemistry that'll play itself out on football fields in L.A., Ohio, South Bend and up and down the West Coast this fall.

Check out some photos from today's 6:30 a.m. workout on Cromwell Field:

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The Trojans churn through their warm-up on Cromwell Field.

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Players shuffle through agility bags as the morning sun rises into the sky.

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Defensive lineman Christian Tupou hustles around the cone.

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Under a beautiful morning sky, (from left to right) fullback Adam Goodman, fullback Stanley Havili, quarterback Aaron Corp and tailback Allen Bradford jump up during drills.

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Tailback C.J. Gable changes direction during drills.

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Aaron Corp shuffles around a cone.

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Wideout David Ausberry leaps up during a drill.

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Quarterback Matt Barkley sprints out during a conditioning drill.

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Defensive back Josh Pinkard jumps up at the end of a conditioning drill.

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Wideout Ronald Johnson runs out of his break during this morning's workout.

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Tailback Stafon Johnson hops over the agility bags, with quarterback Mitch Mustain closely behind.

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Offensive lineman Tyron Smith sprints out of an agility bag drill as fellow linemen Matt Kalil (left) and Khaled Holmes (middle) follow behind.

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Linebacker Jordan Campbell and tailback Allen Bradford race through an agility bag competition.

Joining the elite club

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Linebacker Rey Maualuga's "fathead" -- a life-sized action picture -- has been recently affixed to the wall outside of the USC locker room in Heritage Hall's basement. Maualuga's photo, which recognizes his winning of the 2008 Bednarik Award for the nation's top defensive player, sits alongside USC's Heisman Trophy winners and other major award-winning players.

Starting the season off in style

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Salute to Troy, the annual kickoff banquet for the football season, will be Saturday, Aug. 22 at 4:30 p.m. on Cromwell Field. The dinner program will follow an open-to-the-public practice at 3 p.m. that day.

Tickets, which are $60 for adults and $20 for children, can be purchased online (enter "guest" for your ID if you do not have one) or by calling (213) 740-4155.

Ring around the Rose Bowl

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Players have been receiving their 2008 Rose Bowl and Pac-10 Championship rings during the last few days. The special mementos of the team's seventh straight conference title include a large red ruby, a gold interlock "SC" and several diamonds on the face of the ring.

Fresh start

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Howard Jones Field sits as a perfect blank slate today, just two weeks after the entire field was ripped up and re-sodded. After the grass matures and takes root, the grounds crew will paint the football lines in the first week of August, prior to the first practice of Fall Camp 2009 on Aug. 8.

Guest presenter

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With the coaches out this month, we've got a special guest contributor for the song of the day. Head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle will give his daily music choice, with today's being "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen:

Stars aligning

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Matt Leinart of the Arizona Cardinals and Matt Cassel of the Kansas City Chiefs, who combined make $113.8 million, go through a casual throwing session at USC's Cromwell Field this morning. Fellow USC alums Steve Smith (New York Giants wide receiver) and Cary Harris (Buffalo Bills cornerback) joined the quarterback duo for the informal workout.

Project Trojan: Episode 6

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The sixth and final episode of "Project Trojan: Making of the 2009 Trojan Football Team" has been posted online. Check out this special 13-minute feature that takes you inside the team, including looks at the quarterback battle, new offensive coordinator John Morton and the wide receiver competition.

And the best part of it all -- it's free. Watch it now!

Pressing on

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With defensive end Everson Griffen spotting, safety Taylor Mays does 325-pound bench press reps during this morning's strength and conditioning session. Only 11 workouts remain in the summer strength and conditioning program before players take a one-week break prior to the start of Fall Camp 2009.

Fourth of July fun

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An estimated 20,000 people came out to A Better LA's July 4 celebration at the Coliseum, which included games, food and an hour-long fireworks show above the Olympic torch and peristyle.

"It was a day of peace and family enjoyment, just the way it should be, as the dream of A Better LA continues on," A Better LA volunteer Scot Obler said.

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Fireworks ignite the sky above the Coliseum on July 4, when 20,000 people came out for the A Better LA-hosted celebration.

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Unity One's Cornell Ward, Coach Carroll and A Foundation for Kids' Mark Chow pose for a picture at the July 4 celebration at the Coliseum. [Photos by Scot Obler of A Better LA]

A unique opportunity

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Defensive coordinator Rocky Seto will be the guest speaker at Saddleback Church's high school ministry this weekend as he shares his perspective on fear. A devout Christian, Seto will speaking at all four "Refinery" services at the Lake Forest church -- Saturday at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9 and 11:15 a.m.

Find out more info here and head on out to south Orange County to hear Seto in this special setting.

Honoring the forces

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The season-opener against San Jose State has been named Joint Forces Day, meaning all active and veteran military personnel, police officers, firefighters and EMTs can receive 2-for-1 tickets. Call (213) 740-GOSC to order your tickets now.

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Reaching out to the youth

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Check out this fantastic video piece from ABC about the Youth Impact Program, a unique month-long camp for 130 underprivileged seventh- and eighth-graders held annually at USC:

While we were away

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Here are some interesting links to catch you up on what's been going on during the last two weeks:

- Mark Sanchez could have a major cultural impact on the NFL (SI.com, July 14)
- Coach Carroll is described as "the ultimate social networking coach" (ESPN.com, July 6)
- The Pac-10 is now on Twitter
- New men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill answers some good questions about his new role (Sporting News, July 7)

Fall Camp 2009: The schedule

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Fall Camp 2009 is just around the corner.

Players will report to camp Aug. 7 and conduct their first practice Aug. 8, with 29 workouts scheduled between the start of camp and the season-opener on Sept. 5 against San Jose State.

Check out the practice schedule for Fall Camp 2009, mark your calendars and plan on coming out to witness the Trojans leading into the season. All practices are open to the public and will be on Howard Jones field unless otherwise specified. Please note that the dates and times for all practices are subject to change, so be checking the Blog for the latest info:

Aug. 8 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 9 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 10 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 11 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 12 - Practice 3 p.m.
Aug. 13 - Practice 9 a.m.; Practice 4 p.m. (two-a-day)
Aug. 14 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 15 - Practice 9 a.m.; Practice 4 p.m. (two-a-day)
Aug. 16 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 17 - Practice 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 19 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 20 - Practice 9 a.m.; Practice 4 p.m. (two-a-day)
Aug. 21 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 22 - Practice 9 a.m.; Practice 3 p.m. (two-a-day)
Aug. 23 - OFF
Aug. 24 - OFF (First day of fall semester)
Aug. 25 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 26 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 27 - Practice 4 p.m.
Aug. 28 - Practice 4:15 p.m.
Aug. 29 - Mock game at 12:30 p.m. (Coliseum)
Aug. 30 - OFF
Aug. 31 - Practice 4 p.m. (Normal game week commences)
Sept. 1 - Practice 4 p.m. (Competition Tuesday)
Sept. 2 - Practice 4 p.m. (Turnover Wednesday)
Sept. 3 - Practice 4 p.m. (No Repeat Thursday)
Sept. 4 - Practice 4:15 p.m. (Review Friday - CLOSED to the public)
Sept. 5 - USC vs. SAN JOSE STATE 12:30 p.m. (Coliseum)

It's a girl!

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Another late mention, but congrats to assistant athletic director for academics Jason Pappas and his wife Cara on the birth of their newborn baby daughter Alexa Grace on June 4. Congratulations!

Preseason honors

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Safety Taylor Mays and center Kristofer O'Dowd have been named to the Playboy's 2009 Preseason All-America Team.

Pedal to the metal

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We received a question from RipsIt reader Rob Rae about the 24 40-yard dashes the Trojans completed during Monday's workout: "Are we talking full speed??? I would guess that the maximum number anyone could run in a 15-20 minute period would be four. After all, there needs to be some time for recovery! Does this workout take 3 hours?"

The Trojans didn't run them at full speed -- but pretty close to it. The skill position players have to run all 24 in less than 5.5 seconds, the quarterbacks, tight ends and linebackers have to run them all in under 6 seconds and the linemen have to finish each one in less than 6.5 seconds. And here's the crazy part -- they get only 20 seconds of rest between each sprint.

So all told, the excruciating workout is completed in less than 15 minutes, including a quick water break at the midpoint of the 24 sprints.

Slowing down

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Heritage Hall will be mostly quiet for the next few weeks, as coaches are out of the office all of July and players are off from workouts for seven days.

So the RipsIt Blog will follow suit, as we'll be going mostly dormant for a good portion of July. We'll still post periodic updates throughout the month, but the pace will be slowed to allow us to regroup and prepare for the 2009 season.

Thank you

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With our nation's independence day coming up this Saturday, we'd like to thank and honor the men and women, both past and present, in the U.S. Armed Forces who allow this country to have freedom.

Countless USC alumni and Trojan fans are stationed around the world currently fighting for our country. Here's a picture of loyal Trojan supporter Rich Little (left), who was an LAPD detective for 26 years before recently taking a leave of absence to join the military and help fight the war on terror. He is now part of a Marine battalion in Iraq, and the picture is of Little and a battalion judge advocate (right) standing outside of what used to be Saddam Hussein's palace in Baghdad:

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Tradition of excellence

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Don't miss this neat video feature examining the tradition of USC football through an ESPN interview with Matt Leinart (thanks to RipsIt reader Jaime Ortiz for passing it along):

All in the numbers

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Without their last name on the back of their jersey, a player's number at USC means a lot.

It's how you spot Player A from Player B. And it's how players form an identity for themselves while a Trojan and forever.

The incoming freshmen scholarship players have been anointed with their numbers, so check out the list and take note -- here are your latest Trojans:

No. 1 - WR Devon Flournoy (shared with CB T.J. Bryant; previously worn by WR Patrick Turner)
No. 4 - DB Torin Harris (shared with TB Joe McKnight; previously worn by S Kevin Ellison)
No. 7 - QB Matt Barkley (worn during Spring Practice 2009)
No. 7 - DB T.J. McDonald (previously worn by CB Cary Harris)
No. 9 - DB Byron Moore (shared with WR David Ausberry)
No. 10 - LB Jarvis Jones (shared with FB D.J. Shoemate; previously worn by LB Brian Cushing)
No. 16 - DE James Boyd (shared with QB Mitch Mustain)
No. 25 - DB Patrick Hall
No. 29 - DB Jawanza Starling (former freshman-year number of S Taylor Mays)
No. 36 - FB Simione Vehikite (shared with DB Josh Pinkard)
No. 42 - DE Devon Kennard
No. 43 - LB Frankie Telfort (previously worn by LB Kaluka Maiava)
No. 48 - K Jacob Harfman
No. 53 - LB Marquis Simmons (shared with OL Jeff Byers)
No. 59 - C John Martinez (shared with LB Dan Deckas)
No. 77 - OL Kevin Graf
No. 81 - DE Kevin Greene (shared with WR Spencer Vigoren)
No. 92 - DL Hebron Fangupo