November 2010 Archives

UCLA Tuesday Practice: Notes

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The Trojans are trying to put the Notre Dame loss behind them...

  • On the injury front, T.J. McDonald looks unlikely to play.  The safety's shoulder is still in a sling.  However, Jawanza Starling returned to practice, so he'll be in the safety mix with Tony Burnett and Marshall Jones.
  • The corner position is depleted.  Torin Harris and Brian Baucham are both out for now, so Daniel Harper is in position to swipe the nickel spot behind starters Shareece Wright and Nickell Robey.
  • Tyron Smith missed Saturday's game and practice tonight.  The massive junior was asked about his NFL future and he is leaning towards returning for his senior season.
  • The highlight of practice was walk-on QB John Manoogian throwing two perfect balls to the delight of his offensive teammates.  The defense took their retribution when they sent him flying on a QB scramble later in the drive.  I guess they didn't see the yellow jersey.
  • The LA Times reported today that Lane Kiffin told T.J. Simers that Matt Barkley was going to play against UCLA.  If he made the statement, the head coach seemed to back off the certainty of it in the post-practice presser (below).  Barkley did not seem to mind.  "If he says so, yeah," Barkley answered about Kiffin's reported proclamation.  "I plan on playing.  There's a big possibility that I could be good to go."
  • Barkley enjoyed the news report about the USC prank on their crosstown rivals.  "I like how we dyed their fountains red this week.  That was pretty good."
  • Whether it is Barkley or Mitch Mustain behind center, Ronald Johnson will be lining up out wide.  The senior receiver was inconsolable after his costly drop against Notre Dame, but he's trying to move past it.  "It was pretty tough, but I'm over it now," RoJo said.  "This is just going to help me build as a man, as a football player.  I just can't wait for the future to come."
  • Lane Kiffin knows how personally Johnson takes football and his teammates.  "He's never going to truly recover from that," said Kiffin about how much RoJo cares.  "That's always going to be a scar and a weight on his shoulders."
  • The good news is that Johnson will get one more chance in cardinal and gold to make amends.  "I get a chance to redeem myself," said a motivated Johnson, who has been supported wholeheartedly by his teammates.  "They've told me that I've made a lot of good plays here and that doesn't define my career.  I'm going to roll with that.  These guys are my family."
  • Looking to the future, I spoke with Kyle Prater, who hopes to inherit RoJo's starting spot next year.  He is finally healthy and starting to show off his immense skill set.  "I'm feeling good," said Prater.  "I'm focusing on getting my body right and looking forward to next season."
  • Prater will hopefully be a red zone threat in the mold of recent past Trojan greats Mike Williams and Dwayne Jarrett.  "I feel I can fill that void and everything else as well," said Prater, who expects the redshirt year to be a mental advantage going into next season.  "I bring the total package and I'm going to do everything to help my team get better."
  • Usually, the old guys council the young pups, but Prater was there to console Ronald Johnson just like the rest of his teammates.  "I told him to keep his head and that we all are not perfect.  Look at it as a learning tool and everything is going to be alright."
  • Here is Lane Kiffin on the third to last practice of the season...

USC Golf Events

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Coming up this month, we have two great chances for you to hit the links and represent the cardinal and gold.

Fred-Lynn.gifOn Monday, December 13, you are invited to tee it up at the USC Rod Dedeaux Trojan Baseball Golf Classic at Dove Canyon Country Club at 10:30 a.m. alongside Trojan greats Pat Haden, Fred Lynn (right), Anthony Munoz, Don Buford, Randy Flores and the entire 2011 coaching staff.

Included in the package, you receive a USC leather soft briefcase, a Nike mock long sleeve golf shirt and other quality tee bag items.  Plus, you get to play a great course with fun contests and many live and silent auction items. 

Click here for more info.

On Friday, December 3, you can also take part in the USC vs. UCLA Golf Challenge at Recreation Park GC 18 at 8:00 a.m.. 

This is your chance to take on a pair of Bruins in a match play scramble format.

Click here for more info.

John Baxter Inside the Film Room

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On this week's episode of Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly, special teams coach John Baxter sat down with John Jackson to break down some kickoff film and go over his creative approach to teaching football and life skills.

The show airs first tonight at 10:30 p.m..

A Day in Troy

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For the seventh straight year, USC women's basketball is hosting "A Day in Troy" for all students, families and friends of our alumni, neighboring communities and schools.

As part of your day, you attend a select women's hoops game (either 1/15 vs. Oregon State or 1/29 vs. Arizona State). 

Plus, you get a campus tour led by student-athletes plus guest student-athlete speakers, who will introduce you to our S.C.O.R.E. program, which is about servicing the community through outreach, recreation and education and then they will sign autographs.

This event sells out every year, so book your reservation now by clicking this link to fill out your order form or call (213) 740-1244.


Women's Volleyball Honors

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As the women's volleyball team gears up for their postseason run starting Friday night at the Galen Center at 7 p.m., the conference named three Trojans to the All-Pac-10 1st team.

Alex Jupiter.jpgOf course, superstar Alex Jupiter (right) led the way, but she was joined by teammates Lauren Williams, a middle blocker, and freshman outside hitter Falyn Fonoimoana.

While the Women of Troy carry the #6 seed into this year's tournament, the future is even brighter.  Jupiter and Williams are juniors, while Fonoimoana was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, the fifth player in USC history to take the honor.

And, the Trojans had three players make the All-Freshman Team.  Fonoimoana was joined by fellow neophytes Alexis Olgard and libero Natalie Hagglund.

Also, junior setter Kendall Bateman was named All-Pac-10 honorable mention and Sara Shaw was All-Freshman honorable mention.

This is the first time since 2005 that USC has placed three players on the All-Pac-10 team. 

Mick Haley's squad will start their postseason run against New Mexico Friday with a likely Saturday evening encounter also at the Galen Center. 

They are on course to face Stanford in the final eight.  The Cardinal are led by Pac-10 Player of the Year Alix Klineman.   


Morning Papers (11/30/10)

Here's what the scribes of Troy are writing about...

Fight On from Thomas Reiten on Vimeo.


USC vs. Texas

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USC men's basketball is returning to the Galen Center Sunday at 7:30 p.m. for the marquee battle of their non-conference home schedule when they take on the Texas Longhorns.

You can purchase tickets at and students get in FREE!

Check out this cool new ad we are running...

Projans: NFL Week 12

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Maybe the toughest competition yet for Projan recognition...

Heisman Worthy

terrell_thomas.jpgTerrell Thomas, CB, Giants - 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 3 passes defended and an interception

TT continues to be one of the most underrated corners in the league, but he deserves the top spot for saving New York's season.  In a must-win game, Thomas flipped the momentum with an interception on the first play of the second half and then sealed the game with a strip-sack on Jacksonville's final drive.

All-American Caliber

Troy Polamalu, DB, Steelers - 4 tackles, 1 INT, 3 passes defended and a fumble recovery

Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - 6 tackles (team-leading) and 2 passes defended in a shutout

Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs - 22/32 for 233 yards and 4 TD/0 INT for a 129.3 QB rating

Mike Patterson, DT, Eagles - 1st sack of the season

Fred Davis, TE, Redskins - 1st TD catch of the year, 3 receptions for 25 yards

Play of the Week - Check out Troy Polamalu's incredible interception!

Thomas' sack-fumble clinched the win for the G-Men.  (Photo by NY DailyNews)

Lane Kiffin UCLA Q&A

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For one final week this season, I sat down with Lane Kiffin to look back at the Notre Dame loss and ahead to the UCLA finale.

Weekend Wrap (11/26 - 11/28)

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Women's volleyball and men's water polo survive close matches and head to postseason...

  • The USC women's volleyball team were five-set winners in Westwood last Friday night.  The Trojans spiked the Bruins 15-13 in the final set.
  • Now, Mick Haley's squad will head to the NCAA tournament where they will host first and second round matches at the Galen Center this Friday and Saturday (12/3 and 12/4).  USC will tip things off with New Mexico at 7 p.m. Friday night.  Both games this weekend will be broadcast for FREE on
  • In a dramatic sudden death final, USC men's water polo knocked off Stanford to win the MPSF tournament in Palo Alto. 
  • Jovan Vavic's team will have all the momentum heading into this week's NCAA tournament in Berkeley as they try to defend their back-to-back national championships.
  • USC men's basketball will take on TCU tonight in Fort Worth, TX.  The Trojans need a victory after a heartbreaking loss at Nebraska Saturday when they let a 20-point lead slip.  You can listen to tonight's game audio on or watch the game on DirecTV channel 616.
  • Behind Christina Marinacci's 18 rebounds, USC women's basketball salvaged a split at the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament.
  • If you would like to see all the post-game reaction and photo galleries from the football loss to Notre Dame, scroll down.
  • Finally, a huge shout out to Trojan alum Amy Rodriguez who fired the U.S. women's soccer team into the 2011 World Cup when she slotted home the game-winner against Italy.

Lane Kiffin Notre Dame Call

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Click the link below to listen in on Lane Kiffin's weekly conference call with the media.

Notre Dame Kiffin Call.mp3

(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Photo Gallery: USC vs. Notre Dame (Senior Night)

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Scroll down to see the other four photo galleries...

Here is a look at the class of 2010...

Photo Galleries: USC vs. Notre Dame (Action)

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Here's a look at all the action through the lens of Jon SooHoo...

The first half...

And the second half...


Photo Galleries: USC vs. Notre Dame (Pregame)

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Coming up, five exclusive Jon SooHoo photo galleries...

First, here are the pregame (top) and locker room (bottom) shots.

And, here is a look inside the locker room...

Notre Dame 20, USC 16

10 thoughts on a harsh senior night...

  • For the most part, I try to keep the blog fair and (relatively) impartial.  However, what separates this space from others that cover USC is that I get a chance to know these young men.  Ronald Johnson is as good a man as you will ever want to meet.  He dropped a ball on the final USC drive that would have changed the outcome of the game.  He felt the cruel reality of sports tonight just as the Boise State kicker did yesterday.  I feel for him and the Trojan family should support a senior, who did it the right way for four years.
  • "It's just part of the game.  You drop balls," said Mitch Mustain about the unforgettable play.  "That one probably would've changed the outcome, but it doesn't matter.  I don't know if there's a worse feeling than that." 
  • As for the play of the first time starter at quarterback, Mustain was reined in most of the night.  "Obviously, we played pretty conservative," said Lane Kiffin about the gameplan.  The head coach's plan was to avoid negative plays like sacks and turnovers.  Mustain was never sacked and the Trojans were +4 in turnovers until the game-clinching interception.  "If we execute and do our role and our part, we win the game," said Mustain, who applauded Kiffin's plan despite his natural urge to cut it loose.
  • Kiffin had trouble assessing Mustain's performance due to the swing nature of the one big play.  "We're talking about him being a hero if we catch that ball," said Kiffin.  "He was a little shaky early, but I thought he settled down."
  • The defense's performance is hard to label as well.  They willed the team back into the game behind a ferocious rally, including three turnovers, which set up all 13 second half points.  All the sudden, they were jumping nearly every pass play like they were in the Irish huddle.  "We knew what they were doing the whole time," said safety Marshall Jones.  "We made our adjustments and we were right with it." 
  • Jones was forced to play next to walk-on Tony Burnett after T.J. McDonald injured his shoulder (likely a separation, according to Kiffin) on the first series.  Burnett had run track at USC, but this is his first season playing football.  "Tony did great," said Jones.  "At first, I was a little shaky, but he came in making tackles, making plays."
  • While the defense was mostly positive, they could not keep Notre Dame from powering down the field on the game-winning drive.  "If you can't finish, none of that matters," said LB Chris Galippo about the good things the defense did most of the night.  Kiffin turned it on the offense though for putting the D in that position.  "You can't let people keep hanging around," said the head coach.
  • If things had worked out differently, Manti Te'o and Michael Floyd could have been wearing cardinal and gold tonight.  Both players were looked at as future Trojans, but chose Notre Dame at the crucial moment of asking.  Te'o was everywhere tonight and Floyd hauled in 11 receptions.  Kiffin and Ed Orgeron know as well as anyone in this business that February results set the table for November glory.
  • At halftime, I asked senior associate athletic director J.K. McKay what his record was against Notre Dame as a Trojan wideout.  He was 2-1.  Plus, he pointed out the winner of the game went on to win the national championship all three seasons.  In the big picture, both these programs have a ways to go to return the rivalry to what it was.
  • USC had another big night on special teams, headlined by senior Joe Houston's career performance.  He made all three field goals, including a 45-yarder, which was the first time he was successful from 40+ yards.  As you can see for yourself below, he had no interest in talking about his individual success...

Notre Dame Live Chat

| No Comments blog contributors Ben Weiss and Farren Benjamin bring you the rivalry action from the Coliseum press box, while Jordan Moore tweets updates from the sidelines.

Jock Rally: Notre Dame

The football team and band met for one last jock rally tonight inside Heritage Hall before the home finale.

Coach Ed Orgeron fired up the gathered masses and Stanley Havili grabbed the sword before his Coliseum farewell.

Here is a video produced by Ben Weiss...

Thursday Notre Dame Practice Notes

Compiled by blog contributor Ben Weiss

Happy Thanksgiving Trojan fans!

The team held a no-pads closed practice in preparation for Notre Dame on Saturday. A few notes from those who addressed the media...

  • Lane Kiffin said that the starting quarterback will be a game-time decision. Matt Barkley, wearing a jersey and sweatpants to practice, said that he took a few snaps and continued to be more active than he had the previous day. "The progress I've had, it's been a good sign. Every day it seems to get better," Barkley said. Regardless of whether he is healthy enough to start, the quarterback plans on suiting up for the game.
  • Every week following the team's final practice, Barkley will pick out the practice footballs that he wants to use in the game. If it's any indication for who might start against the Irish, Mustain was the only quarterback testing out the pigskin and giving the winning balls to the team managers. The redshirt senior admitted that he'd felt frustrated at times waiting for an opportunity like this, but is excited now that he has the potential to start. "This is the reason I stuck around this year, with hopes that perhaps this would come, and here it is," Mustain said. "I'm happy for it and I'm doing what I can to take care of it."
  • After Kiffin attributed the Oregon State loss to a poor previous week of practice, Mustain felt pleased with the effort on both sides of the ball in preparation for the Irish. "I think we kind of forgot about the game during the course of the week when we were out here, just playing and making ourselves better," he said.
  • Ronald Johnson echoed the sentiment expressed by Stanley Havili yesterday that the team is right where it needs to be, even without its starting quarterback taking the majority reps in practice. It hasn't taken the senior wideout long to develop chemistry with Mustain, and he's ready to go to work regardless of who's throwing to him. "We didn't lose a beat at all," Johnson said. "Mitch has been doing a great job and I feel like we have a great connection right now. I can't wait to perform in the game with him."
Here's Coach Kiffin on the week of preparation and scouting a few of Notre Dame's weapons...

3 points: USC 81, CSUF 54

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By Blog Contributor Stephanie Graves

It was a tale of two halves against the Fullerton Titans this evening:

  • During the first half, CSUF had an answer for almost every Trojan obstacle. Though USC never trailed, it was clear they weren't performing to their potential shooting around 44.4 percent in the first half. Maurice Jones only had four points in the first half while "Trojan Tower" Nikola Vucevic had trouble in the post missing several easy layups.


  • In the second half, the Trojans jumped ahead and never looked back. First off, USC's shooting improved to 60.7 percent in the second half. When the damange was done, USC's freshman phenom led all scorers with 20 points and 5 assists. Alex Stepheson finished the game with a double-double despite being in constant pain from a broken hand. By the time the game ended, there wasn't a single starter left on the Galen Center hardwood.


  • Looking ahead to the weekend in Nebraska and beyond, Head Coach Kevin O'Neill is putting the emphasis on defense firmly believing that as long as this team continues to improve on the big D they will always be in it at the end of the game no matter what. He applauded the toughness of his injured senior foward and his freshman trio of Mo Jones, Bryce Jones and Garrett Jackson who played extensive minutes tonight, but still feels that toughness is something this team could take to the next level.

Here's the Player of the Game, Maurice Jones, with his opinion on his team's first half struggles, what made the difference and spending Thanksgiving with his new Trojan Family in Nebraska:


Wednesday Notre Dame Practice Notes

Another chilly night out on Howard Jones/Brian Kennedy Fields, however Mitch Mustain is heating up while taking reps with the first team...

  • Mustain was the best he's been since Lane Kiffin took over, according to the head coach. "He was phenominal today," Kiffin remarked. However, Kiffin reiterated that Matt Barkley would still be his starter, should he be able to sufficiently recover from his high ankle sprain. Barkley spent the majority of practice rehabbing the ankle, his boot replaced by a much less cumbersome medical wrap. He went through a variety of exercises, most of which incorporated throwing the ball in some fashion. Barkley assessed himself as "definitely above 50 percent," however it's unclear what his percentage will need to be in order to start on Saturday.
  • Several other players joined Barkley on the midweek injury list, including left guard Mike Reardon, who left practice early to get checked out. Having a thinner roster than previous years looks to be wearing a bit on the Trojans as the season hits the home stretch. Hopefully, the injury bug won't linger too long.
  • Dillon Baxter was officially cleared to play by the NCAA after the incident last week involving an agent. Kiffin was happy to have the tailback's versatility at his disposal once again.
  • Marc Tyler will continue to start at tailback and, like the rest of the offense, is working on developing his chemistry with Mustain. "Obviously it was hard for him to come in at the time that he did in the last game," Tyler said. The tailback has been dealing with ankle injury issues of his own, but has yet to miss a game because of it. "This would be a bad time to be hurt, these last couple games are the ones we came here for."
  • If Mustain were to start, look for him to make use of Stanley Havili for easy completions that will get him in rhythm. Havili has been a safety net for Barkley throughout the sophomore QB's development, and is confident in the team's offensive attack regardless of who is under center. "We haven't taken any backwards steps," said the senior captain. "Mitch has done a great job. He's been consistent making really great throws these past two days."
Here's Coach Kiff after another positive practice...

REVISED: USC/Notre Dame ABC Coverage Map

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If you cannot make it to the Coliseum Saturday for the "greatest intersectional rivalry" in collegiate athletics, you can watch it on TV on ABC at 5 p.m. pacific.

If you are not in the designated coverage area below, you can watch it on or ESPN PPV.


STUDENT-Athlete of the Week: Kate McFetridge

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Each week, we shift the emphasis to the left side of the hyphen and have a wide-ranging conversation with one of our diverse scholar-athletes.

Kate-1.jpgName: Kate McFetridge

Sport: Women's Crew

Class: Senior

Major: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

GPA: 3.69


Jordan Moore (JM): I am from New Jersey as well.  Where is West Deptford?  You're not in Snookie country are you?

Kate McFetridge (KM): West Deptford is in South Jersey, I'm about ten minutes away from the bridge to Philadelphia.  Lol.  I had no idea what Snookie country was until I just googled it.  I have never watched Jersey Shore in my life!  I can say from what I've heard from other people I don't think its cast members are much like the people around WD.

JM: So, when I say "The City," do you think Philadelphia or New York?

KM: Philadelphia!!  This is my favorite city in the country.

Thumbnail image for Pat's Steak.jpgJM: What's harder to find in L.A., a good bagel or a good cheesesteak?

KM: Cheesesteak of course!  There is nothing like a Philly cheesesteak.  My dad makes the best pizza and cheesesteaks around.

JM: Did you come to USC to be a doctor or a rower?

KM: A doctor.  I got the okay to travel across the country from my parents because I was accepted into USC's Baccalaureate MD Program which guarantees you acceptance into the Keck School of Medicine upon satisfying certain GPA and MCAT requirements.  Learning about rowing was an absolute accident - I walked up to the rowing table at the involvement fair during the first week of school freshman year and was like, "Do you guys have a field hockey team?"  And they were like, "No, but come row!"  "I was like, what's rowing? OK!" :)

ncaa.jpgJM: I don't know if I could handle the coxswain yelling at me the whole time.  Do you ever envision chucking her out of the boat?

KM: There is a tradition that when you win, the rowers throw their coxswains in the water.  I dream of throwing one of my coxswains in the water at PAC-10s or NCAA day in and day out.

JM: Do you have your friends yell at you when you are studying for medical exams?

KM: Haha not quite, but I surely do appreciate all the the support that these women give me.  It's really your teammates that keep you going when school is tough and life is hard.

greys-anatomy.jpgJM: Dr. McFetridge sounds like a Grey's Anatomy doctor.  McSteamy and McDreamy are already taken.  What is your doctor nickname going to be?

KM: Haha well the girls on my field hockey team in high school used to call me "McNasty" because of my hockey skills, but I don't think that would be too appropriate or comforting for my patients.  My rowing coach at home calls me "McLovin." It will be interesting to see what the field of medicine brings out.

JM: You were recently accepted into the Teach for America program.  With all that you have going on, why is it important to you to put that on pause so you can help kids?

KM: Educational inequity is a serious problem that is going on in the United States.  I have always been so fortunate to have wonderful teachers and my parents have always encouraged a genuine love for learning.  I am so excited to be a part of the movement to bring greater educational opportunities to all children.  I'm going to be teaching high school science, so I'm hoping to inspire some future doctors and engineers and scientists and also maybe some collegiate scholar athletes!

JM: You are contemplating trying for the Olympics.  Maybe I can help, what does the decision hinge on?

KM: Could you buy me a single?? : ) To be honest, figuring out how I would support myself financially while training to see if I can even get to the Olympic level is one of my greatest challenges.  I am hoping that while teaching in Philadelphia, I will be able to see if I continue progressing and have any shot at making the national team.  After the two year stint of teaching I can see myself making a more definitive move to either go to medical school or shoot for 2016.

JM: The 2016 Olympics are in Rio de Janeiro.  That sounds like a sign to me...


Tuesday Notre Dame Practice Notes

Compiled by blog contributor Ben Weiss

Rivalry week part one began today with preparation for the battle over the coveted Shillelagh in temperatures that felt only slightly warmer than those in Oregon. A few notes on how the Trojans are looking to bounce back from their cold performance in Corvallis...

  • Mitch Mustain took about 90 percent of the quarterback reps in practice, with John Manoogian filling the other ten percent. Although Matt Barkley watched the first half of practice in sweats and walking with crutches and a boot on his left leg, Coach Lane Kiffin has not yet ruled him out for Saturday, and was hopeful that the quarterback could practice on Wednesday. "We've had two or three guys who haven't practiced on Tuesdays and start (that week)," Kiffin remarked. He also confirmed that even without taking a practice snap this week, if Barkley were healthy enough to play on Saturday, he will.

  • With all the hoopla surrounding the quarterback situation, the defense made sure that it got some attention out on Howard Jones field tonight. Kiffin called it an "aggressive and spirited performance," and unlike any he had seen since his previous tenure as the Trojans' offensive coordinator. They'll need to maintain that intensity - although the Irish no longer have the tandem of Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, offensive-minded Head Coach Brian Kelly has still managed to help the team average 26.3 points per game, despite a slew of injuries.

  • One of the people tasked with shutting down the Irish attack is linebacker Chris Galippo, who was heavily recruited in South Bend before signing with USC. After suffering a concussion against Oregon State, Galippo watched practice from the sidelines, but is experiencing minimal effects from the injury. He underwent the requisite regimen of health measurements, and afterward said that he actually scored higher the Sunday after the OSU game than he did previously this year.

  • In preparing for the Notre Dame offense, Galippo knows that he has his work cut out for him. "They're probably one of the top three O-lines that we've faced this year," He said. "Walking off the bus, they look like they're an NFL offensive line."

  • Despite not traveling to Oregon State and his status for Notre Dame still unclear because of an incident involving an agent, Dillon Baxter continued to practice. The team is awaiting a response from the compliance department regarding Baxter's eligibility to return on Saturday.

  • The team has apparently cut ties with highly recruited freshman Markeith Ambles, as Kiffin declared that he is no longer a part of the USC football program. Ambles struggled to break into the rotation at wide receiver this year, and was ineligible to redshirt after appearing in games earlier this season.

  • The Irish are a familiar program to kicker Joe Houston, who was raised in a household of Notre Dame supporters. Since joining the Trojans three seasons ago, Houston's family has made the rare switch of allegiances between rival teams. "We're definitely Cardinal and Gold all the way," Houston said. The contest also represents Houston's final game in the Coliseum, and what better way than to face an old friend. "Growing up rooting for a team and then playing against them is going to be something special. This is as big as they get. It's a dream come true."
Here's a satisfied Coach Kiffin after an impressive bounce back practice by his team...

Haden on Notre Dame '05

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In honor of Notre Dame week, we are running a section of Trojans 360: Pat Haden for FREE as he described to me what it was like to call USC's miraculous comeback from the Irish NBC booth.

It's great stuff.  Enjoy...



Morning Papers

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Compiled by Blog Contributor Stephanie Graves


It's all about the Men of Troy, past and present, in today's headlines:

  • Ladies first: The world of lacrosse is hoping that USC will become the west coast "hub" for the sport with the addition of a women's team in 2012.
  • USC Basketball's freshman trio earned their keep against New Mexico State over the weekend.
  • Current USC Offensive Guard Khaled Holmes stepped into the shoes of a modern-day philosopher and started a blog, proposing his thoughts on love using Greek mythology.
  • With starting QB Matt Barkley currently rehabilitating a high ankle sprain, Mitch Mustain could make his first start since 2006 against the Irish.
  • Speaking of the Irish, the Trojans look for redemption back at home facing Notre Dame.
  • Kiffin hopes that redemption is fueled by the weekend's more-than-difficult loss against OSU.  
  • And even the USC Trojan Marching Band is gearing up to fight some Irish with a series of events including their traditional "Up the Irish" rally featuring appearances from former Trojan Football legends.
  • Turning our attention on our distinguished alumni, kicker David Buehler is making a name for himself in the NFL much like he did at USC.
  • Finally, a little over a year after his horrifying accident, former USC RB Stafon Johnson sits down with NBC's Fred Roggin and remembers that "it was just one of those days" in the weight room when he nearly lost his life. He remembers looking back and asking himself "How can I make a negative situation turn positive?" despite being inches, literally, away from death.  



Marcus Allen Appearance

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USC Heisman winner Marcus Allen will make an appearance at the AT&T Fan Zone before Saturday's game against Notre Dame at the Coliseum. 

Allen will be giving away autographed cards (see image below) outside the peristyle end by the 710 ESPN Radio stage. 


Compliance Ruling


In regards to reports of USC players attending a party sponsored an NFL agent, here is the finding of Dave Roberts, USC's director of compliance.

"Today's media reports about USC student-athletes attending a May 2009 party allegedly sponsored by an NFL player agent and his affiliated company are untrue.

"USC's investigation conducted today revealed that USC student-athletes attended parties in May and September of 2009.  One or both of the parties were allegedly put on by a USC student or his affiliated company;  however, that student did not become an NFL agent until October of 2010." 

"Both parties were open to all USC students.  Our investigation revealed that USC student-athletes who attended the functions paid the same posted cover and refreshment charges that were paid by all attendees."


Lane Kiffin Notre Dame Q&A

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While I'm in Colorado through Thursday, Jason Pommier stepped in for the weekly chat with Lane Kiffin.



Fashion Statement

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The Trojans got to wear a lot of cold weather gear at Oregon State, which was a change from the norm, so some of the players had fun with it.

Allen Bradford had a skull drawn on his under shirt by an equipment manager.


USC Lands Nation's Top 2 Golfers

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Future Trojans' Anthony Paolucci and Kristen Park won the 2010 AJGA's Rolex Junior Player of the Year Awards given to the nation's best prep golfers.

Paolucci and Park are the best men's and women's recruits in the country respectively and both have committed to play at USC next season.

Former winners of this award include Tiger Woods (twice), Phil Mickelson (three times) and David Duval.


Projans: NFL Week 11

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Our weekly watch of Trojan football alums...

mark-sanchize.jpgHeisman Worthy

Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets - 22/38 for 315 yards and 3 TD passes

The numbers are good, but they do not even begin to tell the story of Sanchez's dramatic play of late.  Last week, he beat the Browns and the overtime buzzer with a game-winning TD pass to Santonio Holmes.  Yesterday, his Jets were completely dead, down four with 49 seconds to go and no timeouts.  Sure enough, the "Sanchize" hits LaDainian Tomlinson twice for 24 yards, Braylon Edwards for 42 and Holmes again for the winner.

All-American Caliber

Troy Polamalu, DB, Steelers - Team-leading six tackles and an interception in a 35-3 win

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - NFL-leading 11th sack in a 31-3 victory

Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs - 15/24 for 193 yards and 2 TD/0 INT in a 31-13 win

Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks - 6 catches for 109 yards, including a 68-yarder in a loss

Terrell Thomas, CB, Giants - Team-leading 9 tackles and a pass defended in defeat


Click this link to watch Mark Sanchez send the Meadowlands into bedlam!

(Photo by Ben Solomon)

The State of Troy: November

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Each month, we interview USC athletic director Pat Haden to keep you up to date on all the happenings around Heritage Hall.

Galen-Students.jpgQ.) What kind of environment do you want to create at the Galen Center for basketball games?

I visited Cameron Indoor Stadium for a Duke vs. North Carolina game a couple years ago and it just struck me what an advantage the Blue Devils have playing in a packed arena with a filled out student section.  It has to be worth 8 to 10 points per game for Duke.  I want to create a similar environment for our basketball team.  We are getting better.  We are not world-beaters yet, but we are improving.  We have sold most of the lower bowl out, but people do not use their tickets.  My hope is that people with tickets will show up or give their tickets away to friends, neighbors and kids, so we can have a crowd there to create an atmosphere of success and make it a real pit for opposing teams.

Q.) Why did you add a women's lacrosse program?

This is a sport that was invented by the Native Americans and it is now the fastest growing sport in California.  Women's lacrosse is another opportunity to showcase the talents of young women, who we hope will come play for us and eventually win us a national championship.  The sport traditionally generates great student-athletes and we are fully committed to providing them an opportunity to thrive at USC.

4-USC-All-Sports.jpgQ.) What has the response been since you announced the new All-Sports Building?

The reception has been awesome.  The people with whom we have spoken clearly recognize the need to upgrade the facilities of all 21 of our sports now.  We are on a fundraising blitz and we have gotten strong support.  We are always looking for continued support as we try to raise $70 million to complete the project.  We are going to have a groundbreaking ceremony in January and we fully intend to have this thing built in 18 months. 

Q.) What else is on your development agenda?

We need to endow each of our 240 scholarships and it takes a $1 million to endow a scholarship.  We are looking for folks who are willing to make that commitment to Trojan athletics.  It can be paid over two, three, five years if necessary.  A million dollar gift will allow us to continue to support our athletic programs unlike some state schools, which are having to give up sports.

Nat'lTitleSoccer.jpgQ.) What are your final thoughts on this year's women's soccer season?

The outgoing seniors were part of the freshman class that won a national championship.  We are still the only Pac-10 team to win a national title in women's soccer.  It was a good building season for Coach Ali and his staff with a lot of good young players.  We need to step up our recruiting and bring in another great class, which I think we are.  We are going to be a force over the next two, three, five years because we have good coaches and a commitment to winning.

Q.) What are your thoughts on how the football program has battled through adversity this season?

The season that Coach Kiffin and his staff have put forth this year has been astounding to me.  They have done a phenomenal job with all the impediments that were in their way. 

Geena Urango.jpgQ.) How impressed are you with women's volleyball senior Geena Urango, who recently made 1st team All-Pac-10 for academics?

It is a testament to these young athletes like Geena, who balances volleyball at the highest collegiate level and the rigors of the academic challenge at USC.  It is just remarkable and we have a number of student-athletes at that level.  She is the latest and greatest in that line.  On the court, I also feel like women's volleyball is going to make a real good push at the end of the season and have a chance to win it all.

Q.) How great was it to see a packed house for the "Crosstown Splashdown" at McDonald's Swim Stadium for the men's water polo win over UCLA?

Even though they are wearing caps on their head and splashing around in the water, they can still hear the band.  They can still hear the parents and student section.  It is great for them.  It is really important to me that students support other students.  Just as a I expect the men's water polo players to support their fellow student-athletes, I love seeing a sold out house for a our superb water polo team.

Haden (right) with J.K. McKay.  (Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Lane Kiffin OSU Call

Click the link below to listen in on Lane Kiffin's weekly conference call with the media, which features positive news about Matt Barkley's injury.



Photo Gallery: USC at Oregon State

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Here are some behind-the-scenes and locker room shots before the Trojans fell to the Beavers...

Oregon State 36, USC 7

10 angles from an ugly night in Corvallis...

(Note: If you would like to watch Lane Kiffin's post-game press conference in its entirety, you can see it at

  • The streak continues.  The Trojans have now lost their last five games in the state of Oregon and last three at Reser Stadium.  "They always get up for SC," Lane Kiffin tried to explain the Beavers' success against his program.  "Somehow, someway, we ended up exactly like we always do up here, down by 20 in the first half."
  • The small picture lead of the night was that the offense played their worst game of the season.  "I'm really shocked by the outcome of this game," Kiffin said.  "Obviously, our offense was terrible today."  After two dominant performances, the offensive line bore the brunt of the blame.  They allowed four sacks, 43 negative rush yards and several holding penalties.  "Hopefully, we'll go back to playing how we did the last couple of weeks," said Kiffin, who had no answers for why the group struggled.
  • In the grand scheme, Matt Barkley's ankle injury is the biggest story.  "If I hadn't worn my knee brace, my knee would've been blown out," said Barkley about getting rolled up on.  The QB will rehab hard in the hope that he can make a miraculous recovery in time for Notre Dame or at least UCLA, but the odds are stacked against him.  "I know how to bounce back and you just gotta stay positive and be there for my team regardless of if I'm going to play or not and be that leader that they need."
  • In his stead, Mitch Mustain took his most meaningful snaps since his freshman year at Arkansas.  Despite all the time off, he had no time to ease back in.  "You can't put a guy in a much worse situation," Kiffin said.  While he missed some throws, his composure was impressive.  After a TD drive, he briefly brought life back into the sideline.  "A comeback is always a good story," said Mustain.  "It's always fun, but it just didn't swing our way."
  • Patience paid off tonight for C.J. Gable as well.  The fifth-year senior has mostly been out of the running back rotation this season, but he provided the lone spark for a frigid offense tonight.  "I'm just happy that I got the opportunity and that they had the belief in me, so I just went out there and did what I had to do," said Gable, who averaged 5.7 yards per carry.  "Hopefully, they give me more opportunities these last two games to finish it out and help this team get wins."
  • He might just get more chances with Marc Tyler's ankle injury acting up, which forced him out of the contest for most of the second half.  Chris Galippo was knocked out early with a concussion and Tyron Smith missed the end of the game with a knee injury.  All three players expect to play Saturday against Notre Dame.
  • All week, we harped on the turnover margin statistic on the blog.  Not only did the Trojans finish -2 for the game (now -8 in the last three trips), Barkley threw a killer pick-six on the second offensive drive.  "That play happens and you have the feeling of 'Here we go again,'" said Kiffin, who called a conservative gameplan early to avoid the big mistake.  "I'm sure everybody had that feeling.  It's what we were trying to guard against so much."
  • The defense tried to answer back with turnovers, but the Beavers just don't give it up.  "It was a difficult task," said DT Jurrell Casey about prying the ball from Jacquizz Rodgers, who has still never fumbled in a regular season college game.  "A couple times we did strip at the ball, but Jacquizz held on tight."  Wes Horton had  a strip-sack and they almost had two interceptions, but Oregon State still has just seven turnovers on the season, a nation's best.
  • While we are giving credit to the Beavers, DT Stephen Paea is the real deal.  He spent the night in USC's backfield despite constant double teams.  "He did a good job," said Casey about his counterpart.  "I watched him the whole night and he played a hell of a game.  He shut our offense down."  Paea finished with a sack, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.  You'll hear his name called early in the next NFL Draft.
  • The Trojans won't return to Corvallis until 2015 or 2016, so they have plenty of time to ponder the question, how do you beat these guys in Reser Stadium?  "I have no idea," Kiffin admitted.  "Coach [Carroll] didn't figure it out and I don't have it figured out."  This was by far the toughest road environment of the season with a raucous crowd and icy temperatures.
  • Here is the current quarterback of the Trojans, Mitch Mustain...

Oregon State Live Chat

A new dynamic for the live chat today - Ben Weiss will bring you the action live from Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., while Stephanie Graves comments locally from her USC residence. As always, Jordan Moore will tweet updates from the sidelines, assuming he can withstand the frigid temperatures for the entire contest.

Photo Gallery: Oregon Chill

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Here are some pictures I took of the team yesterday as they disembarked into the Oregon autumn...

Friday Night Video: Oregon State

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Here is the video the players watched tonight to get fired up for Saturday's game  against the Beavers...

(Music by Jay-Z and Linkin Park)

Dillon Baxter to Miss Oregon State Game

Here is USC head coach Lane Kiffin talking about today's practice and traveling to Corvallis without freshman RB Dillon Baxter...

2010 Game #11: USC at Oregon State

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Here are 5 ways to keep the winning streak alive...

1.) Avoid the Trap

Two bad practices and one great one adds up to...  "The way you practice is the way you play," says Stanley Havili.  Coming off a big win against Arizona and awaiting the rivalry games the next two weeks, the Trojans cannot overlook Oregon State.  Remember 2006 and remember 2008, send the seniors out winners in the Beaver State.

2.) Grip It and Rip It

Turnover margin was the difference in the two previous upsets in Corvallis.  USC was a combined -6 in those games.  Last week, forced turnovers sparked the Trojans' offense to 10 points and a win.  The Beavers don't give it up much, so the emphasis will be on Matt Barkley and Marc Tyler to value the pigskin on a wet and cold night.

3.) Full Speed

While both running games are expected to set the tempo, the Trojans would love to rediscover the deep ball that led to so much offensive success early in the season.  Robert Woods and Ronald Johnson are fully healthy, so if the power run game can suck the Beavers up to the line of scrimmage, Barkley can launch it over the top to his burners.

4.) Pop Quizz

Without James Rodgers, USC's defense should load the box against his brother Jacquizz.  With T.J. McDonald as the extra defender, they can plug every gap defensively, so the little back cannot squirt through.  Like playing against the option, Trojan tacklers need to stay disciplined against the zone blocking scheme.  If they corral Quizz, Oregon State does not have the horses to stretch the field vertically.

5.) Pack Smartly

When USC goes on the road, Lane Kiffin likes to say, "You better pack your defense and you better pack your running game."  They both made the trip to Tuscon and they only have one true road game left.  For whatever reason, the Trojans have played better away from home this season.  On a rainy, ugly Oregon night, the big fellas up front will likely decide it.  Kris O'Dowd and Co. must keep Stephen Paea out of the backfield, while Jurrell Casey and friends need to dominate a struggling Beavers line. 

Casey's penetration could be the answer to the Quizz.  (Photo by Jon SooHoo)

OSU Thursday Practice: Notes

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After two flat practices, the Trojans had possibly their best practice of the season.

  • Corners T.J. Bryant and Torin Harris had MRIs on their shoulders this week, but they are expected to be available for Oregon State.
  • Dillon Baxter was in the hospital today with an undisclosed illness, but Lane Kiffin expects that he'll make the trip to Corvallis.  Marc Tyler was officially named the starter.
  • Jawanza Starling has not practiced all week after missing the Arizona game, so I would not expect to see him in uniform this weekend.  Marshall Jones will likely start again at safety.
  • Asked about Washington's black uniforms (currently airing on ESPN), Kiffin admitted that he wanted USC to play with black socks for one game this season and he introduced black uniforms at Tennessee last season, but he did not think the Trojan tradition would welcome the change.
  • Stanley Havili has emerged as the true leader of this USC team and he's happy with how the team responded tonight after two negative practices.  "I can tell you from the practice today that the guys are on it," said Havili, who is not concerned about the team overlooking Oregon State.  "It does not look like a trap game."
  • However, Havili admitted that the younger Trojans need to understand the value of practicing hard every day.  "It just has to be a mentality.  A lot of the younger guys just don't understand how much practice means here.  We can't just turn it on on gameday like in high school.  The way you practice is the way you play."
  • The fullback has been a staple of this program for five years, but he only has three games left.  "I have been thinking about it since the first game.  I've got to play my heart out these last three games for USC."
  • Asked about his legacy, Havili kept it simple.  "I was dependable.  That I was a good player here and guys respected me on and off the field."
  • Havili is renowned for his work ethic, so I asked him about the freshman that are redshirting this season to see who is putting in the most work to get better.  "Kyle Prater is probably one of the hardest workers.  He's always out there early and out there late," said the senior captain, who also acknowledged tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble.  "The tight ends are always out here because they have Rhett [Ellison] as their leader and he's probably the hardest worker on the team."
  • Senior captain Malcolm Smith is also well aware that his college career is coming to an end.  "I have been thinking about it all season," Smith echoed Havili's sentiments.  "Every game is one less opportunity.  It's been a long time coming, but it's definitely come and gone very fast."
  • Smith has made it clear to his teammates how badly he wants to get a win this weekend.  "We haven't won there and it's a big deal for us to get a win and not go out as just losing in the state of Oregon."
  • Lane Kiffin did not know that Jacquizz Rodgers has never fumbled in a regular season college game, but he described the streak as "phenomenal."  Malcolm Smith tried to explain it, "He's got those arms that lock the ball down, biceps and everything."
  • Here is Kiffin explaining the final preparations for Oregon State...

Scouting Report: Oregon State

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Round #11: Oregon State Beavers

2010 Record: 4-5 (3-3 in the Pac-10)

2009 Record: 8-5 (6-3 in the Pac-10)

Series History: USC leads 59-10-4 (Last meeting: 42-36 Trojans in '09)
Head Coach: Mike Riley (10th season)

He is known as the nicest guy in coaching, but don't let that fool you.  Riley is the greatest coach in Oregon State football history.  He has been a coordinator on both sides of the ball, which is a rarity in the football coaching profession.  The former USC assistant has troubled the Trojans in recent years, winning the last two match-ups in Corvallis.

Players to Watch: Jacquizz Rodgers (Junior, Richmond, TX); Stephen Paea (Senior, Los Altos, CA)

Paea.jpgThe Quizz stumped the Trojans back in 2008 and kept them from an undefeated season en route to being named the first ever freshman Pac-10 offensive player of the year.  He backed it up with nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage as a sophomore.  However, in their upset wins the last two weeks, UCLA and Wazzu kept Rodgers out of the end zone for the first and second times this season.  Here's the greatest stat: He has NEVER fumbled in a regular season college football game!

Paea did not play football until he was 16, but apparently, he is a fast learner.  The senior is projected as a first round pick by most draft experts and he will likely be the best defensive tackle the Trojans run across this season. 

Strength: Turnover Margin

With Quizz leading the way, the Beavers dominate this stat.  They have turned the ball over a mere seven times, which is tied for best in the nation.  In the upset wins over USC in Corvallis in '06 and '08, Oregon State did not give the ball away in either game.  They took it from the Trojans four times in '06 and twice in '08.

Weakness: One-Dimensional

The Beavs are just 1-3 since losing WR James Rodgers for the season.  Without him, defenses are loading up against Quizz and forcing Ryan Katz to beat them.  OSU's first-year starter has not passed for more than 206 yards in a game since losing the elder Rodgers and he was benched for a series last week. 

Oregon State Verdict

Forget the last two ugly losses, the Beavers will be desperate to salvage their season this weekend against USC and keep their faint bowl hopes alive.  With ugly weather predicted, they'll ride Quizz and hope to pluck turnovers from Matt Barkley and Marc Tyler.  Until USC beats them in Corvallis, they will play with a swagger against the Trojans that belies their 4-5 record.


San Diego Prep Stars

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The CIF San Diego Section released a list of the 50 greatest athletes in the last 50 years of high school sports in the county, which included three former Trojans and one current standout. 

USC football greats Marcus Allen (Lincoln), Reggie Bush (Helix) and Junior Seau (Oceanside) made the cut as did current Trojans' tailback Dillon Baxter (Mission Bay).

Baxter accounted for a remarkable 79 touchdowns on offense in his senior season.

Other notables on the list include Adrian Gonzalez (San Diego Padres), Phil Mickelson (golfer) and Ricky Williams (Heisman winner).  Click below for the full list...

Baxter is expected to be the next great San Diego back.

Women's Lacrosse Added as 21st USC Sport

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AD Pat Haden officially announced today that women's lacrosse will be added as USC's 21st sport starting in the 2012-13 season.

Pat_Haden9.jpg"We are 'all in' for women's lacrosse," said Haden, who has been a vocal champion of women's athletics and Title IX.  "USC president Max Nikias was fervently behind the addition of this wonderful and exciting sport, which has made drastic inroads lately on the West Coast."

Women's lacrosse will be the 12th women's sport at USC.  Women's sand volleyball was added last year and will begin play in the spring of 2012.

"Women's lacrosse is another opportunity to showcase the talents of young women, who we hope will come play for us and win us a national championship," Haden continued.

Lacrosse was invented by the Native American Indians, but college lacrosse has long been dominated by East Coast schools.  However, it is now the fastest growing sport in California.

Max-Nikias.jpg"Lacrosse is the quintessential North American sport, the oldest of its kind on the continent, going back centuries to its native origins," said president Nikias.  "It also is a wonderful source of spirit and competition within contemporary intercollegiate athletics."

Women's lacrosse games will be played on McAlister Field.  They will become the seventh team to join the Mountain Pacific Sports Conference, which already includes Denver, Oregon, UC-Davis, Fresno State and St. Mary's.

USC has begun a national search for a head coach.

Morning Papers (11/18/10)

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Here's some Oregon State prep for you...

Photo Gallery: USC vs. Rider

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Here are the photos of last night's game taken by Pierson Clair...

3-Points: Rider 77, USC 57

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Murphy's Law at the Galen Center as the Trojans get trounced by 20.

  • USC started its season with three games in five days and a rotation of basically six players.  They never seemed to have the legs tonight to keep up with a sweet shooting Rider team.  "We looked like we were in chill out mode and we can't be in chill out mode against anybody," said head coach Kevin O'Neill.
  • The Trojans also showed that youth is a double-edged sword.  USC starts a true freshman tandem in the backcourt in Maurice and Bryce Jones.  After dynamic performances in Monday's win, they were guilty of poor shot selection and decision making tonight, especially as the deficit continued to mount.  "Our youth showed through," O'Neill said about how the team handled adversity.  "Obviously we have a lot to learn and a lot to do to grow up and be a good team."
  • Kevin O'Neill demands defensive intensity, so he was terribly disappointed in the Trojans inability to challenge shots or get on the floor for loose balls.  "In my two years, that's the worst we have been defensively," O'Neill said.  "We talked about taking the three out of the game and if you look at it, they shot 12 for 19." 
Senior captain Donte Smith spoke to the defensive deficiencies...

OSU Wednesday Practice: Notes

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Lane Kiffin thinks Oregon State is a trap game.

  • The Beavers are coming off an embarrassing home loss to Washington State, while the Trojans are riding high on the heels of their big win in Tuscon.  No worries, right?  Wrong.  After seeing USC's energy level in practice this week, Lane Kiffin is concerned that the Trojans are looking ahead to the two upcoming rivalry games.
  • Despite the flat practice, Kiffin singled out Jurrell Casey and Stanley Havili as two players who always bring their best effort.
  • Chris Galippo won back the starting middle linebacker job the old-fashioned way.  He kept his mouth shut and played hard.  "It's a combination of my patience throughout the year and having a good attitude," Galippo surmised why the coaches moved him up.  "When you're patient, I guess good things come."
  • Devon Kennard has moved positions twice in his young USC career, but he is not expected to go back to defensive end anytime soon.  "Devon Kennard is the future of our program at the 'Mike' linebacker position," LB coach Joe Barry said.
  • Both players are expected to contribute a lot on Saturday against Oregon State, where they'll be tasked with tackling Jacquizz Rodgers.  "He is a dangerous, dangerous football player," Barry said.  "No doubt about it."
  • "I wouldn't even say his quickness is his strength, I'd say his balance and his vision," Galippo said about Rodgers.  "He's just a heck of a competitor.  He's got a chip on his shoulder and he talks a lot."
  • At only 5'6", Quizz can be hard to find behind massive offensive linemen.  "Where it's tough is when he takes a hand-off, trying to choose which hole he is going to run through," said Galippo, who explained that the Trojans need to be sound in their gap discipline.
  • Both Barry and Galippo acknowledged that the linebacking corps has been boosted by the healthy return of Malcolm Smith, who has forced three turnovers in the last two games.  "We are seeing glimpses the last two weeks of what I was hoping to get for 13 straight games," Barry said.  "It's good to see #6 out there running around and making plays."
  • Barry played at USC when Mike Riley was a coordinator on the staff.  He has always been a big fan of Oregon State's head coach.  "Mike Riley is a lot nicer than I am, I guarantee you that," said Barry, who is one of the nicest coaches you will ever meet.  "He might be one of the kindest humans that I have ever run across."
  • Here is a less than pleased Lane Kiffin...

USC vs. Rider

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The men's hoops team (2-0) is back in action tonight as they take on Rider at the Galen Center at 7:30 p.m.. 

Come one, come all and students are FREE to watch Maurice "MoJo" Jones, who dropped 29 points on Santa Clara in just the second game of his college career Monday.

If you cannot make it to the game, you can watch it on  The radio broadcast will be on 1260 AM tonight because the Lakers are on 710.

Here is this year's intro video...


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USC Athletics is supporting the Movember movement to raise awareness for prostate cancer. 

Whoever grows the best moustache and sends a photo to will win FREE basketball tickets to a non-conference game of their choosing.

Click this link for more information on how to get involved!

Here are the (real) men of the athletic department who have taken the challenge and a Movember video below...

(Since you asked... From left: Associate SID Paul Goldberg, SC TV executive producer Rich Rodriguez, assistant SID Chris Roberts, website producer Rob McPherson, Me and SID Tim Tessalone)

USC/Oregon State Coverage Map

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Just like last week, USC at Oregon State is part of ABC regional coverage at 5 p.m. pacific. 

If the game is not covered in your area below, you can watch it on or ESPN PPV.

11-20-10 ABC 8pm.jpg

Snack Time!

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The halftime orange slices were among the greatest thing about playing sports as a little kid.

So, it made me laugh to see that while the players have gotten a whole lot bigger and better, they still dine on sliced citrus, while beating the Wildcats.


Project Trojan: Work Ethic

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Check out a new episode of Project Trojan, an SC TV exclusive program, as we go inside the football team.

In this installment, we learn the art of route running from Ronald Johnson, who takes us to one of his tap dancing classes, where he masters his footwork.

Click this link for the full episode.

Here is a preview...

OSU Tuesday Practice: Notes

All of the sudden, the Trojans look pretty healthy.

  • Lane Kiffin listed the injury omissions from practice in the video below.  Most notably, Ed Orgeron is walking without a boot, which is probably bad news for the defensive line.
  • As for the players, the offensive tackles are finally fully healthy on the heels of their best performance of the season.  Matt Kalil is happy to get back to the weekly grind.  "I hate it," Kalil said about missing practice.  "I have to practice.  I can't sit and just watch.  It kills me.  I want to be out there practicing."
  • Tyron Smith and Kalil have been the unsung heroes of this offense.  Matt Barkley has been sacked just 13 times in 10 games.  "Our line has been doing a great job.  No sacks last week was huge," said Barkley, who did credit his own "escapability" for keeping the clean sheet.  "I kind of let them off on that one play."
  • Kalil and Smith shutout the Pac-10's first and third best sack artists.  "Me and Tyron, we both did a great job of watching our film and studying those guys up," Kalil said.  "Those are probably the best guys we'll face all year."  Oregon State does have 25 sacks in nine games this season (Arizona has 27 in 10).
  • Offensive lines tend to struggle on the road due to crowd noise, but the Trojans have played their most consistent football away from the Coliseum this season.  "We've played fairly well on the road and it's going to be another challenge for us," Kalil said about Corvallis.  "It's going to be cold and they are looking to get back on track after losing to Washington State, so I'm sure they are going to get after us."
  • Kalil does not want the seniors to end their careers having never won in the Beaver State.  "It would be good to break our little Oregon losing streak.  I'm feeling pretty confident and we're going to come out flying."
  • Matt Barkley was hardly flying on Saturday when he tweaked his hamstring, but he's fine.  "I don't really stride out all too often and it kind of got me right there," joked Barkley, who called Kiffin off a play late in the game because his mobility was hampered.  "I wanted to give our offense the best chance to convert.  I'm looking out for my team."
  • Barkley found a creative way to rewrite the standard "one game at a time" coach's line.  "There's a big 1 at the end of this week, which is what we're trying to get and the next week it will be the same thing.  Hopefully, those three will add up to 10 at the end." 
  • I was dead wrong in one of my keys to the game last Friday.  Barkley simply managed the game against Arizona and the offense was just fine.  "I was proud of how we controlled the ball," Barkley assessed the offense's performance.  "We were really physical.  I'm proud of our o-line.  They came back and were cutting guys and were downfield blocking."
  • This Saturday's forecast is calling for cold and wet weather.  In anticipation, the Trojans drenched the footballs in practice today, but Barkley thinks the simulated water is more difficult than actual rain.  "When you know it's raining, when you know it's wet, then you can adapt.  You can't have the mindset of changing your gameplan at all."
  • Last week, Barkley announced his plan to not throw any interceptions for the rest of the season.  Of course, it came to an abrupt end when Jordan Cameron whiffed on a pass and the deflection off his helmet landed in Arizona hands.  "We're not talking about that," Barkley smiled when I asked him if he forgot to tell Cameron about his no pick plan.  "I'm not focusing on the negatives."
  • Here's Coach Kiff...

1985 USC Promo

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This USC commercial is epic!

It aired during the 1985 Rose Bowl win over Ohio State and we recently rediscovered it. 

Give it a watch, you won't be disappointed.

Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly

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Check out a new episode of Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly first airing tonight at 10:30 p.m. on PRIME TICKET HD featuring a conversation with Robert Woods, behind-the-scenes with Joe Barry and Pat Haden and J.K. McKay sit down together.

Here is a look at Lane Kiffin and Lindsay Soto inside the film room...

Morning Papers (11/16/10)

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A lot of winning to talk about...

Photo Gallery: USC vs. Santa Clara

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Here is USC's 13-point win last night through the lens of Pierson Clair...

3-Points: USC 86, Santa Clara 73

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Alex Stepheson's broken hand overshadows freshman Maurice Jones' breakout night as USC won 86-73 over Santa Clara.  (Note: Kevin O'Neill's post-game presser will be available on after every game NOT the blog.)

  • USC's rock in the middle took a chip on Saturday when he broke a small bone in his left hand.  He played tonight with a soft cast, but will hard cast it when he is not playing.  He expects it to be fully healed in three weeks.  "To play 40 minutes with a broken hand says a lot about him," head coach Kevin O'Neill said.  "It was his choice and he wanted to play."  Stepheson was obviously limited, but he made up for his one-handedness by setting hard screens, deterring shots and tipping the ball to teammates.
  • The Trojans have found their MoJo and it did not take long.  Diminutive freshman Maurice Jones carried USC past a solid Broncos team by pouring in 29 points and dishing out five assists.  "That looked like a high school rerun to me," said O'Neill, who watched Jones play many prep games in Michigan.  "He's impossible to guard one-on-one."  For most of the second half, O'Neill trashed the set offense in favor of Jones using a Stepheson screen to penetrate and create for himself and teammates.
  • Depth is the number one issue facing the Trojans right now.  While Jio Fontan counts the minutes until he's eligible, O'Neill has trimmed his rotation to seven players, including three players (Stepheson, Nikola Vucevic and MoJo) who never came out.  Bryce Jones also played 38 of a possible 40 minutes.  USC will have issues with foul trouble and leg weariness (8 games in 16 days to start the season) until Fontan returns.  O'Neill's practices are nothing but walk-thrus and shoot-a-rounds during this brutal stretch.

First, here is Stepheson on his courageous effort and his injury prognosis...

And, the player of the game, Maurice Jones...

USC vs. Santa Clara (Stepheson Injury)

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We are live Tweeting tonight's contest for in-game updates.

USC senior center Alex Stepheson broke his left hand during Saturday's win over UC-Irvine when he got it tangled in a jersey.  He will play with a temporary cast tonight and then have a full cast put on tomorrow.

He will attempt to play through the injury, but catching the ball cleanly is going to be an issue.

In other news, Donte Smith was assessed a technical foul for dunking during lay-up lines, so the Trojans were trailing before the opening tip.


Trojan Flashback: USC vs. Arizona

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Click this link to watch all the best plays from USC's big win in Tuscon plus behind-the-scenes video and locker room speeches.

Here is a preview...

Lane Kiffin OSU Q&A

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USC head coach Lane Kiffin sat down with me for his weekly Q&A as we looked back on the Arizona win and ahead to Oregon State.

USC Browser

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We have created a FREE USC themed web browser for the biggest Trojan fans, so they can rock the cardinal and gold, while surfing the net.

Click here to download the new browser add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer and show your passion today!

It's the best way to stay on top of breaking news and keep track of the Trojan Family on the social networks.


Projans: NFL Week 10

Check out Jon SooHoo's "Projan" photo gallery below...

BigMike-SooHoo.jpgHeisman Worthy

Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks
- 11 receptions and 145 yards in a 36-18 win

The redemption story continues as "Big" Mike Williams leads the Seahawks into first place on the heels of another dominating performance. 

All-American Caliber

Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets - 27/44 for 299 yards and 3 TDs (1 rush), including the game-winning 37-yard TD pass in overtime

Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs - 33/53 for 469 yards and 4 TDs (more 400-yard passing games in his career than Brett Favre)

Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - 9 tackles

Sam Baker, LT, Falcons - Protected Matt Ryan's blind-side against former ASU nemesis Terrell Suggs in a 26-21 Atlanta win over Baltimore

Pete Carroll, Coach, Seahawks - Has Seattle back in first place in the NFC West

"Projans" Photo Gallery

Jon SooHoo stayed in the desert to shoot the Seahawks/Cardinals game in Glendale featuring "Deuce" Lutui, Lofa Tatupu, Mike Williams, Anthony McCoy and of course, Pete Carroll.

Weekend Wrap (11/12 - 11/14)

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Women's soccer season came to an end, while the women's volleyball seniors took their final bow...

  • The women's soccer team dominated Illinois on Friday 3-1 in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but they were knocked out by the Fighting Irish two days later 4-0 in South Bend. 
  • "The character that this team showed was remarkable," head coach Ali Khosroshahin summarized the season.  "The growth and maturity that came to this team throughout the season was remarkable.  I'm very proud of them and couldn't be happier to be their coach."  Click here to watch Ali's entire post-game interview.
  • The men's basketball team tipped off their season Saturday afternoon with a 13-point win over UC-Irvine.  Nikola Vucevic led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds.  Click here for the blog recap and Kevin O'Neill's post-game presser.
  • The Women of Troy are currently in Durham preparing to play the Blue Devils after they won their opener last Friday against #22 Gonzaga.  Briana Gilbreath posted a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.  (Check out this pic of the Trojans practicing inside famed Cameroon Indoor Stadium.)
  • Nikola Vavic fired in a hat trick in a 10-4 men's water polo win over Long Beach State.  The #2 Trojans are now 22-2 with one game left in the regular season.
  • Both men's and women's swimming and diving swept Arizona State this weekend, while the women also defeated Arizona, but the men lost to the Wildcats.
  • As you probably know, the football team secured a solid road win in Tuscon.  For all the post-game coverage and Jon SooHoo photo galleries, scroll down.
  • Finally, the women's volleyball team closed their home regular season schedule with a sweep of the Arizona schools.  Saturday was "Senior Night," so Geena Urango, Zoe Garrett and Kimmee Roleder were honored by the Galen crowd.  The video is below...

Lane Kiffin Arizona Call

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Click the link below to listen in on Lane Kiffin's weekly conference call with the media.

(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Photo Galleries: USC vs. Arizona (Action and Post-Game)

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Scroll down to see all the pregame pics...  Here is the big win and celebration through Jon SooHoo's lens.



Photo Galleries: USC vs. Arizona (Pregame)

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Check out these exclusive Jon SooHoo photo galleries from last night's conquest of Arizona!

The first slideshow takes you on the field for pregame...

The second gallery takes you inside the locker room...

USC 24, Arizona 21

10 looks into the Trojans best win of the season...

  • The Trojans were finally able to grind out  a victory.  After a season of shootouts, USC won a game fairly comfortably in which they only scored three points in the second half.  As I mentioned in the scouting report on Arizona, the best way to beat them is to control the clock.  The Trojans held the ball for 15 minutes more than the Wildcats (an entire quarter), including 12:24 of the final period.  "They were like the #10 rush defense in the nation and a top 20 team and we came out here and beat them up on the ground," said Marc Tyler, who ran 31 times for 161 yards.
  • Marc Tyler has always been a talented back.  Even in limited opportunities the last few years, he made plays, but he could never stay on the field.  After a soft night in the Oregon loss, RB coach Kennedy Pola blasted his tailback and apparently the message got through.  Tyler was an absolute workhorse tonight, including shaking off a recurrence of his ankle injury.  "It felt good to go out there and run the ball 31 times.  That's the most I've ever run in my life I think," said an exhausted Tyler.  "Obviously, tomorrow it's not going to feel that good, but we got the win."
  • Matt Barkley was not sacked tonight.  Against the best defensive end tandem in the conference, Tyron Smith and Matt Kalil pitched a shutout despite combining for zero practices this week.  "It was just the preparation.  We were challenged again this week and we really took it to heart in our individual work," said Kris O'Dowd about the offensive line's stellar play.  "Everyone is banged up, but these guys can play through it because they are tough."
  • Arizona is now 0-11 when they lose the turnover battle.  USC took advantage of two key fumbles, which led to 10 Trojans' points, and stopped one Wildcats drive in the red zone.  "You are talking about running 82 plays today with only one turnover and no sacks, that's a very clean day," said Lane Kiffin about his offense.  
  • I do not understand why Shareece Wright does not shadow the opponent's best receiver.  To use a basketball analogy, you put your defensive stopper on the other team's best scorer.  Arizona's star WR Juron Criner killed the Trojans on 3rd down tonight and by my recollection, all six of his catches came against Torin Harris, USC's third best corner. 
  • Many of you may not know Ross Cumming, but the back-up linebacker made the biggest play of the night.  "Right when he kicked it, I knew it was going to go 10 yards with the force behind it and if I waited, I was going to get blown up," recounted Cumming, who said that they have practiced that exact onside kick situation countless times this season.  He's symbolic of a special teams unit that continues to produce magic week after week, including a faked field goal and another blocked PAT returned for two points (yeah yeah, offsides, whatever).
  • Joe Houston outkicked Alex Zendejas and it was the difference in the game.  The math is simple.  USC won by three.  Houston made his one attempt, while Zendejas missed.  "Joe kicking that field goal was big," said Kiffin, who has stuck with the former walk-on despite his struggles.  "You just felt going in that we had not kicked many field goals all year and we were going to need a big boost."
  • The locker room was as celebratory tonight as it has been all season.  While the head coach does not let his guard down often, he shared a great moment with the ESPN Radio broadcast team when Pete Arbogast told him the Oregon/Cal score.  "No that's the score at the end of the first quarter," Kiffin contested.  "They must have let Cal play with 15 guys on defense."
  • The 2010 Trojans have their signature win.  While Arizona may not be Oregon or Stanford, the Wildcats were a top 20 team in their own stadium with a big name quarterback.  If USC had lost, they would have failed to avenge any of their four losses from last season.  Now...
  • They have a chance to win out and finish 10-3, which is looking all the more likely after Oregon State lost to Washington State in Corvallis.  "We're going to have to go up there and it is a tough place to play, but there is some light here," Kiffin broke down the schedule.  "The picture is starting to clear, so we need to just keep improving."
  • Here is a spent Marc Tyler after his career night...

Arizona Live Chat

| No Comments blog contributors Ben Weiss and Stephanie Graves break down the action from Los Angeles while Jordan Moore tweets from the sidelines.

3-Points: USC vs. UCI

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Compiled by blog contributor Ben Weiss

The men's basketball team started its season in the right direction after capturing a 62-49 victory in the opener against the University of California, Irvine at the Galen Center. Three takeaways from the Trojans' performance...

  • It was a tale of two halves for Bryce Jones and Nikola Vucevic. Like his hot start against Point Loma last Saturday, Jones, playing this time in the starting lineup, quickly asserted himself offensively. A dunk following an offensive rebound and a three from the corner got USC's offense rolling in the first three minutes, and later with the game tied at 11, the freshman single-handedly engineered a 7-0 run with two more buckets from long distance and a free throw. "Offensively, I'm becoming a better shooter. I think I can offer that to the team," Jones said of his game. As Jones cooled off in the second half, Vucevic turned up the heat. After a two-point first half performance, Vucevic poured in 17 in the final 20 minutes to finish with a game-high 19. "I was more aggressive in the second half," Vucevic said. "I made an adjustment when they were double teaming me. The coaches told me what to do...and it worked."

  • USC dominated the glass from start to finish, which helped ease the team's shooting woes. Paced by Vucevic's game-high 14 boards, the Trojans gave their opponent only four second-chance opportunities while notching 15 offensive rebounds of their own - only seven fewer than UCI's 22 total defensive rebounds. Towards the end of the game the Anteaters seemed to concede the Trojans' height advantage, as many of USC's defensive rebounds went uncontested.

  • Freshman Maurice Jones continues to impress and improve. The team's starting point guard played all 40 minutes against UCI and was a crucial asset when the team struggled against the Anteaters' zone defense. With less than seven minutes remaining and the Trojans' double-digit lead cut to only six, Jones converted on an acrobatic driving layup that put the kabosh on UCI's run and kept USC at a comfortable distance from their opponent. "Making plays doesn't mean I have to score, but (Head Coach Kevin O'Neill) wants me to just make some type of play so we can get an easy bucket," Jones said. When asked if he was tired from his long day of work, Jones smiled and conceded: "A little bit."
O'Neill was very pleased with his freshman point guard's performance. Here's the full video of the Head Coach's post-game thoughts...

Friday Night Video: Arizona

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Click this link to watch the Friday Night Video that got the players fired up in anticipation of today's contest against the Wildcats.

T.J. Mac and the Sharks are coming for the punter.  (Photo by Jon SooHoo)
Thumbnail image for TJ-Sharks.jpg

USC Basketball: March to Madness

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SC TV is proud to introduce a new series, USC Basketball: March to Madness, where we'll take you inside Trojans' hoops.

Over the course of the season, you'll learn about the characters that make-up USC basketball and follow them on their journey from training camp to (hopefully) postseason glory.

We want you all involved, so we are providing the first episode FREE by clicking this link!

Remember, the season tips off at 1 p.m. Saturday inside the Galen Center against UC-Irvine.

Here's a preview of March to Madness...

Bring on the Irish!

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The greatest intersectional rivalry in collegiate athletics is about to play out on the soccer pitch.

USC women's soccer downed Illinois in the first round of the NCAA tournament 3-1 this afternoon in South Bend, IN.

Coach Ali Khosroshahin's team dominated the Illini with goals from Ashley Freyer, Ashli Sandoval (50 yards from goal!) and Samantha Johnson.  The three goal effort ties the school record for an NCAA tournament game.  

The Trojans will now battle the Fighting Irish on Notre Dame soil for a spot in the final 16.  The game kicks off Sunday at 1 p.m. eastern and 10 a.m. pacific.

Here's Ashley Freyer talking about her goal and the team's effort...

2010 Game #10: USC at Arizona

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5 points of emphasis before we take off for the desert...

1.) Nick Folds

He is not healthy.  Foles suffered a knee injury similar to Mark Sanchez's preseason dislocation in 2008.  He is fine to sit back in the pocket, but he's lost his mobility.  USC's defense has been at its best when they attack this season.  If the corners jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, Foles will have to wait for the patterns to develop.  In that time, the front four and blitzers need to punish him.

2.) Let It Rip!

I agree with the blog commenter who said Matt Barkley should not obsess over interceptions.  The Trojans can't beat a very good Arizona team with their star QB "managing" the offense.  He has to outplay his counterpart and lead USC to a tough win.  Yes, he needs to make good decisions, but he cannot hold back.

3.) The Pillars

We don't talk much about Tyron Smith and Matt Kalil, which is a good thing when it comes to offensive tackles.  Barkley called Arizona's defensive ends the best that USC will see this season, so the QB's bodyguards will be tested.  Mike Stoops' defense is dependent on pressure, so if Smith and Kalil can shut their water off, Barkley can make it rain down the field.

4.) The Wright Time

Each week, I ask Shareece Wright about the other team's best wide receiver.  Each week, he smiles coyly before giving a respectful answer.  In that smile, the corner reveals that he is not intimidated.  He would love to lock up with Juron Criner on every snap.  Criner "always lines up on the right side," according to Wright, so he'll be easy to find.  If he can take away Arizona's top target, the Cats' will lose their teeth.

5.) Signature Win

Lane Kiffin's college head coaching career has been marked by near-misses.  His teams' best performances came in narrow losses to Alabama last year and Stanford this season.  This is the 2010 Trojans final shot to knock off a ranked opponent.  While it may not "shock the world," beating a quality Arizona team in Tuscon would qualify as a signature win for Kiffin in his first year as the head of Troy.

Kiffin's first season is flying by.  (Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Arizona Thursday Practice: Notes

Most hands will be on deck for Saturday.

  • Marc Tyler and Matt Kalil returned to practice on a limited basis, but Jawanza Starling is still out.
  • Nickell Robey made the biggest play of practice ripping away a Matt Barkley pass for a pick-six.  The corners will need confidence going into battle with the best pass offense in the conference.  "We expect them to throw the ball a lot," said CB Shareece Wright.  "They are going to come after us."
  • Instead of waiting to be picked apart, the Trojans' plan is to go on the attack.  "When you put your hands on receivers, it changes their whole game." said Wright, who prefers to jam receivers at the line.  "It's easy to run routes when nobody's touching you."
  • Wright would prefer to lock up with Arizona's top target, Juron Criner, on every play.  He remembers Criner's catch over his buddy Josh Pinkard to win the game last year.  "I didn't like the way the game ended with him scoring on Josh, so I'll make sure that doesn't happen this year." 
  • Watching tape, Wright noticed that Foles locks in on his big receiver.  "They throw him the ball a lot.  When they throw the ball to you that many times, you better have a lot of catches." 
  • The Wildcats hope to spread USC out and force the Trojans' secondary to make tackles in one-on-one situations.  "We just have to make tackles after they catch the ball and deflect some of those short passes," Wright explained.
  • Matt Barkley spent some time with Nick Foles before the season when the Pac-10's top quarterbacks took a trip to the East Coast.  "He's a big kid, slings the rock out," said Barkley about Foles' reputation.  "I heard they get it out quick.  They are the #1 [pass] offense in the conference, so they must be doing something right."
  • USC's QB believes turnover margin will be the key stat down the stretch this season.  "One of my goals for finishing out this season is to not throw any picks," said Barkley, who contested the notion made by Kiffin that he lets his emotions lead him into errors.  "I usually don't let emotion get into my play in games.  It's one of the things that I pride myself on." 
  • Having spent time with Barkley after wins and losses, he is the type of quarterback that struggles to remember the touchdowns, but can explain every detail of his interceptions.  When you ask him about picks, he gives specific answers and rarely speaks in generalities.
  • A healthy Robert Woods would make Barkley's life easier.  "He's getting there.  I don't think he's 100% yet," Barkley reported.  "You could definitely tell without his presence how much are offense was changing."
  • While the Wildcats offensive stars get all the press, their pass rushers have caught Barkley's attention.  "Nothing gives me nightmares, but they are a fast, up-field rush team with their ends.  They are really good and probably the best we're going to see this year."
  • Here is Lane Kiffin's post-practice media session...

Men's Basketball Weekly Practice Update - 11/11

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Compiled by blog contributor Ben Weiss...

The men's basketball team opens its season this Saturday at home against the University of California - Irvine. A few notes from the team's penultimate practice before 2010 officially tips off for the Trojans...

  • The team's practice ran about 30 minutes short, as will tomorrow's practice. Head Coach Kevin O'Neill is hoping to keep his squad rested for its first test of the year.
  • Although they are still far from midseason form, the team ran through its offensive sets with much more confidence and fluidity. A week and a half or two weeks ago, there were still several players forcing O'Neill to stop play and explain what they were doing incorrectly. It's a much more well-oiled machine at this point.
  • Practice concluded with free throws (something the team must improve since its 7-19 performance in the scrimmage against Point Loma) and a brief film session of the Illinois-UCI game, led by O'Neill.
  • The head coach hasn't yet decided on a starting lineup for Saturday, but the only position likely up for grabs is shooting guard - Donte Smith's experience and leadership versus Bryce Jones' size and athleticism. Although Jones had a strong showing in his preseason debut against Point Loma (17 points), Donte spent the entire preseason establishing himself as a vocal, emotional and mental leader. Regardless of who takes the starting spot, the sixth man won't stay on the bench long.
  •  James Boyd, the football defensive end who has expressed interest in playing on the basketball team as well, watched the first portion of practice. On Boyd's status, O'Neill said that he'll wait until the conclusion of football season before further evaluating the situation.
A few thoughts from the man they call KO...

Scouting Report: Arizona

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Round #10: Arizona Wildcats

2010 Record: 7-2 (4-2 in the Pac-10)

2009 Record: 8-5 (6-3 in the Pac-10)

Series History: USC leads 26-7 (Last meeting: 21-17 Arizona in '09)

mikestoops.jpgHead Coach: Mike Stoops (7th season)

Amazingly, Stoops is now one of the longest tenured coaches in the conference.  After four seasons in Tuscon, he had never toppled the .500 mark, but he spread things out offensively in 2008 and the 'Cats have won 23 games and counting in the last three years.  Stoops is known by fans for being animated on the sidelines, but his coaching brethren recognize his aggressive defenses at Arizona and Oklahoma.

Offensive Players to Watch: QB Nick Foles (Junior, Austin, TX); WR Juron Criner (Junior, Las Vegas, NV)

Like Andrew Luck, Foles is a Texas QB tearing through the Pac-10.  In their Texas Tech style offense, Foles' talent is measured by his accuracy (71.8%).  He's battled back from a knee injury, which cost him two games and most of another, but he played all the snaps against Stanford last week.  He has thrown an interception in every completed start this season.

Thumbnail image for Criner-Pinkard.jpgCriner will be playing on Sundays.  The lanky receiver has been at his best lately with 8+ catches and a TD in each of his last three games.  He is explosive after the catch and is too big for undersized corners.  Criner is best known by USC fans as the receiver who caught the winning TD reception in the Wildcats Coliseum shocker last season over Josh Pinkard, who tore his ACL on the play.

Strength: Passing Offense and Run Defense

They are the number one passing offense in the conference and they will be going against the worst pass defense statistically in the Pac-10.  If Foles and Criner are healthy, they are a nightmare match-up for the Trojans' secondary, which has been searching for answers most of the season.

They are also league best at stopping the run.  If they can make you one-dimensional, they'll attack with pass-rushing defensive ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore.

Weakness: Toughness

Statistically, they have no weaknesses.  They are an all-around solid team, but they were blown out by Stanford last week and Nebraska in last year's Holiday Bowl.  The Cardinal and Huskers bludgeoned the Wildcats, controlling time of possession and the scoreboard.

Arizona Verdict

The Wildcats are representative of the new Pac-10.  They spread you out offensively and come after you defensively.  Most importantly, they are a perennial doormat, which has come to life and bolstered the increasingly competitive conference.  Oregon and Stanford have separated themselves as the Pac-10's two elite teams this season, but the Wildcats are a clear third unless the Trojans can do something about it Saturday.

The Trojans will need to bear down on the 'Cats QB.

Byron Wesley Highlight Reel

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As we mentioned yesterday, Kevin O'Neill signed his second full recruiting class in his tenure as USC men's basketball coach.

While they expect the entire group to contribute, Etiwanda's Byron Wesley looks like the early gem of the bunch.

Here is a highlight reel we cut from his CIF championship game against Mater Dei...

USC FlipsIt: Women's Volleyball Seniors

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The USC women's volleyball team closes their home regular season schedule this weekend with a pair of match-ups at the Galen Center.

On Friday at 7 p.m., Mick Haley's squad will battle the Arizona Wildcats, who they beat in five sets in Tuscon.

And then on Saturday, they will celebrate "Senior Night" against Arizona State at 7 p.m. pacific time.  The three seniors (Geena Urango, Kimmee Roleder and Zoe Garrett) will take their final bow in front of the home fans.

Here is a USC FlipsIt look at the senior trio, who are all roommates, produced by Farren Benjamin and Ben Weiss...

Hello Melo

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Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony dropped by the Galen Center recently to shoot his new shoe commercial.

They brought their own decals to make it look like the Pepsi Center, home of the Nuggets.

First, watch the behind-the-scenes video inside USC's sparkling facility...

Then, watch the ad starring the home court of the Trojans.

Veteran Fan

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Ed Flory's time at USC was interrupted. 

He first attended the university in the early 40's, but after his first year, he was drafted into the military.

Flory fought with the 4th Armored Division and ultimately saw combat in the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest mission of World War II.

After being honorably discharged, Flory returned to Troy and earned his degree in International Relations in 1949. 

Since then, he has been a USC season-ticket holder for over 50 years and annually chairs the Veterans Day parade in his rural town of Porterville, CA, which rests in the San Joaquin Valley.

Recently, Flory was honored by the Porterville High School Alumni Association as the 21st member of their Wall of Fame.

Flory (right) honored by Porterville.  (Photo by Reneh Agha)

USC/Arizona Coverage Map

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The USC at Arizona game Saturday night at 5 p.m. pacific, 6 p.m. Arizona time and 8 p.m. eastern will be broadcast on ABC in 19% of the country.

If you fall into the other 81%, you can watch the game on ESPN PPV channel #1 or  If you are an SC TV subscriber, you can watch the game on after it is over.

11-13-10 ABC 8pm.jpg

Morning Papers (11/11/10)

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Happy Veterans Day!  And thank you for all your service...

Arizona Wednesday Practice: Notes

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As the bodies heal, the focus shifts to Arizona.

  • Ronald Johnson returned to practice and looked good, but he had a disconcerting wrap around his hamstring.  RoJo and Robert Woods are expected to be good to go for Saturday.  Lane Kiffin commented again that he could feel a difference in the offense without the threat of Woods against ASU.
  • Kiffin has not named a starting running back for Saturday.  He is waiting to see how Marc Tyler progresses, which leads me to believe that he is the favorite.  Allen Bradford seems to be stuck in no man's land.  "It's been tough for him," Kiffin said about Bradford.  "He's battled through some injuries and he's not had much success as of late in the limited carries that he's had and he's put the ball on the ground."
  • Kiffin was extremely complimentary of Juron Criner, Arizona's best receiver.  "He's just special with the ball in his hands," Kiffin praised.  "He's just one of those NFL-type guys, who gets the ball in his hands and is dangerous with it."  Criner has been banged up, so the Trojans might catch a break there.
  • Freshman corner Nickell Robey was the target of much early criticism this season from the media and fans, but Kiffin is happy with his recent play.  "He's settled down," Kiffin said.  "As a true freshman, we probably tried to do too much with him initially.  We've rotated him in over the last five games, so he's not out there every play and I think he's done really well."
  • Yesterday, we ran a great photo spread of Shane and Wes Horton with their father Michael, who was "Gemini" on the original American Gladiators.  "I remember running around and it just being really loud," said Shane Horton, who is two years older than his brother.  "When the show was over, I would go on the last event and play on all the mats."
  • Horton did not know at the time that most babysitters are not named "Nitro" and "Malibu."  "Those guys were rough man.  They were big old dudes and they were always roughhousing.  I got good memories with those guys."
  • USC's defense has struggled tackling this season, but Horton always stands out as the exception from the linebacking corps.  "I have good experience with it playing safety.  You have to make more open field tackles," Horton explained.  "Some dudes are fast, some dudes can jump high, I feel like one of my good attributes is tackling."
  • Monte Kiffin was one of the first defensive minds to emphasize speed over size at linebacker and Pete Carroll borrowed that philosophy when he converted Trojan great Matt Grootegoed from a safety into a backer.  He did the same thing with Horton.  "The first thing I thought of when Coach Carroll moved me down was, 'Man, I don't think I'm big enough for this.'"  Kiffin and Joe Barry have given him examples of undersized linebackers like Bucs' legend Derrick Brooks.  "Coach Monte is the guy I want to do it under; he's the guy that knows it."
  • As we mentioned yesterday, Joe Houston is laboring again.  "100% mental," he said of his struggles. 
  • Houston feels a little snake-bitten by some good kicks that have missed by the narrowest margins.  "If you were to watch all my kicks throughout the season, the total feet that I have missed by has to be one of the best in the country," said the bewildered kicker.  "It's hard to swallow, but I've got to live with it."
  • The Trojans schedule is not going to let up anytime soon, so Houston will likely be back in the cauldron.  "We're going to be in some ball games this year and it's going to come down to me again," he said.  "You've just got to be mentally tough and I am willing for the challenge."
  • Here is Lane Kiffin on the coldest night yet...

USC Men's Hoops 2011 Recruiting Class

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Kevin O'Neill has reinforcements on the way as he looks to bolster a roster that was depleted by NCAA sanctions.  The Trojans will welcome four new players next season, including two legitimate seven-footers.

KO's Take: "I am really, really excited about the class of 2011-2012," said O'Neill. "These guys will help stabilize our program and will serve as the beginning of us leaving all this negativity behind. Every one of these guys fits what we are looking for in players in terms of being good people, good students, and good athletes."

Thumbnail image for Wesley.jpgHere is the class of 2011:

Byron Wesley, SF, Etiwanda High School

Size: 6'5", 210 pounds

KO's Take: "Byron comes from a great program at Etiwanda.  He is a multi-faceted wing player, who can play two or three spots and guard spots 1-4. His versatility will make him a valuable part of our team over the next four years."

Alexis-Moore.jpgAlexis Moore, G, Long Beach Poly

Size: 6'1", 180 pounds

KO's Take: "Alexis is as solid a guard as there is.  He is a great dribble-pass-shoot guy and is going to be an excellent defender. He can guard at least two, possibly three, spots on the perimeter and will give us great flexibility. He comes from a great program and is a winner in every way, on and off the court. Alexis is an outstanding student who will be an ideal Trojan."

Thumbnail image for Blascczyk.jpgJames Blasczyk, C, Lee Community College (Texas A&M transfer)

Size: 7'1", 260 pounds

KO's Take: "At 7'1" and 260 pounds, James is going to help give us depth on the front line.  He shoots the ball extremely well for a big guy, runs the floor as well as anyone his size, and will be a great defender in and out because he moves his feet so well. He's just a hard-nosed, tough player."

Thumbnail image for Dedmon.jpgDeWayne Dedmon, C, Antelope Valley College

Size: 7'0", 230 pounds

KO's Take: "Dewayne will come here in January, redshirt, and have three years of eligibility left.  I have no doubt this guy will be a huge part of our team and future, on and off the court. He can run, rebound, and shoot and will only improve with time spent in the weight room and doing conditioning."

Wesley (below) will make an instant impact, but Dedmon's upside is tremendous.

HomeWalkLA Advisory

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We have an action packed Saturday on campus again this week with the men's basketball season tipping off at 1 p.m., swimming/diving hosting Arizona State at noon and women's volleyball "Senior Night" getting started at 7 p.m..

So, if you are headed to campus to support the Trojans, prepare for some congestion caused by the "5K Walk to End Homelessness."  The walk begins at 9 a.m., leaving from Exposition Park, but it will likely be cleared out before USC's sporting events.

Click here for the HomeWalkLA website and the route is highlighted below.
HomeWalkLA 2010 Route.jpg

Sanctioned Enthusiasm

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The Trojans have everything and nothing to play for on Saturday.

Since day one, Lane Kiffin has set a simple goal to win the next game, the game in front of them.

In the grand scheme, they don't have a BCS ranking to worry about nor will any bowl be sending invitations.  The undefeated ship sailed away against Washington and the conference championship was lost in battle to Oregon and Stanford.

While the current Trojans have their flaws, desire has gone unquestioned so far, but it will be challenged the next two weeks.

Last Spring, the men's basketball team banned themselves from March Madness after a bright non-conference season.

Without a dance card to fill out, Kevin O'Neill's squad refocused on the regular season conference title, but those hopes slowly faded too.  In the end, the hoops team dominated their rivals, sweeping UCLA, and played a respectable 6-3 at home against Pac-10 teams. 

But late in the season, especially on the road, where conference foes were scrapping for resume building wins, USC did not have the same edge as their opponents.  The Trojans dropped their final five games and finished 2-7 on the road in the Pac-10.

Effort was not the problem.  They were never beaten by more than 10 points, but they could not close out victories that were within their grasp.

Football and basketball are different.  With only one game a week and far more talent and tradition, expectations are higher on the gridiron.  If they fade away in the final four games, people will notice.

I see zero signs of a Trojan collapse.  They still have both rivalry games on the docket, which will stir their young souls, but the next two weeks fall into the basketball pattern.

Arizona is playing their best football in recent program history.  In front of a home crowd on a cool desert night, they will be desperate to maintain their foothold in the rankings and position themselves for Holiday Bowl redemption after least year's embarrassing loss.

Oregon State is stuck at 4-4 needing two wins to gain bowl eligibility, but they close the season with Stanford and Oregon, so USC might be their swing game.

The Trojans' season will be defined against Notre Dame and UCLA, but their character will show through over the next two weeks.

Can the perennial bullies embrace the role of conference spoilers?  The answer is the difference between 10-3 and 8-5.

(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Heritage Hall Archives: Trojan Generations

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The Matthews' family is USC royalty.

While the younger set know all about Clay Matthews III, his father and uncle donned the cardinal and gold long before the fair-haired former walk-on.

Bruce Matthews is one of the all-time Trojan and NFL greats.  The 14-time Pro Bowler was an All-American offensive lineman his senior year at USC.

Clay Matthews Jr., Bruce's older brother, was an NFL iron man playing 19 seasons at linebacker.

Clay's three sons were all college football players.  Clay III and Kyle played here at Troy, while Casey is a star on the current Oregon team.

Clay Sr. was a football player as well, but Junior (#60) started the Trojan line of succession.
matthews, clay 3.jpg
Bruce (#66) has a son named Jake, who is a freshman offensive lineman at Texas A&M. 
Matthews Bruce043.JPG
Clay III leads the NFL in sacks this season.
Matthews, Clay 08 ND pg.JPG

Kyle was a walk-on, who lettered in 2003 as a safety.
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Arizona Tuesday Practice: Notes

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The bruised and battered Trojans watched some reserves show good health and good form.

  • Marc Tyler, Ronald Johnson, Robert Woods, Jawanza Starling, Matt Kalil and many others took in practice from the sidelines.
  • However, WR Markeith Ambles and LB Simione Vehikite returned to the practice field after serving their academic suspensions.  "He showed that he wants to do things right," said Lane Kiffin about Ambles.  "We'll give him a chance and see if he can do it."
  • C.J. Gable was the star of practice.  He showed a healthy burst on several explosive runs, which proved that his knee is close to full force.  "He looked very good today," Kiffin said. "If he's the best guy at the end of the week than he'll play the most."
  • Marc Tyler is happy to be in the rotation at all after he thought he heard his ankle pop last Saturday.  Instead, he was diagnosed with an inside sprain and hopes to be back this week.  Tyler had a rod inserted into his left ankle when he broke his ankle years ago and he believes the rod kept the joint from snapping again.
  • Before the injury, Tyler had his most explosive performance in weeks.  "I expected to play well because Coach P, he really ripped me after the Oregon game and I knew I had to go out there and play well," Tyler said. 
  • As for Kennedy Pola's message that got Tyler's attention, "Just representing the whole running back room when I go out there.  Just playing tough and doing the things that I am supposed to do and not making up stuff during the game," Tyler said.
  • As far as we know, Dillon Baxter is in line to start again Saturday.  "I got in a groove pretty good for my first time and I'm pretty excited for this week coming up," Baxter evaluated his first start.
  • While Kiffin was pleased with Baxter's running, he was disappointed that the freshman missed a protection assignment, which mirrored a mistake that he made earlier in the season against Virginia.  Both plays led to Matt Barkley interceptions.  "Coach P has been coaching me up on how to block big linebackers," Baxter explained.  "This is my freshman year, so coaches are going to see if I can block and I am working hard on that."
  • Coming out of Fall camp, Baxter was knocked for being too loose with the football, but he has not put the ball on the ground yet this season.  "Ball security is a big thing.  I have not dropped a ball yet, have not dropped a pass yet, so hopefully I can keep that streak going," the freshman said with pride.  "If a coach can count on you to not put the ball on the ground then he will throw you in there."
  • Woods sat out practice with an injured back, but he is feeling better.  "It's a little sore," said Woods, who was battling illness and vomiting last week.  "I think it was from a stomach virus.  Once that was out of my system, it was gone."  
  • The freshman has had a year full of new lessons.  Now, he's learning how to play through pain.  "I did have to gut it up a lot.  I was feeling it during warm-ups, but I felt like I had to go give as many reps as I could," Woods recounted.  "I have not missed a game yet in my life, so I just had to go."
  • Woods was supposed to be one of a trio of freshman wideouts, but Ambles has struggled off the field and Kyle Prater has never been physically right.  However, Prater is starting to open up some eyes in practice including Woods'.  "He's feeling a lot better," his teammate reported.  "Coach Mo (John Morton) said, 'He looks a lot faster.'  I heard he had a deep ball in one-on-ones and he ran right past the defensive back, so he's looking healthy."  
  • Joe Houston's psyche was back on full display at the end of practice.  The former walk-on missed three consecutive 38-yard field goals at the end of practice with John Baxter encouraging, "Hit the target!" after each one.  After the third miss, Jake Harfman stepped up and shanked a 38-yarder.  Then, Houston stepped back up and made the kick to end practice.  "It's an ongoing concern," Kiffin said of his kickers.  "It's disappointing this late in the season to still be where we are at with that."
  • Here is Lane Kiffin on a chilly night...

Gladiator Genes

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Brothers Wes and Shane Horton were destined to grow up as gladiators.  The sons of "Gemini" were born to entertain.

Michael Horton was an original star of the hit show American Gladiators.  USC's fraternal tandem grew up on and around the set as their father pummeled helpless contestants in front of a live studio audience.

While the current Hortons are gladiators of the Coliseum, they learned their physicality from dad. 

1 year-old Wes (left) and 3 year-old Shane (right) with "Gemini" a.k.a. Dad
From left to right: "Malibu," "Gemini," "Nitro" and Shane (age 1)
Wes and Shane as Tennage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly

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In this week's episode airing first at 10:30 p.m. on PRIME TICKET HD, Pat Haden lays out the new All-Sports building, Petros Papadakis breaks down the running back rotation and Kellie Tennant takes you around the Olympic sports.

Here is Lane Kiffin explaining Matt Barkley's first touchdown pass from last Saturday...

Primetime at the Rose Bowl

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The annual crosstown showdown will be played under the hot Pasadena lights this season.

USC at UCLA will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on December 4 and be shown live nationally on FSN.

The 7:30 p.m. start time is the second latest in the history of the rivalry (8:30 p.m. in 1945) and it is just the seventh night game in the history of the series.  Last year, they kicked off the USC victory at 7 p.m..

Really, this post is just an excuse for me to show you this video...

Morning Papers (11/9/10)

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What's the word?

Trojan Flashback: USC vs. Arizona State

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Click this link to relive USC's dramatic one-point victory over the Sun Devils with bonus sideline footage, locker room reaction and Lane Kiffin's speeches to the team.

Last week, we decided not to post a Flashback after the tough loss to Oregon.  If you would like us to edit one win or lose, let us know in the comments section.

Here is a preview of this week's episode with Malcolm Smith breaking down his TD return...

Wild Night in the Coli

How wild was USC's 34-33 win over Arizona State?

*It was USC's first one-point win since 1995 against Stanford.

*It was the most points the Trojans have scored in a one-point victory.

*Malcolm Smith's 74-yard interception return for a touchdown was the longest pick-six since Kevin Arbet's 75-yarder against Louisiana Tech in 1999.

*ASU's LeQuan Lewis returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score, which is the longest KO return against USC since Iowa's C.J. Jones opened the 2003 Orange Bowl by shocking the Trojans.

*ASU CB Omar Bolden returned a tipped Matt Barkley pass 66 yards for six, which has not been topped since 2005 when Washington's Dashon Goodson went 76 yards.

*It was the first time since Oregon St. in 2003 that USC and an opponent returned picks for touchdowns.

*USC CB Torin Harris returned a blocked PAT for a defensive 2-pt. conversion for the first time since Micah Phillips turned the trick in 1994 versus Oregon State.

*USC has now won 11 consecutive games against the Sun Devils.

#70 Tyron Smith's blocked PAT hit him directly in the facemask.  (Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Lane Kiffin Arizona Q&A

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USC head coach Lane Kiffin sat down with me for his weekly Q&A talking all things ASU, Arizona and sideline attire.

USC vs. Notre Dame: Soccer Style

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The #17 ranked USC women's soccer team took in lunch and a show at the Galen Dining Center this afternoon.

Ali Khosroshahin's squad was focused on ESPNU's women's soccer selection special, which notified the Trojans that they will be heading to South Bend, IN, for their first and hopefully second round encounters.

On Friday, USC will take on Illinois.  If they can get past the Illini, a likely Sunday second round date will play out in the "greatest intersectional rivalry" against Notre Dame.

Here is Coach K breaking down the bracket...

T.J. Mac Honored

USC sophomore safety T.J. McDonald was named the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Week.

He is the first Trojan to take that honor this season.  After the Cal game, Matt Barkley was the offensive player of the week and Joe Houston won the special teams award.

McDonald led the team with 12 tackles, blocked two punts and downed a punt inside the five against the Sun Devils.

(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Projans: NFL Week 9

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The Trojans had a big week at the pro ranks as well.

Heisman Worthy

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - NFL-leading 11th sack plus a 62-yard interception return for TD

I try to spread the love around, but Matthews is too dominant to ignore.  He is the clear front-runner for NFL Defensive Player of the Year halfway through the season.  Since returning from a hamstring injury, he has led the Packers to three straight wins, including giving up just seven points combined the last two weeks.

All-American Caliber

Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets - Engineered a 10-point comeback in the final two minutes and the winning OT drive

Terrell Thomas, CB, Giants - Another interception (3 total) for the most underrated Projan

Steve Smith, WR, Giants - 4 catches for 46 yards and a TD in a 41-7 throttling of Pete Carroll's Seahawks

Sedrick Ellis, DT, Saints - Two tackles and one sack in a dominating 31-3 win over Carolina

Taj Gibson, PF, Bulls - (Sneak in some NBA) Starting big man has 18 points in each of the last two games

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Monday Night Football

Carson vs. Troy.  Old teammates square off as the Bengals led by Palmer, Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers battle their bitter division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and their fair-haired wrecking-machine Troy Polamalu.

If you are a fan of our Facebook page, you're entered to win this Palmer autographed poster.

Winning Weekend

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The Trojan action was fast and furious this weekend, so I thought I'd get you caught up on all the tolls of the Victory Bell.

Matt Barkley lookin' like Rocky Balboa before Saturday's knockout of the Sun Devils. 
(Photo by Jon SooHoo)


Lane Kiffin ASU Call

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Click the link below to listen in on Lane Kiffin's weekly conference call with the media.


(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Photo Galleries: USC vs. ASU (Action)

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Scroll down for all the pregame photos from Jon SooHoo.

Here are his exclusive action shots from the first half...

...and the thrilling 2nd half!

Photo Galleries: USC vs. ASU (Pregame)

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Check out these two exclusive Jon SooHoo photo galleries.

First, he takes you inside the locker room.

Then, he brings you to the field for pregame.

USC 34, ASU 33

Note: Lane Kiffin's post-game presser is always on not the blog.  Click the link to listen!

10 takes on a wild night at the Coliseum...

  • John Baxter was hired for games like this one.  In a game decided by a single point, the special teams unit generated two on a blocked PAT, three on a game-winning field goal and two more on one of those "silly formations" that drive the critics nuts.  And oh yeah, they blocked two punts.  "Coach Baxter did a great job preparing us all week.  Hats off to him," said T.J. McDonald, who got his hands on two punts and drew a holding penalty on another.
  • Joe Houston may not be a Lou Groza candidate, but he showed courage when it counted the most.  After missing two short kicks, he had to be battling inner demons lining up the game-winner.  "I'm human.  I was anxious," Houston reflected.  "I believe in myself and I believe in my teammates.  That kick was for my teammates."
  • Of course, ASU's kicker Thomas Weber had a chance to trump Houston and provide USC with a "deja vu all over again" moment.  "Flashbacks came here and there," Barkley compared the Sun Devils drive to the last second losses earlier this season.  Lane Kiffin felt a sense of poetic justice when the kick sailed wide left.  "I really kind of felt like 'Finally!'," Kiffin said.  "It was really good for our players just to see them have something go their way."
  • With all the crazy plays that happened tonight, can we please take one moment to reflect on the ambidextrous punting performance by Jake Harfman?  On his first attempt, he rolled right and punted with his right foot.  On his second chance, he rolled left and punted left-footed.  I could not believe my eyes, but he was unfazed.  "I feel comfortable and I can do it again hopefully," said Harfman, who can kick field goals left-footed as well.  How many people have ever punted with both feet in a game though?  "I have no idea!  Probably zero," Harfman laughed.
  • Lane Kiffin pointed to Malcolm Smith's interception return for a touchdown as the moment of the game.  All week, he had talked to the defense about making more game-changing plays, so he was fired up by Smith's pick and then the convoy of blocking defenders paving his way to the end zone.  "The guys threw blocks and I had just enough energy to get in," Smith recounted.  The senior enjoyed a much easier pick-six last year against UCLA.
  • The night of shocks really started with the starting lineups.  Out of nowhere, Dillon Baxter was announced as the lead tailback.  "I was hoping that it would give us a spark in our run game that had kind of staled out a little bit," Kiffin explained.  Baxter was solid, but unspectacular on the night.  He combined for 78 yards from scrimmage, while Marc Tyler shined (12 carries for 119 yards) before leaving the game after injuring his ankle.  Baxter never broke the big run, but he secured the ball tightly on all 21 touches, which is the reason that he's passed Allen Bradford on the depth chart.
  • Brice Butler is a talented guy.  He makes a play per practice to remind everyone that he could be a force.  Of course, coming into the game, he had just six catches for 63 yards on the season.  With Robert Woods ailing (the freshman was hospitalized earlier this week with a back injury that caused him to vomit repeatedly), Butler led the receiving corps with 49 yards on three catches.  Kiffin would like to see someone grab a hold of the third receiver role.  Maybe tonight was the start of something for Brice Butler...
  • While Woods finished with just 18 yards receiving, he could have had a whole lot more on one play...the first play.  With his man on the ground, Woods had the freedom of the Coliseum to run under Matt Barkley's deep ball, but the quarterback overthrew it.  "I think it took him awhile to get over the first play of the game whether he admits it or not," Kiffin assessed Barkley's performance as "roller coasterish."  Of course, the sophomore leader delivered the winning drive when the game was on the line.
  • I apologize to Rey Maualuga.  All week, I compared ASU LB Vontaze Burfict to the former USC middle backer.  While Maualuga struggled with anger issues early in his career at Troy, he never behaved like Burfict did tonight.  I'm not sure that I have ever seen anyone act like that on a football field.  From picking fights to "airplaning" down USC's sideline to taunting the crowd, he was a one man band of negative karma.  The Sun Devils paid their karmic debt at the worst time.  Burfict's personal foul for a late hit on Butler sparked the game-winning drive for the Trojans.
  • At 2-5 in 2001, Kris Richard's pick-six against Arizona propelled the Trojans to a galvanizing victory in Pete Carroll's first season.  USC would go on to run the table in the regular season.  Lane Kiffin told this story to the team and then the media after the game.  Tonight, fortune favored the Trojans.  Now, Kiffin wants to see his team take that momentum and streak to the finish. 
  • Here is my player of the game, T.J. McDonald, who dominated on defense (12 tackles) and special teams (two blocked punts and one punt downed inside the five-yard line)...

Arizona State Live Chat

| 2 Comments blog contributor Ben Weiss brings you the sights and sounds from the Coliseum press box as the Trojans look to bounce back from last week's game against Oregon.

3-Points: USC vs. Point Loma

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Compiled by blog contributor Ben Weiss

USC defeated Point Loma 69-49 in its only exhibition match of the season. Three takeaways from the Trojans' first action this season in front of an audience...

  • The frontcourt tandem of Alex Stepheson and Nikola Vucevic dominated the much smaller Point Loma squad. Stepheson finished with 19 points to led all scorers, and tallied six rebounds. Vucevic was the primary windex man with 16 boards, and displayed a repertoire of post moves mixed in with a few jumpers on his way to 16 points. Stepheson's inside game also looked more refined, and the two combined to finish 15 for 25 from the floor (an efficient sixty percent). Staying out of foul trouble was a non-issue for both forwards, considering they had four and five inch height advantages over their defenders. 

  • It won't take long to get familiar with the Joneses this year. Newcomers Bryce and Maurice (no relation) both played big roles and at times looked more like four-year starters than first-game freshmen. Maurice started at point and finished with a game-high six assists, although he could have easily notched a few more as he set up his teammates with open looks all game long. On many of the Trojans fast breaks, Maurice led the charge and dished out some jaw-dropping dimes that led to easy layups. Bryce, who came off the bench about three minutes into the game, wasted no time in knocking down his first four three point attempts and finished with 17 points in 19 minutes. 

  • Coming into the game, the depth at forward was a primary concern, and although Vucevic and Stepheson stayed out of foul trouble, stamina could prove to be an issue down the line. Vucevic played all but four minutes in the exhibition, and if the high minutes are going to be a trend for the junior, his conditioning will be tested as the season wears on. Stepheson played a much more modest 28 minutes, but was the cover boy for the Trojans' free-throw shooting woes. The senior captain missed his first six attempts from the charity stripe and finished three of ten. The team as a whole converted only seven of its 19 attempts.
USC will play its first official game a week from today against UC Irvine at 1 p.m. in the Galen Center. Here's Head Coach Kevin O'Neill's take on today's exhibition...

Jock Rally: ASU

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Kris O'Dowd struck up the band and Sammy Knight fired up the crowd at Friday night's "Jock Rally."

Here is the video produced by Ben Weiss...

2010 Game #9: Arizona State vs. USC

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5 ways to close out the homestand with a victory...

1.) Burfict Storm

Lost in the loss last week, USC showed the kind of discipline that Lane Kiffin has preached since his first day.  The Oregon Ducks were called for taunting, facemasks and a hit on the punter, but the Trojans never took the bait.  ASU LB Vontaze Burfict will be in the center of the fray Saturday night trying to make an impression in front of his local fans against the school he almost attended.  Given his history, USC should let the tempestuous middle backer work himself up into a frenzy and take himself out of his game.

2.) Options AB and C

The offense looked out of balance last week relying too heavily on Matt Barkley.  With Allen Bradford and Dillon Baxter finally back to to full physical and academic health respectively, the running game should have more juice against the Sun Devils.  Marc Tyler has been solid, but Bradford and Baxter are more explosive.  If all three are in the gameplan, the offense will have sharper teeth.

3.) Disarm the Threet

ASU QB Steven Threet has donated 13 interceptions to opponents this season, but he's coming off a flawless performance against Wazzu.  The much-maligned Trojans' secondary will have plenty of chances to impact this game.  Confidence has not really been the problem, so the young pass defenders should stay aggressive and step in front.  Turnover margin will be the winning stat Saturday.

4.) "Go the Distance"

An ode to Field of Dreams, USC's special teams has been close, but not quite, the last few weeks.  On film, they see opportunities to finish kick returns in the end zone, but they need to execute John Baxter's gameplan.  Against a good defensive team, points could be at a premium like they were in last year's 14-9 win.  A special teams touchdown would go a long way...

5.) Always Compete

The two words still hang above the Coliseum tunnel.  This week, they filled the air over the practice field.  Lane Kiffin called out the offensive line in the media.  He opened up starting spots at three different positions for all worthy challengers.  While he has not decided on his starting left guard, middle backer or second safety, the point has been made.  The best players will play.  The hardest workers will be rewarded.  On Saturday, the Trojans can answer back with a resounding win.

To avoid a letdown, the Trojans must come together. (Photo by Jon SooHoo)

USC Pac-12 Football Schedule

Hot off the presses, here is a look at USC's 2011 football schedule:

Pac10logo.jpg9/3 - Minnesota at USC

9/10 - Utah at USC

9/17 - Syracuse at USC

9/24 - USC at Arizona State

10/1 - Arizona at USC

10/8 - Bye Week

10/13 - USC at Cal (Thursday Night)

10/22 - USC at Notre Dame

10/29 - Stanford at USC

11/5 - USC at Colorado

11/12 - Washington at USC

11/19 - USC at Oregon

11/26 - UCLA at USC

12/3 - Pac-12 Championship Game (TBD)

Here is how USC's conference schedule rotation will break down over the next eight years:

2011/12 - Play Cal, Stanford, Oregon and Washington; Miss Oregon State and Wazzu.

2013/14 - Play Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Wazzu; Miss Oregon and Washington.

2015/16 - Play Cal, Stanford, Oregon and Washington; Miss Oregon State and Wazzu.

2017/18 - Play Cal, Stanford, Oregon State and Wazzu; Miss Oregon and Washington.

As you can see, the Trojans will play the Bay Area schools every year.  They will play the Northwest schools in pods of two. 

For example, in 2011, USC plays at Oregon and hosts Washington.  It will be reversed in 2012. 

Then, they'll miss those schools for two years and replace them with Washington State and Oregon State.

Click this link for the entire 2011 Pac-12 schedule.

Please e-mail ( if you have any questions.

USC Senior Bowl Invitees

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Four USC players have been invited to the annual Under Armour Senior Bowl all-star game in Mobile, AL. 

Center Kris O'Dowd, cornerback Shareece Wright, fullback Stanley Havili and wide receiver Ronald Johnson have all been sent invitations.

The Senior Bowl is a great opportunity for players to show off their skills all week in front of NFL coaches, executives and scouts and help their draft status.

O'Dowd tweeted this morning, "SENIOR BOWL here I come!!!"

Crosstown Splashdown

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I hope your Trojan calendar is clear for tomorrow because we are going to fill it up. 

After you get to campus nice and early for some tailgating tradition, head over to the Galen Center for a 2 p.m. men's basketball exhibition against Point Loma, which is FREE for anyone with ASU football tickets and $5 for all others.

Then, USC vs. UCLA in the pool.  The #2 ranked men's water polo team will take on the #3 ranked Bruins at 4:30 p.m. at the McDonald's Swim Stadium (*video message to the fans below from star Joel Dennerley*). 

And of course, the nightcap in the Coliseum, USC hosts Arizona State.

ASU Thursday Practice: Notes

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A shorter practice tonight as the Trojans look to conserve energy...

  • USC appears to be as healthy as they have been in a while.  I would expect to see LB Malcolm Smith, RB Dillon Baxter and RB Allen Bradford make more than token appearances in Saturday's game.
  • The Trojans' mental mindset coming off the Oregon loss has been the story of the week, but Lane Kiffin continues to reiterate that he is not worried about it.  "We're not good enough to overlook anybody," he said after practice.
  • However, he is worried about the physical toll the Ducks game took on his limited roster.  "I'm concerned that we are a little bit tired," Kiffin admitted.  "We have tried to shorten things down a little bit after the track meet last week.  Hopefully, we will have our legs back."
  • Allen Bradford is finally happy to have his toe back.  The bruising runner has been hampered by turf toe since his breakout performance against Washington.  "I am feeling 100%," said Bradford, who broke off a long run near the end of practice.  "The week of practice against Cal, I got turf toe and since then, I have been fighting injury."
  • In my scouting report below, I failed to recognize ASU's standout cornerback Omar Bolden.  "Speedy guy, likes to fly around," Robert Woods gave me the scouting report.  "He's a physical corner, who definitely jumps routes."  He was one of the best corners that Woods has seen this year.
  • Woods is the breakout star from this year's freshman class.  On Facebook, we ran a contest to give him a nickname that elicited almost 300 responses.  (By the way, he liked "Serra Terror" the best, but he's sticking with "Woody" since it was his dad's nickname.)  "It is pretty fun and nice to hear," said Woods about his fan popularity.  "I'm happy to put on a show for the fans, but I just come out here and play and do what I can."
  • The Sun Devils struggle in kickoff coverage, so the "Convoy" sees an opportunity to make some plays this weekend.  "It actually does [get me drooling]," he said after watching the film.  "Coach Baxter told me I 'better end up taking one back this week because it's one of those games.'"
  • While ASU has tapped into the Los Angeles area for much of their talent, the Trojans have a Phoenix-native in Devon Kennard at middle linebacker.  "I am familiar with a lot of the guys on the team," Kennard said.  "I'm excited to get a chance to play them this year and get a win."
  • Kennard will likely meet up at some point with Sun Devils WR Gerell Robinson, but it won't be for the first time.  The two Arizona stars went to rival high schools.  "He's a year older than me, but we always played against each other.  It will be good to go against him again this year."
  • Kennard admits that ASU's offense could pose some problems.  "They are going to spread you out and they have some shifty backs, so we've got to come ready for that."
  • There is a chance that Chris Galippo will start over Kennard in Saturday's game, but Kiffin has not told the two players.  "We've just been competing," Kennard said of the week.  "I'm never one to shy away from competition, so I'm excited."
  • Here is a shorter session with Coach Kiff... (That's Christian Thomas screaming in the background!  I don't know why.)

Scouting Report: ASU

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Round #8: Arizona State Sun Devils

2010 Record: 4-4 (2-3 in the Pac-10)

2009 Record: 4-8 (2-7 in the Pac-10)

Series History: USC leads 17-9 (Last meeting: 14-9 USC in '09)

Dennis-Erickson.jpgHead Coach: Dennis Erickson (4th season)

The two-time national champion coach (1989 and 1991 at Miami) is in his 21st season as a college football head man, which does not count his time running the Seattle Seahawks.  He is known for explosive offenses and teams loaded with NFL talent, but discipline has been an issue at nearly every stop. 

Players to Watch: LB Vontaze Burfict (Sophomore, Corona, CA); QB Steven Threet (Junior, Adrian, MI)

What could have been...  The ASU linebacker decommitted from USC in order to join the Sun Devils.  The comparisons between Burfict and Rey Maualuga are almost eerie.  He plays with a reckless ferocity, which when harnessed makes him the most feared defensive player in the conference.  However, when he lets his anger overtake his better angels, he is one of the most undisciplined players in the nation.

The Michigan transfer was a misfit in Rich Rodriguez's system, but he is now the barometer for Erickson's offense.  When he plays well, they can beat anyone, including Oregon, who would have gone down if not for Threet's four interceptions.  When he plays poorly, they are capable of losing 50-17 to Cal, which happened the week after USC destroyed the Bears.

Recruiting Note: ASU has built a fertile base in southern California, especially at neighbor high schools Centennial of Corona (six players) and Norco (five players).

Strength: High Ceiling

Normally, a 4-4 team with a below .500 conference record would not pose much of a threat coming into the Coliseum, but the Sun Devils have shown that they can (almost) slay giants on their best day.  With a little luck or fewer unforced errors, they would have wins over #7 Wisconsin and #1 Oregon.  When they get out of their own way, they have top 20 talent.

Weakness: Discipline

They are last in the Pac-10 in penalties to go along with a -7 turnover margin (tied for last).  They struggle with the "little things" like the blocked extra point which cost them a shot at overtime with Wisconsin.  Erickson is known to take chances on players with spotty backgrounds that are loaded with talent.  When he has a good team, they can be overwhelming (ask Notre Dame about that Oregon St. team they faced in the '01 Fiesta Bowl), but they can also look a lot better on paper than in the final standings.

ASU Verdict

They are an interesting team for the Trojans to face right now.  The Sun Devils will spread things out in the Coliseum and attack the 114th ranked pass defense in the nation.  They will also bring speed rushers off the edge and physical blitzers up the gut to test USC's offensive line, which drew harsh criticisms from Lane Kiffin earlier this week.

On the other side, USC has not lost to Arizona State since 1999 mostly because the Trojans have teed off on the Devils immobile quarterbacks like Andrew Walter and Rudy Carpenter.  While Threet has more mobility than those two, he is hardly Darron Thomas, so the USC defense can get back to their attacking strength.

Tell me you don't see some Maualuga in this Burfict hit...

Update: Sparky Anderson Dead at 76

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Legendary baseball manager Sparky Anderson died today in Thousand Oaks, CA, from complications of dementia.

The 76 year-old skipper won three World Series (1975, 1976 and 1984) and ranks sixth on the all-time wins list.

However, few people know that the birth of his Hall of Fame career came right here at Troy. 

Anderson grew up adjacent to the old Bovard Field and was the bat boy on the 1948 USC baseball squad, which won the first of the Trojans now 12 national championships.

In the photo below, Anderson is the tough-looking kid in the white t-shirt directly in the center of the front row. 

From the Trojan Family, rest in peace Sparky...

1948 Team.jpg

Trojans 360: Kevin O'Neill (Part 2)

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If you cannot make it to the USC men's basketball exhibition on Saturday at 2 p.m., we'll be streaming it LIVE for FREE on

I'll be calling all the action as the Trojans prepare for the regular season against Point Loma.

SC TV is the EXCLUSIVE video home of eight men's basketball contests this season, so get your subscription today.

Along with LIVE games, you also get our great shows like Trojans 360

In this episode, I sat down with men's basketball head coach Kevin O'Neill to talk about this year's squad and their tournament aspirations.

USC Men's Basketball Poster

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USC men's hoops' final exhibition game is this Saturday at the Galen Center at 2 p.m. against Point Loma. 

Tickets are only $5 and they are FREE if you show your Arizona State football ticket.

Click the file below to download the basketball poster!

BBall Poster.pdf

BBall Poster.jpg

Morning Papers (11/4/10)

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Everyone has their eye on the competitions...

  • Gary Klein details Chris Galippo's quest to win back his middle linebacker spot.
  • Klein also notes the battles at left guard and safety.
  • Back to football, the OC Register broke down the MLB battle from Devon Kennard's angle.
  • Kevin Carden looks for improvement out of the offensive line.
  • Scott Wolf chatted with Dillon Baxter about improving in the classroom, so he can star on the field.
  • USC tennis has one man and four women set to compete in the ITA National Indoors in New York starting today.  Yesterday, they were on the set of The Early Show on CBS.
  • Saturday is National College Football Day, which commemorates the first ever college football game back in 1869 between two schools from my home state, Rutgers and Princeton.  All good things come from Jersey...
  • The #2 USC men's water polo team has a Saturday showdown on campus at the McDonald's Swim Stadium with #3 UCLA at 4:30 p.m..  This is the hottest water polo ticket of the year, so take a break from tailgating and come by for a little pre-football polo.


ASU Wednesday Practice: Notes

The competition continues...

  • Allen Bradford and Nickell Robey both missed practice for undisclosed reasons, but they should be fine for Saturday. 
  • Live tackling drills raised the energy level today.  On the positive side, Shane Horton was the best tackler for the linebacking corps with Devon Kennard a strong second.  In the secondary, corners Torin Harris and Brian Baucham earned Lane Kiffin's praise for wrapping up.
  • As for the negative, safeties Jawanza Starling and T.J. McDonald really struggled getting their footwork right, which caused them to whiff or lunge awkwardly.  "I stop my feet sometimes breaking down," said Starling about what he needs to work on.  "If you miss, miss full speed and don't be afraid to go low."
  • With Malcolm Smith back, Chris Galippo is now working in at middle linebacker alongside Devon Kennard.
  • Starling is being pushed this week by Marshall Jones for his starting spot.  While tackling is an issue, coverage is the problem.  "I kinda got into the run too much," Starling described his Oregon struggles.  "I'm a safety, so I've got to stay back and play pass first."
  • As has been the case with most of the in-season competitions, neither player really knows where he stands during the week.  "I'll just be there when I'm called on," Starling said, but he's embracing the spirit of the position battle.  "It's always got to get you going.  We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for competition."
  • Coaches preach competition at the start of the recruiting process, so they don't end up with sulking athletes when their starting spot is challenged.  "That's what the thing is about SC," Starling said.  "I don't ever back down from competition, so it's only going to bring out the best from me."
  • Starling has all the physical tools, so hopefully competition will help him free those gifts.  "You've got to stay hungry and it helps feed that hunger."
  • Michael Reardon is getting his shot at the starting left guard spot this week.  "You always strive to be a 1, so if the opportunity comes, you can't look back," he said of his chance. 
  • Reardon's USC career has been marred by injury.  "Been healthy, knock on wood," said Reardon, who was also working at back-up center when Abe Markowitz was out.
  • Lane Kiffin called out the offensive line's effort earlier this week.  "We were disappointed with how we played," Reardon admitted.  "We have to start getting cut blocks and giving extra effort."
  • As they say, the tape doesn't lie.  "We could all see it and we were all disappointed by it, especially the guys that have been around," he said.  "We see that effort and we know what we are capable of and that was subpar."
  • Freshman QB Jesse Scroggins announced on Facebook that he is growing out dreadlocks.  He expects it will take "about two years," which is right around the time that he might be competing for starting quarterback.
  • Here is Lane Kiffin talking about Arizona State...

STUDENT-Athlete of the Week: Geena Urango

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Each week, we shift the focus to the left-side of the hyphen and spotlight an exemplary Trojan scholar-athlete.

Geena Urango.jpgName: Geena Urango

Sport: Women's Volleyball

Class: Senior

Major: Communication Management (Master's track)

GPA: 3.7

Jordan Moore (JM): You have a wonderfully flowing name.  Is there a story behind it?

Geena Urango (GU): Thank you! My last name's origin is Mexican. Originally though, it was Uranga, but when my grandpa was younger and was moving from Texas to California, he wanted to sound more masculine, so he changed the "a" to an "o" on the end. My first name, both my parents agreed on, but my mom did numerology on it spelled "Gina" and my future did not look promising or good. My parents loved the name too much to choose a different one, so they just changed the spelling of it.

JM: So, you are an only child and an only grandchild.  How many presents did you get for Christmas?

GU: A lot :). Well, at least when I was younger I did. I would wake up with my entire living room full of toys. Too many toys to the point where my mom never even wrapped my gifts.

JM: Does the only-child syndrome become a problem with team sports?

GU: I think one of the main reasons why I liked team sports so much when I was younger was because it was a way for me to make friends and not be bored at home by myself with my imaginary friends. I love team sports because it's great having my team as a second family.

JM: Tell me about Communication Management...

GU: Communication Management refers to our changing business environment. For example, businesses are often confronted with information and situations beyond their control. The only difference between a business that handles these situations successfully, and those that don't take the right actions all depend on the effectiveness of its communication management.

May-Walsh.jpgJM: I know you are an accomplished beach volleyball player as well.  What do you think about USC adding sand volleyball in the near future?

GU: I think it's awesome!! So many more opportunities for women student-athletes. I also hope to maybe have a chance of playing in its first season next Spring. I think it will also help with the popularity of the sport, which will hopefully help the AVP in the long run.

JM: You have friends playing volleyball in Europe.  Would you be willing to live abroad to pursue that as a career?

GU: My two best friends are actually. Emilie Stewart (who graduated from USC last year) is playing in Innsbruck, Austria, and Rachael Moss (who graduated from Duke last year) is playing in Benidorm, Spain. Everyone keeps telling me that it's totally worth it. I know quite a few other people who have also done it, or are still playing overseas and they keep telling me to. I am considering it, but we will see how this beach volleyball thing pans out as well :)

Geena Urango 3.jpgJM: You are 5'10", which is tall for the real world, but you hang out in the Amazon world.  Do they make fun of you as one of the short ones?

GU: It's kind of ironic that before I got to USC, I was "made fun of" as being one of the tallest girls at school. Now being on this team, I am the 4th/5th shortest, but quite honestly, I have gotten so used to it to the point where I almost feel as though I am the same height as them.

JM: I've done some deep background for this interview and heard that you are committed to wearing your retainer to bed every night, but it creates quite a lisp.  What are the toughest words to say?

GU: Let me guess...Farren Benjamin, my roommate who is also a hammer thrower at USC, told you about this little secret of mine? Well, I guess I'll have to get her back for this...but yes, I'll admit, I wear a retainer ritually. Farren and Kimmee Roleder truly enjoy this part of our ritual before-bed chats. They won't let me go to sleep sometimes until I say "covers" or "Krispy Kreme Donuts"...more difficult words to say will be discovered in the near future.

Geena Urango 2.jpgJM: Volleyball season is winding down.  What is it going to take for this team to find the consistency to make an NCAA run?

GU: Our three losses should have and could have been wins, but those are in the past and there's nothing we can do about them now. What we can do is learn from those losses and find ways in which we can improve. I feel as though our season (just like every other) has been a battle. Every team in the Pac-10 presents a challenge. We have overcome many obstacles and shown great improvement in the past couple weeks. It's great that we have this confidence and winning attitude going for us in this second round of Pac-10 play. Hopefully it keeps up and carries into the NCAA tournament.

"Touchdown for Youth"

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USC and the L.A. Sports Council are teaming up yet again to provide an opportunity for thousands of disadvantaged kids to attend this week's game at the Coliseum against Arizona State.

fan 2010cal jp.jpg"'Touchdown For Youth' can provide a special experience to young people who may never have been on a campus or inside the Coliseum, perhaps inspiring them to one day pursue a college education," said USC Athletic Director Pat Haden.  "Hopefully, we'll have a great turnout and the kids will help cheer on the Trojans to a win."

For each $30 tax-deductible contribution from an individual or corporation, one child will be provided a ticket to the game plus refreshments.  Anyone interested in supporting "Touchdown For Youth" should call (213) 482-6333.

Last year, 2,000 youngsters attended the USC vs. San Jose St. thanks to the "Touchdown for Youth" program and its supporters. 

USC vs. Notre Dame Scholarship Luncheon

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You are all invited to the annual USC vs. Notre Dame Scholarship Luncheon on Friday, November 26 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel at 12 Noon as we celebrate the 82nd version of the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football. 

The event will be emceed by USC senior associate athletic director J.K. McKay and Notre Dame basketball All-American Tommy Hawkins.

Featured speakers include:

Lane Kiffin, USC football head coach
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame football head coach
Chris Claiborne, Former USC Butkus Award winner
Derrick Mayes, Former Notre Dame all-time receiver
Pat Haden, USC athletic director
Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame athletic director
C.L. Max Nikias, USC president
Fr. John Jenkins, CSC, Notre Dame president

*All reservations must be made in advance!*

Tickets are $100 per person, tables are $1,000 for 10 people and $2,500 for Patron tables (priority seating).

Proceeds will be used to benefit both the Notre Dame Club and USC scholarship funds.

For reservations and more info, call (626) 795-6363 or e-mail


Trojan Look-a-Likes: Kevin O'Neill and...

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A Facebook user actually suggested the uncanny resemblance between USC men's basketball coach Kevin O'Neill and writer/comedian Larry David.


ASU Tuesday Practice: Notes

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It's a Keary Colbert kinda day on the blog...

  • The injury list was extensive again, but there's no new news to report on that front.
  • Lane Kiffin intimated that at least two spots were up for grabs this week.  Marshall Jones will compete with Jawanza Starling for the safety spot alongside T.J. McDonald.  And, Michael Reardon will get a chance to move Butch Lewis out of the left guard spot.  Kiffin called Lewis's production "completely unacceptable" and said Starling's position is "definitely" up in the air.
  • Kiffin was extremely disappointed with the offensive line play on the whole.  "We don't even look the same," Kiffin compared film of the line from earlier in the season to last week.  "Our effort...taking the easy way out instead of getting them on the ground.  We better get it fixed."
  • As for the controversy around the errant snap in the 2nd quarter that gifted Oregon a turnover, "It was a throw-off play, so I looked under and gave a false call," Kris O'Dowd explained.  "I looked under again and usually, he would give us a call, but he gave me the speed count, which is his leg, which tells me to snap.  So, I'm assuming that the clock is running down, so I snapped it.  As you see on the tape, Matt was looking at Coach Kiffin, so I don't think he was really paying attention to his foot."
  • As for Colbert, he was really the first great receiver in the recent lineage of Trojan targets.  Now, Robert Woods is next to carry the torch.  "He has developed a lot faster than a lot of guys who have come through these gates and played on this field," Colbert praised.  "He's shown that he has some special qualities.  I love watching him play."
  • Colbert is second all-time on USC's career receptions list, but he only had 33 catches for 480 yards as a freshman.  Woods has 39 receptions for 574 yards already.  "He studied a lot coming in," said Colbert about Woods accelerated progress.  "Being a local guy, he was up here always wanting to watch film, always wanting to meet with coaches.  He's naturally talented, but he's set himself up by knowing what to do."
  • Matt Barkley is on the same kind of advanced learning curve.  "He's just as polished and developed as those guys were as a sophomore," Colbert compared Barkley to his quarterbacks, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.  "A lot of these things with football, you either have it or you don't." 
  • Colbert's job is to focus on the tight ends.  The unit is led by experienced vets like Rhett Ellison, Jordan Cameron and Blake Ayles, but the future of the position is in the freshman class with Randall Telfer, Xavier Grimble and Christian Thomas.  "The sky is definitely going to be the limit for them," Colbert expects them to benefit greatly from this season's work on the scout team against the best defenders.
  • As we have mentioned before, Telfer works as hard after practice as any player.  "He wants to be better," Colbert said about Telfer's work ethic.  "He's a sponge.  He loves to be out here.  He takes the extra time to help him in his craft and that's going to help his game in the future."
  • Christian Thomas will not be redshirted this season because he appeared as a defensive end in a game.  Now, he's working with the fullbacks, but he came in as a tight end.  "He's one of those athletic guys that you can move all over the lot," Colbert described.  "We'll see if I can steal him away from Coach Pola!"
  • As someone who went to USC at the same time as Colbert, I can only hope that these young pass catchers understand how good he was.  "They hear it a lot from these coaches," said Colbert, who does not brag about his own achievements.  "I was a big SC history guy.  I could tell you about all the guys that came before me.  Some of these guys can, but some really don't know."
  • Finally, it was 92 degrees at USC today.  As my Sun Devil friend said, "It must be ASU week."
  • Here is Kiffin who spoke bluntly about the week's position battles...

Trojan Wideouts: Past and Present

Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly has a great segment this week, which will first air at 10:30 p.m. tonight on PRIME TICKET HD, featuring current USC WR Ronald Johnson breaking down film with past wideouts Keary Colbert and John Jackson.

Check it out and watch the show!

Fox and Dish Settle

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Good news! 

Just in time for this Saturday's USC vs. Arizona State clash on FSN, the network has settled their dispute with Dish Network.

So, satellite customers will be able to watch the Trojans and Sun Devils from the comfort of their own home if they cannot make it to the Coliseum.

"Pass It Forward"

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USC College Magazine profiled former USC and NFL WR Keary Colbert, who now serves as the tight ends coach, for his great charity work with the Boys and Girls Club in Oxnard.

Click the following link to download the PDF.


While it is a great story and you really should read it, I wanted to make sure you saw the picture that is on billboards in Oxnard.



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Alex Jupiter is rewriting the USC record books. 

The 6'3" junior from Paris, France was just named the AVCA National Player of the Week after her combined 42 kills in the weekend wins over the Washington schools.

The All-American is the first Trojan to ever win this honor twice in one season.

Alex Jupiter 2.jpg

Morning Papers (11/2/10)

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I know the blog keeps you glued to the computer all day, but please make time to VOTE today.

Photo Gallery: College Gameday

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I posted these Saturday morning on the Facebook page, but in case you missed them, here's a look at all the Gameday action from the crack of dawn...

(Photos by Farren Benjamin)

Lane Kiffin ASU Q&A

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Earlier today, Lane Kiffin sat down with me to discuss the lessons learned from the Oregon loss and challenges ahead posed by the Sun Devils.

USC Annenberg Institute of Sports

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You are all cordially invited to the "Sports & Social Change Speaker Series" put on by Annenberg and Dr. Daniel Durbin.

In the inaugural event on Thursday, November 11 at 6:30 p.m. at USC Town & Gown (RSVP requested), they'll be discussing "Sports & Media: A Question of Ethics."

Panelists include:

Scott Boras, MLB agent;
Tara Lipinski, Olympic gold medalist;
Pat O'Brien, Fox Sports broadcaster;
and many accomplished others.

Projans: NFL Week 8

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Trojan on Trojan crime gets the sack leader the weekly award...

ClayMatthews.jpgHeisman Worthy

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 4 tackles and 1 sack (NFL leading 10 for the season)

His insatiable motor is becoming the stuff of legend in Green Bay.  In this case, he spent the entire day chasing around former teammate Mark Sanchez before he finally buried him and the Jets on New York's potential game-winning drive.

All-American Caliber

Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs - Led game-winning OT drive to get Kansas City to 5-2

Damian Williams, WR, Titans - Rookie will likely start next week after another solid 43-yard day

Taylor Mays, DB, 49ers - Showed off his tackling skills (7 for the game) to the London crowd

Troy Polamalu, DB, Steelers - Watching Polamalu on Sunday Night Football, Matthews tweeted, "Wish I could have played w/ [Troy Polamalu] at SC... Guy's unbelievable!! Fight on"

Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals - Not his best day, but he got a great break on this TO TD...

Zito-USC.jpegMonday Night Football

Fili Moala and the Colts battle Brian Cushing and the Texans in a huge AFC South contest.

Also, Barry Zito (although inactive) could win a World Series ring alongside big time USC fan Freddy Sanchez.

Women's Soccer: Senior Day

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The Women of Troy took their last home kicks at McAlister Field Sunday in a 2-0 win over the Washington Huskies on Senior Day.

The Trojans will battle the Arizona schools this weekend to round out the regular season schedule before they await NCAA selection into the postseason tournament.

Here is a look at the 2010 senior class that won the NCAA title as freshmen and are looking for one more shot at glory...

Photo from left: Volunteer assistant coach Kyle Basil, associate head coach Harold Warren, Alyssa Davila, Lainie Ransom, head coach Ali Khosroshahin, Megan Ohai, Ashli Sandoval, Karter Haug, assistant coach Laura Janke.

senior day.JPG