February 2011 Archives

The Sanchez Perspective

Former Trojan QB Mark Sanchez and his family took time last summer to film a message for the USC Latino Alumni Association about the importance of education and family.

The top public service announcement is in English and the bottom video is in Spanish.  They were directed by USC alum Edgar Pablos.

Click here more information!

Gauntlet Update (2/28/11)

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#2 USC women's water polo went down in the UCI Invitational championship game to #1 Stanford, but they knocked off the Bruins along the way depositing more Gauntlet points into the Trojans growing coffers. 

As it stands now, USC leads UCLA 47.5 to 20 with two key tennis showdowns due up this Wednesday.

On March 2...

USC men's tennis vs. UCLA at Marks Stadium

USC women's tennis at UCLA

Valuable points on the line and great rivalry match-ups both, so please support the nationally ranked tennis squads this week as they take on the Bruins.

The defending national champs earned 2.5 points with the victory over UCLA. (Photo by Pierson Clair)

Photo Gallery: Senior Day vs. ASU

Alex Stepheson, Donte Smith, Marcus Simmons and James Dunleavy bid a triumphant farewell to Galen Center and the USC home fans on Saturday as they were honored at their final home game and then dusted off the Devils by 16.

Here's a look at a special day as documented by Pierson Clair...

A Push from Cush

The USC baseball program is in the process of rebuilding to the great heights of generations past.

While they jumped out to a 3-1 start this season, they were swept at #22 Rice this weekend in three desperately close games, including two one-run losses.

Despite being on the road, they had some Houston support from current Texan and former Trojan linebacker Brian Cushing, who tossed out the first pitch on Saturday.

Frank Cruz's squad will look to get back to .500 at Long Beach State Tuesday before a weekend series at Cal State Fullerton Friday and Saturday and then home to the Titans Sunday.

Photo by Aaron Sprecher

Combine Spotlight: Allen Bradford

| 8 Comments blog contributor Ben Weiss is on-site at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to provide an inside look at the NFL Combine. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow the official USC Athletics Twitter here.

After being denied an invitation to the Senior Bowl, Allen Bradford dedicated himself to making an impact on the NFL Combine.

He did just that.

Despite weighing in at a herculean 242 pounds (all muscle, mind you), Bradford ran a brisk 4.56-second 40-yard dash. Combined with the fact that he benched 28 reps on Saturday, Bradford outdid likely first-round draft pick and former Heisman winner Mark Ingram in speed and power, despite being almost 30 pounds heavier.

Here's the "Monster" on his ferocious performance this weekend...

NFL Combine Headlines: Monday Edition

| No Comments blog contributor Ben Weiss is on-site at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to provide an inside look at the NFL Combine. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow the official USC Athletics Twitter here.

Only defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs remain for the final two days of the 2011 Scouting Combine. Of that group, DT Jurrell Casey and CB Shareece Wright are the lone Trojans still representing USC in Indy.

Tailback Allen Bradford and WR Ronald Johnson were among the group of competitors in yesterday's field drills, both of whom had solid showings.

  • As the heaviest back in the group, Bradford showed that his strength is not without speed and agility. He ran a swift 4.56 40-yard dash, which was faster than 18 of his counterparts (more than half of the RB field). Despite the freakishly good mark, Bradford said afterward that he will try to improve his time at USC's pro day on March 30. In a league where the emergence of big, young backs such as Peyton Hillis and LeGarrette Blount have found success with similar attributes, Bradford definitely boosted his stock after yesterday's drills.

  • Despite having his day cut short due to a hamstring tweak, Ronald Johnson his 4.46 40-yard dash time tied him for 9th among the wide receivers group. Without participating in a majority of the events, RoJo will have to prove himself at USC's pro day.
Today is Casey's last day in Indy, as he participates in the on-field events. Wright's schedule for today includes a trip to the bench press and interviews with 11 teams. He hits the field tomorrow for the 40-yard dash and the other speed/agility drills.

With player media appearances officially over, The media room now houses only a few remaining stragglers in the final days of the 2011 NFL Combine

Combine Spotlight: Shareece Wright

| No Comments blog contributor Ben Weiss is on-site at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to provide an inside look at the NFL Combine. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow the official USC Athletics Twitter here.

USC's senior anchor at cornerback this past season, Shareece Wright, is one of the final Trojans to participate in this year's NFL Combine.

Projected as a third or fourth round pick in a very talented secondary class that could include two corners taken in the top-10 and three in the first round alone, Wright's stock has been gradually rising since his impressive Senior Bowl performance. As he looks to continue to build upon that momentum over the next couple of days, he began by weighing in and speaking to the media.

As Wright spoke from the podium, he wasn't shy to reference his leadership abilities, as demonstrated in his final season as a Trojan when he was named one of the team's five Captains.

"I think I did a good job leading by example," Wright said. "Giving words of wisdom when it was needed. There were a lot of young guys, first year guys in that secondary, so (my role) was very important."

The 40-yard dash is an event where Wright is looking to showcase his speed - something that he's utilized well thus far when closing on opposing receivers. He said he ran a 4.4 flat his sophomore year at USC, which was his personal best.

"It's been a while since I've been clocked in," Wright said. "But I have high expectations for the 40."

Wright will begin official team interviews tomorrow, in addition to participating in the bench press event. He'll test his speed on Tuesday with the 40-yard dash and a variety of other drills.

A smiling Wright, who said he's long dreamt about participating in the NFL Combine, fields questions from the media

NFL Combine Headlines: Sunday Edition

| 1 Comment blog contributor Ben Weiss is on-site at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to provide an inside look at the NFL Combine. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow the official USC Athletics Twitter here.

The skill position players (QB, RB, WR) are out on the field today, and after watching the offensive linemen and tight ends groups work yesterday, it will be fun to see who can set the marks among this speedy group.

Here are a few headlines after yesterday's field work by the OL and TEs, and the weight room session by the WRs and RBs...

  • Jordan Cameron, who was largely an unknown quantity coming into the combine, made a lot of "money" with his on-field performance. listed him as a top performer in six events (40-yard dash, broad jump, vertical jump, 3-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle), placing him among the top TE talents in this year's draft.
  • RB Allen Bradford took many by surprise when he weighed in at 242 pounds (having seen him up close though, it's basically all muscle), but he lived up to his nickname as the "monster" by unleashing 28 reps on the bench. That mark was better than three-fifths of this year's offensive lineman at the same event.
  • Ronald Johnson is one of the many talented receivers in this year's draft who is out on the field today. Check out this video from his press conference earlier this week.
  • After an impressive 31 reps on the bench on Friday, Kristofer O'Dowd tied for the highest OL vertical leap at 32.5 inches. Scouts have been skeptical about O'Dowd's knee problems, so a high vert could help quell some of those criticisms.
In addition to the QBs, RBs, and WRs participating in field drills, this year's group of defensive backs, which includes Shareece Wright, will undergo weigh-ins and measurements.

USC Defeats ASU On Senior Day

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USC ran its winning streak to four games with a 62-46 win vs. Arizona State today at the Galen Center.  The Trojans are now 17-12 and beginning to entertain toughts of making the NCAA Tournament.

Seniors Alex Stepheson and Donte Smith were a big part of USC improving to 14-1 in its last 15 Senior Days.  Stepheson had 15 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season and Smith scored 12 points, making three three-pointers and moving to 17th on USC's all-time three-point baskets made list.

USC will close out the regular season on the road at the Washington schools this week before returning home for the Pac-10 Tournament at Staples Center, March 9-12.

Combine Spotlight: Jurrell Casey

| 4 Comments blog contributor Ben Weiss is on-site at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to provide an inside look at the NFL Combine. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow the official USC Athletics Twitter here.

Jurrell Casey, one of only two Trojans who declared early for the 2011 draft (the other being OT Tyron Smith), addressed the media today.

Although he expects to be taken anywhere in the late first round or early second round, he emphasized that he will compete for whomever, regardless of where he is taken.

So far he's spoken with the defensive line coaches from the Patriots, Chargers, Browns and Seahawks, but his official team interviews will take place tonight and tomorrow.

"I'm just staying focused," Casey said when I spoke to him after he left the podium. "I can't really do to much right now, so I'm just trying to stay in the zone and be ready to go."

He says his goal for the bench press is at least 27 reps and to hit a 40-yard dash time around 4.9 seconds.

Casey answers questions under the bright lights of the Lucas Oil Stadium media room in Indianapolis, Ind.

NFL Combine Headlines

| No Comments blog contributor Ben Weiss is on-site at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to provide an inside look at the NFL Combine

The first two days of the combine are in the books. We begin day three of the NFL's biggest job interview with a few notes from Thursday's and Friday's action.

  • Here's a video spotlight of Kristofer O'Dowd, who knocked out a beastly 31 reps on the bench press yesterday.
  • Fellow offensive lineman and projected first round prospect Tyron Smith notched 29 reps on the bench, however the weight he was carrying around coming into the Combine made the most waves. Smith added almost 30 pounds of "healthy" weight (a.k.a. not the kind you find at the drive-thru) since his USC departure by changing up his diet.
  • Jordan Cameron, whose upside potential has many scouts closely eyeing the TE's performance this week, had an impressive showing on the field, "catching just about everything thrown (his) way" (scroll to the bottom to read the notes) and tied for the fifth best bench press mark among tight ends with 23.
The quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers are scheduled to bench today, while the offensive linemen and tight ends hit the field for the speed and agility drills. Stay current with updates and photos all day long on the official USC Athletics Twitter account.

Photo Gallery: USC vs. Arizona

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The Trojans' postseason hopes are alive after a thrilling eight-point win over the #10 Wildcats.

Pierson Clair put together a cool photo gallery, including shots of the courtside Clippers and a rare above the rim look.

Check it out!

Fan Appreciation Day

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Prizes, prizes, prizes!

Trojan promise: If you come to the USC men's basketball home finale against Arizona State Saturday at 4:30 p.m., you are GUARANTEED to go home with a prize.

On the day we celebrate the seniors, we are also celebrating YOU, the fan.

Here are JUST SOME of the gifts our generous sponsors will be doling out and parachuting in:

Wahoo's Tacos - FREE tacos for everyone plus $10 coupons and tee-shirts being tossed out.

ESPN Zone Anaheim - Game card vouchers for the first 2,500 guests, 50 tee-shirts and 4 prize packs.

FreeBirds World Burrito - 500 combo cards, FREE group catering for 20 people, FREE swag.

Togo's - FREE sandwich vouchers.

Nike - 4 pairs of Nike shoes.

Office Depot - Two $50 gift cards.

American Airlines - Sing the fight song for a round trip ticket!

Lawry's Prime Rib - FREE dinner for two ($125 value).

Plus Fan Fest prizes from...

USC Credit Union, EA Sports, Kumho Tires, Yoki's Garden, Go Nuts Kukui Nut Leis and 710 ESPN!

And of course, we will honor the senior class of 2011 featuring tri-captains Alex Stepheson, Marcus Simmons and Donte Smith plus walk-on James Dunleavy.

Here is the tribute video!

LIVE Tennis on SC TV

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We are debuting the new and improved USC tennis webcast page with the #9 men's team hosting #20 Cal starting at 1:30 p.m. today.

Click here to watch it LIVE for FREE on!

The Trojans will have a rematch with #8 Stanford Saturday at Marks Stadium.

Check out freshman Ray Sarmiento and his teammates on SC TV! (Photo by Dan Avila)

Never Tire

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Spring ball is 25 days away...

The players are currently participating in voluntary workouts, which sadly NCAA rules prohibit us from covering for you.

However, we can continue to document the grind as the Trojans build up strength and stamina for the 2011 season during their strength and conditioning sessions.

RB D.J. Morgan pushes towards his first active season.  (Photos by Farren Benjamin)
QB Matt Barkley puts in the hard yards.

Morning Papers (2/25/11)

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The Trojans' big hoops win got some national attention.


3-Points: USC 65, Arizona 57

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The Trojans knock off the #10 Wildcats and will carry their first three-game winning streak of the season into Saturday's "Senior Day" against Arizona State (4:30 p.m. at Galen).

  • Derrick Williams and Lamont Jones combined to make 12/12 shots in beating the Trojans in Tuscon earlier this season.  Tonight, they were held to 6/23 as a pair.  Instead, USC's inside-outside tandem Nikola Vucevic and Jio Fontan controlled the game with 46 points as a duo.  "Nik's level is raising up," head coach Kevin O'Neill said.  "It gives us somebody we can always go to."  As for Fontan, he is far more comfortable and aggressive since becoming the starting point guard.  "It's starting to come back together," Fontan said about his game.  "Lately, I've wanted to be more positive with myself...sitting back and thinking how blessed I am to be a Trojan."
  • The Trojans' defense forced Arizona to shoot 36% from the field and an ugly two assists to 11 turnovers.  Of course, Marcus Simmons was at the center of the strategy, including an epic block in the final two minutes.  "He is the best one-on-one defender in the whole country," O'Neill said about Simmons.  "Marcus did a great job of slowing [Jones] down and changing the game for us."
  • The 2010-11 Trojans have earned a reputation as giant killers.  After early season wins against Texas, Tennessee and UCLA, USC notched a top 10 victory against the Pac-10's best tonight.  "We just play the people in the jerseys," said O'Neill, who called it the most complete win of the season.  "We hung in there and played with poise and confidence down the stretch."  For one night at least, "poise and confidence" included impeccable free throw shooting (22/27) to seal the win.
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  • Blake Griffin and his Clippers' teammates Randy Foye and DeAndre Jordan took the game in from courtside.  The slam dunk champion spoke to the team in the post-game celebratory locker room (click for photo).  "I don't know what to say," said Griffin, who then found the words that all student-athletes love.  "You get tomorrow off!"
Here is Nikola Vucevic who dropped 25 points and 12 rebounds in front of his father...

USC vs. UA LIVE on

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If you cannot make it to Galen Center for tonight's men's basketball showdown against #10 Arizona, we are bringing it to you LIVE for FREE on

Click here to watch the game!!!

The battle tips off at 7:30 p.m. and the only live TV coverage is on Fox College Sports Pacific, so come join us on the Web as the Trojans look to take down the Cats.

Students in FREE with ID.  (Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Gilmore Fills WR Coach Opening

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Former Nebraska assistant Ted Gilmore was officially hired today as the wide receivers coach filling the spot left vacant by John Morton.

TedGilmore.jpg"I'm thrilled to welcome Ted Gilmore to the Trojan football family," said head coach Lane Kiffin.  "For years, he has been regarded as an outstanding recruiter and wide receivers coach.  He comes to us highly recommended by a number of very prominent coaches.  I'm excited for him to start working with our talented group of receivers."

Gilmore, 43, spent the past 6 years (2005-10) at Nebraska coaching the wide receivers.  He also was the Cornhuskers' recruiting coordinator the past four years and added the title of assistant head coach in 2008.

As Kiffin mentioned, USC's receiving corps is filled with extremely promising, but young talent led by freshman All-American Robert Woods.  Gilmore will also look to cultivate highly-rated receiving prospects freshmen Kyle Prater (redshirt), George Farmer and Victor Blackwell plus returning contributors Brandon Carswell and De'Von Flournoy. 

Click here for more on Ted Gilmore!

Former receivers coach John Morton left the program this offseason to join Jim Harbaugh's staff with the San Francisco 49ers.

Kiffin on Crunch Time

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USC head football coach Lane Kiffin made some time for the student radio talents at KXSC yesterday.

Click the link to hear his interview on Crunch Time

Of note, Kiffin said, "We're going to have to go back to [tackling in practice] even if it means risking some injuries.  It showed up way too much, especially early in the year."

The KXSC guys asked Kiffin about his likeness to comedian Daniel Tosh.

Growing Up and Slimming Down

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Donte Smith dominated his first game as a Trojan in 2008. 

While it was just an exhibition against Azusa Pacific, the junior college transfer looked like the natural point guard USC had been missing as he dished out 12 assists.

Donte-SooHoo.jpg"When I first got here, I was so used to starting," said Smith, who played in place of Daniel Hackett that day.  "When I went to the bench, it affected my confidence.  I thought that I was not good enough to play at this level."

Two plus years later, the senior has turned into one of the best sixth men in the conference and is now back in the starting lineup for his final games at Troy.

"I am a team player and I felt like we kind of needed someone to come off the bench to be successful," he learned to embrace the opportunity.

Whatever the role, Smith is averaging 27 minutes per game and sits in a third place tie for three-pointers made in the conference this season.

"He became a senior," said head coach Kevin O'Neill  "Over the summer, he worked his tail off.  He did what you should do if you want to become a better player."

On the list of improvements, Smith has completely made over his body since O'Neill's arrival, which has helped him physically and mentally.

"It helped my confidence when I lost all that weight and I got stronger, faster and more athletic," said Smith, who has his sights set on a professional career overseas.

Attending a USC game or practice, you would never peg Smith for lacking in self-belief.  He is constantly talking. 

"He is a better leader than I thought he would be," admitted O'Neill.  "He brings emotion all the time.  He's upbeat.  And, he really wants his senior season to end the right way."

As a leader, Smith does not want to look past Thursday's showdown with Arizona, but he knows his final home game is looming Saturday evening.

"It's crazy right!  It has been a long journey for me."

The seniors will be honored prior to Saturday's game (4:30 p.m. tip). (Photos by Jon SooHoo)

Lane Kiffin Heritage Golf Classic

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Come join fellow Trojans along with Lane Kiffin and his entire 2011 coaching staff for a day of golf and exclusive access to USC football items. 

This event always sells out, so register now by clicking on this link and entering heritage as the code.

Click here for more information!
(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

USC vs. Arizona, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

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Coming off a sweep of the Bay Area schools on the road, USC men's basketball returns home this weekend for a showdown with Arizona (Thursday at 7:30 p.m.) and senior day against Arizona State (Saturday at 4:30 p.m.).

If you come to a game this week, you are bound to go home with something.

On Thursday, we'll be giving out Kevin O'Neill bobbleheads (pictured here) and Saturday is Fan Appreciation, so we'll be dishing out gifts and prizes to virtually all in attendance.

On the court, USC rocketed up the Pac-10 standings into a fourth place tie, so they will take in a lot of momentum against #10 Arizona.

Here is our latest FREE March to Madness on the storylines heading into this titanic contest...


Morning Papers (2/23/11)

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Scroll down to the next post for the breaking news about NCAA allegations against Lane Kiffin at Tennessee...

Notice of Allegations

USC received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding Lane Kiffin's tenure as head football coach at the University of Tennessee.

Kiff-USC.jpg"We have received from the NCAA a notice of allegations against Lane Kiffin pertaining to his tenure as the head football coach at Tennessee," said athletic director Pat Haden.  "The NCAA enforcement process provides for Tennessee and Lane to address those charges.  Until that process is completed, it would be unfair and premature for me or USC to comment on this matter."

However, Haden can speak to Kiffin's culture of compliance since taking over at Troy.

"However, I will say this: Since his return to USC last year as our head football coach, Lane has been vigilant in making sure he and the football program follow the NCAA's rules and compete the right way," Haden continued.  "Lane has my support as our head football coach."

Kiffin cannot comment on the specifics at this time.

"We have received the notice of allegations," Lane Kiffin said.  "On the advice of my legal counsel, we cannot comment other than to say we look forward to working through the process with the NCAA."

Advantage Johnson

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The #2 men's tennis team suffered their first and second setbacks of the season this past weekend when they dropped 4-3 matches to Duke and Stanford, but they rebounded to close out steve-johnson.jpgthe ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a sweep of Louisville.

USC's #1 Steve Johnson took care of his business against highly ranked players at the top of all three opponents' rosters.

For his individual success, Johnson was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week.  He is the third different Trojan to win the honor this season.

USC will host the Bay Area schools this weekend starting with Cal on Friday at Marks Stadium (1:30 p.m.) and then a rematch with the Cardinal on Saturday at 1 p.m..

Ciarelli Honored

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#1 USC men's volleyball junior Tony Ciarelli was doubly honored for his performance this past week as the AVCA National Player of the Week and the MPSF Player of the Week.

(Photo by Pierson Clair)

FAQ: Athletic Support Groups

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With season tickets going on sale, senior associate athletic director Ron Orr wanted to reach out to all the athletic support group members and those thinking about joining to answer any questions you might have.

Click the link to see the benefits associated with the levels of membership! 

"Renewals are going very well for both memberships and tickets.  We are fortunate to have the loyal Trojan Family behind us.  Like Pat Haden says, 'We need you now more than ever.'" -- Ron Orr

Click the file to apply! 

Q.) How do I request an upgrade to improve my seats?

A.) You can ask for an upgrade by sending an email to with your wish list, which includes what section, side of the stadium and rows you prefer.  If you are willing to sit in lower rows or ask for fewer tickets (e.g. 2 or 3), you will get a better chance for improvement. 

Q.) How does seating work?

A.) When all the memberships are in and current, we rank the athletic support group members. With the non-renewals and drops, we know what is available and then we go to the wish lists. We try to make as many people happy as possible. 

Q.) How is it sectioned off?

A.) There are certain boundaries for each athletic support group.  Obviously, we seat Scholarship first then Committee and so forth.

Q.) Where do new Cardinal and Gold or Women of Troy members get seated?

A.) Generally, they sit in the sections between the goal line and 10-yard line.

Q.) Are there available seats for new members?

A.) Yes, please come join us!

Q.) How can I improve my tickets and parking if I am a Cardinal and Gold member without moving up to the Committee level?

A.) Signing up for a dual membership would really help.  If you have four tickets and you are Cardinal and Gold and you really want a good jump, adding a second membership at $2,500 is going to get you to a better location.  It will help with seating, parking and away games.

Q.) What are the parking changes this year?

A.) As long as their dues are in by May 1, Cardinal and Gold and Women of Troy members will select their preferred parking lot for next season.  They will be able to go online and pick their first and second choices, and the process will be prioritized by years of membership.  If you do not get your requested lot or you are not current on your membership, you will get a regular Cardinal and Gold pass for Lots 1 and 2 on Menlo and campus.  Scholarship and Committee already have assigned lots, so this is something new for Cardinal and Gold and Women of Troy.  We hope this will help people know where they are going, so they won't have to go as early.

Q.) How is it different for lifetime Cardinal and Gold members?

A.) If you are a lifetime member, we will give preference to members that have an annual athletic support group membership at a minimum of $200.  If you contribute annually, your years in Cardinal and Gold will work towards a higher priority in parking.  If not, you will receive a regular Cardinal and Gold parking pass instead of your preferred choice. 

Q.) Any other updates?

A.) It is very important for all our members to be current by May 1, 2011, as all seating, away games and parking allocations will be based on memberships on that date.

Q.) What if I have more questions?

A.) Please call the development staff at (213) 740-4155. 

Photo Gallery: Playing Like #1

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The #1 USC men's volleyball played like the nation's best team last week as they swept match-ups with #5 Stanford, the defending national champs, and #15 Pacific.

Bill Ferguson's squad will finish February on the road before returning to Galen for the entire month of March.

Here's the Pacific win courtesy of Pierson Clair...

Photo Gallery: Baseball's Fast Start

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The Frank Cruz era started with a winning weekend at Dedeaux Field as the Trojans took two of three at the USC tournament to open up the 2011 campaign.

After an opening night rainout, the Trojans swept a Saturday doubleheader over Missouri and Cal Poly with a little help from the elements.

Right-handed phenom Austin Wood made a successful debut against Cal Poly throwing an abbreviated complete game to earn the victory.

Here's a look at the wet and wild win courtesy of Pierson Clair:

The Lost Dunk

DeMar DeRozan did not take home the trophy Saturday night from the slam dunk contest, but he stopped the show with arguably the dunk of the night.

Here's a tribute...

3-Points: USC 69, Stanford 53

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The Trojans swept the Bay Area road trip for the first time since 1992.

  • Basketball is a lot easier when you make shots.  The previous statement is as simple as it is true.  Against Oregon last Saturday, USC could not buy a bucket despite great looks at the hoop.  Tonight, they made 53% from the field and 57% from three.  "You look bad when you don't shoot well," Kevin O'Neill compared this week to last.  "Our shotmaking was good the last two games."
  • The offensive execution and ball movement was pitch perfect against the Cardinal, which led to balanced scoring and pretty basketball.  While Alex Stepheson, Nikola Vucevic and Donte Smith cashed in for a combined 47 points, the point guards deserve credit for conducting this offensive symphony.  "You know who are really key in a lot of this are Mo and Jio," said O'Neill about Jones and Fontan, who combined for nine assists to just two turnovers.  "Jio's floor game tonight was incredible and Mo's aggressiveness to score is really helping our team."
  • Jeremy Green will be happy to see Marcus Simmons leave town.  Stanford's leading scorer dropped 27 points on the Bruins Thursday, but "The Shadow" held him to 11 on 3/13 shooting and 0/4 from three.  "Marcus is a great single-minded defender," O'Neill described his stopper.  "We give him one assignment and he's going to die trying to do it."  Hear Simmons in his own words below...
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  • Suddenly, USC sits in a fourth place tie in the Pac-10 with a huge home game against likely top 10 foe Arizona looming Thursday.  We look forward to seeing you all at Galen this week for the final homestand of the season.

Baseball Opener Rescheduled

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USC baseball's opening night will now be an opening day doubleheader Saturday at 10 a.m. at Dedeaux Field against Missouri.

Here is the new schedule of events for the USC Tournament:


USC vs. Missouri at 10 a.m.

USC vs. Cal Poly at 2 p.m.



Missouri vs. UNC at 10 a.m.

USC vs. North Carolina at 2 p.m.


Baseball Time Changes

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With bad weather expected in the Los Angeles area most of the weekend, USC baseball has amended the times for the USC tournament.

Baseball Opening Night 2011.jpgHere's the official word:

Friday (February 18)

Cal Poly vs. Missouri - 10 a.m.

Cal Poly vs. North Carolina - 2 p.m.

USC vs. Missouri - 6 p.m.

Saturday (February 19)

USC vs. North Carolina - 7 p.m.


Sunday (February 20)

Cal Poly vs. North Carolina - 10 a.m.

USC vs. Cal Poly - 3 p.m.


If Saturday's game is rained out, USC and North Carolina would play at 3 p.m. on Sunday with USC and Cal Poly then playing at 7 p.m.

Combine Coverage

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This year, we are working with the NFL to provide comprehensive coverage of the pre-draft combine in Indianapolis.

The NFL Network has exclusive TV coverage over five days from February 26 to March 2.

The league selected eight Trojans to be assessed: RB Allen Bradford, TE Jordan Cameron, DT Jurrell Casey, RB Stanley Havili, WR Ronald Johnson, OL Kristofer O'Dowd, OL Tyron Smith and DB Shareece Wright.


3-Points: USC 78, Cal 75

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The Trojans will look for their first Bay Area sweep since 1992 Saturday at Stanford.

  • USC was just 3-15 in their last 18 games at Haas Pavilion coming in, so they will gladly take a win.  "We found a way to get it done," captain Alex Stepheson said.  "We weathered the storm and got the win."  While it looked like a comfortable victory after Maurice Jones explosion held off the first Cal rally, a wild final two minutes, which featured two technical fouls (Donte Smith and Jorge Gutierrez), an intentional foul (Gutierrez), missed Trojan free throws and unconscious Bears shooting, made it a three-point margin at the end.
  • When Cal beat USC at Galen Center, Nikola Vucevic and Stepheson were dominated by their big man counterparts Harper Kamp and Markhuri Sanders-Frison.  Tonight, they flipped the script.  Vucevic (21 points and 10 rebounds) and Stepheson (10 points and 11 rebounds) both had double-doubles.  "We just wanted to make it a special emphasis to get them back today," Stepheson admitted.
  • For a six minute stretch in the second half, Maurice Jones put on a scintillating show, which stunned the Cal crowd and thwarted the Bears' charge.  After Cal had pulled within one after being down 11 at the half, Jones made back-to-back gorgeous lay-ups for his first scores of the night.  Then, he hit four consecutive threes to put the Trojans ahead for good.  "It was just one of those nights," said Jones, who finished with 22 points coming off the bench for the first time this season.  
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  • In an effort to save their legs and improve their Saturday performances, O'Neill and the team decided to cancel Friday's scheduled practice.  Instead, they will meet at the hotel and watch film.
Here is Kevin O'Neill after an exasperating road win...

USC Coaches Clinic

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The eighth annual USC Football/Nike Coach of the Year Southern California Coaches Clinic will be held February 25-27 for football coaches of all levels and feature the expertise of Lane Kiffin and his coaching staff plus featured guests former Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti, Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino and former Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli.  

The clinic will take place at USC's Galen Center Pavilion. 

Click here for all the info and to register!

Coop Wants YOU

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Michael Cooper wants you to support the Women of Troy at Galen Center this weekend.

Friday, February 18, USC vs. Stanford at 7 p.m.

Sunday, February 20, USC vs. Cal at 2 p.m.

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All-Star Weekend

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NBA Projans will be everywhere this weekend as the league's annual All-Star spectacle comes to Los Angeles and STAPLES Center.

Leading the way, DeMar DeRozan is seen as the prime competition to knock off heavy favorite Blake Griffin in Saturday night's dunk contest.

While DeRozan is the clear underdog, the Compton native plans to entertain his hometown fans.  He even released a video hinting at his grand plans.

DeRozan will also join former Pac-10 tournament winning teammate Taj Gibson on the sophomore team as they look to knock off the rookies on Friday night.  Gibson's Bulls still have one more game before the break against the Spurs tonight on TNT.

Even closer to home, the inaugural 3 on 3 Legends Challenge will be held Saturday at Galen Center featuring former stars Penny Hardaway, Dale Davis, Charles Oakley and many more.

It starts at 11 a.m. and admission is FREE!

What does DeRozan have up his sleeve???

Morning Papers (2/17/11)

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Coming to you from the Bay Area where the men's hoops team is looking for a big trip...

Ricky Oropesa is poised for a big junior season.

Dads and Daughters

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The women's basketball team has a huge homestand this week as they continue their bid to return to the NCAA tournament.

On Friday at 7 p.m., the Women of Troy will host #3 Stanford at Galen Center.

And then on Sunday at 2 p.m., USC will welcome Cal as part of our annual "Dads and Daughters Day."

As part of the package, you will receive two tickets, two food vouchers, souvenir photo and frame, a mini basketball and much more. 

Take this opportunity for some father/daughter bonding and cheer the Women of Troy on to victory.


A Week's Work

As the progress continues on the new John McKay Center, they have dug out the level that will be the underground workout facility, which will connect to Heritage Hall.

The top photo is from a week ago and the bottom photo was taken today.

Last week...

Trojans in Sync

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As the workouts continue, USC's players are preparing for a huge 2011 campaign.

(Photos by Farren Benjamin)


USC Baseball Opening Night

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Trojan baseball will get the 2011 campaign started Friday evening at 6 p.m. at Dedeaux Field when they take on the Missouri Tigers as part of the USC Tournament.

The game will be followed by a LIVE Kiven concert and there will be a drawing for a FREE iPad!

Ace right-hander Andrew Triggs will deliver the first pitch and get the Frank Cruz era underway.

As always, students are in FREE with ID. 

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Athletes and Agents Policy

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The University of Southern California drafted a new policy this week to help protect student-athlete's eligibility in regards to contact with agents or any party that threatens the ability of the institution to remain NCAA compliant.

Click here to read the policy as written by the USC Office of Athletic Compliance.

The memo was emailed out to the entire Trojan staff and student population.

This is the latest move by the university, the compliance office and the athletic department to better educate the campus population on the NCAA rules and regulations plus continue the culture of compliance that the Trojan Family has embraced.

Rock and Fire

As we are still about a month away from spring practice, the USC football team continues to grind away during offseason workouts with the strength and conditioning staff.

Here are some medicine ball toss shots taken by Farren Benjamin...

LT Matt Kalil
RB Dillon Baxter
WR Markeith Ambles

The Men Behind the Women of Troy

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For the first week, Michael Cooper called him Carlos.  Now, he has earned the nickname Carlos Bryant for his on-court skills.

His real name is Korri Ennis and he is one of the men who push the Women of Troy to achieve their athletic best.

"We are asked to do everything we can to make the girls better," said Ennis, who is one of 10-15 guys who make up the women's basketball practice squad.  "Our defensive intensity, speed and agility, they want us to bring it, so it will eventually make the girls better."

Ennis-Action.JPGEnnis is an eye-catching athlete, who simulates and often enhances the experience of playing against the nation's best women.

"Especially going against UCLA and Stanford, these guys are so much better than a lot of the girls that play at this level, so it really helps to prepare us," said freshman Cassie Harberts, who is preparing to play #3 Stanford this Friday night at Galen Center.

Ennis is in his second stint on the practice squad, so he has learned to never underestimate the skill and physicality of the Women of Troy.

"You can get really hurt out here," joked Ennis about the Trojan elbows that keep him grounded at times.  "They are Pac-10 players and they really know how to play.  They are very good at what they do.  If you come out here and you are not ready to play and you are not on your guard, you will get hurt."

Ennis cited Kari Laplante and Briana Gilbreath as two players most likely to stick him with the chicken wing.

"He's always up on us," Harbers retorted.  "We have to get him off somehow."

While Ennis obviously does not suit up for the games, he and the rest of the guys are considered part of the team, which includes getting yelled at by Cooper and his staff.

"When we are not playing to the best of our abilities, they have no problem letting us know that we have to step it up," said Ennis, who also has to run suicides and do push-ups when his team loses.

Ennis was originally spotted playing pick-up games in the Lyon Center when he arrived as a transfer from Florida.  After a year on the practice squad, he was pushed by the women to go after his dream and walk-on to the men's team, which he did successfully last season.

While he wanted to spend his senior year at USC concentrating on his future career in finance, Ennis was easily lured back into the women's program.

"I love the girls," he said.  "I feel a part of them and a part of their family."

Ennis (center) will be cheering on the women against Stanford and Cal this weekend at Galen.

Chris Kiffin to Arkansas State

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USC defensive assistant Chris Kiffin was hired by Arkansas State head coach Hugh Freeze today as their defensive line coach for the upcoming season.

Kiffin, Chris.JPGChris Kiffin is the younger brother of head coach Lane Kiffin and the son of associate head coach Monte Kiffin. 

"I'm excited to join Arkansas State, and this is a great opportunity to work with Coach Freeze," said Chris Kiffin. "I came to Jonesboro, got on campus and obviously could feel the excitement there."

Kiffin worked with Freeze under Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss.

"Obviously, we have the same recruiting philosophies and I know that he is going to do a great job at Arkansas State, so I'm really anxious to get going and be a part of something that I think is going to be special," he said.

Season Tickets ON SALE NOW

If you want to join the Trojan tradition, click this link now to purchase season tickets for the 2011 home football schedule!!!

This year, USC will host seven games in the Coliseum featuring battles with Stanford, Utah and UCLA. 

As a season ticket holder, you receive a $35 discount on each seat, four FREE tickets to the spring game and the option to purchase extra individual game tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

Click play below to see the great USC tradition and become a part of it today!

Dan Barnes Memorial Fund

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This past Christmas Eve, the Trojan Family lost Dan Barnes, a three-time Rose Bowl winner, to cancer.
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Barnes played offensive guard at USC, including starting 11 games in 1988.

He leaves behind his wife Laura and two young sons, Daniel Jr. and Joshua.

If you would like to help his family cover the costs of the funeral, remaining medical expenses and support the boys' college funds, please click this link!

Morning Papers (2/15/11)

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New season tickets are ON SALE at  We'll debut the new video campaign later today on the blog.

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Colbert Taking Another Shot

Here is a message passed down from the football office:

USC tight ends assistant Keary Colbert, the one-time Trojan career receptions record holder, is stepping down to pursue a return to a playing career in the NFL.

DSC_0306.JPGThe 28-year-old Colbert spent 5 years (2004-08) as a wide receiver in the NFL, the first 4 with the Carolina Panthers (where he started 35 games and caught 112 passes with 7 TDs).  He set Carolina rookie season records for receptions (47), receiving yards (754) and receiving touchdowns (5) in 2004.  He was with the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions in 2009, then played with the UFL's Florida Tuskers in 2009.

"After spending a year working with the tight ends at USC as a graduate assistant, it ignited my passion and fire to compete at the highest level," said Colbert.  "I've been training and getting myself physically prepared to make a comeback in the NFL.  I plan to be a great veteran addition to any team's wide receiver corps."

Colbert was a 4-year (2000-03) starter at USC, setting the since-broken Trojan all-time receptions record (207) while gaining 2,964 receiving yards and catching 19 touchdown passes.  He captained USC's 2003 national championship team.

McNamara's Band

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At the USC baseball banquet Sunday, the 1961 national championship team was honored.

To pay tribute to their legendary head coach, the title team sang a round of Rod Dedeaux's post-game anthem "McNamara's Band."

After the '61 rendition, new head coach Frank Cruz commanded his troops to join the greats on stage and accompany them in song.

Cal Game Time

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ESPN released the game times for the three 2011 Thursday night Pac-12 clashes, including the October 13 USC at Cal match-up.

The Trojans and Bears will square off at 6 p.m. pacific time on ESPN.

While Memorial Stadium is being renovated and retrofitted, Cal will be hosting games at AT&T Park, the permanent home of the San Francisco Giants.

Cal at Oregon (October 6) and UCLA at Arizona (October 20) are the other two Pac-10 Thursday night affairs.

USC won the 2009 Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park led by Stanley Havili.

Gauntlet Update (2/14/11)

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#6 USC women's swimming and diving dominated UCLA this past weekend at McDonald's Swim Stadium to increase the Trojans lead in the Gauntlet series.

Current standings: USC 45 - UCLA 20

The next crosstown battle will be simultaneous tennis match-ups on March 2.  On that date, the men's team will hold court at Marks Stadium, while the women will look for a big road win in Westwood.

The Trojans need just 12.5 more points to clinch the trophy.

Katinka Hosszu propelled USC to victory with two wins.

Women's Soccer Banquet

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The USC women's soccer team celebrated their 2010 season this past weekend with their annual banquet.

The highlight of the year was the Trojans win over the Bruins in front of a record breaking crowd in the Coliseum. 

Here's a look at the year's highlights...

Baseball Dedications

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USC baseball had their annual alumni game Sunday to get the 2011 season started right.

It was a special day as new head coach Frank Cruz took the helm and welcomed back Mike Gillespie, who won a national championship with USC as a player and a coach.

The road to Omaha begins Friday night at Dedeaux Field as the Trojans will take on Missouri (6 p.m.) as part of the USC tournament also featuring Cal Poly and North Carolina.

Gillespie had the scoreboard dedicated in his honor.  (All photos by Dan Avila)
Bret Boone was on hand as the batting cage was named for the Boone Family.
The 1961 national title team returned.
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3-Points: Oregon 61, USC 51

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The Trojans cannot overcome a rough shooting performance.

  • Nik and nothing...  Vucevic accounted for 22 points on 11/22 shooting, while the rest of the team made just 10/35 combined from the floor.  "You are obviously not going to win many games shooting the ball like we did," Kevin O'Neill said.  "You are not going to win many games scoring 50 at home.  That's all you can say about that."
  • The symbolic moment of the night came after a first half timeout when Oregon head coach Dana Altman made a complete line change, subbing all five of his players at once.  When O'Neill saw that, he thought to himself, "Oh boy, here they come," he said after the game.  While the coach refused to use depth or fatigue as an excuse, he acknowledged that the Ducks were clearly trying to wear the Trojans seven man rotation down.  "They knew what they wanted to do and they did it," O'Neill said.
  • At 13-12 overall and 5-7 in conference, O'Neill is hardly throwing in the towel.  USC has six games to play plus the Pac-10 conference tournament and the head coach expects his team to bring max effort.  "We keep doing our job," O'Neill stated the plan.  "We're all disappointed.  We're not going to be discouraged."
Here is Vucevic, who posted another double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds...

Kyle Prater Injured

USC freshman WR Kyle Prater suffered a foot fracture this week during offseason workouts. 

Prater will likely be sidelined for 6-8 weeks, which means he could possibly return near the end of spring football practice.  The injury could require surgery to fix the break.

The highly touted receiver out of Illinois redshirted his freshman season due to several nagging injuries after joining the team as a spring early entrant.

He is expected to make a full recovery and compete for a starting job.

(Photo by SC Playbook)

3-Points: Oregon Prep

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Scroll down for pics from last night's win over Oregon State...

  • Kevin O'Neill talked glowingly after practice about the work Donte Smith put in during the offseason to make himself a better shooter and all-around player.  If Maurice Jones is going to live up to his considerable potential, O'Neill wants to see the same work ethic from his freshman point guard.  "The effectiveness of his game will go up 50% if he becomes a 40% three-point shooter," O'Neill said.  "If he does not become a gym rat, he won't be able to do that."
  • There is no greater motivating weapon for a coach than the bench, but with the lack of depth, that tool has been taken away from O'Neill.  With a big recruiting class on the way next season, he is excited to get it back.  "What I am looking forward to more than anything is having the luxury of benching people next season if they are not playing well," he said.  "It will help them as players if they become more responsible, more accountable if you can be put on the bench."
  • Playing just seven men, USC has been susceptible in the second game of two-game sets this season.  "We have not played particularly well in Saturday games after Thursdays," O'Neill admitted.  "We are going to need a little extra oomph to get over the hump against Oregon."  The Ducks troubled the Trojans with their sized down lineup in Eugene, so look for a little more Garrett Jackson tomorrow.
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  • The first 1,000 students at Saturday's 7:30 p.m. game will receive FREE Trojan Fever wristbands.  Students in FREE with ID as always!
(Photo by Pierson Clair)

Photo Gallery: USC vs. Oregon St.

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Check out last night's men's hoops victory over Oregon State through the lens of Pierson Clair...

Harold Miner Tribute

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USC men's basketball's all-time leading scorer Harold Miner was inducted into the Pac-10 hall of fame.

Last night, we played a tribute video for "Baby Jordan" at Galen Center, which you can watch below.

Click here to buy tickets for Saturday's home game against Oregon at 7:30 p.m.!  Plenty of good seats still available to cheer on the Trojans...

Corral's Big Night

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USC women's basketball junior guard Ashley Corral doubled up on Trojan history last night when she became the 23rd player to score 1,000 points in a career for the Women of Troy and grabbed the #1 spot on the all-time three-point list, all while leading the team to a much needed road win.

Fittingly, the long distance shooter notched her 1,000th point while burying her first three-pointer of the night joining teammate Briana Gilbreath in that exclusive club.

Corral's fourth triple secured her spot in history passing Brynn Cameron on the career list with 184 and counting. 

Corral started the season #4 on the all-time list behind Cameron, Eshaya Murphy and Camille Lenoir, but the junior's sharpshooting has been key to USC's resurgence under Michael Cooper.

Here she is on her big night...

Pac-12 Restructures Officiating

Pac-10/12 commissioner Larry Scott is ready to implement an overhaul of the football refereeing structure after a comprehensive review of the previous system.

perirea.jpgThe changes include the resignation of former coordinator of football officiating Dave Cutaia and the interim appointment of Mike Pereira, who was the former vice president of officiating for the NFL and assisted the NFL on Fox with on-air questions and rulings this season including Super Bowl XLV.

"Like in other high priority areas, we have taken a fresh look at our program, and will be implementing a series of changes that are forward-looking, innovative and take our program to the next level," Scott said.  "The game and level of play is always improving, so it's essential that in the critical area of officiating, the program continue to evolve and improve as well."

Along with changing the organizational structure, the planned advancements include new resources, best practices and training tools. 

Pereira will lead the restructuring, but the conference is in the search process for a new coordinator of officiating.


Here is a message from the USC Jimokes, who are looking for some fresh blood for next season:

Fresh off another top recruiting class, the USC football program is looking for new student managers for next season.  Don't miss this incredible opportunity to work directly with the coaches and players on a daily basis!

EA-Jimokes.jpgIf you love Trojan football, there is no way to get closer to the program than this.  You will be a part of something very few people can say they have the privilege of seeing.  Duties include: assisting coaches during games and practices, setting up the Coliseum locker room before games, preparing the practice field and more.

If you want more information on how you can be a part of one of the best programs in the nation, check us out online or send Brian Wagner an email at

Note: You must be a USC student.

Fight On!

3-Points: USC 67, Oregon State 56

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The Trojans hustled their way to a much needed victory.

  • "That was interesting," Kevin O'Neill exhaled as he sat down for his post-game presser.  The head coach is never one to complain about victories and he was not about to start tonight.  "We'll take the win," O'Neill said resolutely.  While it was not often pretty basketball, the Trojans held the Beavers to 24 points less than their previous meeting in Corvallis.  "We shrunk it up a little more," said O'Neill about adjustments.  "We were just sharper defensively."
  • Jio Fontan has consistently asserted himself as the leader of this team off the court, but he has not always brought that aggression to the game itself.  "My team benefits more when I am aggressive," Fontan admitted after the win.  "Today wasn't a crazy night as far as stats go, but I think just being aggressive opened a lot of things up and put pressure on the defense."  His head coach was proud of the effort.  "He played great tonight," O'Neill praised.  "For him to play the way he did said a lot about him."
  • The Trojans have struggled down the stretch this season largely because they are inefficient at the free throw line.  Tonight, they took care of business at the stripe and buried 17 of 21.  "We made the line," O'Neill pointed it out as a key to the victory.  Donte Smith made all four of his freebies plus two big second half threes.  "He's done it all season for us," O'Neill said of the senior.  "He's a guy that's been a major, major part of our team."
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  • The Women of Troy rallied from an 11-point deficit to win by 19 at Oregon State.  In the process, Ashley Corral became the 23rd player in USC women's basketball history to score 1,000 points in a career.

McKay Center Progress Report

We are working on putting up a camera, so you can monitor the daily progress of the new John McKay Center.

In the meantime, you can see a couple pics below of what it looks like today.

Click here to watch the video renderings of the new building and text to give!


Artletics Tonight!

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As you head to Galen Center tonight (men's basketball vs. Oregon State at 8:00 p.m.) and Saturday (men's basketball vs. Oregon at 7:30 p.m.), please get there early, so you can enjoy the Artletics exhibition at the Centofante Hall of Fame. 

Here's a look at what you are in store for...

Matthews Enjoying Spoils

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Super Bowl champion Clay Matthews is embracing his extended victory lap after leading the Packers to NFL glory.

On Sunday, he will rub elbows with the stars of the musical world when he presents a Grammy Award. 

The golden haired Projan also has appearances on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

While Matthews is enjoying his TV stardom, my guess is his favorite moment came at WWE Smackdown below.

Morning Papers (2/10/11)

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Good morning!

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Recruiting Stability

Yesterday's USC agent summit focused primarily on football, but all the parties involved admitted the basketball system is as much, if not more, in need of an overhaul.

While collegiate football and baseball student-athletes are not draft eligible until three years out of high school, the men's basketball players have a decision to make after every season, which leaves them exposed to agents and bombarded by "advisers."

"I would absolutely be in favor of that," USC athletic director Pat Haden answered when asked if he would like to see basketball switch to a system similar to baseball.

"I would love to see that rule," he continued.  "It would make it a lot easier for us and a lot easier for our coaches."

KO-MoJo.jpgKevin O'Neill seconded the notion.

"Yes, it would be a great change," the men's hoops head coach said.  "We would have much more recruiting stability."

To that point, O'Neill will lead a team into Galen Center this Thursday and Saturday night with only one senior (Marcus Simmons), one junior (Nikola Vucevic) and one sophomore (the injured Evan Smith) that arrived at USC as freshmen. 

While high school baseball players are immediately eligible for the major league draft, they can see where they were picked and then bypass the pros for a minimum three-year commitment to a college program.

If basketball embraced that system, coaches would not have to worry about the instability of one-and-done student-athletes like DeMar DeRozan in 2008-09. 

It also might relieve the anxiety of instant stardom, which leads to transfers over playing time like the recent Bryce Jones' situation.

According to Haden, the NBA and their players' association would have to initiate any sweeping changes to the draft eligibility rules.

DeRozan led USC to a Pac-10 tourney title before being drafted in the NBA lottery.

Coliseum Commits

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On National Signing Day, we showed you all the official signatures of the fall football recruiting class as they faxed in their letters-of-intent.

Today, blog contributor Ben Weiss had a little fun with them.

Check it out...


STUDENT-Athlete of the Week: Alison Ramos

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Each week, we shift the emphasis to the left side of the hyphen and have a conversation with a Trojan scholar-athlete.

alison ramos - stanford win.JPGName: Alison Ramos

Sport: Women's Tennis

Class: Junior

Major: Kinesiology (Minor in Health Communications)

GPA: 3.49

Jordan Moore (JM): How old were you when you first picked up a tennis racquet?

Alison Ramos (AR): I was 6 years old when I started playing tennis. It was totally random and a little lucky. When I was in first grade, Abigail Villena made me and a few other girls run a mile, do push-ups and other physical tests. I was chosen out of my entire elementary school. She gave me free tennis lessons and got me sponsored. Aba noticed that the racquet was bigger than me at the time, so she gave me a two-handed forehand and I always stuck with it. I started competing when I was 7 years old and I immediately fell in love with the sport.

JM: Were you and your family conscious of avoiding that teenage tennis drama that so many girls fall into?

AR: Haha! What teenage tennis drama??? Just kidding - I secretly loved the drama. It was very entertaining for me and would give me a greater incentive to win. I think my family and I knew that the drama was inevitable so my parents stressed the importance of how to deal with it. I just decided not to take bad line-calls and trash talking personal. I was more focused on winning anyway.

monica-seles.jpgJM: Who were your tennis idols growing up?

AR: Monica Seles was my hero growing up. She has a two-handed forehand just like me. She was very passionate and competitive. I loved watching her play.

JM: I heard you did some work for Tennis Channel.  Give me a breakdown of the state of professional women's tennis.

AR: Professional women's tennis has evolved so much in the past 10 years. It has become a lot more physical - if you aren't at least 6' tall, you aren't cracking the top 10. The size of these women is daunting - really scary.

JM: Favorite Williams' sister: Venus or Serena?

serena.jpgAR: Serena - her outfits are outrageous and I love her diva attitude.

JM: Speaking of divas, you told me your musical interests revolve around Lady Gaga and Britney Spears.  I'm concerned...

AR: I love my girls.

JM: Sounds like you are a foodie too.  Do you ever cook?  What's the Ali Ramos' special?

AR: Yes, I LOVE FOOD! The Ali Ramos special - chocolate chip banana pancakes. My baking specialty: oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I also barbecue - my friends say that I make the best burgers!

JM: Sounds good to me!  However, your major and minor are health and fitness based.  Give me an example of how they have helped you perform at a higher level as an athlete.

AR: After taking a sports nutrition class, I changed my diet to meet my body's demands. I am trying to eat less foods with "empty calories" and eat a lot of natural foods high in Vitamin K. Human anatomy was helpful for me to understand how my body works. I learned which muscles were being used during tennis and I am able to design an exercise prescription to make me stronger.

JM: You have three home matches this week, including a win over San Diego State already in the hopper.  What do you focus on to make sure your body can handle the grind?

AR: Regeneration, refuel, and rest. I have to make sure I stretch after the matches to prevent fatigue. I have to make sure I eat healthy to have energy. I have to TRY to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, but that is going to be difficult. I have a paper due Thursday and a biology test Friday. Rough week!

JM: On the subject of refueling, fans can come see Ali play Thursday afternoon at Marks Stadium and eat In N' Out burgers at 2 p.m. by becoming members of the "7th Man Club."  See ya there!

Team Kids

Former USC track captain Julie Seleine Hudash is giving back to Orange County as the founder of "Team Kids," an organization to empower young people to serve their communities.

She is also a published writer for the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register.

Click here to read Hudash's take on returning recreational sports to the kids.

Hudash (then Seleine) was a distance runner on the 1987 USC track team.


USC Agent Summit

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In an effort to further the culture of compliance and better understand the student-athlete's mindset, USC's athletic administration hosted a summit today with three prominent professional agents and representatives from the NCAA, NFL, Pac-12, SEC and Pac-12 universities to exchange thoughts on best practices and generate ideas to help solve the current problems in collegiate athletics.

"It was a great room of people that were willing to engage in thoughtful discussion," said senior associate athletic director Mark Jackson, who organized the summit, which included USC president C.L. Max Nikias.

While the Trojan administrators are fluent on the rules and regulations currently in place, they wanted to engage the room in a discussion built on the real situations student-athletes face regarding agents. 

As an example, the agents (Tom Condon, Jimmy Sexton and Rick Smith) advised that the athletic department's message was counterintuitive as far as pushing the pros to the side in favor of supporting the university's ideals.  In reality, many student-athletes are more focused on getting drafted than graduating.

"I need to embrace the concept that our guys here want to go to the NFL and the NBA," concluded Haden, who requested the summit.

Instead of discouraging student-athletes from dreaming of a professional sports career, Haden wants to educate them.

"Let's help them.  Let's not be an impediment," Haden said as part of a post-summit debrief with reporters alongside Jackson and vice president for athletic compliance Dave Roberts.  "We're not going to have a football major, but we want to be able to have enough resources for our men and women -- to get valuable information for them to make good decisions."

Jackson would like to see a "national consistent curriculum to satisfy all the agendas involved," while Roberts believes the education needs to start as young as possible.

"The views that they shape may even be ones that they formed before they get here," Roberts said.

Haden also talked about "extenders of compliance," which refers to assistant coaches and team personnel that are in close day-to-day contact with the student-athletes.

As a successful example, Roberts cited the recent Everson Griffen party in Las Vegas, which the university's administrators requested the student-athletes not attend for several reasons

However, the compliance office only heard about the potential pitfall because a strength and conditioning coach mentioned it to Jackson, who passed it on to the compliance office.

"Kudos to everyone in the athletic department for what I believe is a great culture of compliance," Roberts commended.

Going forward at USC, Haden plans to hire an ombudsman, someone who has been through the process, to be an independent trusted counselor, so the student-athletes can get objective advice.

Also, the NFL's executive vice president Ray Anderson passed on a strong statement from commissioner Roger Goodell. 

"They are going to be looking to post-graduate penalties," Haden relayed.  "You cannot escape accountability just by shuffling off to the NFL."

In all, USC's executive team is excited to implement change going forward.

"It was a great day," said Jackson in summation.  "For us to take the lead as a university on it, I think was really special."

Click here to watch Mark Jackson's post-summit remarks or click this link to hear from Dave Roberts!

Here is Pat Haden on the day...

Baseball Alumni Game

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The annual USC baseball alumni game is this Sunday, February 13 at 4:00 p.m. at Dedeaux Field and the RSVPs are starting to role in with MANY more to come.

As we mentioned earlier, Mike Gillespie will be in attendance for the dedication of the new scoreboard in his honor.  Gillespie won a College World Series with USC as a player (1961) and a head coach (1998).

On the growing list, Gillespie's 1961 national championship team will be well represented by Larry Hankammer, who made the College World Series all-tournament team, and Willie Ryan.

Also on the list is outfielder Greg Hanoian, who played under Gillespie on the famed '98 squad.

Plus, Murph Proctor is coming back to Troy, where he still holds the records for most games played and walks.  He also has the third most hits all-time. 

In a second dedication, the batting cages will be renamed in honor of the Boone family (pictured below).  The Boone's were the first family in major league history to send three generations of players to the All-Star game, including USC alums Bret and Aaron Boone.


Morning Papers (2/8/11)

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Come to the men's basketball home games Thursday vs. Oregon St. (8:00 p.m) and Saturday vs. Oregon (7:30 p.m.)!

Basketball Parking

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To enhance the fan experience for all USC men's basketball games, the university will open four different parking structures to service Galen Center fans.

Here are the four parking structures that will be made available for every men's home game:

--Structure 1 directly west of the USC Credit Union Building (enter on Flower St. just south of Exposition Blvd.);
--Structure 2 on the east side of the Radisson Hotel (enter on Flower St. just north of Exposition Blvd.);
--Structure X directly west of the Galen Center (enter on Figueroa St. at McCarthy Way);
--Structure D directly south of the Shrine Auditorium (enter on Jefferson Blvd. at Royal St.).

USC's remaining 2011 men's basketball home games are Feb. 10 versus Oregon State, Feb. 12 versus Oregon, Feb. 24 versus Arizona and Feb. 26 versus Arizona State (Senior Day).


Thomas Williams and "The Hitman"

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Former USC LB Thomas Williams was on campus last week and sat down with to reflect on his time at Troy and his "split personalities."

T-Will is currently with the Carolina Panthers.

Photo Gallery: Artletics

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Through March 10, our annual student-athlete art exhibit will be up at the Galen Center Centofante Hall of Fame.

Please check it out this week before the men's basketball games versus Oregon State (8 p.m. Thursday) and Oregon (7:30 p.m. Saturday).

Here is a photo slideshow from the "Artletics" opening night taken by Farren Benjamin...

Renew Season Tickets Online

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The 2011 football season is coming fast and you can renew your season tickets online RIGHT NOW to save money and win prizes. 

Tommy-Trav.jpgSimply, click this link and renew through!

This year, season ticket holders will get a $35 discount on each seat.

As an incentive for renewing online, you will receive four spring football game tickets ($40 value) for FREE, plus you are entered to win prizes including a $200 bookstore gift card, exclusive autographs, a Cardinal and Gold tailgate picnic of your choice and much more!

And, you can increase your season ticket order through our website and add the best available individual game tickets. 

2011 promises to be a great season with seven home games (five against 2010 bowl teams) in the first season of the Pac-12.

The deadline to renew season tickets is March 25.

(Photos by Jon SooHoo)

Howard Jones' Daughter Dies

Here is her obituary from

Carolyn Jones O'Connell, the daughter of legendary USC football coach Howard Jones, died Jan. 24 in Fontana, Calif.  She was 83.
Carolyn-Jones-Head-Shot-no-date.jpgShe grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Toluca Lake, in a neighborhood that included the families of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Walt Disney and other Hollywood celebrities.
O'Connell learned to play classical piano at the age of five and continued to play throughout her life, including most recently at church, civic and senior citizen functions.  After college and getting married, she worked as a singer in nightclubs and performing arts venues before devoting her time to raising her children.
She is survived by a son, Daniel O'Connell, and three daughters, Marie Bryant, Danielle McKeon and Bernadette Vargas, as well as nine grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.  She was predeceased by her husband of 40 years, Charles O'Connell.
Her father led USC's "Thundering Herd" football teams to four national championships, eight conference titles and five Rose Bowl victories during his 16-year tenure (1925-40).  He died in 1941.  He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the USC Athletic Hall of Fame.

Young Carolyn with her father Howard Jones.

Agent Summit

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Here is the official release regarding this event by the USC athletic department.  We'll get debriefed by AD Pat Haden after the summit tomorrow for the blog.

In an effort to better understand the challenges that universities, student-athletes and coaches face when dealing with agents and in hopes of exploring ways to improve a situation that has been newsworthy both on its campus and nationally, the USC athletic department is bringing together noted leaders within the collegiate and professional sports worlds for an "Agent Awareness, Education and Eligibility Summit" on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Galen Center.
Among those making presentations at the invitation-only event will be representatives of the NCAA, Pacific-10 Conference, Southeastern Conference, NFL and NFL Players Association, as well as athletic directors from every Pac-10 school and several prominent agents.
USC participants will include president C.L. Max Nikias, athletic director Pat Haden, vice president for athletic compliance Dave Roberts and senior associate athletic director Mark Jackson.
"Obviously, the issue of college student-athletes dealing with agents is a hot-button topic," said Haden.  "We at USC know that first hand.  We decided to organize this summit so that all of us at USC can pick the brains of our peers throughout the Pac-10 and also hear from those on the firing lines at the NCAA and Pac-10, at the NFL and within the agent community.  Our goal is to gain valuable input in this area as we move forward here at USC, and also to provide a constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas between all of the participants."
The event is being presented by the USC Professional Sports Counseling Panel, a USC athletic department program that provides practical information, learning opportunities and services to Trojan student-athletes interested in pursuing professional athletic careers.

Super Play

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Super Projans Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu recorded three tackles apiece in the biggest game of them all Sunday, but one hit changed the game.

With the Steelers gaining field position and momentum, Matthews separated RB Rashard Mendenhall free of the ball and earned the first ring in his family's rich NFL history.

(AP Photo)

Getting Equipped

As the transition continues from the 2010 football season to 2011 spring football, the equipment managers are busy repairing the Trojans' armor and getting the young gladiators geared up for the helmet smashing to come.

We were given a behind-the-scenes look at the process by the director of equipment operations Dave Scott (better known by those in the know as "Pops").
Holmes-Helmet.JPGIn the picture to the right, you can see OL Khaled Holmes' helmet, which is all scuffed up after a season of going nose-to-nose with defensive linemen. 

Holmes' lid is one of many being shipped back to the manufacturer to get fixed and polished up for the upcoming season.

You can see all the bruised helmets in the barrel below.

In the final picture, check out the flashy new lids as the early entrants picked out their first ever Trojan head gear. 

The spring recruits were in the equipment room getting sized up and comfortable in the cardinal and gold before practice begins in March.

(Photos by Rich Rodriguez)


New Helmets.JPG

Lights Show

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Flanked by members of the USC support staff, head baseball coach Frank Cruz toasted his gathered audience and unveiled the new Dedeaux Field lights last night.

Check out Cruz's message and our time lapse video below...

The State of Troy: National Signing Day

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

DSC_0046.JPGQ.) How do you feel about the NCAA appeal after the hearing in Indianapolis?

My perception of our trip was positive.  We had a fair hearing and the committee seemed very fair-minded.  We put on what I thought was a very good case for the reduction of our penalty.  Now, all we can do is wait.  Statistically, we have just a 10% chance of winning, but I am feeling somewhat more optimistic than that.

Q.) How was USC able to overcome the sanctions and sign a recruiting class that has everyone excited?

USC is such a unique university that so many young student-athletes want to come play here regardless of any particular circumstance.  Guys know if they come here that they will have the best academics, facilities and coaching.  There are a lot of positives for young people because USC has such a rich history.  It looks like this recruiting class is going to be a good one.

Kiffin-Sideline.jpgQ.) How impressed are you with this staff's ability to grind tirelessly throughout the recruiting process?

I am just shocked at how hard our staff is working.  I have never been this close to recruiting.  Being this close and talking to Lane Kiffin at least once a day, it ebbs and flows.  One moment you have a guy and then you have lost him and then you have him back.  The guys work so hard and travel around the country on this whirlwind tour talking to the kids, their coaches, parents and counselors.  There is so much invested in the recruiting of each student-athlete.

pathaden_display_image.jpgQ.) How different is the recruiting process from when you were highly touted coming out of Bishop Amat in 1971?

There was no Internet.  There was no demand.  You did not turn over hats.  You just kind of decided.  There was not a "Signing Day."  I was recruited by all the schools, but it was not anything like it is today.  In some ways, it was a lot easier because there is a lot of pressure on these kids today.

Q.) How impressive have the men's volleyball and men's tennis teams been to start the season?

I have been to a couple of men's volleyball games and I wish four or five of those guys played tight end for us.  They go 6'7", 6'7" and 6'8" across the front.  They are incredible athletes who hit the ball straight down.  We have a chance to have a very special season.  Peter Smith has won back-to-back championships with the men's tennis team.  He always seems like he is having a good time while he is coaching.  We have an opportunity to win another championship there.

Q.) What would be considered a successful women's basketball season?

DA2_5733.JPGMichael Cooper inherited what I call "an awkward roster."  He has had a lot of injuries, which has limited their depth.  We were 16-14 last year.  If we were able to make the tournament, it would be a big leap forward.  He is doing a good job with the women and he has an excellent recruiting class coming in.  The arrow is pointing up in women's basketball.

Q.) As March Madness draws near, how can the fans influence putting the men's and women's basketball teams over the top?

The men's team is capable of beating anybody.  Unfortunately, they are capable of losing to anybody from what we have seen.  That has been the nature of the team this year.  Against the really good teams like Kansas and Tennessee, even on the road, we are able to compete and come away with wins.  As for the Pac-10 Tournament at STAPLES Center, we want to turn it into a home court.  We are the hometown team and we should really support our men and women because we are capable of winning the tournaments.

Q.) Finally, tell us why are you so proud of the Artletics exhibit, which opened last night at the Galen Center Centofante Hall of Fame and will run through March 10?

The art is produced entirely by our student-athletes.  The really cool thing about our student-athletes is that they are not one-dimensional people.  While they are great on a mound, in a pool or on a court, they can still have this other side of them, which is really exciting.  Fans, please visit it when you attend a basketball or men's volleyball at Galen Center.

(Photos by Jon SooHoo and Pierson Clair)

Combine Class

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Eight outgoing USC players were invited to the NFL Combine, which will take place February 23 - March 1 in Indianapolis.

Tyron-Face.jpgThe Trojan invitees include juniors OL Tyron Smith and DT Jurrell Casey plus seniors TE Jordan Cameron, RB Allen Bradford, OL Kris O'Dowd, CB Shareece Wright, FB Stanley Havili and WR Ronald Johnson.

Smith (photo right by Jon SooHoo) is projected by most draft experts to be the first Trojan picked.

The Combine is an important stage of the NFL Draft process, where scouts and team executives will test the prospects' athleticism and football intelligence.

Note: We are hoping to send blog contributor Ben Weiss to the Combine this year to provide extensive coverage for the blog.

Morning Papers (2/4/11)

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Some recruiting analysis by the beat writers and a #1 class for women's tennis...

2011 Recruiting Odds and Ends

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I know what you're thinking.  You want more recruiting knowledge!  Here are some extra notes on the Class of 2011...

  • USC recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron was named the Recruiter of the Year.
  • Wide receivers Marqise Lee and George Farmer won CIF titles in football and basketball at Serra high school in Gardena.  Lee has the athletic potential to pursue a two-sport career at USC if he is so inclined.  "We would welcome him," said head coach Kevin O'Neill, who has not scouted Lee, but is in need of depth.
  • Farmer's father, George, played in the NFL for the Rams and Dolphins.
  • Farmer and Lee continued the Serra pipeline, which includes Robert Woods and DaJohn Harris on the current roster.
  • QB Max Wittek and WR Victor Blackwell are the latest Mater Dei alums to don the cardinal and gold joining current players QB Matt Barkley, DT Conrad Tavarez, WR Robbie Boyer and OL Khaled Holmes plus coaches Kennedy Pola and Lenny Vandermade.
  • While Serra and Mater Dei are local, USC has done well in Florida recently at Lincoln high school.  Incoming RB "Buck" Allen prepped there as did USC defensive backs Jawanza Starling and T.J. Bryant.
  • RB Amir Carlisle should be in peak physical condition considering his father has been the strength and conditioning coach of several professional sports organizations, including the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Lamar Dawson will be just the second USC football letterman from the state of Kentucky joining Kurt Barber ('91).  Dawson led Boyle County high school to a 43-1 record in the last three years.
  • Tre Madden is really Curtis Madden III.  His father played college ball at Kansas St., but his grandfather Lawrence McCutcheon was an NFL All-Pro running back.  The Trojan Family will know Daylon McCutcheon, Tre's uncle, who was a two-time All-Pac-10 corner at USC.
  • OL Marcus Martin won the last two L.A. City championships with Crenshaw high school.
  • DL J.R. Tavai threw discus and shot put for the Mira Costa track and field team.
  • Greg Townsend's dad (sacking John Elway below) was a 4-time All-Pro with the Raiders.

Baseball News

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Hardball is just around the corner...

USC baseball announced that the Alumni game will take place Sunday, February 13 at Dedeaux Field featuring two significant pregame ceremonies.

Gillespie.jpgBefore the game, former USC head coach Mike Gillespie (photo) will have the scoreboard named after him.  Gillespie, who will be in attendance, won a College World Series with USC as a player (1961) and a head coach (1998). 

Also, the batting cages will be ranamed in honor of the Boone family on the same day.  The Boone's were the first family in major league history to send three generations of players to the All-Star game, including USC alums Bret and Aaron Boone. 


Click here to purchase tickets to the Dodgertown Classic between USC and UCLA at Chavez Ravine on Sunday, March 13 at 2:30 p.m..

Ranking the Class of '11

USC's football class of 2011 is ranked #4 overall by Rivals, #4 by ESPN and #5 by Scouts.

Here's how broke down the individuals...

george-farmer.jpgRivals 5-Stars

WR George Farmer (Los Angeles, CA - pictured) 

Rivals 4-Stars

WR Marqise Lee (Inglewood, CA)

DL Antwaun Woods (Los Angeles, CA)

QB Max Wittek (Newport Beach, CA)

OL Aundrey Walker (Cleveland, OH)

DL Greg Townsend Jr. (Los Angeles, CA)

QB Cody Kessler (Bakersfield, CA)

AnthonySarao.jpgLB Anthony Sarao (Egg Harbor Township, NJ - pictured)

OL Cyrus Hobbi (Scottsdale, AZ)

DL Christian Heyward (Santee, CA)

LB Lamar Dawson (Junction City, KY)

RB Amir Carlisle (Santa Clara, CA)

WR Victor Blackwell (Cerritos, CA)

Rivals 3-Stars

Javorius-Allen.jpgRB Javorius "Buck" Allen (Tallahassee, FL - pictured)

LB Charles Burks (Costa Mesa, CA)

OL Jeremy Galten (San Mateo, CA)

OL David Garness (Anchorage, AK)

K Andre Heidari (Bakersfield, CA)

LB Dallas Kelley (Norco, CA)

OL Cody Temple (Bakersfield, CA)

DB Isiah Wiley (West Monroe, LA)

DL DeVante Wilson (Corona, CA)

OL Marcus Martin (Los Angeles, CA)

DL J.R. Tavai (Redondo Beach)

Rivals 2-Stars

P Kris Albarado (Lake Charles, LA)

LS Peter McBride (Scottsdale, AZ)

The Class of 2011

"Well, I think this is an exciting day for the Trojan Family," Lane Kiffin stated at the beginning of his National Signing Day press conference.

Kiffin and his staff hauled in 22 fall entrants and 30 players overall in the 2011 recruiting class as of today.

If you missed anything, you can catch up on everything at the USC Signing Day page on by clicking this link!

Click on the player's name to read their bio and the camera icon links to their highlight film.

Click here to watch Lane Kiffin's entire press conference from Heritage Hall!

Finally, incoming offensive lineman Cyrus Hobbi said it best on the last page of his LOI fax today below.


3-Points: UCLA 64, USC 50

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The Trojans played with a lot of energy, but they could not match the Bruins' scoring.

  • Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson combined for 32 of USC's 50 points.  The Trojans' starting guards, Mo Jones and Jio Fontan, contributed just one basket between them in 68 minutes.  While USC's guards protected the ball nicely (5 team turnovers), they need more scoring against good teams.  "I have just got to get back into the groove," said Fontan, who went scoreless.  "We're just as good if not better than their guards, but they played a better game today."
  • The Trojans won the first crosstown battle by dominating the glass, but they were outrebounded by 14 in this contest.  "We gave up too many second chances," Fontan bemoaned.  "You can't blame the bigs or the guards.  That's a team effort."  Kevin O'Neill and Fontan agreed that the turning point came early in the second half when the Trojans settled for jumpers, while UCLA continued to attack in the paint, which led to second chance points.
  • UCLA was led by Josh Smith's 15 points, but they had six players contribute 7+ points, while USC had just three.  The Bruins are not easy to shut down because they get scoring from all five spots on the floor.  "They have really good talent.  Let's face it," Kevin O'Neill stated.  "They are a difficult guard for anybody."  O'Neill is realistic that his team's talent and depth is depleted after the NCAA sanctions led to two basically blank classes.  "We're not going to be able to recruit a whole team in one year."
And 1...

  • UCLA complained in the papers about USC's on-court celebration after the Trojans' win at Galen Center.  Tonight, they seemed to make a demonstrative point to enjoy the victory before the final buzzer.  "You play to win and when you win, you celebrate," said Fontan, who was not bothered at all by UCLA's high-fiving.

Woods on Serra Threats

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The Trojans could potentially line up in a three-wide formation next season with all Serra High School alums at receiver.

Obviously, Robert Woods will be the center of the passing attack, but now he is joined by his former prep teammates George Farmer and Marqise Lee.

Here's Woods on the Serra terrors...

Class of 2011: Ryan Henderson

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Ryan-Henderson.jpgName: Ryan Henderson

Position: DB

Size: 5'10", 170 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Moreno Valley (Rancho Verde)

Rivals Ranking: #45 Cornerback (3-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "He is a very athletic player, who is really just learning the position.  He's so eager to learn.  He actually has the Nike Sparq training record, so he is their #1 athlete of all time.  We're actually getting the top pure athlete in the nation in Ryan Henderson.  He is a physical corner, who can come up and hit."

-- Sammy Knight, Safeties Assistant

Highlight Film: Click here to see Henderson in action!!!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Antwaun Woods

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

antwaun-woods.jpgName: Antwaun Woods

Position: DL

Size: 6'1", 325 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Los Angeles (Taft)

Rivals Ranking: #22 Defensive Tackle (4-Stars)

Honors Include: Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American and an Under Armour All-American.

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Junior Pomee

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

junior-pomee.jpgName: Junior Pomee

Position: TE

Size: 6'3", 235 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Perris (Rancho Verde)

Rivals Ranking: #23 Wide Receiver (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "Junior plays with tenacity.  He gets after it.  He's very competitive, which is a great trait for him.  He is very athletic and can stretch the field.  He's also a really good kid."

-- Keary Colbert, Tight Ends Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Pomee in action!!!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Marqise Lee

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

marqise-lee.jpgName: Marqise Lee

Position: WR

Size: 6'0", 190 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Inglewood (Serra)

Rivals Ranking: #3 Athlete (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "Athletic.  He could play offense or defense.  He's smart and dynamic after the catch.  He can play basketball and do it all.  We're really excited to get him on the field."

-- Keary Colbert, Tight Ends Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to witness Lee's athleticism!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Javorius Allen

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Javorius-Allen.jpgName: Javorius "Buck" Allen

Position: RB

Size: 6'1", 205 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Tallahassee, FL (Lincoln)

Rivals Ranking: #23 Athlete (3-stars)

Honors and Stats: ESPNU150, Super Prep All-Dixie and Prep Star All-Southeast.  He ran for more than 1,500 yards as a senior and led his team to the Florida state Class 4A title.

Highlight Film: Click here to see Allen in action!!!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Tre Madden

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Tre-Madden.jpgName: Curtis "Tre" Madden

Position: LB

Size: 6'0", 220 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Aliso Viejo (Mission Viejo)

Rivals Ranking: #6 Outside Linebacker (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "Tre is a speed athlete.  He is tailor made for this defense.  He is a run and hit linebacker.  He is not the biggest guy, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for it in speed, physicality and toughness."

-- Joe Barry, Linebackers Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Madden fly around the field!

The Official Signature...


Lane Kiffin Press Conference

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Click here to watch Lane Kiffin's press conference on the recruiting class of 2011!  The link will go LIVE at 5:30 p.m. pacific time.

The press conference will archive on SC TV as well.

We will continue to release the bios, highlights and official signatures as they come in this evening.

Class of 2011: Marcus Martin

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

marcus-martin.jpgName: Marcus Martin

Position: OL

Size: 6'3", 340 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Los Angeles (Crenshaw)

Rivals Ranking: #28 Offensive Guard (3-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "Marcus is a hard worker with a tremendous work ethic.  We loved Marcus when he came to our camp just by seeing the way he approaches the game.  I think that work ethic is going to pay huge dividends moving from high school to college."

-- James Cregg, Offensive Line Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Martin in action!!!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: George Farmer

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

george-farmer.jpgName: George Farmer

Position: WR

Size: 6'1", 205 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Los Angeles (Serra)

Rivals Ranking: #1 Wide Receiver (5-stars)

Coach's Quote: "George Farmer is the beast.  Big, fast, strong and catches the ball well. He is just a great football player.  Offense, defense, he can do it all.  He is a big time playmaker."

-- Keary Colbert, Tight Ends Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Farmer dominate at receiver!

The Official Signature...


Barkley on MD Connection

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Here's USC QB Matt Barkley on the continued pipeline to his high school alma mater and his excitement to play with fellow Mater Dei Monarchs QB Max Wittek and WR Victor Blackwell and the rest of the 2011 recruiting class.

Class of 2011: Greg Townsend Jr.

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

greg-townsend.jpgName: Greg Townsend Jr.

Position: DL

Size: 6'3", 275 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

Rivals Ranking: #5 Strongside Defensive End (4-Stars)

Honors Include: Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Under Armour All-American, Prep Star Dream Team, All-Ocean League Defensive MVP and All-CIF Western Division.

Highlight Film: Click here to see Townsend in action!!!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: J.R. Tavai

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

JR-Tavai.jpgName: J.R. Tavai

Position: DL

Size: 6'2", 270 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Redondo Beach (Mira Costa)

Rivals Ranking: #46 Athlete (3-Stars)

Honors Include: Super Prep All-Farwest, All-CIF Northern Division Defensive MVP, South Bay Daily Breeze All-South Bay first team and All-Bay League MVP.

Highlight Film: Click here to see Tavai in action!!!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Amir Carlisle

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Amir-Carlisle.jpgName: Amir Carlisle

Position: RB

Size: 5'10", 180 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Santa Clara (King's Academy)

Rivals Ranking: #4 All-Purpose RB (4-stars)

Honors Include: Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Under Armour All-American, Prep Star Dream Team and Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team.

Highlight Film: Click here to see Carlisle in action!!!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Isiah Wiley

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Wiley.jpgName: Isiah Wiley

Position: DB

Size: 6'1", 185 lbs.

Hometown (HS): West Monroe, LA (Arizona Western JC)

Rivals Ranking: 3-Stars

Coach's Quote: "Isiah Wiley is a very polished player, who can cover.  He is a very physical corner.  He is a guy that we are looking for to come in and add depth and play.  He is a guy that potentially could be one of the great cornerbacks to come out of USC."

-- Sammy Knight, Safeties Assistant

Highlight Film: Click here to see Wiley in action!!!

Note: Wiley was originally listed as an early entrant, but he will be part of the fall class.

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Victor Blackwell

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

VictorBlackwell.jpgName: Victor Blackwell

Position: WR

Size: 6'1", 185 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Cerritos (Mater Dei)

Rivals Ranking: #18 Wide Receiver (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "He is the second coming of #83.  Vic is a polished route-runner with a diverse set of skills.  He has great chemistry with Max Wittek, which will be good for him.  I am excited to see him do his thing in college."

-- #83 Keary Colbert, Tight Ends Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Blackwell in action!!!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Charles Burks

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Charles-Burks.jpgName: Charles Burks

Position: LB

Size: 6'1", 220 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Costa Mesa (Edison)

Rivals Ranking: #24 Weakside Defensive End (3-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "Charles is a kid with an unbelievable motor.  He plays every play with his hair on fire.  He has been a defensive end his whole career, but we project him at linebacker.  He has really accepted the challenge and he's excited about it.  He is a smart kid, who I know will work tirelessly at picking up the nuances of the position."

-- Joe Barry, Linebackers Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Burks in action!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: DeVante Wilson

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

devante-wilson.jpgName: DeVante Wilson

Position: DL

Size: 6'4", 235 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Corona (Corona)

Rivals Ranking: #20 Weakside Defensive End (3-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "He is really quick and athletic.  He is going to be great off the edge.  He is just an aggressive pass rusher on the flex side.  He is going to do some great things under Coach Orgeron getting after the quarterback."

-- James Cregg, Primary Recruiter on Wilson

Highlight Film: Click here to see Wilson in action!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Anthony Sarao

As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

AnthonySarao.jpgName: Anthony Sarao

Position: LB

Size: 6'0", 210 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Egg Harbor Township, NJ (Holy Spirit)

Rivals Ranking: #8 Outside Linebacker (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "Anthony's number one attribute is that he is smart.  He is a 4.0 student.  He can run and he's physical and athletic.  He can play all three linebacker positions, which makes him really intriguing."

-- Joe Barry, Linebackers Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Sarao in action!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Cyrus Hobbi

As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

cyrus-hobbi.jpgName: Cyrus Hobbi

Position: OL

Size: 6'3", 275 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Scottsdale, AZ (Saguaro)

Rivals Ranking: #4 Offensive Guard (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "Cyrus is a very smart player.  He is athletic and moves extremely well. He is going to be a great part of our offense doing what we do.  Plus, he is a versatile piece because he can play both center and guard.  He has a great knowledge of the game."

-- James Cregg, Offensive Line Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Hobbi in action!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Christian Heyward

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

ChristianHeyward.jpgName: Christian Heyward

Position: DL

Size: 6'2", 275 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Santee (Point Loma)

Rivals Ranking: #6 Defensive Tackle (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "He is a 275-pound cat.  He is quick on his feet, very agile.  You can tell a lot about a kid when he is on the basketball court.  Just to see a 275-pound athlete move up and down the court, move laterally, side-to-side, bend his knees, catch the ball, go to the whole, that was really impressive.  Pass rush is no different than one-on-one basketball."

-- Joe Barry, Primary Recruiter on Heyward

Highlight Film: Click here to see Heyward in action!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Aundrey Walker

As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Aundrey-Walker.jpgName: Aundrey Walker

Position: OL

Size: 6'6", 375 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Cleveland, Ohio (Glenville Academic Campus)

Rivals Ranking: #1 Offensive Guard (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "Walker is powerful.  He has a great first step and a great sudden helmet.  He is a very strong player and once he gets his hands on you, it's tough to get off him.  He is a very strong, physical football player and we are very excited to have him."

-- James Cregg, Offensive Line Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Walker in action!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Lamar Dawson

As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Dawson.jpgName: Lamar Dawson

Position: LB

Size: 6'2", 235 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Danville, KY (Boyle County)

Rivals Ranking: #3 Inside Linebacker (4-Stars)

Coach's Quote: "It's amazing how athletic he is for his size.  He is a big time linebacker.  He is going to be physical in the run game and great in pass coverage.  He will be very dynamic in his blitz ability. 

-- Joe Barry, Linebackers Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Dawson in action!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Kris Albarado

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

Kris-Albarado.jpgName: Kris Albarado

Position: Punter

Size: 5'11", 200 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Lake Charles, LA (St. Louis)

Rivals Ranking: #4 Kicker (2-stars)

Coach's Quote: "Kris is a phenomenally consistent punter, who has all the fundamental basics in place to be a great directional kicker, which is what we do here.  Really, we were fortunate to get Kris.  In a year when there were really not even five good players in the whole country at his position, he is one of the best!"

-- John Baxter, Special Teams Coach

Highlight Film: Click here to see Albarado show off his powerful leg!

The Official Signature...


Class of 2011: Cody Temple

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As they send in their letters-of-intent, we reveal the OFFICIAL members of this year's USC football recruiting class.

cody-temple.jpgName: Cody Temple

Position: OL

Size: 6'2", 280 lbs.

Hometown (HS): Bakersfield (Liberty)

Rivals Ranking: (3-stars)

Coach's Quote: "The central fact about building an offensive line is that you build it from the inside out, which is the center position.  We want to find guys that are smart and tough and he is both.  He's going to be much in the mold of Ryan Kalil."

-- John Baxter, Associate Head Coach

Highlight film: Click here to see Temple in action!

The Official Signature...


Signing Day Central

Our USC National Signing Day page is LIVE.

Click here to read about the signees as their letters come in throughout the day and watch highlight film!

Our spring early entrants are already loaded up, so you can watch video of QBs Max Wittek and Cody Kessler plus the other six enrolled Trojans.

Stay locked in to the blog, Twitter (@USC_Athletics) or the Signing Day Central page for the official announcements today!

(Photo by Rich Rodriguez)

March to Madness: Adversity

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On Wednesday night, USC men's basketball will look for their fifth straight victory over UCLA for the first time since 1943.

Check out the latest FREE March to Madness as producer SC TV documented the desert trip from behind-the-scenes!!

Click play below!!!


3-Points: UCLA Prep

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The Trojans returned to their defensive roots in search of a consistent identity ahead of the UCLA crosstown clash.

  • USC practiced late night Monday in an effort to mimic Wednesday's primetime showdown at Pauley and restore their defensive intensity.  "That was a battle," Donte Smith said about yesterday's practice.  "I was tired afterwards."  While head coach Kevin O'Neill wants to see energy and fire against the Bruins, he has the bigger picture in mind as well.  "We have to establish an identity here in our program that we are going to play hard all the time," O'Neill said.  "If you don't play defense, you can't compete." 

  • USC begins the second half of their Pac-10 schedule this week, which means teams are likely to adjust after the first meeting.  "I'm sure they are going to make some adjustments," O'Neill said.  At the end of each game's eve practice, the coaching staff goes over select game film with the players, which in this case featured a lot of the previous match-up at Galen Center.  "All players at any level, the only time they want to watch film is if it is about them," O'Neill joked that it is easier to get their attention and instruct.  "They will watch more if they are in it.  It's a coach's fact!"

  • The Trojans have an opportunity to beat UCLA for the fifth straight time, which has not happened since 1943.  Since beating the Bruins at Galen Center, USC is just 2-4, while UCLA is 5-1.  "We're two teams headed in opposite directions, but that doesn't matter," said O'Neill, who is obviously expecting a battle at Pauley.  The Trojans have been critical of their own play of late.  Smith graded the team's play at a "D-" for the first half of the Pac-10, while Alex Stepheson called it a "D."  The Trojans will need to bring their D to leave Westwood with a W.

And 1...

  • USC athletic director Pat Haden challenged Alex Stepheson to a free throw shooting competition before practice.  The big man won a spirited battle by making three out of five from the stripe, while Haden dropped two of his freebies.  Here's Stepheson joking about the shootout and what it would mean to go undefeated versus UCLA in his career...

Morning Papers (2/1/11)

Cannot talk recruiting yet, but here's the rest of the Trojan news...

Picture of the Day

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Just one day until National Signing Day...

Click here to see the USC Signing Day Central page!

Check out this cool pic from yesterday's workout as WR Brandon Carswell and trainer Tim Caron get after it!

(Photo by Farren Benjamin)