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November 2011 Archives

Final Four-Peat

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USC men's water polo's quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive national championship is down to a four-team tournament with one victor this weekend.

After dropping a sudden death overtime decision to UCLA in the MPSF final, the Trojans were given an at-large berth into the national semifinals as the No. 1 team in the nation.  The three-time defending champs will take on Princeton on Saturday in Berkeley, CA, before a likely rematch with the Bruins in the national title game.

All matches will be video webcast at NCAA.com.
 

The Trojans defeated Princeton 13-4 earlier this season at McDonald's Swim Stadium.  USC split four meetings with UCLA during the 2011 campaign.

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The Case for Woods

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USC sophomore Robert Woods is one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation's top wide receiver.  He will be in Orlando on December 8 for the College Football Awards to see if he is the first Biletnikoff winner in Trojan history.

Here's why he should be:

  • 111 receptions, 1,292 yards, 11.6 average, 15 TDs
  • Broke Keyshawn Johnson's Pac-12 and USC season receptions record
  • One of only 2 players nationally in the Top 15 in receptions (9.3), receiving yards (107.7) and all-purpose yards (151.6)
  • Only unanimous pick on the 2011 All-Pac-12 first team
  • Seven 100-yard receiving games
  • 17 catches for 177 yards against Minnesota (second-most receptions ever by a Pac-12 receiver) to break Johnnie Morton's USC game reception record and had a school record-tying 3 touchdowns (all in the first half) to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week
  • 14 catches for 255 yards against Arizona (5 yards off the USC game receiving yardage record) with 2 TDs (including a career-long 82-yarder, the longest completion at USC since 2001) and he had 332 all-purpose yards
  • 12 catches for 119 yards (both game highs) with 2 TDs at Notre Dame
  • 12 catches for 113 yards with 2 TDs against UCLA
  • 2010 Freshman All-American first teamer and Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year
  • Already sixth on USC's career pass catching list (176 receptions) and fourth on the career kickoff return ladder (1,364 yards)

"Robert Woods is the best player on the field in this USC-ND game. He is consistently fantastic." - Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com

"I think I've now seen enough to say that USC's Robert Woods is [the] best NFL wide receiver prospect I've seen play college football. Ever." -  Brooks Melchior, SPORTSbyBROOKS.com

"I think [Robert] Woods, [Marqise] Lee and [George] Farmer will be considered the best wide receiving corps in college football history next year." - Chris Huston, HeismanPundit.com

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(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Dinner with the Prez

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After capping a 10-2 season with a 50-0 blowout of UCLA, the USC football team was invited to President C.L. Max Nikias' house for dinner on Sunday evening.

Here are the players in formal attire...


Hendricks Finalist

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USC junior Nick Perry was named a finalist for the Hendricks Award, which is given to the nation's top defensive end.

Click here for the official release:
FINALISTS_PRESS_RELEASE_11_30_11.pdf

Perry led the Pac-12 with 9.5 sacks and finished third in the conference with 13 tackles for loss.

Perry-Post-UCLA-Tunnel-SH.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Movember Movement

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Today is the final day of November, which means it's your last chance to support the Movember cause!  USC student-athletes have spent all month growing ridiculous mustaches to promote men's health.

Click here to lend your support and see how much money the Trojans have raised!!!

Here are some of the best/worst from the Movember madness...


Barkley is Burning

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USC Heisman candidate Matt Barkley will be on "Rome is Burning" at 1:30 p.m. pacific today on ESPN2.

Former Trojan All-American Shaun Cody, who is a starting defensive tackle now for the first place Houston Texans, was a guest correspondent on Jim Rome's show recently.


Women's Hoops Intro

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USC women's basketball returns home to face UT-San Antonio Wednesday night at 7 p.m.  before taking off on another four-game road trip, so catch the Women of Troy show while you can. 

Here's the 2011-12 women's basketball intro video...


All-Galaxy

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USC women's volleyball senior Alex Jupiter was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year to headline a list of award winners for the No. 1 team in the nation.

Jupiter-Zona-PC.jpgHead coach Mick Haley was dubbed the conference coach of the year for the first time in his accomplished Trojan career.

Click here for the complete story.

Jupiter, who was an All-American last season, is the third player in USC women's volleyball history to win Pac-12 MVP honors joining greats April Ross (2003) and Cathy Stukel (1980).

Haley was named SWC Coach of the Year six times during his tenure at Texas (1980-96).  He is the fifth Women of Troy head coach to grab top conference honors.

Senior Kendall Bateman was named Setter of the Year in the Pac-12 and sophomore Natalie Hagglund was the Libero of the Year.

Double Down Under

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Senior men's water polo goalie Joel Dennerley was named the MPSF Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.  The Australian became USC's all-time saves leader this season and is now the first Trojan to win back-to-back conference MVP awards.

Click here for the full story.

Dennerley is joined on the MPSF First Team by leading goal scorer Peter Kurzeka and sophomores Nikola Vavic and Jeremy Davie.

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Barkley vs. USC Heisman QBs

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Traditionally known as Tailback U, the Trojans have boasted two Heisman winning quarterbacks in the last 10 years and junior QB Matt Barkley has posted numbers this season that match or even surpass Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart despite playing one fewer game.

Here's a comparison of Palmer (2002), Leinart (2004) and Barkley (2011):

Barkley-Tunnel-Post-UCLA-SH.jpgCompletion Percentage

Barkley - 69%
Leinart - 65%
Palmer - 63%

Passing Yards

Palmer - 3,942 yards
Barkley - 3,528 yards
Leinart - 3,322 yards

TD Passes

Barkley - 39 TDs
Leinart - 33 TDs
Palmer - 33 TDs

Interceptions

Leinart - 6 INTs
Barkley - 7 INTs
Palmer - 10 INTs


(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Stressed Out

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USC men's basketball center Dewayne Dedmon could miss the next four to six weeks with a stress injury to his right foot.

The sophomore big man is coming off one of his better games of the season with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in the win over South Carolina.

USC (3-4) will have to weather a tough stretch without him.  The Trojans visit UC-Riverside on Wednesday night and Minnesota on Saturday before returning home to face New Mexico, Georgia, TCU and Kansas.

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#1 Women's Volley Seeded #7

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If you are confused by the headline, join the club.  USC women's volleyball finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation after avenging an early season loss to UCLA with a four-set win in Westwood last Friday night.

Volley-Huddle-PC.jpgYet, the Women of Troy were given the No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament, which begins this weekend at Galen Center.  While Mick Haley's team takes on all challenges, the road to a national championship is as perilous as can be. 

Just to make the Final Four, USC will likely have to go through No. 3 Hawaii, which hosts the regional, and No. 2 Nebraska. 

Click here for an interactive bracket.

Yes, you read that correctly.  In a 64-team tournament, the three best teams in the nation, as ranked by the American Volleyball Coaches Association last week, are all in the same quadrant.

The Pac-12 champion Trojans finished the season 25-4 with three senior All-Americans, so they are heavily armed to go the distance.  The journey begins Friday night against Yale at 7 p.m.

Morning Papers (11/29/11)

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A good day to catch up on all the good press...

UNFILTERED: USC 50, UCLA 0

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Here is an inside look at the blowout win over UCLA with a halftime peek into Lane Kiffin's office and all the locker room speeches...

The final UNFILTERED of the 2011 season!


Feeling the MoJo

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With USC men's basketball in need of a win, sophomore PG Maurice Jones took matters into his own hands against South Carolina last Saturday.  He drilled a Trojan record 7-for-7 from three-point range en route to a 28-point night and a victory.

For his effort, Jones was named Pac-12 men's basketball Player of the Week

With the perfect night from distance, Jones topped Lodrick Stewart's USC record of most threes made in a game without a miss. 

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Kiffin Q&A: Season Recap

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USC head coach Lane Kiffin sat down with us earlier today to wrap up the 2011 season with his thoughts on Matt Barkley's Heisman statement, the Robert Woods/Marqise Lee tandem and Rick Neuheisel's firing.


2011 All-Pac-12

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USC had seven players recognized as Pac-12 first team selections plus the offensive and defensive freshmen of the year.

Co-Offensive Freshman of the Year - WR Marqise Lee
Defensive Freshman of the Year - LB Dion Bailey


Click here for the entire team and list of awards.

Pac-12 First Team

WR Robert Woods - Only unanimous selection
LT Matt Kalil
DE Nick Perry
S T.J. McDonald
CB Nickell Robey - Only corner selected 1st team
PK Andre Heidari
ST Rhett Ellison

Pac-12 Second Team

QB Matt Barkley
WR Marqise Lee
C Khaled Holmes
DE Wes Horton
LB Dion Bailey

Pac-12 Honorable Mention

RB Curtis McNeal
TE Randall Telfer
DT Christian Tupou
LB Hayes Pullard

Notes

  • USC's seven first team selections were more than any other school in the conference and four more than last season.
  • Of the 16 players honored, 14 of them still have eligibility remaining, including five freshmen.
  • Lee shares his Offensive Freshman of the Year award with Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas.
  • The selection of Lee and Bailey marked the first time the same school notched the offensive and defensive freshmen of the year awards.  Previous USC winners: WR Robert Woods (2010), WR Kareem Kelly (1999), WR Mike Williams (2002) and S Taylor Mays (2006).
  • The conference named Stanford's David Shaw Coach of the Year over Lane Kiffin.
(Photo by Jon SooHoo)
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NFL Week 12

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A huge week for Trojans in the NFL, but a bad break for Matt Leinart...

Heisman Worthy

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 5 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery

Jurrell-Casey-Titants-Getty.jpgThe defensive tackle has earned a starting spot as a rookie in Tennessee.  After sliding in the draft, he has made a name for himself in his first season.  On Sunday, Casey made the play of the game by ripping the football out of former Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount's arms for a turnover before fellow Trojan Damian Williams sealed a Titans' victory with a TD catch.

(Photo by Grant Halvorson/Getty Images)

All-American Caliber

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 4 tackles, 2 passes defended and an INT on Thanksgiving

Damian Williams, WR, Titans - 3 catches for 33 yards and a game-winning touchdown (video below)

Matt Leinart, QB, Texans - 10/13 for 57 yards and a TD with a 110.1 QB rating before breaking his collarbone

Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets - 17/35 for 180 yards and a career-high 4 TDs

Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - Team-high 10 tackles

Fred Davis, TE, Redskins - 4 catches for 58 yards and a TD


Barkley Again

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USC QB Matt Barkley was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for his record-setting night featuring 35 completions (school record) of 42 attempts (83.3%) for 423 yards and 6 TDs in a 50-0 rout of UCLA.

Barkley grabbed the honor for the fourth time this season.  Trojans were awarded Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week six times (Barkley, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee), Defensive Player of the Week once (Hayes Pullard) and Special Teams Performer once (Lee) in 2011.

Click here for the full story.

Of the six TDs, Barkley's falling toss to Rhett Ellison on 4th down was the most fun.
Barkley-TD-UCLA-Diving-SH.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Kiffin Call: UCLA

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Lane Kiffin wrapped up the 2011 season with a final media conference call Sunday.

Listen in:
89791183.mp3

We'll have a final Lane Kiffin Q&A later today.

Kiffin-Barry-UCLA-SH.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Photo Galleries: USC vs. UCLA

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Thank you to all our contributing photographers this season!  Jon SooHoo, Pierson Clair, John McGillen and Patrick Gee combined to bring you the incredible moments of the season with indelible still photography.

Here is the season finale through the lens of Jon SooHoo:

Gallery 1...




Gallery 2...




Gallery 3...




Gallery 4...


The Day After: Out of Darkness

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

Following the conclusion of last year's 28-14 win against UCLA at the Rose Bowl, Lane Kiffin vowed in front of a jam-packed media room that changes would be made following the Trojans' 8-5 season in 2010. 
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On Saturday, Kiffin's squad punctuated that one-year transformation with a 50-0 rout of the crosstown rival Bruins (despite playing with only three senior starters) to cap off a 10-win season. While in the coming weeks, uncertainty regarding four faces of the program (Matt Barkley, Matt Kalil, Nick Perry and T.J. McDonald) will arguably trump any sense of accomplishment, the Trojans achieved something in 2011 that few across the country could have ever dreamed possible.

In a year in which they had no conference championship or BCS Bowl trophies for which to play, USC rallied together to play for each other, for school pride, but maybe most importantly, for the future.

"We are coming out of the dark," Kiffin said regarding the mindset heading into 2012.

Although the headlines will read of a team who could potentially lose their Heisman hopeful quarterback (who broke Matt Leinart's Pac-12 single-season touchdown record) to the NFL Draft in April, if there is anything to take away from this 2011 season, it's that the Trojans' future is bright with or without No. 7 behind center. As Kiffin put it, "We are the best program in America. We're not about one person."

Thanks to the emergence of several underclassmen, from WRs Robert Woods (111 catches broke Keyshawn Johnson's Pac-12 single-season record) and Marqise Lee (73 catches, 1,143 yards and 11 TDs) to CB Nickell Robey (63 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs) to LBs Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard (who tied for a team-high with 81 tackles) and even PK Andre Heidari (15-for-17 on FGs and 50-for-50 on PATs), the ominous clouds that hovered above the program over the past two years are but a distant memory heading into 2012.  
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"The future is pretty bright here, regardless of who comes back and who leaves," said Lee. "We had a dominant season this year, so for those of us who will be here, we are going to come back next year ready to build upon the things we did this year. People thought we were just going to bow down based on the sanctions, but now they see we actually were ready to come out and play." 

For a team that came into 2011 under the radar, 2012 will present a new challenge: How to take a 10-win season and use it as a stepping stone to a National Championship? It's a question just moments after their season finale against UCLA players were already clamoring to answer.

"This was a young team, a young great team," said Woods. "We went 10-2 with a young team and we have a lot to look forward to next year. We aren't going to slack off at all and are only going to get better. We just need to push even harder than we did this year."

(Photos by Jeff Gross/ Getty Images)

6-Points: USC 50, UCLA 0

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A perfect night at the Coliseum as the Trojans pound UCLA into submission and take home city and Pac-12 South championships.

Click here for the full recap and official stats.

Six thoughts on a record-setting season finale...

  • Barkley-UCLA.jpgHeisman Moment... To steal a line from Bob Costas, if that is the last game Matt Barkley plays for USC, how magnificent was it?  With six touchdown passes, Barkley now stands alone atop the Trojan record books with 39 TD passes in a season despite not having a bowl game.  He finished 35/42 (also a single game completions record) for 423 yards and no interceptions.  "He'll be busy here going to New York pretty soon I'm sure," Kiffin referred to the Heisman ceremony.  At some point, the junior will need to make a decision about his future.  "He's every bit ready to go to the NFL," said Kiffin.  "It's just going to be a decision does he want to do something that's really unique.  He might be the kid to do that.  90% of kids would not." (Photo by Wally Skalij/LA Times)
  • The Tandem... Sophomore WR Robert Woods shattered the USC and Pac-12 record for catches in a season (111 without a bowl game). "It's an honor, a privilege, a blessing," said Woods.  "I'm very happy to break Keyshawn [Johnson's] record, one of the greatest USC receivers." Somehow, Woods was matched step-for-step by freshman WR Marqise Lee (13 recs. for 224 yards and 2 TDs).  Both receivers topped 1,000 yards on the season, which means Lee bested Woods' freshman campaign.  "We haven't talked about it yet, but tomorrow we will," Lee said.  "We'll always have that little competition.  It's just a motivation thing."  (Photo of Lee by Wally Skalij/LA Times)
  • Shutout... The 50 will get all the publicity, but the zero is even more impressive.  The 2010 defense was one of the worst in school history, but this unit has turned that into a distant memory after a pair of rough games against the Arizona schools.  "Since then, we have played some championship defense here," Kiffin said.  Junior safety T.J. McDonald intercepted a pass in the end zone to go with a game-high 10 tackles.  "For us to finish that way, it was big for us," he said.  "Just to make that scoreboard have a zero next to it, that was just a pride thing." 
  • Lee-UCLA-Wally-Skalij.jpg2002... The comparisons between Pete Carroll and Lane Kiffin's second seasons at Troy are striking.  Both teams finished the season with two losses, but by the end of the year, they looked as good as anyone in the country.  Could this USC team hang with LSU or Alabama?  "The way we are playing right now, yeah," Barkley said.  "It is something special that I have never been a part of."  The 2002 team lost Heisman winner Carson Palmer, but won the national championship the following season.  Can the 2012 team repeat the 2003 trick?  "This program is the best program in America," said a confident Kiffin.  "It is not about one person."
  • The Gap... Earlier this week, UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said the Bruins had "closed the gap" with the Trojans.  The Coliseum scoreboard begged to differ Saturday night.  "They took it very personally," Kiffin said about his players.  "That's a pretty strong statement to make.  It was talked about by the players because I think they really felt disrespected."  The USC players and coaches wore Pac-12 South champions t-shirts in the post-game locker room despite UCLA claiming the crown yesterday thanks to the Trojans' sanctions.
  • The Seniors... The USC senior class is not loaded with All-Americans or first round draft picks.  In fact, the Trojans will only lose three senior starters from today's game.  But, they will miss the leadership from this group, which persevered through the dark clouds of NCAA probation to lead USC back into the national sunshine of a top 10 season.  "This group of seniors was unlike any other that we have had in the past, just the leadership that they've had," Barkley said.  "For them to go out 5-0 or 4-0 against UCLA, I'm happy that happened."
Two-point conversion...

  • The 50-0 score was the third largest margin of defeat in the Crosstown Showdown.  USC set the bar high by demolishing UCLA 76-0 in the first ever game between the two rivals in 1929.
  • The bowl ban is officially over!  The next time the Trojans hit an opponent in anger will be the start of a season without a ceiling.  "That's going to be amazing," Lee said.  "Just imagine next year, we know we're going to a bowl game, so that's going to make us play even harder."
Here is Matt Barkley on what could be his last night in a USC uniform...


Live Chat: USC v. UCLA

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Friday Night Video: UCLA

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The final Friday Night Video of the season...

Bring on the Bruins!


Game 12: USC vs. UCLA

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UCLA (6-5, 5-3) at #10 USC (9-2, 6-2)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. pacific on Fox Sports West

Tevin-McD.jpgBruin to Watch: Redshirt freshman CB Tevin McDonald

T.J.'s younger brother has made an impression during his first active season at UCLA.  Tevin is sixth in the conference with three interceptions and 10 passes defended.  He will face his toughest test to date going up against Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, but if he is anything like brother T.J. or father Tim, he is unlikely to back down from the challenge.

(Photo by Gus Ruelas/AP)

Click here to learn more about UCLA:
release_20111121aaa.pdf

3 Keys

Stay Grounded

Matt Barkley will eventually get the ball outside to Woods and Lee, but UCLA's weakness is in run defense.  RB Curtis McNeal is expected to play despite a knee injury, while RB Marc Tyler will be inspired on Senior Day.  The Bruins best chance is to force interceptions (12 picks on the season), so the Trojans' offense should bludgeon them early and finish them off through the air.

Shooting Blanks

The pistol offense has stimulated UCLA's running game the last two seasons, but they are 11th in the conference in passing offense.  Kevin Prince is the quarterback du jour, but he is turnover prone (8 TDs to 6 INTs).  If the Trojans front seven concentrates on stopping the run, Prince has not proven that he can carve up a defense with his arm. 

Finish Strong

The Trojans have shown incredible mental toughness this season, but the distractions were everywhere this week.  From the Oregon hangover to #Barkley4Heisman to Senior Day, concentration will be the key to avoiding a letdown.  No player on the USC roster has ever lost the "Crosstown Showdown."  The Trojans have a chance to close the season in style in front of a packed house by getting to 10 wins, letting the seniors play and giving Barkley his Heisman moment.

Allen Bradford carried USC to a victory at the Rose Bowl last season...


Keep It on the Field

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USC athletic director Pat Haden and UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero drafted this letter to both fan bases about safety and security at Saturday's rivalry game.

Dear Trojan Fans:
 
We all know how important the USC vs. UCLA game is to our fans, alumni and players each year.  As the Athletic Directors of these storied programs, this day has been circled on our calendars since the end of last season.  This is a special rivalry that we both look forward to as a capstone to each conference season, and the 81st meeting of our teams this Saturday is shaping up to be a great game.
 
Just as this game brings elevated attention to the 60 minutes of exciting on-field competition, the hours of pregame festivities and fun also deserve extra attention from our staff and fans alike. We want the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to be a safe and friendly environment for you and your family to enjoy a great day of college football.
 
This year we have increased the emphasis and visibility of game day security, particularly given the 7pm kickoff time. Security staff will be bolstered by over 25% for this game, and there is an integrated effort between both universities and a host of local law enforcement organizations to make the entire game experience around the Coliseum safe and secure.
 
Working together, our staffs are coordinating efforts with USC Department of Public Safety, University of California Police Department, LAPD, Exposition Park Police, FBI Special Events, Homeland Security, CA Alcohol-Beverage Control, and others to minimize any safety concerns on game day. You will notice increased staffing presence and bike patrols to go along with a host of enhancements behind the scenes. The Coliseum's standard tailgating policies - only one parking space per car and no amplified sound - will be strictly enforced.
 
A big part of making this day safe and enjoyable for everyone is the conduct of both fan bases. We ask you to please respect the rivalry, respect each other, and bring the same level of sportsmanship to the game that we expect of our players. Should you have any questions or see anything of concern on Saturday, please notify the closest staff member, call our Fan Behavior Hotline at (213) 765-8525 or send a text to 274637 with TC4T and your issue or question details.
 
Thank you for your continued support of this great rivalry and for doing your part to make this year's game a safe and enjoyable day for all in attendance.

Jeep Tailgate Experience

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ESPN and Jeep have teamed up to create the ultimate tailgate experience before the USC/UCLA game on Saturday.

They will have a booth set up outside the east end of the Coliseum (peristyle side) that is free to everyone and includes an off road course on which fans can ride a real Jeep plus games and prizes.  They will be giving away one brand new Jeep before the game!

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Black Friday Sale

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The Friday after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year and we have two great discounted items to fit your budgetary needs.

First, get your hands on USC vs. UCLA tickets for only $45 ($40 discount) and then scoop up some great hoops tickets for the big holiday games at a ridiculously low price of $50 for four games, including Kansas.

Click here to purchase football tickets.

Click here for the basketball holiday package.

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Brother vs. Brother

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The USC/UCLA rivalry always brings a unique flavor given the close proximity of the schools and the familiarity between all the players, but this year the crosstown showdown will test the fraternal bond of the McDonald and Jones boys.

The Trojans hard-hitting secondary features safeties T.J. McDonald and Marshall Jones, while the Bruins counter with younger brothers CB Tevin McDonald and RB Malcolm Jones.

Here is a video feature from the Pac-12 on Saturday's family affair...


Still Thankful

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Earlier this season, we featured the story of swimmer turned walk-on football player Boomer Roepke, who was the Trojans good luck charm on the road this season.  USC finished 4-0 when Roepke traveled, but the latest win at Oregon came after a less than charmed week. 

On the day before the game, Roepke received a call from his father saying that Boomer's parents would not be at the game because their family home had burned down in the Reno wildfires.

Boomer-Roepke.JPG"It was like one in the morning and my parents woke up because they smelled something," Roepke told the story.  "They went upstairs and looked outside and the sky was red."

The neighbors' house was already up in flames, so the Roepke's grabbed their valuable possessions, which included Boomer's Emerald Bowl jersey.  The fire was started by fallen electrical poles and spread quickly with winds up to 70 MPH. 

The entire top floor of the Roepke's home, which sits on a hillside, was destroyed by flames.  The family is living in a hotel for now.

"I was so stoked that we won against Oregon," said an emotional Roepke.  "That really meant a lot to me since my parents were not able to be there to see it."

The family plans to tear down the remainder of the house and rebuild.  While the effervescent Boomer is down about the loss, he has gained enough perspective to realize that homes can be replaced, but the people in them are what really matters.

"It just really makes you appreciate everything that you have, especially that my parents are OK," he said. 

The Roepke's will be together for Thanksgiving today and are looking forward to another special victory this weekend.

"It's going to be sweet going against UCLA," he said.  "I want to beat them so bad.  It'll be a great win if everybody plays as well as they can."

(Photo by John McGillen)

Baby Barkley

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USC QB Matt Barkley predicted that he would be the Trojan QB at the age of 8. 

Don't believe it?  We've got video.


UCLA Thursday: Notes

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The final practice of 2011...

  • Freshman DT J.R. Tavai was the only player that did not practice.  Lane Kiffin expects everyone else to be available to play.  "This is a big game, so I think guys will play no matter what," Kiffin said.
  • The team has a great energy about them as they prepare to close out the season Saturday.  At the end of practice, the speakers blared a Frank Sinatra song and Monte Kiffin broke out a robot dance routine about which LB Chris Galippo said, "That was more like origami."
  • Woods-Kalil-Jersey.jpgFor the last few plays, the offensive line and wide receivers switched jerseys, so they could run some pass patterns.  As you can see in the picture, Matt Kalil's #75 is a little big on Robert Woods.
  • For the most part though, the play on the practice field was pretty intense including a sweet one-handed TD catch by TE Xavier Grimble.
  • The senior class is limited to only two starters at this point of the season, but they have shown great leadership in helping the young guys along. "There aren't very many of them, but they're very strong," said Kiffin about the senior class.  "[They] were very critical to what we've done in the offseason to get us to this point."
  • Galippo will not start Saturday, but he'll be a key contributor in his final game at USC.  "It's a little bittersweet, but I am ready to move on and open up the next chapter in my life," he said.
  • Galippo promised a leave-it-all-out-there mentality going into the season-ending rivalry game.  "Anything it takes to go 5-0 against these guys and end our season right."
  • The coaches make sure that every player has somewhere to go for a Thanksgiving feast, but they don't want them to eat too much.  "We talk to our big guys," Kiffin said with a smile.  "It's going to be hard to monitor them unless we go from house-to-house.  We're just going to have to trust them, but I don't think that's going to go very well.  They are very tired of eating really healthy."
  • What is Lane Kiffin thankful for this Thanksgiving?  "Our quarterback," he quipped.  The head coach will get out of Heritage Hall this evening for a turkey dinner at home with family.
  • Here is Kiffin's presser in which he talks extensively about the 2006 upset at UCLA when he was the offensive coordinator...



State of Troy: November

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Each month, we bring you a Q&A with athletic director Pat Haden to keep you up to date on the latest happenings around Heritage Hall.

Haden-Barkley-Oregon-PG.jpgQ.) Was that the program changing win that you have been waiting for in football?

For Lane Kiffin, this was the second signature win to go with the victory at Notre Dame.  Of course with Oregon, we have not won up there since Lewis and Clark founded the place in 1805.  We put a stake in the ground that we are back.  It is not going to be easy to beat the Trojans anywhere. 

(Photo by Patrick Gee)

Q.) How would you advise Matt Barkley if he comes to you for guidance?

I would tell him, "Do what your heart tells you."  There are pros and cons for both.  If he were to stay, he could be an icon here at USC.  He would be the school's first three-time captain of the varsity football team.  He would be the leading Heisman Trophy candidate.  He could break every single record at USC.  There are plenty of reasons for him to come back in our eyes, but his eyes are what counts.

WVolley-Pac12.jpgQ.) How impressive has #1 women's volleyball's run to the Pac-12 title been?

They have played at such a high level for a long time.  Since the loss to UCLA in early September, we have really been on a tear and lost very few sets and only one match.  Mick Haley has them playing great.  Watching them progress throughout the postseason and hopefully the national championship is going to be awesome.

Q.) How much do you admire the consistency of the #1 men's water polo program?

We have been in the last six national championship games and won three consecutive national championships.  If we can pull off the four-peat, no one has done that in water polo before.  Jovan Vavic has these guys peaking at the right time.  Here we go for another awesome finish...

Q.) What did you learn as an athletic director from the Penn State situation?

You cannot believe it can "never happen here."  It can.  You have to be constantly vigilant.  In a large city like Los Angeles with a press corps that is so diligent, I do not believe you could have a cover-up that would last as long, but these kind of things worry me every night.  Going forward, when we hire someone to work with children, we will be sure to do thorough background checks. 

Nikias-Class-Galen.jpgQ.) What did you think of President Nikias teaching a class for student-athletes?

Max has been incredibly supportive of athletics.  He taught this class on Antigone, his favorite tragedy, and it was very well received by the student-athletes.  He encouraged them to seize the moment and take advantage of these four or five years when they have a chance to do some things that they will never get to do again for the rest of their lives.

Q.) What do you give thanks for on this Thanksgiving?

I give thanks for my family and my health.  I have an incredible wife for 35 years who I met here at USC.  We have four unbelievable kids and now six healthy grandsons.  I am thankful to live in this great country of ours and to the service men and women who protect us every day.  I hope Trojans everywhere have a great day of thanks and peace.

Kiffin Polling Strong

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Ever since the upset at Oregon, the USC athletic department and bookstore have been inundated with calls and requests for the white beanie Lane Kiffin was wearing during the game.

Kiffin-Post-Oregon-PG.jpgWhile we track down our friends at Nike in search of the coveted headgear, the fervor is the latest example of the tides turning in regards to the Trojans' head coach.

Kiffin arrived at Troy shrouded in controversy and a reputation for brash talk.  He also sported a resume devoid of signature wins. 

Two years later, he has pulled USC out of sanction Siberia with quiet, even understated leadership.  Along the way, his team has claimed coveted road scalps at Notre Dame and Oregon.

While Kiffin would not relish comparisons to his legendary predecessor and mentor Pete Carroll, he has a slightly better record (17-7 compared to 16-8) than Carroll did through his first 24 games as Trojan head man.

He is even generating some buzz for national coach of the year honors.

With Kiffin's stock soaring, the fans are starting to have some fun.  At the 2010 Pac-12 Media Day, LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke called out Kiffin for wearing sunglasses.  This week, the Trojan Family went viral with this response.

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Scholar-Athlete: Kyle Negrete

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This week's scholar-athlete is football punter Kyle Negrete, a junior majoring in business administration.

Click here for Negrete's entire conversation with Max Berger.


Negrete-Colorized-PC.jpgWhat interests you more regarding your future: attempting to continue your career in football or following your passion for business?

Negrete: I think all of us here at USC have aspirations of continuing our football careers at the professional level. I know that after I leave here, the legitimacy of USC will give me the opportunity to do so. From competing at the highest level, to playing in the Coliseum, to just being involved in a program like USC, I know I am prepared if I choose to continue playing football. However, academics have played an important part because I know I can't play into my 40s and I'll always have my intellect to rely on.

So are you saying you value your academic prowess over your athletic prowess?


Negrete: I believe academics have to come first but there is a balance that can be found between academics and athletics. Football is a year round commitment but academics is a lifelong commitment. Life skills, business, and working are things that will be valuable to me forever.

Name two people that you look up to in your life: one academically and one athletically.

Negrete: Academically, I look up to my sixth grade teacher as he has been my mentor throughout school since I was young. He taught me about setting my goals high which pointed me in the right direction and definitely contributes to where I am today. Athletically, I would have to say my father as he was kind of like the "Rudy" of his college football team. Walking on to Fresno State, he eventually rose to become the captain of the defense under legendary coach Jim Sweeney.


Crosstown Collaborators

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The annual crosstown rivalry will kick off Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Coliseum.  Until then, some Trojans and Bruins have banded together to study the history of Los Angeles.

Click here for the full story.

Excerpt...

Hollywood-Sign.jpg

The graduate seminar "Studies in Urban History: Los Angeles" brings together students from USC Dornsife and UCLA to examine the rapid development and evolution of metropolitan L.A.

The city, which was a modest crossroads community as recent as about 150 years ago, has catapulted to global influence and significance. That's a fascinating journey to take students through, Bill Deverell said.

"Los Angeles is so interesting because on one hand it seems to defy characterization and invite caricature -- that 'only in L.A.' kind of sentiment and sensibility," he said. "But there's just so much to study here about urban identity, architectural form and experimentation, and the antagonisms of diversity as well as the ways in which this basin has figured out ways to work together."

The course is co-taught by Deverell, professor of history in USC Dornsife and director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW), and Eric Avila, associate professor of history, and Chicano studies and urban planning at UCLA.


UCLA Wednesday: Notes

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Several key players are still sidelined by injuries...

  • Injury report: DE Devon Kennard and DT J.R. Tavai did not practice.  DT DaJohn Harris and WR Robert Woods were limited.  RB Curtis McNeal left practice early and will undergo tests on his knee.
  • Without McNeal, RB George Farmer was the star of practice.  He appears to have regained full explosiveness and speed after a midseason ankle injury.
  • Lane Kiffin is disappointed that UCLA is bucking tradition and wearing all-white uniforms Saturday.  "I don't understand it at all," Kiffin thought Rick Neuheisel was a proponent of both teams wearing home jerseys.  "I know our fans and players really liked it, but no more."
  • UCLA's receiving corps looks like a basketball team when you see them field level.  "They are really big in general," Kiffin said.  "When they come into the stadium, they look as good as any group you are going to play."
  • The senior class has just one more full practice left.  "It hasn't hit me," DT Christian Tupou said.  "I'm not trying to look past today.  I don't want to let my emotions get the best of me." 
  • While Tupou has not had a monster year statistically, he will leave a legacy of leadership.  "Last year standing on the sidelines, I learned the importance of leadership and setting an example," he said.  "I hope I established the seed for [George Uko and J.R. Tavai] to watch our practice film and learn off of me."
  • WR Brandon Carswell was as good as gone when the sanctions hit, but he reneged on his transfer request after a conversation with Lane Kiffin.  He could not be happier about the decision to stay.  "Being on this team and how we've bonded plus seeing how my role has expanded, it just feels good that I am here," Carswell said.
  • Tupou-HS-Jersey.jpgThis senior class was recruited in the best of times, played through the worst of it and now has built Trojan football back up.  "We've been through the worst times and now we see the change that it's getting back to where it was," said Carswell.  "It feels really good looking into the future."
  • Several seniors wore their high school jerseys to practice today.  Who had the coolest one?  "Martin Coleman," Tupou said.  "He wore the throwback mesh 1980s practice jersey out here.  He was roughnecking it."
  • Carswell voted for Christian Tupou (pictured), who somehow still fits in his high school uniform.  "He has the tape on his helmet.  The socks on his shoes.  His jersey is flamboyant," Carswell admired.  "In high school, that thing had to be a dress on him."
  • Tupou responded: "I am the same size.  The only thing I put on is muscle.  I kind of look slim.  It makes me feel young again."
  • Carswell and Robert Woods have had fun all season making up celebrations and dance routines, including the LeBron imitation that made SportsCenter.  What do they have in store for UCLA?  "We'll have something good this week," Carswell said.  "We might try to incorporate more people this time."
  • Here is Lane Kiffin on the eve of Thanksgiving...



Kiff's Kids

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Head coach Lane Kiffin is hosting a children's toy drive at the USC/UCLA game at the Coliseum on Saturday, November 26. 

Please bring a toy or unwrapped gift to the final home game and put a smile on a child's face this holiday season.  We will have collection boxes set up around the stadium. 

The toy drive will benefit children of the local community.


3-Points: USC 65, Morgan State 62

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The Trojans snap a 3-game losing skid with a comeback victory at Galen Center.

  • After a dreadful scoring display against Cal Poly, USC needed an injection of offense and Greg Allen provided it.  The junior guard knocked down three triples and chipped in 14 points off the bench.  "You've got to be wondering why the [heck] I didn't play him earlier," head coach Kevin O'Neill chastised himself.  "He certainly proved himself tonight and he's going to have an opportunity to play a lot of minutes."
  • The Trojans made 50% of their shots thanks to efficient nights from PF Aaron Fuller (7/8) and PG Maurice Jones (7/10).  Morgan State played mostly zone and USC broke it down by hitting Fuller at the free throw line or using Jones as a penetrator.  "Mo did a good job taking over tonight," O'Neill complimented a pretty tear drop that Jones made to seal the victory.  "[Fuller] is putting up big numbers for us.  He leads us in rebounding and now I think he is first in scoring."
  • USC trailed 31-15 in the first half, but they went on a 32-9 run fueled by steals and forced turnovers.  While O'Neill's team uncharacteristically struggled with FG% defense, they jump started the fast break by forcing Morgan State mistakes.  "We made some strides by turning them over a little bit more," O'Neill credited an adjustment on post defense as the difference.  "We forced about seven or eight turnovers fronting the post in the second half."
And 1...

  • USC continues a daunting non-conference schedule with back-to-back games in Las Vegas Friday and Saturday.  The Trojans will play UNLV in the first game and then either #1 North Carolina or South Carolina on the weekend.
Here is Greg Allen on his breakout night...


Former USC SID Dies

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Don Andersen, who held the post of USC sports information director from 1967 to 1973, died last week in Idaho from diabetes related illness at the age of 71.

Click here for the complete obituary.

Andersen was the head of the USC athletic department's public relations team during the height of the John McKay era.

Andersen (left) also worked in the NFL for seven years with the Seahawks.
anderson-don.jpg

USC Annual Giving

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The university would like your support to continue to grow the proud Trojan tradition.

Click here to give and learn more about the campaign.

Take a look...


November 22, 1963

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In Dallas, Texas, 48 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and the nation was rocked. 

On that same day, Kennedy Polamalu was born and given his name as a tribute to the late President. 

So, we wish happy birthday to the USC running backs coach on a day of somber remembrance for the country.

Pola-Prac-LATimes.jpg(Photo by LA Times/Robert Lachman)

Photo Gallery: Conquest 2011

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In annual crosstown rivalry tradition, the Trojans came together last night for a Conquest pep rally and bonfire.

Here's a look at the start of Beat the Bruins! week courtesy of Pierson Clair...

Hoops Drive

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USC men's basketball hosts Morgan State tonight at 7 p.m. at Galen Center and we have two great reasons for you to attend.

First, if you bring canned goods as part of our Thanksgiving drive, we'll provide you with two FREE tickets.

Second, Raptors dunk machine DeMar DeRozan will be in the house signing autographs starting at 6:30.

A great cause, a great Trojan and tickets as low as $5...

DeRozan-Posterize.jpg

UCLA Tuesday: Notes

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Is it UCLA week?  All the questions today were about Matt Barkley's Heisman chances and NFL decision...

  • Injury List: DT Christian Tupou, DT DaJohn Harris, S Drew McAllister, WR Robert Woods, LB Dion Bailey, LB Hayes Pullard, LB Lamar Dawson, RB George Farmer and TE/FB Rhett Ellison.  "An example of the toll of that game that it took on us," Lane Kiffin explained the lengthy injury report.
  • Carswell-Prac-Catch-McG.JPGMatt Barkley feels he is a deserving candidate because the team is "finishing strong."  At the very least, the junior does not understand why not being eligible for a bowl game would be a strike against him.  "Isn't the whole thing decided before the bowl games?  I don't even see why it is a consideration," Barkley reasoned. 
  • If Matt Barkley leaves early for the NFL, Saturday would be his last game running out of the tunnel as a Trojan player, which can be an emotional moment.  "[We're] gonna make sure that he doesn't pull a Leinart on us," Kiffin joked about 2005.  "Matt [Leinart] was still crying late in the first series.  I think he started 0 for 5."
  • The USC captain always keeps an even keel.  "I usually take emotions out of the game," Barkley said.  "When I look back, then the emotions will start to kick in."
  • Is he going to declare early?  "The majority of kids in his position would leave," Kiffin said.  "Because of who he is probably brings it closer to 50-50 because of what his values are in life compared to most kids his age."
  • LT Matt Kalil and S T.J. McDonald also have decisions to make.  Both agreed to wait until after the season to even entertain the discussion.
  • With all the distractions this week, Kalil is worried about a young team responding to rivalry intensity after a big win.  "[Our team] is inexperienced with big wins like this," he said the older guys have to refocus the team.  "It's games like these where a lot of teams can be caught off guard."
  • As for McDonald, he will face off against his brother Tevin, who is a top corner for the Bruins.  "I've talked to him just not about football.  We're not going to talk trash."
  • Barkley compared the USC-UCLA rivalry to his high school battles between Mater Dei and Servite.  "This is the game you want to have," he said.
  • The quarterback was thrown into a little crosstown controversy in 2009 with his exclamation point TD pass.  "I was kind of oblivious to all the political aspects of football," Barkley remembered being a freshman.  "I was just stoked that we scored."
  • Earlier this season, Kiffin wore a Serra shirt on Colin Cowherd's radio show for which he "took a lot of heat" from the Mater Dei guys.  As an ode to the Monarchs, he wore an MD sweatshirt at practice today.
  • Practice intensity was high today and even led to a collision between McDonald and Marqise Lee.  The star freshman stayed down for a while, but Kiffin excpects him to be fine.
  • Here is the full show from Kiffin...



Photo Gallery: UCLA Tuesday

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The final week of practice begins.

Here's a look courtesy of John McGillen...


#Barkley4Heisman

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Matt Barkley is a legitimate Heisman contender.

Now, we need to let the world know.  Get on your social media mechanism of choice and Tweet out the good word...

#Barkley4Heisman


Biletnikoff Finalist: Robert Woods

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USC sophomore WR Robert Woods is one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation's top pass catcher.

He joins Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles on the list.

Woods aims to surpass Keyshawn Johnson's Pac-12 record of 102 catches with at least four in the season finale on Saturday against UCLA.  He has 99 receptions for 1,179 yards and 13 TDs this season.

The Biletnikoff winner will be named on Thursday, December 8.  No Trojan has ever won the award.

Woods gutted it out for two TD catches at Oregon despite multiple injuries.
Woods-Oregon-PG.jpg(Photo by Patrick Gee)

NFL Week 11

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A quiet week for Trojans in the NFL, but a great story takes the headline...

Heisman Worthy

Smith-Eagles-Giants.jpgSteve Smith, WR, Eagles - 14-yard TD catch in a win

Smith only made one catch on Sunday Night Football, but it was a 14-yard touchdown against his former team the New York Giants.  He set the single-season receptions record in New York, but the Giants believed that he was not healthy enough to help them this season, so he walked to Philly.  Sweet redemption for Smith...

(Photo by Ron Cortes/Philadelphia Inquirer)

All-American Caliber

Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders - 17/23 for 164 yards passing and 2 TDs in a win

Joe McKnight, RB, Jets - 59 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving

Mike Patterson, DT, Eagles - 5 tackles and 0.5 sacks in a win

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins - 32 yards rushing, 34 yards receiving and a TD

Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks - 2 catches for 62 yards in a win

Fred Davis, TE, Redskins - 6 catches for 49 yards

Matt Leinart is back under center this week as the Texans' starter.
Leinart-Texans.jpg

Kiffin Q&A: UCLA

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Our final conversation with Lane Kiffin of the 2011 season as the head coach campaigns for Matt Barkley as a Heisman contender, puts the senior class in perspective and previews UCLA.


Pac-12 Honors Lee and Pullard

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USC freshman WR Marqise Lee and redshirt freshman LB Hayes Pullard took home Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week awards after dominating performances at Eugene.

Click here for the full story.

Lee caught 8 balls for a 187 yards and a touchdown with a grand total of 325 all-purpose yards.

Pullard led the team with 14 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in the best game of his bright young career.

Lee-TD-Oregon-PG.jpg(Photo by Patrick Gee)

UNFILTERED: Oregon

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Are you still savoring the sweet taste of victory at Oregon??

Enjoy an UNFILTERED sideline and locker room look at the big night in Eugene!


Photo Gallery: Women's Volley Senior Night

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USC women's volleyball celebrated senior night with an emotional pregame tribute to All-Americans Alex Jupiter, Lauren Williams and Kendall Bateman before sweeping away Arizona and bringing home the Pac-12 championship.

Photos by Pierson Clair...


Kiffin Call: Oregon

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Lane Kiffin wrapped up the win in Eugene with his weekly Sunday conference call with the media.

Listen in:
89791182.mp3

(Photo by Patrick Gee)
Kiffin-Post-Oregon-PG.jpg

Three of a Kind

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

Before Saturday night's home finale against Arizona, the USC women's volleyball team said goodbye to their three seniors - Alex Jupiter, Kendall Bateman and Lauren Williams - in a very touching pregame ceremony.

Hear what the girls had to say after their sweep of the Wildcats on winning the Pac-12 regular season title, their favorite memories at USC and what it's meant to don the cardinal and gold...





Photo Galleries: USC vs. Oregon

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Patrick Gee captured a special night in Eugene through his lens.  Here are the images of the upset...

Gallery 1...




Gallery 2...




Gallery 3...


Inspiration

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How did Lane Kiffin motivate USC to a monumental upset at Oregon??

With this video...


Pac-12 Champs!

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What a night to be a Trojan!

While the football team was taking down Oregon, #1 USC women's volleyball swept away Arizona to clinch the first ever Pac-12 women's volleyball title.

Click here for the full story!

All-American seniors Alex Jupiter, Lauren Williams and Kendall Bateman were sent out in style with the program's first conference championship since 2003.

The Women of Troy continue their quest for the national championship with a showdown next week in Westwood and then on to the postseason.

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6-Points: USC 38, Oregon 35

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USC pulls off the biggest win of the Lane Kiffin era by ending the longest active home winning streak in college football. 

Click here for a game recap and the stats.

The six (+2) highlight stories on a memorable night...

  • Signature Win... USC football is back.  Under Lane Kiffin, the Trojans have been close to slaying giants before, but tonight, they finished the job.  "We finally pulled out a big win," Matt Barkley said.  "We needed this.  It was about time it happened too.  This was a defining game for us."  Kiffin agreed that this was the biggest win of his USC head coaching career.  "To break the longest home winning streak in the country says a lot about this team and how far they've come," said Kiffin.

  • Barkley-Band-Oregon.jpg#Barkley4Heisman...  Trojan Family, take to Twitter and let the world know Matt Barkley is a legitimate Heisman contender.  The junior QB completed 26 of 34 passes for 323 yards and 4 TDs to 1 INT in the toughest road atmosphere in the Pac-12.  "I can't imagine there's other guys out there putting up his numbers with a bunch of young guys around him," said Kiffin, who compared Barkley's night in Eugene to Carson Palmer's performance at Oregon in 2002, which galvanized his Heisman campaign. 

  • Freshman of the Year... Barkley is not doing it alone.  Tonight, freshman WR Marqise Lee was the central offensive focus with 187 yards receiving on 8 catches including a TD.  "It's fun to know that you can just throw the ball up and he'll come down with it," Barkley said about Lee, who made several contested catches.  Kiffin felt Lee made a national statement with his 325 all-purpose yards: "He's playing as well as anyone in the country and he's just a kid.  He had to read and hear about De'Anthony [Thomas] every day, so it was big for him to show up and throw his hat in there as a pretty big player."

  • Pullard and Tackling... With Hayes Pullard as the standout performer, the USC defense held up against one of the top offenses in the country.  Starting three freshmen linebackers, the Trojans maintained gap discipline, tackled extremely well and limited big plays.  "We've improved as our second year in the system," said Kiffin, who explained that they used the same scheme as last season but the personnel and execution were the difference.  Pullard stuffed the box score with 14 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

  • Trojan Warriors...  WR Robert Woods (video interview below) could barely get dressed after the game because he was in so much pain, but still managed two TD catches.  LB Dion Bailey waived off the injury cart to return for the final series and is now in a walking boot.  TE/FB Rhett Ellison, FB Ross Cumming and LB Lamar Dawson were three more Trojans who gutted it out.  "Thank God we didn't go to overtime," Kiffin joked.  "We were running out of people.  Guys just kept trying to step up."  

  • Oregon-Miss-Kick.jpgNever Easy...  The Trojans could have won this game by two or three touchdowns.  They were that dominant for large stretches, but the final two offensive possessions ended in killer turnovers, which made USC sweat it out to the final kick.  "It wasn't fun at all," said Kiffin about watching the lead dissipate.  "It just kept going in the wrong direction."  On Barkley's interception, it looked like Woods was held, and the fumbled exchange between the QB and Marc Tyler was inexplicable to the head coach.  "Those things usually don't happen," said a relieved Lane Kiffin. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Two-point conversion...

  • The Trojans believed Oregon would miss the final kick.  "I had faith in my 'Regulators,'" said Lee about the field goal block team.  "They were scared of Matt [Kalil]," Barkley said.  "They knew of our presence on field goal blocks."

  • Beat the Bruins!  Crosstown rivalry week has officially begun.  "We're going to enjoy it, but we do have to finish this race that we've been running," said captain Barkley.
Here is Robert Woods, who had no business playing tonight, but willed himself onto the field and inspired his teammates...


Photo Gallery: Women's Volleyball v. ASU

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USC women's volleyball took down the Sun Devils on Friday night in four sets and coupled with a UCLA loss, the Women of Troy can clinch the Pac-12 title outright with a win over Arizona on Saturday night.

Head down to the Galen Center tonight at 7 p.m. (free admission) as Mick Haley's squad tries to win the conference regular season title on Senior Night!

Here's last night's action through the lens of our own Pierson Clair...


3-Points: Cal Poly 42, USC 36

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

For the third consecutive game, the Trojans failed to do the little things in crunch time (out-scored 15-4 to end the game), as they fell 42-36 to the Cal Poly Mustangs at the Galen Center on Saturday afternoon.

Kevin O'Neill said he would prefer that his 1-3 team start learning lessons in victory, rather than defeat, but Saturday's disappointing finish leaves the Trojans with several key areas to improve upon over the course of non-conference play.

  • USC's inability to box out down the stretch cost them on Saturday. As has been the case in USC's three losses this season, ball watching at the defensive end proved to be the team's fatal flaw. Despite a sizable height advantage in the post with Dewayne Dedmon and James Blasczyk, USC was manhandled on the glass when it mattered most. The Mustangs were relentless on the boards for all 40 minutes, out-rebounding the Trojans 41-32. To make matters worse, Cal Poly managed to snag 16 boards at the offensive end, including four crucial ones over the final five minutes of play. "Our guys are not boxing out or going to get the ball," O'Neill said. "All of them are ball watchers. We don't go rebound, we don't go in with that hit first mentality. And because of that we lost the game tonight. Guys need to toughen up, because we are soft. We are extremely soft right now."
  • Aaron Fuller continues to be the lone bright spot for the Trojans. On an afternoon when the Trojans' offense shot an abysmal 12-for-38 from the field, Fuller once again proved to be a model of consistency. Despite being trapped in the paint all game long by the Mustangs' matchup zone, the redshirt junior transfer from Iowa was an absolute pest at both ends of the court, scoring a game-high 15 points and grabbing eight rebounds. "Without Aaron [Fuller], we'd be in real trouble," said O'Neill. "He's becoming a go-to guy for us, obviously. He plays hard all the time. It's not coincidental that he's the only junior or senior on this team  with any kind of experience at this level. And, he's playing like it. I couldn't be more proud of his effort."
  • Dewayne Dedmon is still struggling to become a legitimate threat in USC's offense.  USC's 1-3 start can be attributed to a dozen different issues, but offensively the team has not developed an advantage in the post. On Saturday, Dedmon never got into a rhythm, as he picked up two quick fouls in the first half. In the second half, he didn't even attempt a shot, finishing with just one point to go along with five rebounds. "I've said from the beginning [Dewayne Dedmon] is going to be picked in the NBA draft at some point, and I have also said its going to be a long time from now," said O'Neill. "He needs to develop as a player. The best way for him to get involved is to go get the ball off the boards."
And 1...
  • Heading into Saturday's tussle with Cal Poly,  Maurice Jones was shooting just 29% from the field through three games. Against the Mustangs, Jones looked to create for himself but couldn't by a bucket. He finished with six points on a season-worst 1-for-11 performance.
Aaron Fuller discussed the team's current state of embarrassment along with his own frustrations about the lack of preparation that took place before their game against Cal Poly...

Beat the Ducks!

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We will be live tweeting the game from the raucous sidelines of Autzen Stadium as USC tries to pull off an upset in Eugene.

Click here to follow us on Twitter!

USC-Banner.jpg(Photo by Pierson Clair/Color by Lindsay Crouch)

Friday Night Video: Oregon

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The Trojans have arrived in chilly (41 degrees) Eugene, OR.

The hype continues to build for the Saturday night showdown with rumors that 15 NBA stars in town for Nike meetings could be at the game.  Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and others could be at Autzen Stadium.

Need a little more hype???  Enjoy this week's Friday Night Video...


Game 11: USC vs. Oregon

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#18 USC (8-2, 5-2) at #4 Oregon (9-1, 7-0)

Autzen Stadium at 5 p.m. pacific on ABC or ESPN3.com

lamichael-james.jpgDuck to Watch: Junior RB LaMichael James

While Los Angeles native and former USC verbal commit De'Anthony Thomas is the more compelling story, James (pictured) is the nation's leading rusher averaging 150.88 yards per game.  "His quickness," LB Dion Bailey described James' best attribute.  "He can go from A to B super fast.  He can change direction as fast as anybody in the country."

Click the link to learn more about the Ducks:
11-USC.pdf

3 Keys

Duck in a Hole

Oregon has a tendency to cruise through the first half before systematically wearing down and blowing away the opponent in the second half.  If the Ducks get off to a slow start, the Trojans need to make them pay and build a double-digit halftime lead.  With all the attention on the favorite, USC will want to put as much game pressure on the BCS title contenders.

6 > 3

While ball control is theoretically a good strategy against Oregon, the Ducks are undefeated in conference play despite being last in time of possession.  More importantly, the Trojans need touchdowns.  Field goals do not win games at Autzen.  Red zone offense is predicated on a strong running game.  Curtis McNeal has provided the most consistent rushing attack in Lane Kiffin's short tenure as USC head coach.

The Other Thomas

Oregon junior QB Darron Thomas has never lost a conference game as a starter.  While he has a touchdown pass in 22 straight games, the Trojans defense still needs to force Thomas to put it in the air.  In the loss to LSU, he threw it 54 times because the Tigers held the Ducks to 95 yards rushing.  If Monte Kiffin's defense can come anywhere near those numbers, the Trojans will be celebrating the biggest win of the Lane Kiffin era. 

USC needs a healthy Robert Woods to fly past Oregon.
Robert-Flying.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

SC Classics: 1985 USC vs. Oregon

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USC and Oregon have engaged in some classic battles over the 96 years of the rivalry with the Trojans leading the series 37-18-2, but the strangest match-up came in 1985 in Tokyo.

To this date, it is the only USC game ever played on foreign soil. 

Here's a look back at the "SC Classic"...


Nikias 101

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USC President C.L. Max Nikias educated a select group of 35 student-athletes in his favorite subjects, classical Greek literature and Athenian democracy, Wednesday night at the classroom in Galen Center.

The student-athletes learned about, and even participated in a reading of Sophocles' famed tragedy, Antigone

Click here for the full story!

"If there is one thing that I took away from that lecture, it's that every individual has the right to reject society's infringement on his or her freedom," commented Alison Ramos,  captain of the USC women's tennis team, "Every individual has the right to stand up for what they believe in."

Nikias-Class-Galen.jpg(Photo by Dietmar Quistorf)

#1 vs. #1

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#1 USC men's water polo travels to Westwood for a Friday night (7 p.m.) showdown with fellow #1 UCLA to decide the MPSF conference.

Click here for the complete story.

The Trojans are undefeated in MPSF play, but they lost to the Bruins earlier this season at the SoCal Tournament after beating them at the NorCal Tournament.

With a win, USC can earn back valuable Gauntlet points.  The 2011-12 Crosstown competition has swung to UCLA in the early going with a 17.5 to 2.5 advantage.

The Trojans have some ground to make up in the Gauntlet standings.
Gauntlet.jpg

Biletnikoff Resume

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Sophomore WR Robert Woods has two more games to go, but he has already amassed a resume that stacks up with the best wideouts in the nation.

  • 92 receptions for 1,126 yards and 11 TDs
  • 17 kickoff returns for 393 yards at a 23.1 average
  • The only player in the top 9 nationally for receptions, receiving yards and all-purpose yards
  • On pace to break Keyshawn Johnson's USC and Pac-12 season receptions record (102)
  • Broke USC single game records for yards receiving (255 vs. Arizona) and catches (17 vs. Minnesota)



Future Stars Sign Up Here

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Several more USC athletics programs announced the signing of star-studded recruiting classes.

Women's basketball picked up a commitment from Mater Dei guard Jordan Adams (pictured), the #6 player in the nation, plus top-100 recruit Briana Barrett from Oaks Christian High School.

Read about more of the 2012 future Trojans:

Women's Basketball

Women's Rowing

Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving

Jordan-Adams-MD.jpg

Writing Fire

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Just guessing, but if you have not read it already, we think you will like ESPN Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller's recent post on the national underestimation of the USC football program.

Click here for the complete post.


Kiffin-Kalil-LR-PC.jpgHis preview of USC at Oregon includes gems like these:

There isn't a single person in the country -- at least one with a brain -- who believes 17 teams could beat 8-2 USC. None. Zero. No one would pick Michigan State to beat USC. No one would pick South Carolina to beat USC. No one would pick Kansas State to beat USC. No one.

Or...

USC is still getting hit by irrational USC hate. Everyone knows the Trojans should rank around 10-15.

And finally...

And if USC notches the upset, the nationwide consternation would be absolutely beautiful.

Think about it. Folks would have to say this: "Lane Kiffin is a good football coach." It's possible the heads of Tennessee fans everywhere would spontaneously explode (stop grinning, Alabama fans).

And this: "USC is a team of high character that plays hard despite a second consecutive year with its postseason being unfairly stripped away by the draconian NCAA."

Hey, the Trojans might surge up to 16th in the AP poll with a win!

Oregon Thursday: Notes

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

As was the case on Wednesday, USC's final practice heading into Saturday's showdown at Autzen Stadium had little to do with on-field performance, and everything to do with key members of the team who sat out...

  • WR Robert Woods (pictured below by John McGillen) was held out of practice again due to persisting ankle and shoulder injuries, leaving him as a game-time decision against the Ducks. "I feel good to go, but [Lane Kiffin] is the one with the final say," Woods said on his status for Saturday. "It's not my call to make, [Kiffin] is in charge of the personnel." 
  • Woody.JPGKiffin on Woods' status: "I don't know either way. I'm going to have to see speed, to see him get in and out of breaks, to see that he can play at a high level for us."
  • Along with Woods, OL Aundrey Walker, OT Matt Kalil, S Demetrius Wright, DT Christian Tupou, DT DaJohn Harris and CB Torin Haris were all held out of practice or very limited on Thursday. 
  • LB Dion Bailey had the only interception of Thursday's practice, but the team's leading tackler (69 tackles) said Saturday night's game will be won or lost based on how well USC's defense wraps up Oregon's big play threats. "Tackling," said Bailey when asked what was the biggest key for the Trojans. "They have guys like LaMichael [James], De'Anthony [Thomas] and Kenjon [Barner] who make people miss. We have to prevent the big plays by doing a great job of tackling."
  • Speaking of Thomas, the Trojans starting left guard, Marcus Martin, served as one of his primary blockers at Crenshaw HS, but he insists Saturday's game is not really a reunion. "This game is bigger than just him and I," said Martin. "I didn't give any inside information to the team this week, because for me, my focus is on trying to go up against their defensive line and linebackers. They are very fast and very quick."
  • In last year's 53-32 loss to Oregon at the Coliseum, DE Devon Kennard put on a show, recording a season-high 13 tackles. "What I remember from last year is that they are relentless, because they have so many guys who can attack you with their speed and athleticism," said Kennard. "I think our team is better this year from a defensive standpoint. We are faster, stronger, more mature and just ready to handle an environment like this. It all comes down to playing assignment football and playing four quarters."
  • Although USC played a complete four quarters of football in its 40-17 victory over Washington last week, the Trojans remain ranked at No. 18 in the country. Going into this weekend's battle with the No. 4 team in the land, Kiffin said he doesn't really pay attention to the voting process. "I actually didn't know how it worked until somebody told me the other day," said Kiffin. "After understanding how it works, I could really care less now. They told me we had one voter who didn't even vote for us at all. So I asked, 'Where is he from?' And go figure, he's from Memphis, TN."
  • Here's the coach with more on the stadium atmosphere at Autzen, having potential rivalry games moved up to October and what it means for his team to be double-digit underdogs..

Photo Gallery: Oregon Thursday

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The Trojans take the it down a notch as they make final preparations for the showdown at Autzen.

Photos by John McGillen...


USC vs. Oregon: Coverage Map

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80% of the country will receive USC at Oregon on ABC at 5 p.m. pacific on Saturday.

The unlucky 20% can still watch the game on ESPN3.com.  Click here for a direct link to the webcast!

USC-Oregon-Map.jpg

Free Volley

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#1 USC women's volleyball finishes the regular season home schedule with a pair of games at Galen Center this weekend against Arizona State (Friday at 7 p.m.) and Arizona (Saturday at 7 p.m.).

The Saturday senior night special is FREE admission to all with the Founders Room open at 5 p.m. for a USC/Oregon football viewing party and dinner. 

The Women of Troy can clinch a share of the Pac-12 title with a weekend sweep. 

Come salute All-American seniors Alex Jupiter, Lauren Williams and Kendall Bateman!
Jupiter-Williams-Bateman.jpg

Injured Psyche

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How does the normal college student handle a bad day?  If they fail a test or get dumped by a girl, what do they do?

Usually, they sleep it off, skip a class and cope with buddies.  What if Matt Barkley dealt with his problems in that manner? 

If he missed a practice, it would make the Los Angeles Times.  The coaches would know all about him ducking out of class.  And in season, the schedule fills up with extra meetings, weight room and film sessions.

"They have a lot more on their plate.  It's a lot more public.  And they have to learn to cope differently and fast," said Dr. Robin Scholefield, USC athletics' resident clinical sports psychologist.

Happy Camper

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USC QB Matt Barkley is one of 15 semifinalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.  The junior has had a remarkable season with 29 TD passes to only 6 interceptions.

Click here for the complete list.

Barkley will square off against fellow semifinalist LaMichael James at Oregon this weekend.

Barkley-UW-PC.jpg

Trojan Look-A-Likes

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At the suggestion of ESPNLA.com's Pedro Moura, we matched up USC freshman DT J.R. Tavai and Tampa Bay Bucs QB Josh Freeman.

Identical...

Tavai-Freeman-lookalike.jpg

Men's Hoops: SDSU Prep

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

The USC men's basketball team split time Wednesday morning between the Galen Center floor and the weight room in preparation for their two-hour trek down the I-5 South to face SDSU tomorrow night...

  • F Aaron Fuller was held out of practice on Wednesday to rest his injured left shoulder, but he should be good to go tomorrow night at Viejas Arena. Through two games, the redshirt junior transfer from Iowa is averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.  
  • photos.jpgG Alexis Moore's USC debut didn't go quite as planned last Saturday, as he finished 1-for-9 against CSUN. On Monday against the Cornhuskers, however, the freshman was a huge spark off the bench finishing with 11 points in 41 minutes. "I guess as opposed to Saturday, the rim just liked me against Nebraska," said Moore. "I was able to find a stroke but a lot of that has to do with my teammates getting me open. For a young guy like me, Monday was a great chance to learn the do's and don'ts in a tight game." 
  • Moore on coming off the bench: "Minutes are minutes for me. When my name gets called I need to make the most of my opportunity. I don't really concern myself with whether I start or whether I come off the bench. That stuff is up to KO."
  • At Etiwanda HS, G/F Byron Wesley (pictured above by AP/Bret Hartman) was primarily known as a talented perimeter scorer (19.2 points per game his senior year). Since coming to USC, though, Wesley has quickly bought into Kevin O'Neill's defensive philosophy. Through two games, the freshman has been assigned to defend the opposing team's top scorer. "I look at it like a competition," said Wesley. "When I am out there, I think it's fun to guard their best player. I'm not going to try and force my offense right now, I just want to go out there and play hard defensively."
  • Wesley on his first collegiate road game: "I'm not worried about it. We've been preparing all week for it. If anything, I am excited to go on the road and play against a tough early season opponent in front of a hostile environment."
  • Of late, O'Neill has tried to temper his colorful criticism by relating his team's on-court mistakes to instances in pop culture. Unfortunately for the 54-year-old coach, his definition of "pop culture" seems to clash with the type of movies his team watches. Wednesday was no exception, as not a single Trojan had heard of Burt Reynolds' 1972 classic, Deliverance.
  • SDSU is 1-10 all-time against USC. The last time the teams played was in 1999, when the Trojans  blew out the Aztecs 87-54 in Steve Fisher's first year. While Fisher's squad lost three of their top five scorers from their 2011 Sweet 16 squad, O'Neill was quick to point out that eight of their current players contributed meaningful minutes a year ago.
  • Here's the coach with more heading into USC's first road game of the season...

Oregon Wednesday: Notes

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Big injury news looms over an otherwise spirited practice...

  • WR Robert Woods did not practice today due to nagging shoulder and ankle injuries, which could force him out of the game at Oregon on Saturday.  "He's not getting better," said Lane Kiffin.  "We've got service team corners that he can't run by right now.  If he can't play faster, we've got to play the other guys."
  • Other injuries: DT DaJohn Harris, DT Christian Tupou, LT Matt Kalil, OL Aundrey Walker and S Demetrius Wright were either out or very limited today.
  • Robey-Prac-INT-McG.JPGWhile Notre Dame and UCLA are the Trojans' traditional rivals, Oregon has USC's full attention as a budding Pac-12 dynasty.  "They're going to be up for this game," coach Ed Orgeron said the Trojans have shown great attention to detail and effort at practice this week.  "We're going to play our best."
  • Orgeron is always motivating the defense, but he said the team does not need his help getting fired up for this one.  "You can feel it.  We don't have to make anything about it.  It's a big game."
  • Coach O has taken teams to battle in the toughest environments across the country and ranks Autzen among the best.  "I don't know how ready you can get to play in that place.  It's a tough place to play.  It reminds me of an SEC crowd."
  • USC's starting linebackers will all be making their first trips to Eugene.  "It's kind of a lot of pressure with Oregon being a fast-paced team and us being very young and not having the experience against it," redshirt freshman LB Hayes Pullard said. 
  • Pullard was the lead blocker for Oregon WR/RB De'Anthony Thomas at Crenshaw High School in 2009.  "I talk to him every week.  I'll probably talk to him Thursday night or Friday night and wish him good luck," said Pullard, who will let his buddy hear about it if he puts him on his back.  "That's the plan!"
  • Thomas is one of several Oregon playmakers that can make opposing tacklers look silly in space.  "The only way to beat speed is to not let them get in open space," LB Dion Bailey said.  "You can't let them use their abilities and then they get to put you on SportsCenter."
  • To get the defense up to speed, the Trojans ran a sprint between every play of scout team and then got back to the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible.
  • CB Nickell Robey (photo by John McGillen) has interceptions in back-to-back practices.
  • Here is Lane Kiffin on an energetic Wednesday...


Recovery 24

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In the midst of scholarship restrictions and NCAA sanctions, Lane Kiffin and his staff are using cutting edge technology and additional resources to counteract the numerical disadvantage by taking extra special care of the most valuable players on the roster.

Rehab-Drinks2-McG.JPGLed by Russ Romano, the athletic training staff in conjunction with the strength and conditioning staff has devised a five step plan, as a supplement to the comprehensive care provided to all USC student-athletes, to preserve the Trojans' bodies through the grind of a football season and boost performance.

1.) Massage Group

On the night before the game, the "Recovery 24," typically the 24 players that play the most, get a 20-minute massage from licensed therapists after the team meeting.

2.) Antioxidant Drink

Immediately after the game, all the players are given an antioxidant drink, which reduces inflammation and the negative effect of all the hard work.

3.) Gatorade Nutrition Shakes

At the same time as the antioxidant drink, all the players drink a blend of protein and carbohydrates to replenish their systems.  The players eat a pregame meal about four hours prior to kickoff and then a Gatorade bar at halftime, so they need the shakes to begin the refueling process.

Thumbnail image for Compression-Shorts.jpg4a.) iCool Cold Tubs

At the Coliseum, the "Recovery 24" are treated immediately after games with 7-10 minutes in the cold tub (approx. 50 degrees).  Even if the players are not injured, the cold tub treats micro-injuries by reducing inflammation and swelling. 

4b.) 110% Compression Garments

On the road, the "Recovery 24" wear compression suits filled with frozen ice sheets, which serve the same purpose as the cold tubs plus the added benefit of compression.  The selected players will wear the shorts during the flight home.

5.) Sunday Clinic

The day after the game, the "Recovery 24" get another recuperative 20-minute massage plus all injured players come to the doctors' clinic to be diagnosed or begin the rehab process.

Bonus: Compex Units

Several student-athletes across different sports are taking advantage of the new electrical stimulation units that activate muscles, decrease pain and aid recovery, especially with injury situations.  The Compex units are particularly useful during training camp to protect against "delayed onset muscle awareness," which is extreme soreness caused by the increased workload of grueling workouts.  

Tupou-Cold-Bath-McG.JPG(Photos from top to bottom: Recovery drinks by John McGillen, Compression shorts by Russ Romano and Cold tubs by John McGillen)

The Machine

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On tonight's Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly, which first airs at 10:30 p.m. on Prime Ticket, the cameras follow senior TE/FB Rhett "The Machine" Ellison through his daily grind.

Here's a preview...


The Newest Trojans

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Several USC programs added a fresh batch of recruits during the fall signing period.

Click on the sports below to read about the latest recruiting classes.

Kyung-Kim-Getty.jpgMen's Golf

Women's Golf

Women's Tennis

Men's Volleyball

Baseball

Men's Basketball





(Photo of women's golf signee Kyung Kim by Getty Images)

The Black Mamba

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De'Anthony Thomas was the prized piece of Lane Kiffin's 2011 recruiting class until he swapped allegiances to the Oregon Ducks the weekend before National Signing Day.

With WR Marqise Lee, LB Lamar Dawson and OL Marcus Martin starting already, the Trojans freshmen haul was one of the best in the country, but Kiffin would still rather have Thomas than game plan against him.

deanthony-thomas.jpg"He was one of the first commitments in this class and helped recruit this class," Kiffin explained.  "At that point, you've been around him so much...you start to picture how he's going to fit in with all these other guys."

Thomas was a local legend at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles where he teamed with current Trojans LB Hayes Pullard and OL Marcus Martin.  Kiffin envisioned him playing both ways at USC as a lock down cornerback and a versatile offensive weapon.

"The way that he can start and stop and how fast he can cut, he is really special," Kiffin compared Thomas to Reggie Bush.  "That's why he was maybe the best player in the country."

For Oregon, Thomas has played offense and special teams.  He has rushed for 366 yards and 5 TDs, caught 27 balls for 423 yards and 7 TDs, and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

Oregon Tuesday: Notes

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The Ducks pose unique questions for a surging USC program...

  • Practice participation report: DT DaJohn Harris (out), DT Christian Tupou (out), S Demetrius Wright (out), S Jawanza Starling (very limited), LT Matt Kalil (very limited), FB Simione Vehikite (very limited) and WR Robert Woods (limited).
  • McDonald-Tunnel-UW-PC.jpgT.J. McDonald (photo by Pierson Clair) practiced fully after suffering a migraine after getting his "bell rung" on a kickoff against Washington.  "We thought it was a concussion, so we went to the hospital and I just had a migraine," McDonald explained that he is fine now.
  • Kiffin has repeatedly called Oregon "the hottest team in the country."  To take it a step further, "I don't know that anybody could tell you that there is a better team right now when they play at home than the Oregon Ducks," he said.
  • Oregon week brought the usual questions about tempo, tackling and touchdowns.
  • McDonald on tempo: "They play real fast.  You are going to be tired.  We just have to go match their speed.  We're a well conditioned team and we'll be fine."
  • McDonald on tackling: "They are real shifty guys.  The key with them is that you've got to aim to a point and attack that point."
  • Matt Barkley on red zone efficiency: "You definitely can't [settle for field goals].  Red zone is going to be a big aspect...in terms of winning this game."  
  • Oregon's offense has been called simple, but there is complexity within the limited number of plays.  "There are so many combinations off those plays," McDonald explained.  "They can line up in the same formation three plays in a row and run three different plays.  It's kind of confusing."
  • Barkley changed his tune about the Ducks after watching Oregon demolish Stanford.  "They are well deserving of their ranking both on offense and defense," he clarified.  "After watching tape of them, they are probably one of the top defenses we'll be facing this year."
  • Kiffin is embracing the Trojans role as underdogs this week.  "The pressure goes the other way to a team that has a chance to go to the national championship still and we just go up there and have some fun and see what happens."
  • Maybe to better simulate the Autzen noise at practice, the Trojans doubled the number of speakers blasting music from one to two.
  • Here is the rest from Kiffin including a deeper explanation into the recruitment of De'Anthony Thomas, which we'll have a post on later today...



Photo Gallery: Oregon Tuesday

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John McGillen provides a look inside the practice field as the Trojans begin preparations for the Ducks.

Amazingly, there are only five practices left this season after today.


3-Points: Nebraska 64, USC 61

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The Trojans lose a heartbreaker in double overtime to move to 1-1 on the season.

Click here for Kevin O'Neill's entire post-game press conference.

USC can take some valuable lessons away from this loss.

  • Maurice Jones needs to have a score first mentality.  The sophomore point guard is transitioning between a complementary facilitator and a starring alpha dog.  "Mo has got to take it on his shoulders," O'Neill had no problems with Jones taking 22 shots.  "I've got to turn back into high school mode and score more," said Jones, who hit what looked like a game-winning runner with seconds left in the first overtime before a questionable foul call on Alexis Moore gave Nebraska two free throws to force double OT.
  • Dewayne Dedmon needs to be on the floor.  The uber-talented big man was saddled with first half foul trouble for the second consecutive game.  "He's not there yet," O'Neill said about his center's game.  "Everybody just has to be patient with the guy as he comes along."  Dedmon played only seven minutes in the first half and made just 1/6 shots for the game, but he anchored the defense down the stretch with 10 rebounds and two blocks.
  • The Trojans will win games with their defense.  Thanks to the Brazil trip, O'Neill's young team has advanced knowledge of his hard-nosed system.  "I thought our defense was outstanding," said O'Neill, who was happy with holding the Huskers to 36.5% shooting and forcing 19 turnovers.  "We're going to grow up from this.  And I think we'll be a team that gets better because of this."  Freshmen are rarely counted on for defense this time of year, but Alexis Moore and Byron Wesley came up with huge stops down the stretch.

And 1...

  • "We did everything, but win the game," O'Neill summed it up.  Dedmon missed a wide open free throw line jumper for the win in regulation.  Nebraska was then bailed out by a lucky bounce on a three in overtime and then a fortunate refereeing decision.  However, the Huskers were a clutch 17/23 (74%) from the free throw line, while USC made only 12/22 (54.5%).
Maurice Jones described his transitioning game and the state of the team in his post-game interview.


Star-Studded Crowds

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USC basketball games are a lockout sanctuary for the NBA's finest.  At the opener, USC greats DeMar DeRozan and Taj Gibson were joined courtside by the Raptors' Ed Davis and the Lakers' Devin Ebanks.

Tonight, Wizards' wing Nick Young, who led the Trojans to the Sweet 16 in 2007, will be signing autographs before the game. 

Young is expecting NBA friends to join him to watch USC take on Nebraska at 7:30 along with local product Derrick Williams, the 2010-11 Pac-10 Player of the Year.

DeRozan (left) and Gibson (right) at the opener.
Taj-Demar-CSUN-PC.jpg




Photo Gallery: WBB Opener

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The USC women's basketball team started the season off right with an 8-point win over defending WAC champions Fresno State at Galen Center last Friday night.

The Women of Troy hit the road now for tough contests at Nebraska and Georgia before a Thanksgiving trip to the Bahamas to take on Notre Dame and possibly Duke.  The Trojans play eight of their next nine games away from home.

Michael Cooper's team returns to Galen Center to face UT-San Antonio on November 30.

Photos of the opening win by Pierson Clair...


Kiffin Q&A: Oregon

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We sat down with Lane Kiffin for our Monday chat to look ahead at the unique threat Oregon poses.


Volley on Top

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USC women's volleyball has climbed all the way back on top of the national rankings to No. 1 in the latest AVCA poll.

The Women of Troy swept the Oregon schools on the road last weekend, while UCLA dropped a five-setter to the Ducks, so Mick Haley's team is setting the pace in the Pac-12 and the country.

This is the first time the Trojans have been ranked No. 1 in the nation since 2004.

USC needs to win two of its final three matches, against the Arizona schools at home this weekend and at UCLA in the regular season finale, to secure the program's first conference title since 2003.

WVolley-Team-Circle-PC.jpg

NFL Week 10

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A big week for Trojans in the NFL led by...

Heisman Worthy

Damian Williams, WR, Titans - 5 catches for 107 yards and a TD

DWill-TD-Titans.jpgWilliams topped the 100-yard receiving plateau for the first time in his career.  He sprung a 43-yard TD to break open a Tennessee blowout in the first quarter.  The Titans went on to win 30-3 and now sit at 5-4 in the thick of the playoff chase.

(Photo by Rick Havner/AP)

All-American Caliber

Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - 7 solo tackles, a sack and an INT in a win

Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders - 14/20 for 299 yards and 2 TDs for a sparkling 125.0 passer rating

Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - Team-leading 7 tackles coming back from an injury

Frostee Rucker, DE, Bengals - 4 tackles and a sack

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins - 2 touchdowns in a win

Steve Smith, WR, Eagles - 5 catches for 47 yards in his best game of the season

Patrick Turner, WR, Jets - 1st catch of the season

Malcolm Smith, LB, Seahawks - Rookie gets his first NFL sack

Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers - 6 tackles and a pass defended in a win

Palmer looked like the USC Heisman winner for most of Thursday night's Raiders win.
Palmer-Raiders.jpg(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Kiffin Call: Washington

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USC head coach Lane Kiffin wrapped up the blowout win over the Huskies in his weekly media conference call.

Listen in:
89790605.mp3

Kiff-Sark-UW-Shake-PC.jpg

Lee Honored

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USC freshman Marqise Lee was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week and the National Kickoff Returner of the Week for his 88-yard dash for a touchdown to start the second half against Washington.

Lee was not even supposed to be in on the return, but took Curtis McNeal's spot at the last second.  The return was also designed for Robert Woods, but Lee grabbed the short kick and made the most of it.

Lee-KOReturn-UW-PC.jpg

Biletnikoff Semifinalist

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USC sophomore WR Robert Woods is one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation's top wide receiver.

Woods is just 10 catches shy of Keyshawn Johnson's USC single season record of 102. 

He joins fellow Pac-12 wideout Keenan Allen from Cal on the Biletnikoff list as well as other notables Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles.

Woods-TrojanWalk-PC.jpg

Photo Galleries: USC vs. Washington

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Pierson Clair documented Homecoming Saturday as the Trojans moved to 8-2 behind a 40-17 win over Washington.

Pregame...



1st half...



2nd half...


The Day After: Anticipation for Autzen

| 1 Comment
Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

After erasing more dark clouds - both figuratively and literally - on Saturday with a 40-17 shellacking of Washington, the forecast for USC heading into next weekend's clash at No. 4 Oregon is still rather stormy.

While the Trojans have built an impressive 8-2 record this season, USC has not beaten the Ducks since 2008 and no player on the current roster has won in the state of Oregon. 
Autzen.jpg

"I feel that the way we are playing right now, we can give them the best match-up since I've been here," QB Matt Barkley said. "We have a lot of personnel that can make plays for us and we are playing each game for each other. I've mentioned before that there is a lack of individuals on this team, we have a sense of unity. And I think you can see that with the way we've played."

Although the Trojans' chemistry may be the strongest its ever been during Lane Kiffin's tenure, USC's underclassmen-laden team will have to compete with arguably the loudest crowd in the country at Autzen Stadium next Saturday.

"Autzen was very loud and very hostile," said Barkley on his only prior trip to Eugene, OR. "Fans aren't nice there. I like playing there just because of the environment. And, Oregon's very good this year, but I think they were better in the past. It'll be a different situation this year but fun nonetheless." 
photos.jpg

DT Christian Tupou knows all too well about the notorious Autzen faithful. The redshirt senior was a part of the Trojans' narrow 24-17 defeat in 2007 and the 47-20 blowout in 2009. 

"The game just goes so fast," said Tupou on facing Oregon at Autzen. "They have a fast offense but it's also about the effect of Autzen Stadium. All of it comes into play when you go up there. After one play though, I think you're use to it. So it's not a big deal."

Oregon is coming off its most convincing win of the season, a 53-30 road rout of previously unbeaten Stanford on Saturday night. While the Ducks have plenty to play for over the next few weeks with a potential Pac-12 Championship Game berth at stake, CB Nickell Robey believes the showdown means just as much if not more to USC.

Asked what a road upset of Oregon would mean to the program, Robey responded simply, "USC is back."

(Photos by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

6-Points: USC 40, Washington 17

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The Trojans get revenge on the Huskies with an all-around dominant performance.

Click here for Lane Kiffin's post-game press conference.

A six-pack of stories...

  • Negrete-Fake-McG.JPGThe Fake Punt... USC looked pretty flat midway through the 2nd quarter when punter Kyle Negrete galvanized the offense and the Coliseum faithful with a 35-yard perfectly executed fake punt.  Lane Kiffin advised his punter to slide earlier in the day if they called the play, but the former University of San Diego linebacker charged through his tackler.  "I told him there was no way I was going to slide," Negrete said with a smile.  "I have not seen green grass like that since I was playing back in high school."  The game-changing play was green-lighted by Kiffin, but actually entrusted to Ross Cumming, who made the call on the field to proceed with the fake based on the look of Washington's punt return team.
  • Marqise Lee... On a day when Robert Woods was held to two catches for five yards, freshman WR Marqise Lee led the way with nine receptions for 74 yards and a TD plus an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the first play of the second half.  Lee needed several IVs this week to ward off the flu, but nothing can slow down his rocketing stardom.  "Marqise arguably looked like the best player on the field today," Kiffin praised.  Lee sees Kiffin's compliment as a challenge: "Now he says that, now you have to live up to it."
  • Curtis McNeal... The 5'7" running back is easy to overlook, but McNeal is developing into a homerun threat out of the backfield.  He has rushed for over a 100 yards in three of his last four games and averaged better than 7 yards per carry in each of the last three contests.  The 79-yard victory sealing TD against the Huskies was his longest run of the season.  "The monkey jumped on my back," McNeal joked about getting tired during the long sprint.  "I just kept my feet moving and shook [the tackler] off me and just kept going."
  • USC-D-UW-McG.JPGThe Pass Rush... The defense dominated the line of scrimmage led by DE Nick Perry, who recorded 2.5 sacks.  In all, Washington QBs were sacked seven times and never given a chance to complete a vertical pass down the field.  "The pass rush came alive," Kiffin complimented the defensive coaching staff's blitz scheme.  The defense got sacks from all three levels with Perry, Devon Kennard and George Uko up front, and LB Lamar Dawson and CB Isiah Wiley contributing from the back seven. 
  • A New Year... "We've come a long way as a defense," said Kiffin.  In the 2010 game, the Huskies racked up 536 total yards to just 244 today.  UW ran for 6.6 yards per carry against last year's Trojans, but only 1.9 yards per rush versus the 2011 version.  Monte Kiffin's current group forced a change in quarterbacks and did not allow a third-down conversion until late in the game.  What is the difference?  "Everybody is being more competitive," Nick Perry said.
  • Rivalry Game... "This has become a very big rivalry," Kiffin admitted after the game.  The Sark vs. Kiff standings read 1-1 after today.  The familiarity between coaching staffs brings extra drama to the match-up.  Steve Sarkisian is always trying to recruit Southern California.  And just for fun, while the Trojans might be "easier to prepare for" than Oregon, USC hung 40 on Nick Holt's defense, while the Ducks settled for 34.
Extra-point...

  • CB Nickell Robey's late mother would have celebrated her birthday Saturday.  To that end, Lane Kiffin presented his "favorite player" with the game ball in the post-game locker room.  Robey responded: "I'm proud to be a Trojan."
The walk-on punter got all the press after the game.  Here is media darling Kyle Negrete on his big night...


Live Chat: USC v. Washington

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3-Points: USC 66, CSUN 59

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The Trojans win a tense opener in front of a star-studded, raucous Galen Center crowd.

Click here for Kevin O'Neill's post-game press conference.

  • Down 54-50 in the closing minutes, Maurice Jones sparked a 9-0 run and eventually closed the show at the free throw line.  Jones only made 2 of 13 shots, but he converted 12 of 15 free throws.  "He gets kind of in chill mode some times," O'Neill described Jones' slow start.  "He's going to have to jump his game up going forward.  The good thing was he didn't get discouraged and in the last four minutes, [he] made a couple of big time plays."  Jones admitted to the head coach that he was tired, but O'Neill reminded his only point guard that he will have to play through it all season.
  • Dewayne Dedmon's much anticipated debut lived up to the hype.  With Taj Gibson sitting courtside, the next Trojan big man made 7 of 8 shots for 16 points plus 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in only 25 minutes due to foul trouble and a leg cramp.  "I had a blast," said Dedmon, who was thrilled to be playing major college basketball for the first time. "I really like how the crowd was hyped."  Dedmon played to the Galen faithful with a Veterans Day salute after his three blocks. 
  • The sloppy performance was typical of a college basketball opener, especially with an inexperienced team.  USC had 20 turnovers, made zero three-pointers (0/15) and committed 22 fouls.  "Our guys think this a kung fu match," O'Neill said about his team's tendency to chop down on the opponent.  "Tough means doing the right thing all the time.  We're not going to be brilliant basketball wise right now." 
And 1...

  • Freshman wing Byron Wesley shined on the defensive end during his first college game.  He pulled down six defensive rebounds and played lock down man-to-man in the final minute.  "He's going to have to be our Marcus Simmons as time goes on," O'Neill praised Wesley's defensive ceiling.
Iowa transfer Aaron Fuller was the focus of USC's zone-busting offense with 16 points and 9 rebounds.


Men's Basketball Intro

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USC hoops season is officially under way!

Here's an exclusive look at the 2011-12 men's basketball intro video...


Jock Rally: Washington

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The Spirit of Troy got the football team all fired up for Homecoming weekend at Friday night's Jock Rally.

(Photos by John McGillen)


Game 10: USC vs. Washington

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Washington (6-3, 4-2) at #18 USC (7-2, 4-2)

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 12:45 p.m. pacific on FX

Keith-Price.jpgHusky to Watch: Sophomore QB Keith Price

RB Chris Polk is Steve Sarkisian's battering ram, but Price provides the offensive dynamite.  In his first year as a starter, the Compton product is already second in UW history with 25 touchdown passes in a season (Cody Pickett had 28 in 2002).  While Price (pictured) is a plus athlete, he is more likely to use his feet to buy time than escape the pocket to run (117 rush yards gained this season).

Click the link to learn more about the Huskies:
11FBRelUSC.pdf

3 Keys

Jump the Sark

Sarkisian is 2-0 against the Trojans since leaving his post as USC's offensive coordinator for the Pacific Northwest.  In both cases, he won with underdogs by keeping the score close and calling the winning plays in the final minutes.  Given the familiarity, Lane Kiffin is stressing execution over tricking his old friend.

Make 'Em Pay

The Huskies defense under Nick Holt, another former Trojan coordinator, has been hemorrhaging points in the last three games.  UW has the worst pass defense in the conference, which means Matt Barkley and his dynamic duo should be in for another stat stuffing afternoon at the Coliseum.

Happy Homecoming

The USC program is starting to build momentum again.  "I feel like the city has kind of fallen in love with these players," said Kiffin about the growing Coliseum crowds.  "They are undermanned.  They don't have as many players as other people, but they go out and just Fight On."  The Trojan Family brought the noise against Stanford and the players responded.  If the fans rock the house on Homecoming, it could be enough to get the team over the top. 

Kiff and Sark back in the day...
050331 KIFFIN-SARKISIAN KL.jpg(Photo by Kirby Lee)


Veterans Day

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On this Veterans Day, the USC football team got a special visitor at today's afternoon team meeting.  Retired Maj. Levi Thornhill delivered words of wisdom from his time as a Tuskegee Airman during World War II.

Tuskegee-Airman.jpgHe recounted his own years playing football before entering the service.  He understands the physical and emotional sacrifice, so he could relate football to his experiences at war.

"You endure it because it is important to you," Thornhill addressed the assembled team.  "The Tuskegee Airmen were in the same position.  It was very important for us and we did not want to fail."

As America's first African-American military aviators, the Tuskegee Airmen were kept isolated from the rest of the servicemen.  Thornhill and his unit bonded into an elite aerial force.

"We worked together.  We got very close.  We did whatever was necessary.  These guys would go the extra mile.  You're lucky as a team to have that.  You'll never again have a group like this that you can depend on."  


Galen Improvements

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Athletic director Pat Haden sent out an email to the Trojan Family this morning detailing the improvements made for the USC basketball season, which tips off tonight with an 11/11/11 doubleheader.

Galen-UCLA-PC.jpgHere are five highlights from the AD:

1.       Reduced Ticket Prices and Fees
We have reduced ticket prices across the board for both our men's and women's basketball games. In addition, for men's games we have added three pricing tiers for each game to allow you to have more selection and value when you choose to bring your family or friends to a game. We've also cut print-at-home fees in half and eliminated others all together. We want our basketball programs to be a terrific value for your entertainment dollar.
2.       Improved Concessions
Working in conjunction with our Galen Center concessionaire, we've pledged to improve food variety and quality while reducing the average wait time at each concession stand. You'll see these improvements unveiled throughout the early season, culminating with a test of in-seat ordering by season's end.
3.       Pregame and Postgame Activities
Based on positive feedback from last season, we're adding pregame FanFest as a regular event at all men's games and select women's games this year. In the Hall of Fame area on the lower level you will find a variety of fun activities including face painting by the Helenes, sign making, pictures with the Song Girls and Dance Force, pop-a-shot, arcade games, and novelty concessions.
After men's games Coach Kevin O'Neill will go live on the ESPN 710 postgame radio show and we'll broadcast the audio throughout the Galen Center.

Baseball Signs Six

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After bringing in a top five recruiting class, Frank Cruz continued the baseball program's momentum by getting six elite signatures yesterday.

Vahn-Bazoian.jpgClick here for the full story.

As is always the case in college baseball, the coaching staff will wait to see if the signees elect to latch on to a major league organization after the 2012 draft, but they are happy with the fall haul.

"We are excited to build on the No. 5 rated class that we brought in this fall. We feel that this class has the ability to strengthen the foundation that is being built for USC baseball," said recruiting coordinator Dan Hubbs.

The 2012 class is made up of five pitchers and outfielder Vahn Bozoian (pictured), the 58th best player in the country as ranked by Perfect Game USA.

Hubbs on Bozoian: "He provides us with a big arm in the outfield and an influx of power to the lineup. We envision him being a middle-of-the-order hitter for us."

Rhodes Finalists

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USC football LB Augusto Alonso and men's track distance runner Greg Woodburn were named finalists for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship.

Augusto-Alonso.pngAlonso, who applied out of his home state Nebraska, is one of 12 candidates in the Midwest region, while Woodburn will compete against 11 others in California.  The 25-minute interviews will be conducted next week in front of a panel made up of former Rhodes' winners and/or top business professionals.

Both student-athletes reached this stage behind tremendous academic achievements and diverse resumes. 

Alonso (3.93 GPA majoring in biomedical engineering) scored a perfect 36 on his high school ACT, walked on to the USC football team and supports "Engineering Without Borders," which is working on providing clean water to Honduras.  Woodburn (3.94 GPA majoring in history) runs his own non-profit organization, Give Running, which donates shoes to children in third-world countries and the inner city.

"It would be a great representation of this football team, my hometown, USC and my family," said Alonso, who would study at Oxford's new institute of biomedical engineering.  "More so than anything, it is exactly what I want to do with my graduate education."


Follow the Leader

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Jovan Vavic is USC's most decorated active head coach.  The water polo guru has won nine national titles (6 men's and 3 women's).

Fox Sports West provided an insight into his coaching philosophy and practices in this piece from "Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly."

<a href='http://www.foxsportswest.com/pages/video?UUID=dbc035d3-d2de-4415-96ed-f98bb5afc02c&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly: Week 10, Part 2'>Video: Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly: Week 10, Part 2</a>

Scholar-Athlete: Christina Marinacci

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This week's scholar-athlete is USC women's basketball junior Christina Marinacci, who majors in communications.

Click here for the complete conversation with Jeremi Dudu.

Marinacci-FT-PC.jpgYou've been acknowledged for your resilience as an athlete- do you have that same tenacity academically? Where does your motivation come from?

(CM): Yes. I think my motivation comes from wanting to earn myself a career after college. I really aspire to be a sports broadcaster. I think that would be fun because I've always been involved with sports. It's been one of my passions. I don't want to slip during college and miss out on an opportunity that can get me ahead and prepare me to get a job. I've definitely been a lot more motivated in school and just working towards my goals like everyone else.

Have you felt any pressure as a college athlete since you became a McDonald's All-American in high school?

(CM): Yes, you're always going to have that title of being a McDonald's All-American. There's always some pressure to do well and rise above the others, but at the same time, that was high school. Everybody is good in college. It's just a different type of play at a different level. I felt the pressure freshman year coming into it, but now it just goes away. There are people who are going to do well whether they were a McDonald's All-American or not. It's about the work you put into it. As for me, I don't feel the pressure anymore.

Crazy Cushing

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Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing decided it was a good idea to headbutt a Cleveland Browns offensive lineman who was wearing a helmet despite the fact that Cushing was not sporting any headgear last Sunday.

Even better, Cushing was wearing a mic, so you can enjoy the insanity.

The result...
Cushing-Bleeding-Browns.jpg(Photo by Houston Chronicle)

3-Points: CSUN Prep

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USC men's basketball season tips off Friday night at 8 p.m. at Galen Center.  Plenty of good seats still available by clicking here!

The game is not on TV, but you can watch it live at USCTrojans.com or listen to the game on 710 AM ESPN Radio.

  • USC's starting lineup for the opener: PG Maurice Jones, SG Eric Strangis, SF Byron Wesley, PF Aaron Fuller and C Dewayne Dedmon.  Strangis is a walk-on, but Kevin O'Neill wants a "heady" player in the game.  "He's solid," O'Neill explained.  "He knows everything.  He knows all the coverages.  He knows all the plays.  That's something that's going to be important to us."  The head coach is happy with the firepower off the bench in G Alexis Moore, G Greg Allen, F Garrett Jackson and C James Blasczyk.
  • Galen-Tunnel.jpgByron Wesley will start from day one as a true freshman.  "I'm really not nervous.  I'm just excited," said Wesley, an Etiwanda High School product who will have family and friends at the game.  "We finally get a chance to show what we can do."  Wesley steps into the wing role vacated by Marcus Simmons, so he will likely be asked to defend the other team's best perimeter scorer.  "Defense is one of my best attributes and I just want to try and shut down their best player."
  • Cal State Northridge upset USC in the 2005 opener, which was Tim Floyd's first game as coach.  Bobby Braswell is still the Matadors head man, so the Trojans can expect a steady diet of 1-3-1 and other zone defenses, which will test a young team still learning its own system.  "Every game is going to be tricky for us because we don't have any players with any experience except Mo," O'Neill expects a close game.  "We've got a bunch of guys who are starting brand new, so we're going to face challenges every step of the way."

And 1...

  • All four tunnels at Galen Center have been painted cardinal and gold (pictured).

Dewayne Dedmon had the cast removed on his right hand, so he is mostly full strength for the opener.  Here he is on the hand, Sports Illustrated and making his USC debut...


Washington Thursday: Notes

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

The Trojans took it rather easy with a short, glorified walk-through in preparation for Saturday's home contest against Washington...

  • The injury list is pretty limited heading into USC's homecoming game against the Huskies. DT DaJohn Harris (ankle) and CB Torin Harris (shoulder) will be game-time decisions. But, Lane Kiffin said that the defense would receive a bit of a boost this weekend with LB Dion Bailey (concussion) returning to the starting lineup.
  • On Wednesday, Kiffin announced that RB Curtis McNeal would make his second straight start on Saturday. However, RB Marc Tyler (shoulder) looked pretty fresh on Thursday after his week-long layoff and should expect to play a contributing role alongside McNeal. Last season against the Huskies, Tyler gained 60 yards on the ground and recorded a career-high two touchdowns. 
  • Amir.JPGWithout Tyler, USC relied heavily on RB Amir Carlisle in the second half of last Friday's 42-17 win over Colorado. Carlisle (pictured right by John McGillen) rushed for a career-high 90 yards while also notching his first USC touchdown on a 19-yard screen pass. While Tyler's return may diminish Carlisle's role moving forward, the true freshman admitted Thursday he's not too concerned with the depth chart. "I don't have expectations for myself regarding playing time," Carlisle said. "I will have the same mentality I had last week and if my number is called I will give 110 percent."
  • 110 percent was hard to come by in the waning moments of USC's last two losses to Washington. This week, the message revolved around finishing off the Huskies late in Saturday's game. "It's really going to take all four quarters from us to beat these guys," said DE Nick Perry. "They are going to come at us with everything they have and the last two years we weren't ready for that. But now, we are better trained and better prepared to play 60 minutes of football. And I believe that can be seen in the mentality we've had all season."
  • Matt Barkley's record-breaking performance against the Buffaloes left Trojan fans clamoring for one more year out of the junior QB, but Barkley isn't the only one on the offensive side of the football with a big decision to make this offseason. LT Matt Kalil is currently ranked as the No. 2 prospect on Mel Kiper's annual Big Board heading into April's NFL Draft, but the redshirt junior insists his mindset is on the present not the future. "I'm not even thinking about that right now," said Kalil. "I haven't even discussed it with my parents or brother yet. I'm trying to go one game at a time and when that decision comes that's when it comes."
  • Washington's defense has been much maligned this year, but Kalil believes they still have a lot of talent. "They have a good style to their defense," said Kalil. "They are some fast pass rushers, two big tackles in the middle and really good linebackers. This will definitely be one of the tougher games for us as an offensive line."
  • After Wednesday's practice, Kiffin touched upon how special this weekend will be for CB Nickell Robey and his family. On a weekend that would have marked his mother Maxine's 46th birthday, the coach took time out again on Thursday to speak about the kind of person Robey's late-mother was. "She was really a great lady, a real special lady," said Kiffin. "She always had a smile on her face and was always the first one to greet you at their house. She was a real caretaker for everybody. There must have been 30 people at the house one night when I visited, and she knew everybody and was sort of the mother hen."
  • Even without QB Jake Locker behind center this year, Kiffin said that Steve Sarkisian's team still has an offense style that veers from the traditional pro-style look he helped develop at USC. "Ever since he left here, he has moved towards a more spread out look with more shotgun. There is not as much NFL-style offense, but they are doing great at it."
  • Thursday's fireworks had nothing to do with on-field performance. The cardinal and gold were very loose for the morning session, including Tyler, Barkley and WR Kyle Prater, who were not shy about showing off their dance moves in between drills.
  • The play of the day came on the final snap of practice with Matt Barkley completing a TD pass on the run to FB Rhett Ellison during a goal line formation.
  • Here's the coach with a few quick soundbites after Thursday's practice...

Photo Gallery: Washington Thursday

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John McGillen took in an abbreviated practice through his lens...


2011 Men's Basketball Recruits

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USC men's basketball announced the signing of SG J.T. Terrell, the top junior college player in the country, and F Strahinja Gavrilovic from Serbia via La Jolla Prep.

Click here to learn more about the recruits.

Terrell played his freshman season at Wake Forest before transferring to Peninsula JC in Washington.  He scored in double-figures 16 times as a freshman in the ACC playing alongside fellow USC transfer Ari Stewart.

Gavrilovic is the latest import for the Trojans who turned Nikola Vucevic (Montenegro) into a first round pick and also welcome Danilo Dragovic (Serbia) onto the 2011-12 team.

Here's a look at the latest two recruits to take their talents to Troy...


11/11/11

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USC basketball tips off with a women's (5 p.m.) and men's (8 p.m.) doubleheader Friday night at Galen Center.

In honor of the special date, we're offering the best seat available + a hot dog + a soda for $11.  The ticket is good for both games.

Click here to learn more or purchase!!!

11_11_11.jpg

Featured Attraction

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USC hoops big man DeWayne Dedmon was held out of organized basketball until he was 18 due to his religion.  His story from basketball project to prodigy is detailed in the Sports Illustrated college basketball preview issue.

Plus, SI.com released this video on Dedmon and his Jehova's Witness background, which led him on a unique path to USC.


Back at One

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The three-time defending national champion USC men's water polo team is back on top of the polls heading into the final home game of the season on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at McDonald's Swim Stadium.

The Trojans share the No. 1 ranking with UCLA.  The two top teams close the regular season against each other in Westwood on November 18.

USC has won eight consecutive matches since taking back-to-back losses at the SoCal Tournament in early October.  The Trojans are 17-2 overall and the only undefeated team in MPSF play (6-0).

Sophomore Nikola Vavic tallied eight goals in last weekend's doubleheader.
nikola-vavic-jsh.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Meet J.R. Tavai

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

Name - J.R. Tavai 
JR.jpg

Position - Defensive lineman

Class - Freshman

Size - 6'2", 270 lbs.

High School - Mira Costa HS (Manhattan Beach, CA)

Comparison - As an undersized defensive lineman, Tavai (pictured right by SCPlaybook.com) sees himself as a pass rusher who could play on the line as a DE/DT or off it as an OLB a la former Trojan Clay Matthews. While he lacks the size of Bears' sack specialist Julius Peppers, Tavai says he enjoys watching the perennial All-Pro play every Sunday and hopes he can emulate Peppers' technique at the collegiate level.

Prep Career - Although not heavily recruited out of high school, Tavai was the total package at Mira Costa High School. Starring as the team's FB and DE, Tavai put up big numbers on both sides of the football. In 2009, he was named the All-CIF Western Division Defensive MVP after he recorded seven sacks and 92 tackles. In 2010, Tavai made a name for himself not only on the line (12 sacks and 95 tackles), but in the backfield (278 yards and 3 TDs) en route to receiving the All-Bay's League MVP award.

Transition to USC: After being spotted during his senior year by assistant head coach Monte Kiffin, Tavai came to USC as somewhat of an unknown. Due to his athleticism and the hole left by the departure of Stanley Havili, the coaching staff mulled over the idea of having Tavai  play fullback. However, as fall camp opened up, it was clear Tavai was a natural on the line. While he began the season paying his dues behind veterans Wes Horton and Devon Kennard, an injury to Horton in the Stanford game pressed Tavai into action (two second half tackles vs. the Cardinal). In five games this season, the freshman has recorded three total tackles.

Kiffin on Tavai: "He's just a natural player that isn't necessarily a height, weight or speed guy.  That's why he wasn't as highly rated as some of these other guys, but he's going to be a really good player for us."

In his own words: "I didn't mind all of [the talk of me being undersized], I just stuck to the weight room, tried to get back on the field by working out every day. I have to keep doing it to continue this."

                       Here's the Trojans' next rising star on the defensive line...

USC Ice Hockey

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Men's ice hockey has long been one of the best and most popular club sports at USC.

The Trojans are eight-time Pac-8 champions, including a dramatic win over Washington in the conference championship in 2010.  USC has also won 13 Crosstown Cups over rivals UCLA in the last 16 years.

They even have the USC Ice Girls, who perform figure skating routines and interact with the crowd during intermissions.

The Trojans skated to a tough 5-4 loss at the hands of the Bruins at Staples Center last night.
USC-Ice-Hockey-PC.jpeg(Photo by Pierson Clair)

Washington Wednesday: Notes

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

With just three days remaining until their revenge match against Washington at the Coliseum, the Trojans received plenty of good news during their pad-less morning session...

  • With the exception of DT DaJohn Harris (ankle), every other member of this week's walking wounded returned to the practice field on Wednesday. S Jawanza Starling, LB Dion Bailey (concussion), LB Hayes Pullard (neck), WR Marqise Lee (shoulder), WR Robert Woods (ankle) went through every drill. RB Marc Tyler (shoulder) and RB George Farmer (ankle) also practiced without the yellow no-contact jersey, but both were held out of team drills. 
  • NR.JPGSince having his redshirt removed before the Trojans' game against Cal on October 13, Farmer has played sparingly (five carries for 15 yards and two receptions for 23 yards), making appearances in just two games at RB. "Obviously I am still more comfortable playing the WR position," said Farmer. "But, my plan is to play this season out and then re-evaluate my situation with the coaching staff going into spring ball."
  • Lane Kiffin on if he regrets removing Farmer's redshirt: "Not at all. A month ago, we saw once he got comfortable and once he got healthy, what he could be. And really as we looked at it, five years from now he probably wouldn't be here anyways. To redshirt him, thinking he would have four years of eligibility after this year probably wouldn't have happened. So, no I don't regret it."
  • CB Torin Harris made a surprise, but limited, appearance on the practice field on Wednesday. Harris has not played since injuring his shoulder in the first half of USC's loss to ASU on September 24. "There is a potential chance that Torin [Harris] could play," said Kiffin. "He went out there and did some things today, so we will continue to test him each day. It would be a big pick-me-up for us with our lack of depth at cornerback."
  • While USC may lack depth at the CB position, Nickell Robey (pictured above by John McGillen) has continued to impress week after week this season (45 tackles, 2 INTs and a TD). This week, Robey has been seen with a noticeable pep in his step, including today's gorgeous one-handed interception over the middle of the field. This weekend would have marked his late-mother Maxine's 46th birthday, so plenty of Robey's friends and family members will be making the trek to the Coliseum on Saturday.
  • Kiffin on Robey: "From the first day I met him when he came on to campus at Tennessee a few years back for a camp, he was the first in every line, the first in every drill and always just stayed after for extra work. That's who he is. That's what makes him special. Outside of his ability, he is so dedicated to being great."
  • Compton native Keith Price, the Huskies' first-year starting QB, has filled in admirably as Jake Locker's successor for Washington this season. Through nine games, he has thrown for 2,133 yards and 25 TDs. "I feel like he is different from the other top quarterbacks we've faced this season," said Robey. "He has a different style in the way he runs their offense. He surprises me by the way he stays in the pocket and the way he tries to buy time for his receivers to get open. He's a good young quarterback."
  • While Price has been a pleasant surprise for the Huskies, Steve Sarkisian's offense still goes through senior RB Chris Polk (1,096 rushing yards and 9 TDs). Polk is no stranger to the Coliseum, as he compiled 142 all-purpose yards and a TD in Washington's 32-31 win over USC last year. "He's hard to bring down and forces a lot of missed tackles," said Kiffin of Polk. "He's big and physical and really good in the passing game too. He's the complete package."
  • The dominate storyline around college football on Wednesday revolved around Penn State's long-time coach, Joe Paterno, who announced that he will be stepping down following the end of this season after 46 years at the helm of the Nittany Lions' program. While Kiffin admitted he did not know the venerable Paterno personally, he did have this to say regarding the ongoing scandal in State College: "It sounds like a horrible situation for everyone involved. He has obviously had an unbelievable record for that many years and did a lot of neat things, but I think that's really irrelevant today."
  • Here's more from the coach following Wednesday's up-tempo practice...

Bright Spots

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In a season that finished a disappointing 7-13 for USC women's soccer, senior Brittany Kerridge and sophomore Elizabeth Eddy provided a silver lining with All-Pac-12 Second Team campaigns.

Click here for the full story.

Kerridge led the Women of Troy with 15 points (3 goals and 9 assists) from her midfield position, while Eddy (pictured) led the team in scoring with four goals.

Eddy-Goal-PC.jpg

Safe and Sound

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The Shillelagh, USC's prize for beating Notre Dame, is back home inside a trophy case in the Heritage Hall lobby.

The 2011 Trojan head medallion, which will read "USC 31, Notre Dame 17," is not yet affixed to the trophy, but it has been ordered.  The Shillelagh has been a Heritage Hall fixture in the last decade with the Trojans winning nine of the last 10 meetings.

USC Athletics' photo The Shillelagh, USC's prize for beating Notre Dame, is back in its rightful home inside Heritage Hall.
USC Athletics on WhoSay

Veterans Day Celebration

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In conjunction with the Pac-12, USC will honor the 70th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen, America's first black military pilots, throughout Saturday's Homecoming game against Washington.

Four Tuskegee Airmen, who were veterans of World War II, will be recognized on the field after the first quarter and one of the pilots will speak to the team on Friday night.

Plus, get inside the Coliseum early for a special "Red Tail" fly over of a P-51D Mustang. 

The legendary aviators, who protected bombers in World War II, will also be featured on the big screen in Red Tails, a new Lucasfilm.  Click here for the preview!


Film Session: Barkley and Woods

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On tonight's "Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly," which airs first on Prime Ticket at 10:30 p.m., QB Matt Barkley and WR Robert Woods break it down in the film room with host John Jackson.

Plus, they'll have a feature on water polo head coach Jovan Vavic who is in hot pursuit of his fourth consecutive national title with the men's team.

Here's a look at the star duo on this week's episode...

<a href='http://www.foxsportswest.com/pages/video?UUID=888c9d45-c93c-439a-89d3-0de49ddd1494&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Barkley, Woods Film Room preview'>Video: Barkley, Woods Film Room preview</a>

Photo Gallery: Washington Tuesday

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The Trojans are a day ahead in their preparation for the Homecoming showdown against the Huskies.

(Photos by John McGillen)


Washington Tuesday: Notes

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The back and forth continues between familiar coaching staffs at USC and Washington...

  • Injury report: DT DaJohn Harris (ankle) and OL Martin Coleman (shoulder) did not practice.  S Jawanza Starling, LB Dion Bailey (concussion), LB Hayes Pullard (neck), RB George Farmer (ankle), RB Marc Tyler (shoulder), WR Marqise Lee (shoulder) and WR Robert Woods (ankle) were all limited.
  • Tyler-Prac-Injured-McG.JPGWith all the limited guys, the practice field was covered in yellow no-contact jerseys (Tyler photo by John McGillen).
  • As the gamesmanship continues, Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian puffed up Matt Barkley by saying he would take the USC QB over Stanford's Andrew Luck.  "Obviously, he's already played Andrew Luck or else he wouldn't have made that statement," Lane Kiffin said. 
  • Sarkisian also called the Trojans the most talented team in the conference.  "Well that's good," Kiffin responded.  "He lost by 50 to Stanford, so if we have more talent than them, we should be in good shape."
  • Sarkisian also backed up Nick Holt's statement about preferring to face USC's offense than Oregon's.  Matt Barkley knows a thing or too about having a quote turn into bulletin board material.  "I don't think anything should be blown up out of proportion," Barkley said.  "I'm not using it as motivation.  I know what he means."
  • Barkley agreed with Kiffin's assessment that they have missed some deep balls on offense this season.  "It's just timing with our wideouts," said Barkley.  Lee and Woods have been consistently banged up this season, so they rarely go full speed in practice. 
  • FB Ross Cumming is turning into an offensive weapon.  The converted linebacker made a one-handed left-handed catch in practice this morning after making a tackler miss at Colorado.  "I was trying to do my best Stanley [Havili] impression," said Cumming, who texted Havili after the Boulder game.  "Everyone was hyped.  Everyone was excited for me."
  • Cumming's experiment could turn into a future.  He was never an NFL prospect at linebacker, but both Kennedy Polamalu and Monte Kiffin have encouraged him to think about fullback at the next level.  "The more I grow as a player, the more it becomes an opportunity that is available to me," he said.
  • He has always been a naturally physical and tough person, but Cumming has worked hard to master the mental side of the fullback position.  "A lot of it has to do with the physical aspect and having a willingness to go in there full speed with your head low and ready for a collision," he said.  "Surprisingly, a lot of it is mental.  I'd give it 50-50."
  • The weather forecast calls for rain Friday and Saturday, so it could be a mud bowl. 
  • Here is Coach Kiffin who had some retorts for his pal Sarkisian...


UNFILTERED: Colorado

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As promised, we have an epic shot of Ralphie the Buffalo from inside her truck plus locker room footage and freshman QB Cody Kessler interviewing Matt Barkley on his big night.

The latest UNFILTERED...


NFL Week 9

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The best Trojans in the pros as the NFL makes the turn at the midway point of the season.

Heisman Worthy

Cush-Bleeding.jpgBrian Cushing, LB, Texans - 7 tackles and a sack

The "Bergen Brawler" has had a nice bounce back season for first place Houston.  He leads the Texans in tackles after adding seven more in Sunday's blowout win over the Browns.  He also dragged down Colt McCoy for his second sack of the year to match his 2010 total.

(Photo by Houston Chronicle)

All-American Caliber

Shaun Cody, DT, Texans - Intercepted a two-point conversion attempt

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins - 92 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving and a TD in a win

Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders - 19/35 for 332 yards and 3 TDs/3 INTs in his first start

Damian Williams, WR, Titans - 4 catches for 34 yards and a TD

Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks - 3 catches for 41 yards

Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers - 8 tackles

Short Work

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USC women's volleyball is still tied atop the Pac-12 standings with UCLA after sweeping away both Washington State and Washington last weekend at Galen Center behind senior Lauren Williams, who was named Pac-12 Player of the Week.

The Women of Troy travel to Oregon State and Oregon this week.

Here's a look at the sweep of the Cougs courtesy of Pierson Clair...


Doubles Double

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USC tennis continued a successful fall season with doubles titles for men's team Emilio Gomez and Yannick Hanfmann at the SoCal Championships and women's pair Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria at the ITA National Indoor Championships.

Gomez and Hanfmann knocked off UCLA's Alex Brigham and Clay Thompson in Westwood.

Christian and Santamaria were the first Trojans' double team to best the field at the elite ITA tournament in Flushing, New York.

Christian (left) and Santamaria (right) topped the heap in New York.
Santamaria-Christian.jpg

Pac-12 Honors Barkley

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The Pac-12 named Matt Barkley the Offensive Player of the Week for his six touchdown performance against Colorado.

Head coach Lane Kiffin on his quarterback: "He's playing really well.  I don't know how much better you do with this many young guys and this much inexperience in front of him.  Matt makes a lot of plays out of rhythm because he has to.  I think that's actually made him better."

Kiffin did pinpoint "deep ball accuracy" as Barkley's one area that needs improvement.

Barkley-Kiffin-CU-SH.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Washington Monday: Notes

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The Trojans will get four practices in this week with an extra day to prepare.

  • The injury list remains long, but the outlook is improving.  DT DaJohn Harris (ankle), S Jawanza Starling, LB Hayes Pullard (neck), LB Dion Bailey (concussion), RB Marc Tyler (shoulder), WR Marqise Lee and WR Robert Woods were all out or limited.
  • Bailey has not been cleared for contact yet.
  • Lee and Woods practiced, but wore yellow no-contact jerseys. 
  • RB George Farmer (ankle) participated on a limited basis for the first time in a couple weeks, but he is still not full speed.
  • Monday is usually an off day, so the ranks were even more depleted by players leaving early for class.  In order to keep going, quarterbacks Jesse Scroggins and Cody Kessler played some wide receiver.
  • Walk-on RB Nic Curry used his moment at wideout as a chance to shine.  He made the play of the day on a diving catch that looked a lot like Julio Jones spectacular grab for the Atlanta Falcons yesterday.
  • Holt-Quote.jpgFormer USC defensive coordinator Nick Holt, who now runs Washington's defense, provided some bulletin board material for the Trojans.  "We'll be OK against these guys," he said.  "I'd rather play USC than Oregon quite honestly."  The quote is posted all over Heritage Hall (photo by Dan Greenspan).
  • Lane Kiffin on Holt's words: "They can say whatever they want.  They beat us two years in a row."
  • Kiffin on his relationship with Steve Sarkisian: "It's brought us even closer, both becoming head coaches and understanding what the other person has to go through."
  • Sarkisian is 2-0 vs. USC since taking the UW job, but Kiffin would not bite on the storyline.  He has alluded to a personal competition in the past, but "this isn't about Sarkisian or Kiffin," he said.
  • Freshman Lamar Dawson will start at middle linebacker again this Saturday.  "Lamar is a great student," Kiffin explained how quickly he has adjusted to the college game.  "His approach to the game is really sharp.  He would have played a lot more by now if he hadn't had the setback."
  • Of course, more Dawson means less playing time for senior Chris Galippo.  "Just another something else that I kind of have to deal with in my career now," said Galippo, who played well off the bench at Boulder.  "I'm not going to feel sorry for myself.  I'm going to come out here everyday and prove what type of linebacker I am."
  • Dawson and Galippo bring different strengths to a defense.  "I've done what I'm good at, the mental side of the game, getting guys lined up [and] being a leader out there," Galippo described his play. 
  • Dawson is still adjusting to "a different level" of speed and thinking in the college game, but he is a dynamic athlete.  "I played decent," Dawson said about his first start.  "I missed a couple of assignments.  I still have to work and get better for this week."  
  • Here is more from Lane Kiffin...


Kiffin Call: Colorado

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USC moved up to No. 18 in the latest AP Top 25 with a Homecoming showdown against Steve Sarkisian and the Washington Huskies due up this Saturday.

Click here to download Lane Kiffin's weekly media conference call:
89789990.mp3

Kiffin-1-CU-SH.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Photo Galleries: USC vs. Colorado

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Jon SooHoo traveled with us to the Rocky Mountains to give you a special look at the Trojans 42-17 win over Colorado.

Pregame...




1st half...




2nd half...




The celebration...


6-Points: USC 42, Colorado 17

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The Trojans trounce the Buffaloes behind Matt Barkley's record breaking night to move to 7-2.

Click here for the complete stats and recap.


Here are six (+2) thoughts on USC's seventh win...

  • Barkley-Band.jpg#7 Gets 6... Matt Barkley separated from the herd tonight by etching his name in the USC record books as the first Trojan quarterback to throw six touchdown passes in a game.  "It means a lot," said Barkley, who was one of four USC QBs to throw five TDs in a game.  "To finally get six is a pretty cool feeling knowing that you are up there with some of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of college football." The junior led the band after the game (photo by Getty Images/Justin Edmonds) and then the crowd showered him with "one more year" chants.
  • The Tandem... Wide receivers Robert Woods (9 catches for 130 yards and 2 TDs) and Marqise Lee (9 catches for 124 yards and 2 TDs) had nearly identical outings.  "We really had kept challenging him to have a multiple touchdown game and go to the next level," Kiffin said about Lee.  "Obviously he's coming of age and keeps making play after play out there.  It's a great tandem." The coaches told Lee that he would be known as #9 until his first two score game.  After his second TD, he handed Kiffin the ball and said, "My name is Marqise."
  • Beat the Trap... The elements were conspiring against the Trojans this week.  Coming off two emotional games, they were dealt a short week, a list of injuries and a frigid road game, but they handled it like veterans.  "We knew that this could have been a dangerous week," said Barkley.  "I'm proud of our guys on how we showed up today.  We played Trojan football and didn't let it become something that we regretted."
  • Regulators...Mount Up!  The score would have been a little tighter if not for John Baxter's field goal block team (known as The Regulators), which swatted away two more tries to bring the season total to six.  Matt "The Hammer" Kalil had accounted for all four blocks (2 FGs and 2 PATs) to this point, but tight ends Rhett Ellison and Randall Telfer rejected the three-pointers against Colorado.
  • Next Man Up... T.J. McDonald was the inspiration tonight.  Slapped with a first half suspension, the defensive captain watched Drew McAllister do a pretty solid impression (three tackles including one for loss).  McAllister was the latest model of the team's "next man up" philosophy.  "Coach Kiffin has always harped on if someone goes down, the next guy is going to have to step up and pick up the slack," said McAllister, who started alongside Marshall Jones who played in place of the injured Jawanza Starling.
  • LenDale-CU.jpgThe Kiddie Corps... USC started three freshmen linebackers for possibly the first time ever (we're looking it up).  Redshirt frosh Hayes Pullard is a mainstay now, but true freshmen Lamar Dawson and Tre Madden lined up as ones for the first time.  "He'd been playing well and we wanted to see what he looked like," Kiffin explained Dawson getting the nod over Chris Galippo.  "Almost everybody making plays is young.  The future is very bright."
Two-point conversion...

  • With the game out of hand, several players made career debuts late in the 4th quarter, but none was more special than Eric Childs.  Six years ago this week, he broke his leg and was told he would never play football again.  Against Colorado, he celebrated that anniversary by earning a varsity letter and making a tackle.
  • As Lane Kiffin jogged off the field at halftime, he spotted old friend LenDale White in the crowd and embraced the all-time Trojan career touchdown leader (57).  White (pictured) is a Colorado native and was nice enough to take a photo with seemingly every USC fan in attendance.
T.J. McDonald finished with four tackles on a strange night for him...


Trojans in the Cold

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As we wake in Colorado, the thermometer reads 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which is right at freezing, but the sun is out and no precipitation is in the forecast.

Kiffin-CU-Arrival-SH.jpgWe are expecting a high of 55 today with a low of 40 tonight.

Historically, USC has struggled in the snow and cold weather.  The Trojans are 0-2 in snow games and 7-6-1 in cold games.

What determines a "cold game?"  If the game recap included a reference to the frosty conditions, it was marked down as a cold weather game.

USC "SNOW" GAMES (0-2)

1955 -- @ Minnesota, 16-25, L

1957 -- @ Notre Dame, 12-40, L

 

USC "COLD" GAMES (7-6-1)

1935 -- @ Notre Dame, 13-20, L

1939 -- @ Notre Dame, 20-12, W

1949 -- @ Notre Dame, 0-32, L

1951 - vs. Army at Yankee Stadium, NYC, 28-6, W

1952 -- @ Notre Dame, 0-9, L

1959 -- @ Notre Dame, 6-16, L

1994 -- @ Washington State, 23-10, W

1994 - Notre Dame home, 17-17, T

1996 -- @ Washington State, 29-24, W

1998 -- @ Washington State, 42-14, W

2004 -- @ Washington State, 42-12, W

2004 -- @ Oregon State, 28-20, W

2010 - @ Oregon State, 7-36, L

2010 - Notre Dame home, 16-20, L

(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

An Evening with Jerry West

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USC men's golf invites you to "An Evening with Jerry West" on Wednesday November 16 to support and promote the Trojans' hosting the NCAA Men's Golf Championships at Riviera next spring.

Click here for your invitation from athletic director Pat Haden.

Jerry West is a Los Angeles Lakers legend and the NBA logo with a lifetime of incredible stories to share.

Click here to RSVP or learn more about the event.

Jerry-West-with-Golf-Club-Pic.jpg

Beware Boulder...

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...the Trojans have arrived.

The team landed in Denver to the announcement that the temperature is 32 degrees (otherwise known as freezing).

(Photo by Jon SooHoo)
Bark-Kalil-Arrival-CU-SH.jpg

Game 9: USC vs. Colorado

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#21 USC (6-2, 3-2) at Colorado (1-8, 0-5)

Folsom Field at 7 p.m. mountain time on ESPN, ESPN3.com and ESPN3D

Paul-Rich.jpgBuffalo to Watch: Sophomore WR Paul Richardson

How good is Richardson?  He was good enough to keep Marqise Lee on defense two years ago at Serra High School.  In 2009, Richardson formed the three-wide formation with Robert Woods and George Farmer in Gardena.  After getting dismissed from UCLA, Richardson settled at Boulder, where he was an honorable mention Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2010.  This season, he set a school record with 284 receiving yards against Cal and should be back from injury for the USC game.

Click the link to learn more about Colorado:
CUFB11-Game 10 (USC).pdf

3 Keys

Forecast a W

The Trojans may just have lucked out on the weather.  Temperatures in the Boulder area are frigid today and snow is expected on Saturday, but it should be a mild 49 degrees at kickoff with a low of 39.  The team was negatively influenced by the chill at Oregon State last year, so this group will have to bring a wintry mindset.

Next Man Up

Drew McAllister, Marshall Jones and Tre Madden could all potentially start Friday night.  Colorado's passing attack is a relative strength with Richardson as a wide threat, Rodney Stewart as an all-purpose running back and efficient QB Tyler Hansen (14 TDs to 6 INTs).  USC's newcomers are more than capable though of continuing the recent stellar play from the Trojans' back seven, which has made great strides from last year.

Hangover Cure

The Trojan Family was delivered a collective punch to the gut when the Stanford game fell to the Farm.  The team gets an opportunity to get right back on the horse buffalo in a short week.  Colorado is last in the Pac-12 in offense and last in defense.  If the Trojans use last Saturday's heartbreaker as fuel, they can really punish the Buffaloes on national television (in 3D!). 

USC and Colorado have not met since 2002 when the Trojans' trounced the Buffaloes in Boulder 40-3 behind Malaefou MacKenzie's two touchdowns. (Photo by Getty Images)
Mal-McKenzie-CU-Getty.jpg

Men's Hoops: Thursday Notes

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Written by Dave Dulberg, USC blog contributor

With just eight days until they open their season at home against Cal State Northridge, the USC men's basketball was up early on Thursday preparing on the Galen Center's main court...

  • The Trojans' No.1 offensive option in 2011, sophomore guard Maurice Jones (pictured below by Pierson Clair), struggled mightily from the field on Thursday, going 1-for-10 during five-on-five drills. But coach Kevin O'Neill remained adamant that if USC is going to make a dent in the Pac-12 conference, Jones will need to continue looking for his shot regardless of past success. "On days like today when he's not hitting his shots, he needs to keep shooting," said O'Neill. "But what we have to do as a team if he's missing, is to go get the offensive boards and put it in." 
  • _PEC5717 Pierson Clair PC4Photo.jpgOne of the guys O'Neill will rely heavily on to grab offensive boards is redshirt junior Aaron Fuller (transfer from Iowa), who continues to impress with his effort and constant physicality in the post. "I think I give this team a presence down low," said Fuller. "I'm a guy who loves to go get rebounds. Basically, my mentality is to do whatever it takes to help my teammates out. After sitting out a year, I'm just excited to go play basketball."
  • Fuller on the team's chemistry: "We have certainly made strides in the past few weeks. We have a bunch of new guys, so mistakes are going to happen. But as we've progressed these last few weeks, you can see this team starting to gel both offensively and defensively together. We can play with anyone in the nation, as long as we remember that we are a defensive-minded team first."
  • Heading into 2011, a lot of the buzz surrounding the Trojans centered around their defensive-minded big man, redshirt sophomore Dewayne Dedmon. Despite playing with a cumbersome splint on his right hand (suffered fracture on October 12), the transfer from Antelope Valley College showcased his off-hand talents on Thursday with a bevvy of left-handed, post-up moves. "It's easier to play with the splint than the cast," said Dedmon, who also turned a routine steal into an impressive coast-to-coast dunk. "Hopefully I start the season with nothing on my hand. It's tough because I can't use my right hand, but it's also been good for me in terms of developing a left-handed shot."
  • Freshmen Byron Wesley and Alexis Moore were consistently targeted by a very colorful O'Neill on Thursday, for what the coach continually referred to as freshmen mistakes. As the team's projected starting shooting guard and small forward respectively, the two highly-touted newcomers will be expected to perform right away when the season tips off next week. "I think it's very difficult for them, because if Jio [Fontan] was playing, their minutes would be limited," said O'Neill. "As it stands right now, both of them are looking at playing 28 to 30 minutes a game and when you are doing that with two freshmen perimeter players there are going to be some growing pains."
  • Painful is certainly the word to define redshirt sophomore Evan Smith's time at Troy. For the second straight season, the Calabasas, CA native will be forced to sit out until at least the beginning of Pac-12 play with what is being called a labrum injury. Unlike last year, Smith has opted to go the rehabilitation route rather than potential season-ending surgery.
  • Former Trojan Dwight Lewis (USC's leading scorer in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010) made a rare appearance at practice. Last season, Lewis played for the Carabobo Globetrotters in Venezuela's professional basketball league. He also represented Venezuela in September's FIBA Americas Championship.
  • USC will hold a closed scrimmage against Long Beach State at the Galen Center on Saturday. Here's the coach after an up-and-down session...

The Women of Lax

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USC women's lacrosse does not start NCAA play until the spring of 2013, but head coach Lindsey Munday welcomed her first recruiting class this fall.

Click here to read about the entire class.

Here's a Fox Sports piece on freshman midfielder Abigail Harris...

<a href='http://foxsports.com?vid=f270e458-1805-4d44-98bd-f6145dc9e1c1&mkt=en-us&from=IV2_en-us_foxsports_videosearch&src=FLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Lane Kiffin USC Football: Week 9, Part 2' >Video: Lane Kiffin USC Football: Week 9, Part 2</a>

Sammy the Saint

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USC secondary coach Sammy Knight will travel to New Orleans this weekend after the Trojans' game to be inducted into the Saints' Hall of Fame.

After an All-Pac-10 career at USC as a linebacker, Knight was drafted by the Saints in 1997 as a strong safety.  He played 12 years in the NFL, six in New Orleans, and made the Pro Bowl in 2002.

Here is Knight talking to John Jackson about the honor on this week's "Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly."

<a href='http://www.foxsportswest.com/pages/video?UUID=e3a8186d-273d-4656-abb5-9cce0c31b556&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='BONUS: Sammy Saints HOF'>Video: BONUS: Sammy Saints HOF</a>

Scholar-Athlete: Claire Schloemer

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This week's scholar-athlete is women's soccer senior Claire Schloemer.

Schloemer-SooHoo.jpgClick here for the the complete conversation!

(Interview conducted by Catherine Wakeman)

Q: What made you choose Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for your major?

CS: I have always enjoyed studying science, particularly human biology and anatomy. Also, I have the stomach for blood and gore, unlike most people.

Q: Was being a student-athlete in college always part of the plan?
 

CS: No, it was never in the plan. It was just a byproduct of hard work, laughter, and love for the game of soccer.

Q: Even with your busy schedule, do you still feel like you got the "college experience?"
 

CS: My college experience has been different than the average college experience. The sacrifices have been balanced with tremendous opportunities that I know will pay off in the long run.

Q:What has been the best part about being a student-athlete?

CS: The best part is yet to come.

(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Emergency Kicker

| 1 Comment
Last week, USC held tryouts for a third string kicker as insurance behind Andre Heidari and walk-on backup Craig McMahon.

Freshman Joshua Alswang won a spot on the team by showing off a live leg.  He was an accomplished soccer player at Cherry Creek High in Greenwood Village, CO.

Click here to learn more about the newest Trojan.

Heidari was perfect against Stanford after shaking off an ankle injury.
Heidari-Stan-SH.jpg(Photo by Jon SooHoo)

Cassel in the Community

| 1 Comment
ESPN featured Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel who is selflessly working with Joplin High School tornado victims to repair the community and inspire the football team.

Cassel has a unique connection with the kids of Joplin since he lost his home as a youngster during the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and then went on to lead the town to the Little League World Series.


Comments

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Just a quick note: In order to avoid all the spam comments, we are manually publishing all the comments, so your feedback will not be instantly visible.

We appreciate all your interaction and opinions.  For newer readers, please note the comments policy

Basketball Key Tags

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Men's and women's basketball key tags are available this season to get you a 10% discount at the Galen Center bookstore on every order throughout the hoops season.

You can pick up a key tag at Heritage Hall, Galen Center or at any home basketball game starting 11/11/11 with the men's and women's doubleheader.  You must present this card at the time of each purchase to get the discount.

Key Tag Front - BB 2011-12.jpg
Key Tag Back - BB 2011-12.jpg

Colorado Wednesday: Notes

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With men down, the focus switches to the next men up.

  • Injury report: S Jawanza Starling (did not practice), LB Dion Bailey (very limited), RB George Farmer (did not practice), TE Rhett Ellison (limited) and RB Marc Tyler (did not practice).
  • The Trojans practiced in jerseys and shorts today without any pads, which is typical for Thursday of a normal week.
  • While several players are questionable to play Friday, Drew McAllister knows he is the man for the first half in place of the suspended T.J. McDonald.  "This is an opportunity for me to go out there and show what I can do," said the redshirt junior.  "T.J. has been great since he's been out there and it's going to be some hard shoes to fill."
  • McAllister is a different type of safety than McDonald.  He's more of a ball hawk, who will read the quarterback looking for interceptions.  "We've been getting turnovers...and hopefully that's something that I can bring to the table," he said.
  • McAllister is excited about his opportunity, but he feels for McDonald.  "T.J. was playing full-speed and made a full-speed decision," McAllister said.  "There's really nothing else you can do in that situation."
  • If Starling misses the game, Marshall Jones would start alongside McAllister.  Kiffin listed the potential new defensive starters, which could also include LB Tre Madden, as his biggest concern heading into the game. 
  • Bailey got his bell rung in the second quarter and then a hit in the second overtime "knocked me out," he said.  "Concussions are a part of football," the redshirt freshman has no plans to slow down.  
  • Prater-Stan-SH.jpgRobert Woods is tied for second in the nation in receptions with 81 catches, but he has never been fully healthy this season.  "That ankle just won't get right," said Lane Kiffin.
  • Kyle Prater made the first catch of his career last week (photo by Jon SooHoo), so he's hoping the dam will now break open.  "When your name is called on, you have to step up and make the play," he said.  "Hopefully, there's more to come."
  • RB D.J. Morgan is another potential weapon that has been kept in the holster for weeks now.  Without a knee brace, the redshirt freshman has been flying around the practice field lately.  "I feel faster," Morgan said, but he also said it feels stiff at times.
  • After fumbling issues cost him his starting spot, Morgan was sent to the back of the line, but the seas are starting to part and he could get back in the rotation this week.  "The fumbles in the beginning of the season taught me a lesson," Morgan reflected.  "I just used it as fuel to push me and go harder and hold onto the ball."
  • Morgan is part of the two Lane Kiffin recruiting classes, which have paid immediate dividends for a team lacking depth.  "The young guys are stepping up and making plays and being accountable," said Morgan, who sees his fellow classmates progressing.  "There comes a point when we're all not going to be young and that's where we're headed right now."
  • Here is Kiffin on the subject's above plus Jesse Scroggins, Matt Kalil and more...


Howard Jones Archives

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Earlier this season, we found a letter John McKay sent to his team in the summer of 1964 detailing the Trojans' offseason strength and conditioning program.

howard-jones-letter.jpgToday, we found a letter from another 4-time national championship winning coach, Howard Jones, who sent his boys a short correspondence in September of 1930.  By suits, we assume he means uniforms.

Click the photo to enlarge and read the letter!

Jones coached the "Thundering Herd" to USC's first football national title in 1928.  He followed it with back-to-back championships in 1931 and 1932.  He capped his legendary career with his fourth crown in 1939, which was his next to last season.   

He ranks second on the all-time Trojan list with 121 wins behind John McKay's 127.  Jones coached at Troy for 16 seasons, including kicking off the Notre Dame rivalry with his friend Knute Rockne, who recommended Jones for the USC job.

Rockne also shared an agent with famed New York Yankees sluggers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, which led to the photo below likely taken from their 1927 barnstorming tour in Los Angeles.

Gehrig, Jones and Ruth
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Barry Back in Boulder

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USC linebackers coach Joe Barry will return to Folsom Field for the first time in almost two decades Friday night, which stirs up some positive memories for the former Colorado high school hero.

"I am a legend in my own mind," Barry joked about his Fairview High School days, but in all seriousness, he was a two-time All-Colorado pick.

Barry lived near Colorado University for six years (1987-92), while his father coached the interior offensive line during the Buffaloes heyday. 

"I grew up in that stadium," Barry remembered.  "Boulder is a special place. I was there in their glory days when they won a national championship (1990)."

While the cold and potential snow is an issue, Boulder is a mile high, so altitude could also play a factor, but Barry is not buying it.

"Quite frankly, we haven't even brought it up," he said.

Fellow USC assistant coaches Kennedy Polamalu and Ted Gilmore coached at Colorado.  The Buffs won the 1991 Orange Bowl over Notre Dame to split the national championship with Georgia Tech.


Knight Time

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Secondary coach Sammy Knight is featured in this week's Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly on Prime Ticket tonight at 10:30 p.m. pacific.

The show looks back at the Stanford loss and profiles the women's lacrosse program.


Women's Volley: Dads and Daughters

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#4 USC women's volleyball is coming home this weekend after splitting the trip in the Bay Area, which leaves them on top of the Pac-12 standings.

The Women of Troy will host Washington State (Friday at 7 p.m.) and Washington (Saturday at 7 p.m.) in the second to last home stand of the regular season.

On Saturday, we are celebrating dads and daughters by offering a $20 package which includes 2 tickets, 2 hot dogs, 2 drinks and a commemorative blanket.

Click here to purchase the package or learn more.


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Photo Gallery: Colorado Tuesday

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John McGillen was snapping away at practice this morning.  Here's a look at today's practice...


Colorado Tuesday: Notes

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Amid controversy, the Trojans are also dealing with decimated ranks this week.

  • CB Torin Harris and RB George Farmer were the only two players on last week's injury report.
  • This week's injury report: DE Wes Horton (limited), CB Harris (out), S Jawanza Starling (very limited), LB Dion Bailey (out), RB Farmer (out), RB Marc Tyler (out) and Rhett Ellison (very limited).
  • Tupou-Prac-McG.JPGKiffin elaborated on Tyler's injury saying, "It's not looking good."
  • If Tyler cannot play, the burden will fall on Curtis McNeal to bounce back quickly from his game-ending fumble.  "He's our best running back right now," said Barkley, who is close with McNeal and spoke with him in the post-game locker room.
  • With T.J. McDonald suspended for the first half, S Drew McAllister will get the start.  "[Drew's] made more interceptions than anybody else in our practices, so it'll be a great opportunity for him to step up."
  • LB coach Joe Barry expects Dion Bailey (concussion) to play, but if he cannot go, freshman Tre Madden will start in his place.  "He's going to be a great player," Kiffin praised Madden, who was baptized by fire in the third overtime against Stanford.
  • Kiffin on the potential loss of man power for Friday night's game: "We've got to pick up the flag and go."
  • As for the fines, reprimands and suspensions that broke last night, Kiffin put a period on that storyline.  "I am sorry that all this happened and I have learned from it," Kiffin told the media.  "I can't answer anything that has to do with a call during a game or any conversation that an official has with me."
  • To all other questions on the subject, Kiffin said, "I'm moving on."
  • "We're sticking up for our family," Barkley described the team's reaction.  "I love T.J. and I love coach and I'll support them."
  • As for McDonald, he reiterated his statement of apology from last night and his head coach again defended the defensive captain.  "He was down after the game right away because of the impact that it had on the game," Kiffin praised McDonald's character.
  • The defense has improved in the last month behind rising star CB Nickell Robey, who Monte Kiffin is deploying to shadow the other team's best receiver.  "His heart," Kiffin described Robey's best attribute.  "He plays so hard.  He's just a great kid."
  • The game-time weather forecast is pleasant with a low of 34 degrees in Boulder.  The snow is not expected to fall until Saturday, which was the originally scheduled date for this game. 
  • Matt Barkley will not wear a glove on his throwing hand despite the cold.  He has worn a glove in practice before and described the feeling as "not natural."
  • Barkley regaled the media with stories of his childhood playing in the snow at his grandparents' house in the Berkshires (New England), so he is "trained" for tough conditions.
  • USC has only one more full day of practice this week before departing for Denver.  With all the injuries and a short week, Kiffin explained that the game plan will be "basic" for the Buffaloes.
  • Here is the complete post-practice media session with Kiffin...