- With a Saturday off, USC players and coaches had some time to get a sense of the landscape of college football. The hot topic was West Virginia QB Geno Smith throwing for 8 touchdowns in a 70-63 win over Baylor. Matt Barkley called the numbers "impressive" and like a "video game."
- Lane Kiffin on Smith and West Virginia: "I don't know how you do that. It's just amazing. It's hard to do that on air versus a service team."
- The latest AP Top 25 features six teams from the Pac-12. Interestingly, Kiffin credits the depth in the conference partly to the new "dynamic coaches," but also to the NCAA sanctions and USC being forced to miss out on some top recruits. "I think that's a result of us just not nailing recruiting the last five years. Once we get our numbers back to where we are allowed to sign more, that's going to help as well."
- The USC story lines are headlined by the surprisingly minimal or at least inconsistent production from WR Robert Woods. He did not seem worried in the least. "Not at all," Woods said. "I am just trying to make the best of the opportunities that I do get."
- Kiffin on getting Woods going: "Throw him the ball more early would help. Teams have done a good job taking him away."
- Barkley on Woods: "His plays will come. It was great for us to establish the run game last week."
- The offensive line competition continues at left tackle as Aundrey Walker and Max Tuerk are splitting the reps 50/50 this week.
- While Barkley would love to see Khaled Holmes in front of him Thursday, he is feeling more comfortable with backup C Abe Markowitz. "He's come a long way," Barkley said. "From camp until now, I feel more comfortable with him."
- Nelson Agholor has a hold on the third receiver spot, but Kiffin is hoping that George Farmer will return soon and challenge the freshman.
- Both Kiffin and Barkley remember Pac-12 Media Day, and how the Utah press made Thursday night's game out to be the Utes "Super Bowl." "We are not taking them lightly at all. It's going to be a big game for them and their fans," Barkley said.
- Here is Kiffin's media scrum on a Sunday afternoon...
September 2012 Archives
USC began preparations for upcoming opponent, Utah, following the Trojans' bye week practices.
- In his post-practice presser, Kiffin stated that today's practice followed the schedule of a Tuesday. One of the toughest tasks for the Trojans will be playing on Thursday in addition to being on the road.
- Having the week off has clearly worked in the Trojans advantage. USC looks more refreshed and even Kiffin remarked that the team is refocused on the remainder of the season. The bye week arrived at the perfect time for USC as the Trojans were struggling with depth issues.
- "I think they were just a little tired with all the build up of camp and expectations of the season," Kiffin said. "It was just a good time to get away for a little bit."
- Kiffin is not worried about the fact that the contest against Utah falls on a Thursday. He believes that the team will not be affected because the 2011 team had two non-Saturday games and played well in both.
- When asked about how the USC coaching staff will be spending the off-days this weekend, Kiffin made sure to note that he will be attending his children's soccer games on Saturday.
- Here is Kiffin...
Click here to learn more.
"A City Divided" is the first documentary ever made about the USC/UCLA football rivalry, and proceeds from the premiere, DVD sales and pledge campaign will go to Kure It Cancer Research, which will grant the funds to USC Norris and UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Centers.
Check out the exclusive movie trailer...
Given the depth, every road trip has at least one sticky match-up, so the Women of Troy must be at their best in the two-game swing through Washington and Washington State.
Click here for a trip preview.
Head coach Mick Haley provides his look at the weekend in our video preview...
The USC women's volleyball team is fresh off back-to-back NCAA semifinal appearances and the Women of Troy are looking to earn the program's first national title since 2003. Without the 2011 PAC-12 Player of the Year Alex Jupiter, USC will rest its championship dreams upon the shoulders of a true freshman outside hitter, Samantha Bricio.
Bricio hails from Guadalajara, Mexico, and although she is just 17, she has already accumulated an impressive resume. At 16, Bricio played on Mexico's Senior National Team, the youngest player to do so. She also led Mexico's Youth National Team to a silver medal at the 2010 NORCECA Youth Championships as well as earning MVP honors. Bricio has also earned Best Scorer awards at both the Youth Pan-American Cup and the Junior Pan-American Cup.
Though just 14 games into the 2012 season, the 6'1" outside hitter has already made quite an impact within the USC volleyball program.
"I think it is a lot different playing here [at USC] because I am playing with people that are my same age," Bricio said. "I feel more comfortable although I am still adjusting to playing with a new team."
Bricio has already earned back-to-back PAC-12 Freshman of the Week honors. Her second nomination came following her play at the Luxe City Trojan Invitational in which she was also named to the all-tournament team.
Resume: VP of Creative Services and Movie Marketing for FX
Sport at USC: All-American Swimmer
How have you used the skills that made you a great swimmer in the business world?
Swimming taught me to be cool under pressure. Knowing I had done all the hard work, I always felt prepared. In business, the same discipline applies. It's as simple as the old adage, practice makes perfect or as my coach used to say "perfect practice makes perfect."
Out of school, you worked in SAAS at USC. What did you learn from that experience coming from perspective of a former student-athlete?
Coming out of college, I wanted to be an athletic director. What I learned by coming to Los Angeles from Minnesota was that people get to be slashed. Student/athlete. So, my goal was to help the university look at the whole person, not just the student-athlete. More like the student/athlete/aspiring writer. Helping students find their academic/life path was an obvious start. Who are you? What do you like to do outside of the pool, field, etc.? What keeps you up at night? What is the most fun part of your day? Now, let's make that a jumping off point for a career...
Your path then led you down the creative marketing sector for the film and TV business. Are you surprised at where you ended up?
Every day I do my job, I have a moment where I say, "I can't believe a chick from Cottage Grove, MN gets to do this." There aren't jobs like this in Minnesota. But, I have ALWAYS loved going to the movies. I had an older sister who worked at the movie theater and I would get to go for free. It was a great recovery activity between workouts.
Also, as the daughter of an artist, I was forced to write poetry and do origami and attend photo shoots. So, my job now is an extension of all those things. I used to create "psyche-up posters" for myself with words and pictures cutout from magazines. I was essentially creating key art for myself to get stoked for meets. My first job after I left USC Athletics was in a sports marketing agency that focused on print.I never had any "connections" in entertainment, but what being a Trojan taught me was to set goals; work hard, keep your head down, and focus on the long game.
Just like the 2002 and 2003 back-to-back champions with Davis, the current Trojans are led by All-American libero Natalie Hagglund. Mick Haley's team is on a road trip to the Washington schools after knocking off No. 1 UCLA last week before getting upset by Oregon.
USC women's soccer at Arizona State - 2 p.m. PT Friday on Pac-12 Networks
No. 3 USC women's volleyball at No. 5 Washington - 6 p.m. PT Friday on Pac-12 Networks
No. 3 USC women's volleyball at Washington State - 11:30 a.m. PT Sunday on Pac-12 Networks
USC women's soccer at Arizona - 1:30 PM PT Sunday on Pac-12 Networks
Click here to watch "The Huddle."
(Photo by Jon SooHoo)
As part of the festivities surrounding the trip, the Maui Invitational sent a surfboard to each of the participating teams, which includes North Carolina, Texas, Marquette, Illinois and Butler. The Trojans posed with the surfboard at the football game last Saturday.
The sackmaster debuted a new Fathead commercial, which is pretty funny.
Enter Jordan Adams... The 6'1" point guard from Mater Dei HS is ranked among the top 10 incoming freshmen.
Adams leads a talented freshmen trio alongside PG Brianna Barrett (Oaks Christian HS) and Georgia native G Destinie Gibbs.
Women's basketball made a video to introduce Trojans fans to the newcomers.
Check out the official trailer...
- Lane Kiffin began his press conference with a joke. He made sure the media knows, "I love my SID." The joke refers to UCLA's morning controversy.
- DE Morgan Breslin was the hot topic of conversation today. Despite a breakout season, he has politely declined to do interviews. "All he says is 'Fight On'," said Kiffin. "And Coach O likes it that way."
- Breslin (pictured by John McGillen) has made more than a few statements on the field with his "relentless play." The head coach pointed out that Breslin played every defensive snap against Cal, which included a tackle for loss on the first defensive play and a sack to close out the game.
- The junior college transfer provided an inkling into his work ethic during the spring when he routinely paced the field during conditioning sprints. Kiffin would like to give him more breathers going forward though if J.R. Tavai can return to health.
- In the Pac-12, USC is No. 1 in yards per kickoff return, average yards per punt and perfect on field goals. "The kicker and the punter are a big part of that. We do have an elite kicker," Kiffin praised Kyle Negrete and Andre Heidari.
- The coaches are hoping to develop depth this week, which could present an opportunity for freshman CB Kevon Seymour, who has played sparingly since getting significant action against Hawaii and Syracuse. "You've got to make every opportunity count because playing time does not come very often," Seymour said.
- As a highly-touted prospect, Seymour dominated the high school game, but maintaining that swagger at the college level is trickier. "When you've got confidence, it's not hard to keep it going. In high school, it's different. You're just above everyone talent wise. Here, you've got to work hard to be above that person next to you."
- T.J. McDonald is not lacking in confidence. He made the game-changing interception against Cal despite starting the play out of position. "T.J. is just a gifted athlete," said fellow safety Drew McAllister.
- Among McDonald's gifts, he has enough length and strength to play in the box as an extra outside linebacker or defensive end, which opens up playing time for McAllister. "The coaches just want to get some of the best athletes on the field and kind of create some mismatches for some offenses," said McAllister about USC's safety heavy defensive schemes.
- After meeting with the media, Lane Kiffin joined his team in post-practice sprints. Here's his pre-run session though...
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Of note in this video, Starling explains how T.J. McDonald's interception came mostly due to instincts as the All-American started the play in the wrong position. Check it out...
Head coach Peter Smith and captain Daniel Nguyen flashed their four-peat jewelry for the cameras. The newest one features all four NCAA trophies.
(Photos by Dan Avila)
If anyone comes up with a good muppet match for Matt Barkley, we will post it on the blog. Click here to email us your submissions.
- Lane Kiffin is happy with the timing of the bye week for two reasons. First, "This was critical for us to get guys back. Some guys that are playing at 80 or 90%, we can get them fully healthy."
- And second, "This gives us a little more time to focus on [the backups]. It's going to be critical down the stretch because as we know, injuries are going to happen and we are going to need those guys."
- Several coaches missed practice as they hit the recruiting trail across the country. "We want to make sure that we continue to maintain the level that we've been recruiting at and that nationally, the players understand the importance of our future."
- As you know, Lane Kiffin does not comment on injuries, but in the case of CB Brian Baucham, he is legally restricted from updating the status of his medical condition.
- Kiffin announced that Jabari Ruffin will likely redshirt. The freshman has worked at both linebacker and as a pass rusher in practice, so he can be a versatile piece of the defense next season.
- This season, the media wants to know why the passing game has not been prolific the last three weeks. Kiffin explained that USC's opponents have gone outside of their typical defensive system to game plan against Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. "Those two kids have gotten a lot of respect from defensive staffs to implement a new system to stop them. If we do run the ball...people will change and go back."
- Matt Barkley is having his patience tested by all the shell defenses to stop the deep ball, but he acknowledged that it's good practice for the NFL. Just like you see Peyton Manning and others constantly audible at the line of scrimmage on Sundays, Barkley's job is to change the play from pass to run if that's what the defense is giving him.
- Without big passing stats, individual postseason awards will be harder to come by, but the 2012 Trojans are focused only on victories. "We're not going to force things just to get people numbers," said Kiffin. "We're going to do the best thing to win."
- Both Kiffin and Barkley were asked what they were most pleased with a third of the way through the season. The head coach and quarterback singled out the defensive line for stepping up despite a lack of experience.
- USC and Oregon square off on November 3, which is a long way away, but Barkley admitted that he had one eye on the Ducks demolition of Arizona at his post-game dinner Saturday night. "I see the score just climbing and climbing. They have a way of doing that just finishing games."
- Here is Lane Kiffin addressing the media...
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Click here for the complete release.
The Trojans and Bulldogs have played twice before, a Fresno State victory in the 1992 Freedom Bowl and the 2005 Coliseum classic featuring Reggie Bush's electrifying 294 yards rushing in a 50-42 USC victory.
The current USC coaching staff has strong ties to Fresno State. Head coach Lane Kiffin was a backup quarterback for the Bulldogs (1994-96), while special teams coach John Baxter was an assistant at Fresno for 13 years.
USC came out fighting Saturday and set a physical tone by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Go inside the locker room and down on the sidelines to get an UNFILTERED look at the 27-9 victory.
Matt Kalil, LT, Vikings - Zero sacks allowed in an upset of the 49ers
The first round draft pick has been thrown into the fire from day one, and responded like a seasoned veteran. Kalil and his Vikings linemates kept QB Christian Ponder clean against the vaunted San Francisco defense en route to Minnesota's second* win of the season. And on special teams, Kalil almost broke out "The Hammer," a nickname earned at USC for his kick blocking prowess, but instead earned an assist for strong penetration as a teammate profited by swatting down a David Akers field goal attempt.
(Photo of No. 75 Matt Kalil via Reuters)
Fred Davis, TE, Redskins - 7 catches for 90 yards
Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders - 24/34 for 209 yards and 3 TD/1 INT for a 103.7 passer rating in a win
Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - 13 tackles (7 solo) in a victory over the Redskins
Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 7 tackles (5 solo) in Tennessee's first win of the campaign
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs - 26/44 for 248 yards in an overtime victory in New Orleans
Click here for the recap.
Jovan Vavic, who is a 10-time National Coach of the Year, has an overall USC men's water polo record of 400-64 (.826), including a winning record against every Trojan opponent. He has won seven men's national championships with the last four coming consecutively, plus USC is off to an undefeated (9-0) start in its drive for five.
Click here for more on Vavic's accomplishment.
Vavic has the pleasure of coaching both his son, Nikola, and daughter, Monica, on the USC men's and women's teams. Father and son (pictured together) teamed up to make history Sunday.
Click here to see all the auction items.
Also on the auction list, USCTrojans.com has put up autographed 2012 football posters signed by all the players on the poster as well as an autographed game ball and helmet.
Click the link to listen:
Also mentioned on the call, USC officially had nine sacks not seven against Cal, which is the most by the Trojans since 2007 versus Oregon State. And, DE Morgan Breslin finished with 3.5 sacks, which is the highest total by a USC player since Lawrence Jackson vs. Arizona State on Thanksgiving 2007.
Katie Boggs wrapped up the weekend in highlights...
First up, John McGillen...
Mobile and tablet users click here to view.
Click here for the game recap and final stats.
Click here for Lane Kiffin's post-game presser.
Click here for the complete press conference with Matt Barkley, Silas Redd and T.J. McDonald.
Ground and Pound
A week after Stanford manhandled the Trojans offensive line, USC's reformed five controlled the line of scrimmage with senior captain Khaled Holmes (pictured) leading the way. Matt Barkley was not sacked, while Silas Redd (158 yards rushing) and Curtis McNeal (116 yards rushing) keyed the Trojans rushing attack, which combined for 296 yards on the ground. "I thought the game was won at the line of scrimmage today," said head coach Lane Kiffin. "Khaled being back makes a big difference for us. He really makes everything go." He also singled out Aundrey Walker for a strong game after having his starting spot challenged during the week.
The USC defensive line had several meetings at the quarterback in a seven sack performance. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron called it "night and day" having a healthy Wes Horton back in the starting lineup, but newcomers Morgan Breslin (3 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss) and Leonard Williams (2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss) stole the show. "They are guys that are just a work in progress," Horton said about his fast-rising teammates. "They are getting better week-in and week-out. They are playing like they are older, more veteran players. It's great to see."
The Turning Point
Statistically, USC dominated Cal by nearly doubling the Bears yardage, but the Coliseum was tense and quiet in the third quarter in a 17-9 game with Cal on the move. Senior captain T.J. McDonald made the play of the night by picking off Zach Maynard and changing the momentum. The Trojans secondary kept the Bears in front of them all night, and for the second straight season, the Bears could not get in the end zone in this match-up. "Execute violently and play mad," McDonald said was the game plan.
Points on the Field
The Trojans scored 27, but how many points could they have put up on the board if not for three turnovers, eight penalties and two first half drops on long passes. "Little things here and there," Barkley tried to explain what was missing. "We are trying to score as many points as possible, so hopefully we don't repeat the way we won today."
In a surprise twist, Andre Heidari was able to return as the field goal kicker just three weeks after suffering a leg injury in the season opener. As one of the best kickers in the nation, he is another weapon for the USC offense, which needed two field goals (40 and 41 yards) to salt away the victory. He also makes Lane Kiffin's job a little bit easier. "It helps me a lot...as a play-caller to know your kicker's range. It was great to have him back."
Hair of the Dog
The mood in the locker room was quite a bit different tonight than after the Stanford loss. "We are extremely proud of our players," said Kiffin. "We have got to make sure that we appreciate effort like that. That very easily could have been a hangover game." Barkley was asked to compare his post-game feelings after Stanford and now Cal. "Different," he said with a smile.
Marqise Lee has been the most dependable aspect of USC's offense. He has averaged 10 catches per game with six receiving touchdowns on the season, including two tonight.
We see all the comments on the blog and Twitter about the Trojan Family struggling to see the game across the country. Again, we are sorry that Pac-12 Networks is not available on all TV distributors. The conference is working tirelessly to strike a deal with DirecTV and others, which will be a huge boon for Pac-12 exposure in the long run. Hopefully, the negotiations will end soon, and you can watch your Trojans every week.
Here is senior DE Wes Horton on the Trojans relentless pass rush in a much needed win...
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 3 p.m. PT on the Pac-12 Network
Bear to Watch: Junior WR Keenan Allen
He is a magnificent combination of size and speed, who gave the Trojans fits in 2011 by catching 13 passes for 160 yards. The 6'3", 210-pound wideout shares a fraternal connection with QB Zach Maynard, which pays dividends on the field. Lane Kiffin mentioned several times this week that Allen is unique in that he is a big receiver who also has the agility to return punts.
Click the link to learn more about the Bears:
2012-09-22 CAL FOOTBALL GAME NOTES at USC.pdf
The test this week is as mental as it is physical. The Trojans and their postseason hopes were rocked by the loss at Stanford last Saturday. The leaders of this team have been at their best in the face of adversity over the last three years. Now, they have one more chance to rally the troops and begin the climb back up the polls.
Slow and Steady Loses the Race
Both offenses thrive on the big play. Cal fought back against Ohio State thanks to RB Brendan Bigelow, who came out of nowhere to run for 160 yards and two touchdowns on only four carries. USC will need to contain and wrap up the Bears speedy backs and receivers. On the other side, the Trojans need to recapture the explosive nature of their highly touted offense, which got lost in the grind in Palo Alto.
Center of Attention
Whether it is the return of Khaled Holmes, the introduction of Abe Markowitz or the second chance for Cyrus Hobbi, the USC snapper will draw a rare amount of attention Saturday. Cal will surely follow Stanford's game plan by trying to confuse the Trojans with its 3-4 defense. The USC offensive line needs a bounceback performance and that starts with the man in the middle.
The game is the 100th meeting between the two teams, and USC has won the last 8. Without a Friday Night Video this week, here is a look at the Trojans 30-9 victory last year in San Francisco.
The game against California this Saturday will be USC football's first-ever appearance on the new Pac-12 Networks. The network's creation has been extremely positive for the conference and each school.
However, as you probably are aware, the network is not yet available to all of our fans. Those with Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Cable, Brighthouse Networks and Dish Network will be able to view the USC-Cal game. But, as of today, those with DirecTV, Fios, U-verse and several other systems won't be able to see the game, as those distributors have yet to sign a contract with the conference.
We have heard from many of you who do not yet get the Pac-12 Networks. We understand your frustration and concern. The Pac-12 Conference is working diligently, on behalf of all our schools and their fans, to get every broadcasting system to carry the Pac-12 Networks. However, it is a process and can be laborious.
If you are among the unlucky who can't get the Pac-12 Networks, what is your best option? Well, to see the game, you'll have to go somewhere that gets Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Cable, Brighthouse Networks and Dish Network.
Realize, too, that you have a voice in this. Express your dissatisfaction to your carrier. You can do so by clicking here. Or call them (for instance, DirecTV's number is 1-800-531-5000) .
After the latest upset at Stanford, the national momentum has been to bury the Trojans aspirations of postseason glory, but in the past decade, USC has made its name by fighting out of a September hole. As the saying goes, "The games to remember are played in November."
The Trojans will have more than a few chances this fall to remind the country that their pulse beats strong. USC's last five regular season games feature No. 22 Arizona, No. 3 Oregon, Arizona St., No. 19 UCLA and No. 11 Notre Dame all before a potential Pac-12 Championship Game.
If the Trojans run the table, would it be enough to play for the national crown? It was in 2003. It would have been in 2006 if not for the loss to UCLA. In 2008, 11-1 did not get it done.
Of USC's 11 national championships, only four featured perfect records. Of the last six BCS champions, only two went undefeated.
The truth is no one knows what it will take to make Miami. The fun (or agony) is in the wait and see.
The Trojans do know the path to Pasadena. It starts Saturday with a home contest against Cal followed by seven more conference games to determine the winner of the Pac-12 South and then a conference championship game.
Lane Kiffin summed up the feelings of the Trojan Family, "Saturday cannot come soon enough."
Relive it in this SC Classic...
Click here to read the centennial supplement.
John McGillen captured the action and the atmosphere.
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Mobile and tablet users click here to view.
- After yesterday's 26-second press conference, Lane Kiffin started with a joke, "Let's see if we can make it past a minute today."
- The head coach has not made any decisions at left tackle, but he is happy with how Aundrey Walker has responded to the challenge. He also likes what he has seen from true freshman Max Tuerk.
- In talking about Walker and Tuerk, Kiffin insinuated that both players could shift to another position before the end of their Trojan careers. "We have two really young kids...that are very talented and could play a number of positions on the line here eventually."
- Kiffin learned offense under Cal head coach Jeff Tedford at Fresno State. The familiarity could be seen as a reason for the Trojans and Bears not being as explosive against one and other as they are against other opponents. "There must be something to it because there have been a number of low scoring games," said Kiffin.
- The team is "anxious" to erase the memory of last Saturday's defeat with another game. "It has been a long week from that standpoint," said Kiffin. "Saturday cannot come fast enough."
- (Photo by John McGillen)
- Here is 6:55 of Kiffin and the media...
Click here for the match recap.
The Trojans received standout performances across the board in the four set victory, but the one-two punch of senior Katie Fuller (21 kills) and freshman Samantha Bricio (19 kills) carried the night. Fuller hit a remarkable .444, while Bricio displayed incredible composure in the biggest match of her young career.
USC and UCLA will meet again in Westwood on the final day of the regular season.
Bedsole caught two touchdown passes in the 1963 Rose Bowl against Wisconsin, which sealed the Trojans national championship. Relive the "USC Classic" to understand Bedsole's greatness...
The marathon swim (21-23 miles depending on the current) from Shakespeare Beach in Dover, England, to Cap Gris Nez, France, is a grueling exercise that fewer people have accomplished than climbing Mount Everest. Reynolds had to deal with strong currents, which make the swim even longer, as well as cold temperatures.
"It was much more difficult than I originally anticipated," Reynolds said. "I had some shoulder pain that started setting in after the third hour of the swim.
"The pain started impeding my stroke, which undercut some of the momentum built up during the initial three hours of the swim. The pain slowed the pace down, which allowed the cold to become more of a factor as the race progressed."
Reynolds was swimming for a cause though, which meant quitting was not an option.
"[My grandmother] was a constant source of inspiration, as were the many family and friends that had shown support during our fundraising for Cure Alzheimer's," said Reynolds, who raised more than $7,000.
"It brings a lot of meaning to the swim. I know that Alzheimer's is something that continually affects many of our lives, particularly with the family members that have taken it upon themselves to take care of the affected loved one after being diagnosed."
No. 1 UCLA at No. 2 USC Women's Volleyball - 7 p.m. PT tonight on ESPNU
Washington at USC Women's Soccer - 2 p.m. PT Friday on Pac-12 Los Angeles
Cal at No. 13 USC Football - 3 p.m. PT Saturday on Pac-12 Network
No. 4 Cal at No. 1 USC Men's Water polo - 1 p.m. PT Sunday on ESPNU
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Here is the newest Matt Vs...
- Lane Kiffin's daily media scrum ended after one question this morning, which referenced the availability and practice showing of an injured player. The head coach declined to answer the question per his previously stated policy regarding no reporting on practice participation.
- As for the on field news, the defense shifted personnel around for Stanford in part due to depth issues, but also to maximize the most talented players like T.J. McDonald. "He's an impact type player," said Monte Kiffin. "We've got to get him close to the line of scrimmage, so he has a chance to make more plays."
- DT George Uko was also utilized at defensive end, but that was more about making up for Wes Horton, who was limited. "We are just down defensive ends," Monte Kiffin said. "George did a good job. He's never played defensive end ever. Then, we just tried to get the four best guys on the field."
- The linebacker trio is complete with Lamar Dawson's return to health. He led the Trojans in tackles against Stanford. "It just feels good to get back on the field with my team, and line up the defense, and make the calls, and just make plays," Dawson said. "It was tough for me just to watch everybody practice, but I got a lot of mental reps."
- LB Dion Bailey had his breakout game against Cal last year on Thursday Night Football when he intercepted Zach Maynard twice. Since then, he has grown into a full fledged star, but he has seen Maynard improve as well. "His decision-making has improved. He's a little bit more accurate than he was last year. That just comes from maturity."
- Cal's offense will challenge USC's team speed and tackling ability with playmakers on the perimeter. "They create a lot of big plays," Bailey said. "[RB Brendan] Bigelow against Ohio State had a very good game (4 carries for 160 yards). Keenan Allen is very capable of busting open big plays at any moment."
- The Bears lost to the Buckeyes, but most pundits were impressed that the game was even competitive. If nothing else, Cal proved that the Trojans should not take them lightly. "They are not afraid of the big stage," said Bailey. "They went and played in one of the most hostile environments that you could play in in college football, so they are going to come to the Coliseum with confidence high."
- (Photo by John McGillen)
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What do you make of the football team's loss at Stanford?
Sure, any loss is disappointing to our players, coaches and fans who all care deeply about USC. But this season is just getting started. We have nine regular season games to play, including a bunch of marquee match-ups. I still think we are as good as or better than everybody we are going to play. Let us just see how this thing plays out. We had an early season loss to Arizona State last year and ended up winning 10 games. Our goal is to win the Pac-12 South and get to the conference championship and then see what happens after that. That is still our goal.
What do you expect from No. 1 UCLA vs. No. 2 USC women's volleyball Wednesday night at Galen Center?
Mick Haley is another coach who keeps bringing in fresh talent every year. Freshman outside hitter Samantha Bricio and sophomore setter Hayley Crone are taking over for All-Americans at their respective positions, but they are already playing at a really high level. We are the defending Pac-12 champions; UCLA won the national championship last year. It is No. 1 vs. No. 2 in a rivalry match. What else could you ask for? I will be at Galen Center with my wife and grandkids. Come join me to watch one of our premier sports.
Click here for tickets to USC vs. UCLA women's volleyball.
How impressive was men's water polo's third consecutive NorCal Tournament title?
The NorCal Tournament is water polo at its best and Jovan Vavic's team has done it again. Being able to do it year after year shows me how well they recruit and how well they coach and develop talent. Joel Dennerley was so valuable in goal for us the last few years, but James Clark has taken over and looks ready to carry the baton. Jovan has reloaded and the pipeline is full.
What is the latest with the Pac-12 Network?
Unless something breaks between now and Saturday, I am disappointed for our fans who cannot watch the USC/Cal game on DirecTV and several other outlets not carrying the network. Thankfully, there are plenty of other ways to watch the game with Time Warner Cable, Comcast and DISH Network having already picked up the network. I know the conference is doing everything it can to bring DirecTV on board as soon as possible. I am a DirecTV subscriber, and I have emailed them to let them know I want Pac-12 Networks. I encourage you to do the same.
What can fans expect from the men's and women's basketball programs this season?
Basketball was disappointing last year. Until we prove we are better, I understand the skeptics. Having seen the additions made by Kevin O'Neill and Michael Cooper this offseason, I am very encouraged. On the men's side, we finally have depth, especially inside with three seven-footers. The Wake Forest transfers J.T. Terrell and Ari Stewart can really score. And on the women's side, Michael Cooper's new assistant coaches are really good recruiters and teachers of the game plus they have a talented freshman class.
Click here for men's basketball season tickets.
Click here for women's basketball season tickets.
Click the link for the complete team:
2012 Allstate AFCA GWT Announcement Release FINAL.pdf
Most notably, Negrete has helped the autistic community by mentoring a teenager with the disorder and encouraging others to do so. He also joined Matt Barkley and others on service trips to Africa and Haiti the past two years.
In his short time at USC, he has become an ambassador for the program and a leader in the community. The former walk-on loves to say, "Don't doubt the down and out."
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- Lane Kiffin still has the bitter taste of losing in his mouth. "I kind of wish I was a baseball coach," he joked about the long wait until the next game. Both the coaches and players were excited to be back out on the practice field with the pads on.
- Matt Barkley has a 24-hour rule after a win or a loss. He was despondent in the immediate aftermath of the game because he did not see the result coming. "I think the loss itself and the shock behind it," he explained his post-game reaction. "I didn't think that was going to happen this year."
- Kiffin has been honest about the poor decision-making Barkley made on the two interceptions, but he made the comments in the context of his quarterback's typical greatness. Today, Kiffin drew a parallel to Peyton Manning throwing three interceptions in the first quarter on Monday Night Football.
- Barkley agreed with his head coach's assessment and candor, "I made some poor decisions. He's going to be real. I'm glad he's not hiding me behind a curtain. I know what I did."
- As is typical in football, the quarterback gets the lion's share of the credit when his team wins, but shoulders the blame after a loss. "It's my team and my offense," Barkley understands. "I know we're responsible for doing more than that and are capable of doing more than that."
- The offensive line is under scrutiny this week. "As a whole group, we weren't up to par," said offensive line coach James Cregg. "We've corrected the mistakes off the film and we're moving on to next week."
- Abe Markowitz might have started at center if not for an injury that cost him practice time last week, so the coaches went with Cyrus Hobbi, who took all the first team reps leading up to Stanford. Markowitz has missed out on playing time a lot in the last three years due to injury, but he is not bemoaning his luck. "I am the luckiest guy in the world. I'm here. I got my degree. I'm working on my Master's. I'm glad to be here growing and going forward."
- If Markowitz plays Saturday, he brings a level of experience to the position that Hobbi does not have. "I've been here just as long as Khaled [Holmes] and been in every meeting with him," he said. "I'm prepared and I'm ready to take snaps at guard or center."
- The left tackle spot is an open competition this week between Aundrey Walker and Max Tuerk. "We are looking for finish," said Kiffin. "We won't tolerate lack of great effort...not when you put on these jerseys that all these great players have worn before."
- Kiffin expects Walker will respond well to the challenge. "I'm going to keep working hard," Walker said. "I don't let anything stop me from helping the team."
- Here is the long post-practice session with Kiffin against the new practice backdrop...
The Trojans are undefeated (12-0) having won three preseason tournaments, but the Bruins provide the toughest test to date. Click here for a match preview.
Mick Haley's team has started fast despite the loss of three All-Americans, including setter Kendall Bateman. Sophomore Hayley Crone, who has taken command of the job, was profiled by our Katie Boggs.
Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 3.5 sacks, 7 tackles and a pass deflection in a victory
Matthews was the star of Thursday Night Football leading the Packers defense to a physical beating of Jay Cutler and the Bears. After two games, Matthews already has an NFL best six sacks, which matches his 2011 total. He is the sixth player in NFL history to get six or more sacks in the first two games of a season and the only player ever to do it more than once. He will square off with Pete Carroll's Seahawks on Monday Night Football next week.
Anthony McCoy, TE, Seahawks - 5 catches for 41 yards and his first career touchdown
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins - 26 carries for 172 yards and 2 TDs plus 3 catches for 25 yards
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs - 23/42 for 301 yards and 2 TDs to 1 INT
Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders - 24/48 for 373 yards and 1 TD to 1 INT
Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals - 10 tackles
Frostee Rucker, DE, Browns - 4 tackles and a sack
Malcolm Smith, LB, Seahawks - Blocked punt
Click here for the full story.
"We are excited that Omar Oraby has joined the team and think he will fit in quickly," said head coach Kevin O'Neill. "His size and ability to score inside and block shots will make an immediate impact. He is a great student with a 3.7 GPA in Civil Engineering at Rice. He has a very bright future."
Originally from Cairo, Egypt, the big man set the Rice school record for blocks in a season with 54 in 2011-12.
Click here for the full recap.
Now three-time defending NorCal Tournament champions, USC has reloaded in 2012. The weekend provided a debut for new goalie James Clark, who sparkled with 11 saves in the final.
The Trojans were led in scoring by Nikola Vavic (pictured), who found the net four times against the Bruins, and Jeremy Davie, who backhanded in the game-winning shot in overtime against the Cardinal.
Next up: No. 1 USC hosts No. 3 Cal at McDonald's Swim Stadium on Sunday (September 23) at 1 p.m. The match is the Trojans first on Pac-12 Networks.
(Photo by Dan Avila)
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Here are this week's game notes and official depth chart:
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The Trojans are back to their winning ways following a 27-9 victory over the California Golden Bears. With four games in the books, USC can take a much needed break before the Trojans venture to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes.
"I think this team is a little tired in general as we had a pretty hard camp and we've been on the road for the past couple of weeks," said USC head coach Lane Kiffin. "We're pretty beat up. Even some guys that are playing are not a hundred percent and it will be really good to get those guys some rest."
USC (3-1, 1-1) sits at a similar position to last season. In 2011, USC lost to ASU in the fourth week, destroying their hopes for a perfect season. Following the loss, USC bounced back with a victory over Arizona before entering the bye week.
During that bye week, the Trojans made much needed improvements within the secondary and improved some facets of the offense. The adjustments gave USC momentum for the remainder of the season, resulting in a 10-2 overall record.
The 2012 Trojans can take their experience from the previous season and apply it to their current situation as injuries have plagued the USC roster since the beginning of fall camp, forcing them to act quickly in replacing vital players. In addition, the week off can give the younger players on the USC roster some much needed time to regroup before the season resumes.
Click here for the game recap and final stats.
Click here for Lane Kiffin's complete post-game press conference.
The Damn Tree
Stanford has now beaten USC four consecutive times for the first time ever in the rivalry. The last three have been decided by a single score. "Hats off to them for another celebration up here," said Lane Kiffin. "We're a part of it again." The Trojans will have to fight the fatalistic feeling of a college football loss on a team with national championship expectations. "It is disappointing. You never want to lose. I feel like we put everything we had into it, we just came up short," said captain T.J. McDonald. We got to rebound. We got to respond. We've got a long season left. We've got to make sure we keep this feeling in our hearts and the back of our heads and move forward from here."
Center of Attention
The USC offensive line did not look right without its leader Khaled Holmes on the ball. The unit yielded four sacks and lost the battle up front. "If there's a game on the schedule that you wouldn't want to be missing your senior center, this is it," said head coach Lane Kiffin. "I don't care who the backup was, you are going to miss him against this team." Stanford confused the young Trojans line with multiple fronts and disguised blitz schemes.
Second Half Shutout
USC's offensive skill players can look impossible to stop at times, but the Cardinal made it happen. "They were playing a lot of cover two trying to take away the perimeter," explained QB Matt Barkley. "So essentially, they were double teaming the outside guys. When you saw them one-on-one, they were doing pass interference." Stanford's game plan limited Robert Woods and Marqise Lee to a pedestrian 138 combined receiving yards and no touchdowns. The rushing statistics were even uglier. Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd combined for 54 yards on 20 carries, and the majority of the yardage came on a meaningless 30-yard run on the last play before halftime. Plus, both running backs were knocked out of the game for spells, although they showed tremendous guts to return to the fray in the second half.
(Photos by John McGillen)
Unless the Trojans get another shot at Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Matt Barkley ends his USC career 0-4 against the Cardinal. The quarterback appeared battered, bruised and despondent after the loss. "They are in the tank," Kiffin said about the locker room. "Regardless what you say, every game is the same, but this is a big game for them, especially for those older guys." Barkley never found any rhythm under constant duress, and finished 20/41 for 254 yards and 0 TDs to 2 INTs.
On the road against a good team, the Trojans made too many costly mistakes, including seven penalties for 73 yards and three first half turnovers. "We did not play with a lot of discipline today," said Kiffin. "That falls on me."
The Defense Needs to Rest
The defense played well enough to win, but the unit wore down in the second half as Stanford controlled time of possession (19:14 to 10:46). Nevertheless, the Trojans received standout performances from LB Lamar Dawson (10 tackles), LB Dion Bailey (9 tackles and an INT), S T.J. McDonald (9 tackles and a blocked FG), CB Torin Harris and DE Morgan Breslin. "Our defense played pretty well for the most part," said Kiffin. "You score 14 points, you are not winning many games."
Breakout Game - While it might get lost in the shuffle, freshman WR Nelson Agholor made his biggest impact of the season with three catches for 77 yards plus two tackles on kickoff coverage.
Up Next - The season is not over. In fact, it is just getting started with Cal coming to the Coliseum Saturday at 3 p.m. "You drop it," said Barkley about getting over the loss. "You stick together. You learn. You go back to playing Trojan football."
Here are Matt Barkley and T.J. McDonald after the loss...
Stanford Stadium at 4:30 p.m. pt on FOX
Cardinal to Watch: Senior RB Stepfan Taylor
Stanford does not have the athletes to compete with USC on the outside, so the Cardinal will likely pack it in with two tight ends and try to pound the Trojans undersized front seven with Taylor. If he can get into a rhythm, Stanford can shorten the game by controlling time of possession and keep the pressure off QB Josh Nunes in his first big start.
Click the link to learn more about the Cardinal:
3rd Down Defense
Andrew Luck's greatest strength in college was picking up third downs with short throws or his feet. Assuming David Shaw sticks with his methodical game plan, Nunes will find himself in a lot of 3rd-and-3 situations. Without many perimeter weapons to defend, USC's safeties and linebackers can press the Cardinal's tight ends and force Nunes into congested throws and deflections.
USC was blanked in the first quarter against Syracuse and started sluggishly in the game against Stanford last year. If the Trojans high-octane offense can run up the score early, the Cardinal will be forced out if its comfort zone. Assuming Matt Barkley gets protection, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are too good for Stanford's secondary.
The players are not focused on revenge, but beating Stanford makes the "unfinished business" checklist. Barkley's class experienced the "What's your deal?" blowout in 2009, the clock malfunction in 2010 and the 3OT heartbreaker in 2011. At the very least, Stanford should have the Trojans full attention Saturday.
The football team is staying in Santa Clara, which is well outside of the city, but here's what the USC pep rally looked like from the fan's perspective last night.
(Photo by Pedro Moura)
Among the Trojans spotted in the crowd, women's water polo gold medalist Tumua Anae, 4x400m silver medalist Josh Mance and 800m sprinter Duane Solomon.
We will update this post if we get more photos, but silver medalist Bryshon Nellum tweeted his moment with President Obama.
Click here for the weekend preview.
While the record may not show it, the Women of Troy have dominated open play more often than not this season. The Trojans have outshot opponents 117-74, yet they have converted all those shots into only 11 goals in six games.
"Scoring goals is all about maintaining composure and an understanding of the goalkeeper's positioning," said head coach Ali Khosroshahin.
A lack of composure in front of goal could be directly tied to a lack of experience in the group of forwards. Khosroshahin has tinkered with his partnership of strikers, but true freshmen Megan Borman, Katie Johnson and Whitney Pitalo are in the mix.
(Photo of Pitalo by John McGillen)
"We have developed a solid rotation with our strikers and now the familiarity and communication between them is being developed," said Khosroshahin.
If USC can start turning chances into goals, the Trojans will see narrow losses become wins.
Click here for season ticket information!
The 2012-13 Trojans will feature a deep veteran squad led by PG Jio Fontan, C Dewayne Dedmon, PF Aaron Fuller and SF Byron Wesley plus top junior college SG J.T. Terrell, Wake Forest transfer SF Ari Stewart, Irvine transfer PF Eric Wise and Tennessee transfer SF Renaldo Woolridge.
Men's basketball season ticket holders will be treated to showcase games against San Diego State, Minnesota, Arizona and UCLA. The season ticket prices range from $180 - $340 for all 16 home games.
Coming off a 6-26 campaign, several preseason prognosticators have predicted the Trojans will be one of the most improved programs in the country. The season begins November 9.
Now, Banks is on the comeback trail as he works toward a career in football after a decade of fighting for his life and honor.
Banks has been nominated as an America's Choice Honoree, a fan-based voting award on Facebook, and the winner will be featured on "Courage in Sports" which airs Nov. 11 on CBS at 5pm ET.
Click here to vote for Brian Banks!
The 44 Trojans on active NFL opening day rosters is more than any other college football program. In truth, it is not even close.
USC is trailed by Miami (37) and LSU (36). Cal is the only other Pac-12 program to make the top 10.
The NFL's official list does not include players on injured reserve like Terrell Thomas, Mike Patterson and Ronald Johnson or practice squad like Brandon Carswell and Allen Bradford.
Click here to watch it.
T.J. McDonald passed the torch to Robey as the official orchestrator of the run out of the tunnel.
(Photo by John McGillen)
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- Los Angeles Daily News writer Scott Wolf was present for a portion of practice after his suspension was lifted. Since no one asked Lane Kiffin about it, the head coach volunteered an explanation about his injury policy in regards to the media.
- Kiffin: "The [newspaper] editors and our people, we are going to try to get together, so you guys can do your jobs the best you can, but also for us not at a competitive [dis]advantage. I know it is not exactly the best thing for you, but we are also trying to protect our team too."
- As for matters on the field, the defense finished a strong week of practice with CB Nickell Robey making the play of the day stepping in front of a Cody Kessler pass during red zone drills.
- (Photo of early morning practice by John McGillen)
- The general sense is that USC's run defense will be given a stern test on Saturday. Redshirt freshman DT Antwaun Woods is the anchor of that unit. "He really had a great offseason [and] dropped the weight, [but] he just hasn't played before," said Kiffin.
- While Stanford lost All-American TE Coby Fleener to the NFL, the Cardinal can still form an imposing two tight end package with Zach Ertz (6'6" - 252 lbs) and Levine Toilolo (6'8" - 265). "Mismatch issues," Kiffin said about the problems posed by the duo. "They go after you. They are going to split them out and make you cover them."
- CB Ryan Henderson has been a name lost in the shuffle as the Trojans search for answers opposite Nickell Robey. "We try to look at everybody. Ryan just really hasn't been up with that first group."
- Rust is part of USC's problem at corner as Torin Harris and Brian Baucham played little to no football during fall camp. "Those guys missed a lot of time," Kiffin said. "You can see that those guys were a little rusty out there."
- Saturday marks the Trojans second of four road games in a five game stretch. The schedule is front loaded with travel as USC will not leave Los Angeles in November. "It is an advantage in the long run, [but] it is a disadvantage right away," Kiffin said.
- Here is Kiffin's Thursday presser...
The drive for five hits a new gear this weekend with the NorCal Tournament featuring Stanford, Cal and UCLA. For all the Trojan fans heading up to Stanford for the football game, the water polo team will be in action in Palo Alto on Saturday and Sunday.
Click here for the tournament schedule.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Trojans first touchdown against Syracuse came just two minutes into the second. Often a formality, the extra point that followed was a momentous occasion for walk-on freshman kicker Alex Wood, who made a surprising debut at MetLife Stadium.
Just four days before kickoff, Wood received the news of his life. He was USC's new starting kicker.
Despite playing in the national spotlight, Wood refused to be intimidated by his new role. "I just knew I had to practice hard, win the week by beating out the competition and proving that I should be there," Wood said. "Once I got to MetLife Stadium, it just felt like practice."
In his Trojan debut, Wood made all six of the extra points he attempted.
Unlike most players on the USC roster, Wood began his football career during his sophomore year of high school. Originally a soccer player, he was approached by the football coach of his high school, Mercer Island.
"The coach came up to me and said that he had seen me on the soccer field and told me I should try kicking a football," Wood said. "I tried out for the team and it all worked out."
Click here to download the new BETA version for Androids.
If you download the BETA version and email us feedback, you are entered to win tickets to the USC vs. Cal game on September 22.
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This week, "The White Mamba" announced his retirement to become a television broadcaster. While he may not have gotten a lot of playing time, Scalabrine developed a reputation as a locker room leader who always found his way on winning teams, including the NBA champion 2008 Boston Celtics.
The NBA released this tribute video honoring the career of a fan favorite...
- The defense dominated this morning's session. "I thought the defense for two days in a row played very physical and uptempo," said head coach Lane Kiffin. "I think we are going to play really well on defense [Saturday]."
- While the USC defense has been sized down in the front seven during the Kiffin era to adjust to all the spread offenses, the head coach is hoping that practicing against a pro-style offense each week will help them adjust to Stanford's physical style.
- After games against pass-happy Hawaii and Syracuse, the Trojans are gearing up for a fistfight Saturday. "They are a real tough team," said DE Kevin Greene. "All their hard work and dedication really shows up on film. We just have to get our mind right."
- (Classic John McGillen photo of Greene from 2011)
- Greene's specialty as an end is pass rushing. When it comes to run defense, he is focused on "just staying low and making sure that I come off physical every play."
- Morgan Breslin, who started the first two games, is another speedy defensive end. "He does have to be a little more aware on outside plays of overrunning them," said defensive line coach Ed Orgeron about Breslin, but, "I'd rather have that than the other way."
- Breslin has been the biggest surprise on the team, according to Kiffin. "He's just continued to grow every day," said Orgeron, who then reminded the media it's only been two games. "We've got a long season. This guy has a lot of things to get better at."
- Greene is another player that has been thrust into the spotlight due to the depth issues at defensive end, but as Lane Kiffin likes to say, "If you stay, you play." "It's all about hard work. It's all about keeping your mouth shut and getting better every day," said Greene. "What you can control is how hard you work and how serious you take things on and off the field."
- While Curtis McNeal answered questions yesterday about the game-ending fumble against Stanford last year, S T.J. McDonald's costly personal foul late in regulation was a topic of discussion today. "He has [changed his play]," said Kiffin about McDonald. "In general, he tries to avoid that area. I still don't know...will never know...how the penalty we are discussing could have been stopped."
- Kiffin called Robert Woods and Marqise Lee the best blocking duo of wide receivers during his time at Troy.
- The head coach is also impressed by Jim Mora Jr.'s work across town. "[UCLA] got off to a great start. Some gigantic numbers. It is not easy to get your offense and defense playing that well that fast."
- The atmosphere in Palo Alto was electric two years ago with a big Trojan contingent amid a nearly sold out crowd. "It was huge [two years ago]," said Greene, a Bay Area native. "It was loud and the crowd was rowdy." However, Stanford is on the quarter system, so the students are not in school yet.
- A much better camera angle of Coach Kiffin as he addressed the media today...
Click here to download the PROJECT TRO7AN app.
NIKE has not made a poster either of the image below, but you are welcome to download it.
The larger text reads: "As a Trojan, I will always do what is right! I will act ethically, honestly, and fairly, and respect the rights and dignity of all people, at all times. Doing the right thing isn't always easy but it's always right."
Here is the display on the ground floor... (click to enlarge)
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Here's a cool T.J. McDonald wallpaper from the win over Syracuse...
Also from Khaled Holmes, "RIP to all of the souls lost on this day 11 years ago and to all the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much since. #NeverForget"
A photo for the occasion...
(Photo by Jon SooHoo)
Mobile and tablet users click here to view.
- Nobody would take the bait. Not Lane Kiffin, not Matt Barkley or Curtis McNeal. Despite back-to-back heartbreaking losses to Stanford, USC is sticking with the "just another game" mantra.
- RT Kevin Graf admitted that last year's loss "absolutely" sticks with him, but "this is a new year."
- (Photo by LA Times)
- McNeal has the most motivation after his triple overtime fumble ended last year's Coliseum classic, but the veteran running back has put the mistake behind him. "I was able to put it away that night. It's just football. You just have to keep on going."
- Despite the fumble, McNeal was the offensive catalyst against the Cardinal last season. He ran for 145 yards and 2 TDs on 20 carries, but he has not been the primary ball carrier in 2012. "I can't worry about how many times I touch it. Just when I touch it, I have to make something happen."
- The running game exploded for 258 yards against Syracuse, but the night ended on a sour note with Khaled Holmes getting carted off. "It's always tough to watch one of your guys go down like that, but we have Cyrus [Hobbi] and he stepped up," Graf said. "I know he's ready for it if his time comes."
- Holmes is the undisputed leader of the offensive line, so Graf and others will need to communicate more if Holmes misses any time. "It pushes me more to step up and try to get this line going," Graf said.
- The offensive line will get a huge challenge from Stanford's experienced front seven. "They are very disciplined," McNeal said. "They always stick to their rules. You never catch their guys out of place."
- The Stanford offense has been balanced in its first two games, but the general perception is that the Cardinal will try to run the ball and control the clock Saturday. "They seem to have leaned on their running game, which is still really good," said Kiffin about post-Andrew Luck Stanford.
- As for today's practice, the defense had the better of the competitive action. Defensive backs Drew McAllister and Anthony Brown forced incompletions by breaking hard on the ball, which is the type of aggressive play the coaches need to see more of from the secondary.
- Sorry about the camerawork for Kiffin's media scrum today. We will work on our box out techniques for next practice. Here is the sound at least...
Former USC fullback Brandon Hancock also found some of his national championship winning teammates in the crowd.
Here it is...
Here is the latest message from the Pac-12 to its fans...
Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets - 19/27 for 266 yards and 3 TDs to 1 INT for a 123.4 QB rating
After an offseason of non-stop drama in the media capital of the country, Sanchez quieted the critics with a sterling performance in week one. The Jets did not score an offensive touchdown in the preseason, but Sanchez tossed for three scores in a 48-28 annihilation of the Buffalo Bills. In all, USC quarterbacks threw nine touchdown passes over the weekend at MetLife Stadium.
(Photo of Sanchez with USC executives Mark Jackson and J.K. McKay at the Syracuse game)
Brian Cushing, LB, Texans - Stuffed the stat sheet: 7 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception
Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 2.5 sacks to lead the NFL after week one
Nick Perry, LB, Packers - The rookie made 8 tackles at his new outside linebacker position
Matt Kalil, OT, Vikings - The first round pick started in his first NFL game which the Vikings won in overtime
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs - 21/33 for 258 yards and 2 TDs (1 rushing)
Keith Rivers, LB, Giants - 7 tackles on Wednesday night in his first game with his new team
Damian Williams, WR, Titans - 5 catches for 33 yards
Click here for the full recap.
John McGillen captured the action inside Galen Center Saturday night as the Trojans swept the Irish...
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The game will be Trojan football's first appearance on Pac-12 Networks, so make sure you have the conference channels or let your television provider hear about it.
Here's an inside look at victory number two...
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Click here for the recap and final stats.
Click here for the full press conference.
- Birthday Boy - On his 22nd birthday, Matt Barkley tied his own school record with six touchdown passes in a single game. The Heisman frontrunner now has 10 TD passes on the season, but he was limited to mostly underneath throws against the Orange. "I did have to be patient with the ball," said Barkley, who completed 23 of 30 for only 187 yards. The QB took blame for "a poor ball" on his first interception of the season, but he was all smiles after the game thanks to a team serenade of "Happy Birthday" in the locker room.
- Reversal of Fortune - Lane Kiffin sparked the rushing attack by calling a pair of reverses for his star wideouts. Marqise Lee picked up a 4th down conversion on a 23-yard run in the first half and then Robert Woods helped break the game open with a 76-yard scamper in the final quarter. "That's part of the run game," said Kiffin about reverses. "Our running game really complemented us today," Barkley praised the group which picked up 258 yards on 7.8 yards per carry. Silas Redd enjoyed his first 100-yard rushing game as a Trojan.
- Out of the Woods - While Marqise Lee owned the spotlight against Hawaii, Robert Woods was the main attraction tonight. When Syracuse closed the gap to 21-16, Woods put the team on his back. He finished the day with 10 catches (2 touchdowns), a 31-yard punt return and a 76-yard run. "That's why we recruit...to get guys like 9 and 2," Kiffin said about his dynamic duo. "Robert really stepped up." Lee was pretty good too with three more TD catches.
- Kick It Up a Notch - In an atmosphere that lacked energy, the Trojans received an emotional lift from the special teams, which dominated field position thanks to three Kyle Negrete punts downed inside the 20. And in the absence of PK Andre Heidari, walk-ons Alex Wood and Craig McMahon filled in admirably. Wood, who joined the team during fall camp, is relatively new to football after converting from soccer in high school, but he drilled all six extra points. "It was surreal walking out there, but once the ball got down, it was the same as practice," Wood said.
- MetLife Madness - A severe weather warning forced play to be suspended for more than an hour leaving the Trojans stuck in the locker room and the fans seeking shelter in the concourse. "We don't have a lot of delays from thunderstorms in Southern California," Barkley quipped. "I thought our guys responded well after that long delay." The coaches actually enjoyed the extra time to prepare for the second half, while the players just tried to relax and preserve energy.
- The Corners - The win was not without warts. The defense wilted at times in the second half as Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib attacked USC's corners not named Nickell Robey. "They did a good job on offense taking advantage of us on the outside," said Kiffin, who used Robey primarily in the slot. The Trojans gave up 322 yards passing, and the head coach was most disappointed with the fade routes that got over the top of the secondary.
- X-Man - Xavier Grimble had only one reception, but he made it count. The sophomore tight end broke four tackles and lost his helmet on a beastly 22-yard catch and run TD, which changed the momentum of the game for good.
- Holmes Injury - Late in the game, senior captain Khaled Holmes was carted off with an apparent ankle injury. If the center misses any time, redshirt freshman Cyrus Hobbi will take his place. USC also played the entire second half without defensive ends Wes Horton and J.R. Tavai and WR George Farmer.
Here is Dion Bailey, who stuffed the stat sheet with 8 tackles (one for loss) and two interceptions...
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(Photo by Pierson Clair)
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ at 3:30 p.m. et on ABC
Orange to Watch: Senior QB Ryan Nassib
After week one, he leads the nation in passing yards by torching Northwestern for 470 yards and 4 TDs. He was solid against the Trojans last year too (25/37 for 230 yards 1 TD/0 INT) albeit in a losing effort. Lane Kiffin emphasized putting the veteran in third and long to limit his efficiency.
Click here to learn more about the Orange.
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Robey's Tag Team Partner
Junior CB Nickell Robey will consistently lock down one side of the field or an opponent's top receiver, so veteran quarterbacks will try to pick on the other starting cornerback. With Torin Harris potentially returning this week, the competition is on with veterans Anthony Brown and Brian Baucham as well as freshman Kevon Seymour. Nassib will test all of them.
Just a few miles from Wall Street, the Trojans offense can improve its portfolio by finding a running game that was missing for most of the opener. Kiffin publicly challenged his offensive line this week and expects them to respond with a physical, grinding effort to pave the way for Silas Redd and Curtis McNeal.
Happy Birthday Barks
USC QB Matt Barkley turns 22 on game day. What better way to celebrate than lead the Trojans to another victory. The Heisman frontrunner is hoping that this is the first of two trips to New York this season.
We will return next week with a media member's take on the game, but here is last night's Friday Night Video...
Here is a cool aerial view of the concert...
Here is a tease...
The Trojans will enter the stadium in anger at 3:30 p.m. local time Saturday.
The Spirit of Troy will also play at MetLife Stadium before the game as part of the USC Alumni Associations' pregame tailgate.
Smith also introduces fans to the starting defensive tackles, George Uko and Antwaun Woods, and discusses jet lag remedies for the long trip to New Jersey.
Click here to watch the video.
(Photo by Jon SooHoo)
Click here for the full story on the USC Classic.
The first 5,000 fans in attendance at the showcase match against the Irish will receive a FREE WE PLAY t-shirt.
Click here for tickets.
The USC men's water polo team will host No. 17 ranked Cal Baptist in the Trojans home opener at the McDonald's Swim Stadium on Saturday. The top-ranked Trojans are looking to make history as they embark on the quest for a fifth consecutive championship.
Last December, the men's water polo team became the first program to win four consecutive national championships after defeating crosstown rival UCLA 7-4.
Although the Trojans have created a dynasty in the pool, head coach Jovan Vavic believes that 2012 means new beginnings for the Trojans. "We don't labor on the past because this is a new season," Vavic said. "We only focus on what is in front of us now."
USC has become a fixture at the top of the rankings, but the team is well adjusted to the hype and thrives on knowing that they are the team to beat. "We are used to the pressure of being ranked number one," Vavic said. "We look forward to playing in these big games against teams that want to knock us down."
The Trojans will be without goalie Joel Dennerley, who graduated this past May. Dennerley is USC's all-time career saves leader and was named National Player of the Year and the Cutino Award winner following the 2011 season.
- The Trojans went through a mental practice today with minimal sweat. The coaches emphasize the gameplan on Thursdays.
- After practice, the team will have a short lunch and then board buses for LAX and eventually a chartered flight to New Jersey.
- USC will arrive at the hotel in Teaneck, NJ, around 10 p.m. Eastern time.
- The game marks something of a homecoming for RB Silas Redd (Norwalk, CT) and LB Anthony Sarao (Egg Harbor Township, NJ). While those players expect to have lots of friends and family in the stands for support, the head coach wants his players focused on the task at hand. "Our guys understand this is all business," said Lane Kiffin. "We are flying there with one thing in mind and that's to win the game and get back home."
- Here is an abbreviated post-practice media scrum with Lane Kiffin...
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In the first episode of Matt Vs., Barkley and fellow football captain Khaled Holmes are paired up with four-time men's tennis national champions Steve Johnson and Daniel Nguyen for a friendly doubles match.
And below that, check out Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee breaking down the first play touchdown from the season opening win versus Hawaii in Barkley's Breakdown.
The Heritage Hall re-design is all part of the $300 million Heritage Initiative, which includes the John McKay Center as well as future capital projects like the Uytengsu Aquatics Center and the Merle Norman Sand Volleyball Stadium.
Here is a rendering of the anticipated finished product from the ground floor...
Click here for the full story.
After a grueling 6-26 campaign, the air around the men's basketball program is filled with optimism thanks to the return to health of several key players and the influx of new talent, which has been impressive on the practice court.
- RB D.J. Morgan tweeted that he will have "minor knee surgery" and be out three to four weeks. Lane Kiffin confirmed the surgery.
- Without Morgan, the running back depth is down to Curtis McNeal, Silas Redd and Buck Allen, which underscores how important it was to get Redd this summer, said Kiffin.
- The defense hopes to be buoyed by the return of CB Torin Harris and LB Lamar Dawson. While Kiffin has not guaranteed that either will start even if healthy, he is looking forward to the added rotation depth at both spots.
- (Photo of Matt Barkley and Nickell Robey by John McGillen)
- The defensive line, which Kiffin called the story of the Hawaii game, took the preseason media slights personally. "I like the fact that no one thinks we are good enough," said DT George Uko. "It makes us come out here every day with a chip [on our shoulder]."
- Uko assumed a leadership role with senior DE Wes Horton sidelined for the opener. "Coach O expects me to step up to the plate and do just that. It is something that I have accepted."
- The redshirt sophomore defensive tackle has made himself more versatile this season by switching to the nose when freshman Leonard Williams plays alongside him. "It is the same technique basically just in a different shape," Uko said. "I am taking [Leonard Williams] under my wing just like the older guys like Jurrell [Casey] did me."
- Williams has blossomed quickly under Uko's tutelage. In his first college game, he recorded a sack and a fumble recovery. "The first game was really fun," Williams said. "That was my first time playing with my teammates and the d-line came out and did a pretty good job."
- As for Syracuse, the Trojans will have a rare walk-thru on Friday at MetLife Stadium because the team is arriving two days before the game. "We need something to do," Kiffin reasoned that the team will be bored.
- Here is Lane Kiffin on a gray September morning...
Here is the complete list of 47 Trojans on NFL rosters (not practice squad) as the 2012 season begins:
Oakland Raiders (4) - QB Carson Palmer, QB Matt Leinart, TE David Ausberry and OL Alex Parsons
New York Jets (3) - QB Mark Sanchez, RB Joe McKnight and WR Patrick Turner
Minnesota Vikings (3) - LT Matt Kalil, TE Rhett Ellison and DE Everson Griffen
Cleveland Browns (3) - LB Kaluka Maiava, DE Frostee Rucker and TE Jordan Cameron
Tennessee Titans (3) - DT Jurrell Casey, WR Damian Williams and DT DaJohn Harris
Philadelphia Eagles (3) - FB Stanley Havili, DT Mike Patterson and WR Ronald Johnson
Seattle Seahawks (3) - TE Anthony McCoy, LB Michael Morgan and LB Malcolm Smith
Houston Texans (2) - LB Brian Cushing and DT Shaun Cody
Cincinnati Bengals (2) - LB Rey Maualuga and S Taylor Mays
New Orleans Saints (2) - OL Charles Brown and DT Sedrick Ellis
Indianapolis Colts (2) - OT Winston Justice and DT Fili Moala
New York Giants (2) - LB Keith Rivers and CB Terrell Thomas
Green Bay Packers (2) - LB Clay Matthews and LB Nick Perry
Carolina Panthers (2) - OL Ryan Kalil and OL Jeff Byers
Pittsburgh Steelers (1) - S Troy Polamalu
Buffalo Bills (1) - DE Kyle Moore
Atlanta Falcons (1) - OT Sam Baker
Washington Redskins (1) - Fred Davis
St. Louis Rams (1) - Steve Smith
Miami Dolphins (1) - RB Reggie Bush
Kansas City Chiefs (1) - QB Matt Cassel
San Diego Chargers (1) - CB Shareece Wright
Dallas Cowboys (1) - OT Tyron Smith
Chicago Bears (1) - OL Chilo Rachal
Detroit Lions (1) - DE Lawrence Jackson
Click here for the full story.
"Maurice Jones has been nothing short of magnificent for us for two years," said head coach Kevin O'Neill. "Mo has been a great guy and great player and we want him to graduate from USC. I support him 100 percent in all that he does."
The Trojans averaged 21.7 goals per game in their three season opening wins this past weekend at the UCLA Invitational.
Click here for the 2012 Men's Water Polo Outlook.
The first big test comes in two weeks at the NorCal Tournament in Palo Alto. Trojan fans will be in the Bay Area for the annual football weekender against Stanford, so don't forget to put the 4-time defending national champions on the itinerary.
- The offense dominated practice today. At one point, the defense called a timeout to regroup after getting carved up by all three Trojan quarterbacks.
- On the positive side, the passing game looked extremely sharp, including a strong performance by redshirt freshman WR Victor Blackwell in 7-on-7. The Mater Dei product made his first collegiate catch late in the opener against Hawaii.
- The tempo of practice was fast today to prepare for Syracuse, which runs some no-huddle. Plus, the Trojans ended a steamy morning with extra conditioning. The forecast predicts 79-degree temperatures on Saturday and expect humidity.
- Syracuse leads the country in passing yards after QB Ryan Nassib lit Northwestern up for 470 yards. "We gave up more yards than we should have to Hawaii with a quarterback that had never played. Here's a quarterback who is setting school records, so...it is a huge challenge this week," said Lane Kiffin.
- USC became the first No. 1 team to drop in the AP poll after winning a game by 35+ points since Penn State in 1997, according to ESPN Stats Info. As you would expect, Kiffin could not care less about the rankings this time of year.
- Robert Woods was overshadowed by Marqise Lee in the first game, but he is healthy and caught two touchdowns. "I felt fast out there," said Woods.
- A year ago, Woods caught 17 balls to carry the Trojans to a victory over Minnesota, but the offense has diversified since then. "You can see the different weapons we have on the field," Woods said. "That's what this offense is about, spreading the ball this year. There's just too many weapons."
- (Photo of Woods by Jon SooHoo)
- He might have had a bigger statistical game if not for all the pass interference calls that cost him catches, but gained the team first downs. Although, Woods admits drawing flags is not as much fun as catching passes. "I guess I've got to learn," he said. "Those are balls that when they are in there, it's mine."
- Freshman WR Nelson Agholor was praised by Kiffin for springing Lee's kickoff return for a touchdown. Woods expects the youngster will respond well to his first road game. "He is pretty calm. He is not too excited and jittery. Just focus on the task at hand...and breathe."
- Here is the first of two interview sessions with Lane Kiffin that we will post today...
Take a look at the win over Northern Iowa courtesy of Pierson Clair...
Mobile and tablet users click here to view gallery.
Lee was named the special teams player of the week for his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, while Bricio collected the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award for the second time already this season for her all-tournament performance at the Luxe City Center Trojan Invitational.
Click here for the full story on Bricio.
(Photo by Jon SooHoo)
Click the link to listen to the head coach's day after reactions to the opener:
(Photo by Jon SooHoo)
Here are a pair of galleries from the season opener vs. Hawaii, including pregame locker room shots...
Mobile and tablet users click here for gallery 1 and click here for gallery 2.
In an afternoon highlighted by the explosive Trojan offense and a breakout performance from the young defensive line, the USC secondary was equally impressive in the 49-10 victory over Hawaii in the 2012 season opener.
Though it was just the first game of the season, the physicality of USC was evident as the Trojans defense forced four fumbles and two interceptions. "We came out today playing very aggressive," said sophomore cornerback Anthony Brown. "The coaches put the perfect schemes together so we were able to go out there and play fast."
(Photo of Josh Shaw by Danny Moloshok/Reuters)
Brown feels comfortable with his starting role even though it was his first game back since his season-ending injury at California in 2011. "I feel I played great," Brown said. "There are some little things that I need to work on by watching film. Other than that, I was out there at full speed and doing my assignments."
Despite the Trojans holding the Warriors to just 10 points, both Nickell Robey and Brown believe that the defense needs to keep improving. "If it was a grading scale, I would give us a B- or a C+," Robey said. "We played great tonight but there were a couple plays that we could have got. Overall, the secondary was great but we need to get better."
With leaders like Robey and fellow defensive captain T.J. McDonald who were part of a defensive back unit that really struggled in 2010, the secondary has grown into a dominant unit, but the group remains humble. "I look at it just the same as my past two years in what I have done in order to become a captain," Robey said. "I will just keep working hard, encourage my teammates, make sure there are no distractions so I can focus on the preparation."
USC will travel to New Jersey to take on Syracuse in MetLife Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Orange passed for 470 yards in a season opening loss to Northwestern.
Senior QB Ryan Nassib put the ball in the air 65 times, so Robey, Brown and the rest of the secondary can expect another busy Saturday.
Click here for the game recap.
Click here to watch the post-game press conference featuring Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley, Marqise Lee and Hayes Pullard.
- Marqise Lee - The sophomore wide receiver scored the first touchdown of the season 14 seconds into the game. He finished with 10 catches for 197 yards plus a 100-yard kickoff return for a second TD. And yet, both he and Lane Kiffin were disappointed by a couple of dropped balls, which only underscores how high Lee has set the bar. "Our expectations are higher than how he played today," said Kiffin, who reiterated that Lee could be the greatest WR in USC history.
- Hayes Pullard - In his first start at middle linebacker in place of the injured Lamar Dawson, Pullard seemed like he was everywhere, including five tackles and a pick-six in the first half. However, he explained that his touchdown was a little bit fortuitous. "It wasn't my play to actually make. I was supposed to be in the backfield blitzing." The sophomore made a fashion statement with his cardinal-colored mohawk for game one. (Photo by John McGillen)
- Matt Barkley - Another perfectionist. He completed 23 of 38 passes for 377 yards and 4 TDs without an interception or sack, but the senior graded the offense in the C range. "It was bittersweet. We could've scored at least 100 points in the first half it feels like," said Barkley.
- Sackmasters - The defensive line was the most unproven unit entering the game, and DE Wes Horton's absence due to injury did not help matters. The kids did more than alright though as the defense tallied six sacks led by DE Morgan Breslin, who starred in his first college game with a sack and two tackles for loss. Fellow debutants DE Greg Townsend and DT Leonard Williams recorded the first sacks of their Trojan careers. "A lot of question marks there...but it seems like they made a lot of plays up front," Kiffin said. "I was very proud of those guys."
- The Negatives - The 2012 Trojans have greater goals in mind than winning the season opener. To that end, the coaches will harp on three major areas of improvement: penalties, dropped balls and the run game. The USC offense struggled with procedural penalties (false starts and delay of game calls) as well as drops from Lee and Robert Woods. The offense lacked the desired balance as the three running backs combined for 92 yards on 21 carries (4.4 yards per carry). "We've got a lot of work to do and I think our players know that too," said Kiffin. "We can't do what we did today against some other teams that are going to be on our schedule."
- Welcome to the Show - Of the 61 Trojans that played tonight, 26 made their USC debuts. "I am excited to get to this film to be able to see some kids that had not played a lot," Kiffin said. Besides the defensive line, QB Max Wittek was a perfect 3/3 in his first collegiate appearance, while FB Soma Vainuku (2 catches for 23 yards and a forced fumble), S Josh Shaw (interception) and LB Anthony Sarao (sack) also shined.
- Kicking Quandary - PK Andre Heidari injured his right leg in the first quarter, and Kiffin was told that the sophomore was out for the rest of the game. Without Heidari, Kiffin resorted to going for two after touchdowns and using walk-on Craig McMahon on kickoffs. However, Heidari felt good enough to drill a 28-yard field goal as time expired to end the first half.
RB Silas Redd bounced back from an early fumble to score his first Trojan touchdown on a 31-yard scamper. Here are his thoughts on the opener...
"When allegations regarding Joe McKnight's use of a Land Rover arose in 2009, USC fully investigated the matter. All of the information related to the investigation was sent to the NCAA. The NCAA staff accepted the report, and no violation was processed.
"We have just learned of new allegations presented by a reporter from the Los Angeles Times. We have discussed those allegations with the NCAA and PAC-12, and we will thoroughly investigate them and take any and all necessary actions.
"Since my 2010 appointment as USC's Athletic Director, in conjunction with USC President Max Nikias and Dave Roberts, our Vice President for Athletic Compliance, we have diligently worked to enhance a culture of compliance throughout the Athletic Department and the University. We have been a national leader in athletic compliance matters, holding national conferences on issues impacting intercollegiate athletics such as agents, non-scholastic football 7 on 7 competition, high-profile student-athletes and other issues. These events were attended by representatives of the NCAA, Pac-12, professional sports leagues, collegiate conferences and Division I institutions. We have increased the staff in our Office of Athletic Compliance and we will continue to stress and emphasize rules education and compliance to all of our constituents, including our student-athletes and their relatives, coaches and University staff, alumni, boosters and the media. Just last week, as the fall sports season kicked off, Dave Roberts and I met again with our football team and staff to discuss and emphasize the importance of these rules and the need to be ever-vigilant in fulfilling our compliance obligations. Similar meetings will be held with all of our athletic teams this fall.
"I can personally assure you that USC takes its compliance obligations with NCAA and Pac-12 rules extremely seriously and we are dedicated to playing and competing the right way."