Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor
Despite the off-the-field controversy, the Trojans have a football game to prepare for on Saturday, and the players showed up Wednesday ready to go.
- "I thought the guys came in with a real intense attitude," said head coach Steve Sarkisian. "You could feel the energy in the air. You could feel the passion they had for it...So, a lot of the physical work is done. We'll come back tomorrow for Thursday and start really cleaning some stuff up and get ourselves prepared to play on Saturday."
- Defensive captains DE Leonard Williams and LB Hayes Pullard stressed that the off-the-field distraction is not affecting the team's mentality and preparation at all. "We're not going to let something on the outside affect what we have to work on. Our goal is just to beat Fresno and that has nothing to do with us beating Fresno," said Williams.
- The most experienced player on the team, Hayes Pullard added that the team is "blocking it out" and focusing on taking things one day at a time. "Coach said the first day, 'the game is played between the lines, so anything that goes on outside the sidelines, we don't worry about it."
- The Trojans have faced a lot of adversity throughout the fifth-year senior's time here at USC, but he hasn't let that affect his performance or role as a leader. "We're still close as heck. We keep everything in the locker room," said Pullard. "Our team has our bond together and even though we're off the field we still have that bond as well."
- Sarkisian really had nothing new to report regarding the Shaw situation also saying the main focus is preparing for the Trojans' home opener on Saturday. "It's pretty clear there are quite a few conflicting stories out there," said the head coach. "Any information that we've been provided up until this point, we've pushed along to campus authorities. We're really going to let it play out in their hands up until this point and quite honestly, we're in somewhat of a holding pattern."
- The head coach is adamant that his team will be ready to go come Saturday. He said, "We've put in too much work over the last nine months to let an hour or two of social media and internet reports distract us from being a great football team. If it does, then that's not a good sign moving forward. We have to be strong enough to handle adversity whether it's on the football field or off the field and continue to hang together, to be together and go out and play great football."
- Injury report: OG Khaliel Rodgers is a game time decision with a knee injury, and RB Tre Madden is still in a walking boot, so his availability remains questionable due to turf toe. OG Jordan Simmons (knee) will likely not be cleared for Saturday, so he will be a week-by-week decision.
- Here is the head coach addressing the swarm of media after practice...