- Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast called DL Kenny Bigelow a "big time" loss, but the Trojans will press on without their most experienced defensive lineman, who had successful ACL surgery at USC Keck Medical Center.
- The defensive line responded with its "best day at pass rush," said head coach Clay Helton. "I really thought the defensive line took a huge step forward." As a whole, the defense won the competitive portion of practice again.
- Without Bigelow, rising sophomore DL Rasheem Green becomes an indispensable player with the experience that he gained last year. "In a way, I kind of do feel like I need to step up and be the rock for the D-Line since Kenny can't play with us now," said Green. "I just have to step up."
- However, Green has much more to develop in his game, and he's working tirelessly with new DL coach Kenechi Udeze to improve. "He has made me pay more attention to the small things in my game, the things that can help me improve as a player in the long run," said Green about Udeze. "I feel like that is what all the coaches are focused on, trying to help us with small things like alignment and hand placement that can really help us be better football players and play team defense."
- The linebackers received a boost today as Osa Masina, Uchenna Nwosu and John Houston all returned to practice. Pendergast said that Masina has the talent to play inside or outside. "Besides the whole scheme change, we're hyped, we're juiced," said Masina about the new defense. "We're ready to do something big this year. I think we're going to get a lot more pressure this year. I think we're going to rush the quarterback, get a lot more interceptions, a lot more sacks, rushed throws."
- Pendergast's defense is all about communication, so even the quietest players are learning to speak up. "The two safeties, Leon [McQuay] and Marvell [Tell], are starting to communicate," said Helton. "At one point in time, I thought they were both mutes, but now they are starting to talk to one another."
- Tell on the new coaches: "It's been fun. They expect a lot out of us. We just have to meet their standards."
- Talking is a noticeable change at practice without the music blaring. Helton made the point that the quieter atmosphere allows the players on and off the field to hear their coaches make teaching points, so everyone is getting the mental rep.
- Offensively, Steven Mitchell Jr. and Ronald Jones II were "under the weather" and missed practice.
- As for the quarterback competition, "there is a gap" between Max Browne and Sam Darnold, but the redshirt freshman is doing his best to close it, said Helton. "I have seen 14, Sam Darnold, make two really good practices. The light's kind of coming on for him now. You are seeing his talent take over."
- For those attending practice and/or Swim With Mike on Saturday, there will be a "little bit" of a scrimmage, but the team is too banged up to tackle for 100 plays. Practice starts at 10 a.m. on Howard Jones Field.
- Here is Helton:
March 2016 Archives
The home-and-home series with Texas A&M starts with a trip to College Station on November 18. The Aggies will come to the Galen Center the following season.
SMU is a headline home game for USC in 2016. On Friday, November 25, the Trojans and Mustangs will provide the perfect Thanksgiving week appetizer for the USC/Notre Dame feast the following day at the Coliseum. The Trojans will travel to Dallas to play at SMU as part of the 2017-18 schedule.
Click here for more.
Crocker and company will tee it up next at the Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz (April 11-13).
Football is going overseas this summer to China as a part of the Student Athlete Experience (SAE), an academic and athletic camp that "aims to bridge the gap between the classroom and the field."
One of the first camps to focus on American-Football in China, SAE will feature nine former college and professional football players who will coach the camp, including co-directors Chris Barrett ('07) and Joseph Krassenstein ('15), both USC alums.
Barrett was a defensive tackle from Tustin and Krassenstein, who was a walk-on, is from Shanghai, China. Both men have had experience playing and coaching the game in China.
Krassenstein and Barrett (pictured) will be joined by a few more former Trojans on the coaching staff: DaJohn Harris, Will Poole, Kevin Ellison, and Sandy Fletcher. With six of the nine coaches from USC, the Trojans will have their fingerprints all over this camp.
American-Football is rapidly growing in China, popping up in many cities already, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The camp will aim at the children growing as football players while balancing the rigor of academics. The Student-Athlete Experience Camp's long term goal is to allow talented students to study abroad at schools in Southern California, with the help of Barrett's knowledge and connections to the schools.
The camp will take place this summer from July 14-31 at the Skyway American-Football Academy, a program dedicated to preparing the next generation of Chinese athletes. In addition to partnering with the academy, SAE was approved by the NFL as a "Play 60" initiative, focused on getting children to play and exercise for 60 minutes every day.
The smell of the grass, the feeling of the dirt beneath his feet, the noise of the crowd slowly filling the stands - the combination of these senses transcend time, making 68-year-old Jay Jaffe feel as if it's the late 1960s all over again. Psychologists call this feeling spontaneous recovery, the concept that when you go some place and smell certain aromas or see something that looks familiar it brings you back to a specific time and place when you first experienced these senses.
"That's how it is for me when I get into a batter's box," said Jaffe. "It's like spontaneous recovery. I am back to where I was when I was in college. I don't feel any different, I don't feel my age."
Forty-eight years after last suiting up in Cardinal & Gold under legendary head coach Rod Dedeaux, Jaffe looks forward to the one chance every year he can experience that spontaneous recovery - the Trojan Alumni Game. The former USC center fielder has not missed an Alumni Game since he graduated - a grand total of 46 appearances. But, the feeling that he misses the most is something that doesn't transcend time.
"I can remember each one. It's a thrill. There's nothing like hitting a home run," said Jaffe. "It's just so rewarding, the feeling of hitting one right on the nails, there's no feeling like it."
Jaffe was the starting center fielder for the 1968 national champion Trojans, a team that featured future professional players like ace Jim Barr, Red Sox Hall of Famer Bill Lee and the late Bill Seinsoth. Though Jaffe earned a spot on the San Diego Padres Single A affiliate team, the 1969 graduate opted to pursue his law career upon graduation instead, enrolling at Southwestern Law School. He may have officially hung up his cleats after that 1969 season, but Jaffe still cherishes his four years in Cardinal & Gold, describing them as an experience that became the foundation for his future.
"It means everything. It's probably one of the most important things, along with attending the University of Southern California, that one could hope for because it really defines you," said Jaffe. "Playing under coach Rod Dedeaux basically gave you a recipe for how to live your life."
Jaffe would soon rely on this recipe, facing a curve ball nastier than the ones he faced in the 1968 National Championship as he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a battle that he has now taken on and overcome three times. During these separate battles with cancer, the former center fielder often heard an old, familiar voice encouraging him along the way.
"Never let anything get you down, always challenge adversity and just when you think that things are falling apart you say 'just the way I like it', that was [Coach Dedeaux's] famous saying," Jaffe reminisced.
Not only did Jaffe survive his three battles with lymphoma, but he was also diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2009, yet another obstacle that the USC baseball alum won't let get in the way of his streak of USC Alumni Games. In fact, he doesn't let any of these setbacks alter his ability to approach each and every day as a practicing lawyer and avid USC baseball fan.
"I don't really think about it. I just go do what I have to do. I don't think about any obstacles, I just go up to the plate, look for a pitch and hit it. That's the way I live my life."
So far, Jaffe is fighting off every curve ball that life throws at him, and he continues to wake up every day looking for the perfect pitch with the mindset that he's going yard.
Click here for more information.
The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with the opening of the "treasure chest" in front of the Lyon Center. Football practice is open to the public next door on Howard Jones Field from 10 a.m. to Noon followed by the "Football & Song Girl Relay" in the pool at 12:30 p.m. The barbecue will grill from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
You also do not want to miss the biggest splash contest (11:30 a.m.), the Trojan Marching Band (Noon) and photos with Traveler (Noon to 1 p.m. on Howard Jones). Auctions will be open throughout the event as well.
Since its inception, Swim With Mike has raised $16.8 million. And last year alone, $900K+ scholarship dollars were awarded to physically challenged athletes.
Click here for his obituary.
"Generations from now, those studying the history of our university will quickly find themselves learning the remarkable story of Steven Sample," said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. "So many of USC's successes, so much of our university's current stature can be traced back to Dr. Sample's dynamic leadership, keen foresight, and extraordinary prudence. Dr. Sample stood over our university -- and led our Trojan Family -- as it began its singular transformation, and for this we should all be grateful."
From his obituary: He and his wife, Kathryn (pictured at the Orange Bowl), shared a love and support of USC athletics. Sample liked to start speeches with the rousing statement, "Isn't it a great day to be a Trojan!"
- Rising senior running back Justin Davis drew complimentary remarks from Helton after a well-played scrimmage at the Coliseum. According to the head coach, the running back has improved tremendously in his pass-catching ability in the last several years and increasingly showcases a more complete skill set at the position. "When he first got here, it was life or death with him catching the ball. It could go off his face or off his chest. He has improved so much in that area," explained Helton, comparing Davis to former USC RB Buck Allen. "If you truly want to be a professional football player in today's time, you have to catch the ball out of the backfield, and he's worked so hard to do that."
- Another member of the Trojan backfield on the receiving end of Helton's praise this spring is rising sophomore Aca'Cedric Ware, who has impressed his head coach with his growth through seven practices. "The light's kind of coming on for him," said Helton. "He's one of those violent runners."
- Ware is in agreement with his head coach, pleased by his progress this spring and welcoming the clean slate that comes with a new position coach. "I'm getting a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances to show what I can do and I'm competing with the other guys just like last year," said Ware. "So far, things are going good."
- According to the RB, his biggest area of growth in the last year has come as a pass-catcher. His focus this spring however is on a slightly different element of the passing game as Tommie Robinson has stressed the importance of learning proper technique for pass protection.
- The rising sophomore understands that the battle begins now for playing time within the incredibly talented position group. In Ware's eyes, he brings "a more physical run game" than the other backs, but he is quick to point out that the competition within the group is a close one. "We all push each other. We're all on each others' heels," he explained. "We know if one guy doesn't get the job done, the next one will and that's the mentality we have to have in practice."
- Ware's competitive spirit is echoed by his teammates at every position, including tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe who is itching to take to the field this fall. A member of the team in 2015, but forced to remain out of competition due to transfer rules, the rising redshirt freshman recognizes the positives of his season on the sidelines. "Last year was such a huge year for development for me. Getting to go out there with the scout team, that definitely made me a lot better and I'm grateful for it. I remember when I came out for camp last year going with the threes... Now I'm running with the ones and it's normal."
- The upcoming fall presents the first opportunity for Imatorbhebhe to suit up alongside his Trojan brothers, but it won't be the first time he plays alongside his actual little brother, Josh, who joined USC as a wide receiver this year. "It's a lot like old times," explained Daniel. "I'm the first one to put him on my back when he gets a catch and it's the same way for him. I'm his biggest fan and he says he's mine. We're probably more happy to see each other succeed that see ourselves succeed."
- Helton's injury update included Uchenna Nwosu (sprained back) who should be back later this week and Osa Masina and JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstrings) who are being treated with caution but are both close to returning. Jacob Daniel (ankle) was held out of the end of practice, John Plattenburg (ankle) continued to remain out of practice and Ronald Jones II wasn't feeling well and rested for much of Tuesday's session.
- Here's more from the head coach after Tuesday's blustery practice...
USC track & field earned three Pac-12 Player of the Week nods on Tuesday after the Trojans took first (women) and second (men) place at the Power Conference Cardinal & Gold Challenge on Saturday. The three Trojans recognized by the conference this week after their outstanding performances were athletic phenom and two-sport athlete Adoree' Jackson, sophomore 400m dash champion Ricky Morgan Jr. and senior record-setter Jaide Stepter.
Click here for a full press release on the Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.
Jackson is taking the spring off of football to specifically focus on track & field and his dedication is allowing him to fully invest himself in the track & field program, contributing in a variety of events. The sophomore won the men's long jump with a wind-aided leap of 25-10.75/7.89 (+4.1w), and he also jumped a nation's sixth-best wind-legal leap of 24-8.00/7.82 (+1.89). Jackson continued his impressive outing by narrowly finishing in second place in the men's 100m dash with a PR of 10.41 (+.06) just .01 seconds behind the winner.
The other sophomore, Morgan Jr., won the men's 400m dash (45.54) to earn the title of the fastest 400m dash this season in the nation. Morgan competed against top talent as his mark was one of three times on Saturday that placed in the top five 400m dash times this season.
The lone woman from USC earning Pac-12 Player of the Week honors outshined the men as Stepter not only set the top mark in the nation, but she also earned a spot at the top of the USC record books. Her 400m time of 50.91 surpassed Carol Rodriguez's mark which set the USC record in 2008 (51.39) and it tied the Loker Stadium record set by Monique Henderson (UCLA) in 2005.
The Trojans look to continue their dominate outdoor season and set more USC records at the California Collegiate Invitational in San Diego on Saturday.
With Andy Enfield locked up, the Galen Center will be jumping next year. Quicken Loans is offering FREE season tickets to one lucky winner for the next USC men's basketball season.
To enter, click here.
The sweepstakes is running now through April 1. You must be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen to enter.
Click here for the weekend preview.
Belton and Bustamante are 10-2 in dual matches playing out of the No. 4 spot in the lineup together. No. 1 Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes and No. 3 Nicolette Martin and Allie Wheeler have already collected Pac-12 Beach Volleyball Pair of the Week honors.
Click here for more on Robinson.
Robinson and the Trojans will get back to work tonight against Loyola Marymount at Dedeaux Field (6 p.m. first pitch).
The comprehensive two-day clinic will have presentations by Helton and his staff, as well as offensive and defensive staff roundtable discussions covering philosophy and scheme and in-depth position meetings led by each position coach. USC strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis also will conduct a presentation on player development and the off-season/in-season training program.
In addition to Fisher, the guest speakers include Kirby Wilson (Cleveland Browns run game coordinator/running backs coach), Freddie Kitchens (Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach), Troy Calhoun (Air Force head coach) and Tim DeRuyter (Fresno State head coach).
The clinic also includes attendance at the USC spring football practice on April 2 on Howard Jones Field, allowing attendees to see the presentations come to life.
Cost of the two-day clinic is $80 ($65 for a single day). The clinic offers a staff discount of $15 off per person for groups of five or more who pre-register together for both days.
I've competed in my last SC 🏀game ! ✌🏾️-- 6'7 Animal (@darionclark0) March 24, 2016
Clark spent two seasons at USC after arriving as a transfer from UNC Charlotte. He was massive for the Trojans this year on the boards, collecting 4.6 rebounds per game despite playing only 11.1 minutes per contest. He missed eight games, including the NCAA Tournament, with a shoulder injury.
I just want to thank the Trojan family for an amazing last few years! I will graduate and transfer to continue my graduate degree.-- Katin Reinhardt (@5SWISH) March 29, 2016
Reinhardt, who transferred to USC from UNLV, played in all 34 games for the Trojans this season, including starting 18, and he was one of five players to average double figures in scoring. He tied for the team lead with 60 made threes and led the team in free throw percentage (min. 10 attempts). Reinhardt was USC's leading scorer in 2014-15.
Martin played sparingly this season, averaging 6.6 minutes per game in 27 appearances, but he started 15 games as a true freshman. The Florida native will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
"We are very excited about the direction of our men's basketball program under Coach Enfield and the progress that has been made," said USC athletic director Pat Haden. "We look forward to continued progress and we believe that with this contract extension, Coach Enfield will bring stability and success to USC men's basketball for the long term."
"The men's basketball staff is very appreciative of the great leadership and support from our administration and we are very thankful to have talented players in our program who are terrific representatives of USC," said Enfield. "We look forward to an offseason of continued development for our players that will set the foundation for an exciting 2016-17 season."
Enfield came to USC prior to the 2013-14 season after guiding Florida Gulf Coast to the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed. After building the foundation of the program during his first two years at USC, he led the Trojans to a 21-13 record and sixth place finish in the difficult Pac-12 Conference in 2015-16. USC's 8.5 game improvement during the regular season was the most by any Power 5 conference team in the country.
Along with winning, Enfield has brought an electrifying style of play to the Galen Center. The Trojans averaged 80.5 points per game, their highest number since the 1991 season and second among all Pac-12 teams in 2016, and made a school-record 266 three-pointers. USC also held opponents to 41.7 percent shooting, third-best among conference teams last season, and set the school record for blocks in a season with 182, which ranked 15th in the country.
USC's women's tennis extended its current winning streak to five games with an impressive 7-0 sweep of the No. 35 Oregon Ducks last Friday at Marks Stadium. The win saw the No. 29 Trojans improve to 8-4 on the year and stay undefeated in Pac-12 play at 3-0.
Click here for the recap.
The Women of Troy secured the doubles point very quickly with wins from their top doubles pairs. Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith (pictured) won their match 6-0, and then Zoe Katz and Madison Westby clinched the doubles point for the Trojans, winning their match 6-2.
From there, the Trojans took care of the Ducks in all six of their singles matches. Olmos, ranked No. 22 in the country, set the tone for singles play with a three-set victory. But it was the sophomore Smith who went undefeated in both of her doubles and singles matches to lead the way against Oregon.
The Women of Troy will look to stay undefeated in the Pac-12 when they take on Utah in Salt Lake City this Friday at 12:30 p.m. PT. After that, the Trojans will head down to Boulder to face Colorado on Sunday at 11 a.m. PT. Be sure to follow @USCWomensTennis on Twitter to keep up with all the upcoming action!
A week after taking down No. 4 Hawaii over spring break, USC women's water polo returned to action on Saturday with a convincing, 11-6, road victory over No. 10 San Jose State. The victory keeps the top-ranked Women of Troy undefeated at 15-0, with a 2-0 conference record.
Click here for the recap.
The Trojans got out to a 5-1 lead after the first frame, but would need a second-half hat trick from junior captain Avery Peterson (pictured) to seal the deal.
Saturday's win was yet another display of the team's dominance this season, as USC registered its 10th win with nine or more goals. On the season, the Women of Troy have outscored their opponents 185-71.
The Women of Troy will put their undefeated record back on the line Saturday, as they travel to sunny San Diego for a non-conference battle against the San Diego State Aztecs, bright and early at 10 a.m. PT. Be sure to follow @USCWaterPolo for in-game updates, photos and more all season long.
USC will have the luxury of one home game this week, Tuesday against Loyola Marymount at 6 p.m., before a difficult trip to Stanford on Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (1 p.m.) and Sunday (4 p.m.). All three games at the Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto will be live on Pac-12 Network.
Here is the new episode of Trojan Wind Up to catch you up on all things USC baseball:
Click here for the recap.
USC is destroying everything in its way this season. The Trojans have won the last four games by a combined score of 69-13.
This week, the Women of Troy will travel to Fresno State for a televised duel (Mountain West Network) on Thursday at 5 p.m. and then come home to host San Diego State on Saturday at 3 p.m. on McAlister Field.
Here are the highlights from win over Oregon:
Click here for the recap of the win over the Ducks.
USC is getting exceptional play from the top of its lineup right now with No. 1 Nick Crystal (pictured) and No. 2 Max de Vroome winning both their singles matches last week. In the comeback victory over the Ducks, Crystal and de Vroome dominated their opponents in straight sets, dropping five games combined.
At 11-4 overall and now 1-1 in conference, USC returns home to the newly renovated Marks Stadium for back-to-back matches this week. First, the Trojans battle Cal on Friday at 3 p.m., and then they will face Stanford on Saturday at Noon.
The Trojans were back in the Coliseum on Saturday for the first time in 2016 for another intense practice to wrap up week two.
- The defense lost the competition drill for the third straight time this week, but head coach Clay Helton wasn't concerned, noting after practice his positive impressions of the unit through two weeks of spring ball. "I loved the physicality of practice right from the get go," said the head coach. "I thought the defense set the tone early in the scrimmage."
- Helton added that he has been very impressed with Uchenna Nwosu and Iman Marshall through the early parts of spring - two guys who have stood out to him on defense on every practice highlight tape thus far.
- The biggest news coming out of practice was Helton's announcement that defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow will be out for the next 7-9 months with a torn ACL suffered in Thursday's practice. However, Helton did add that Bigelow will be a team captain this year. "He's the rock for us," said Helton. "Now he goes by Coach Bigelow instead of Kenny."
- With Bigelow out, Helton highlighted the team's strength of being able to play in the nickel package, which will help in his absence. The head coach noted that the package is something he and his coaching staff are already anticipating using often on a lot this coming fall.
- On the offensive side, Helton was pleased by the impact of the running backs in the spring's first longer scrimmage. "I thought all three backs ran extremely hard and efficient," said Helton. "I really saw some maturity come out in Ronald Jones and [Aca'Cedric] Ware."
- While Ware and Jones have stood out in their immediate progression, Helton also raved out his senior running back Justin Davis. "I think he's learned how to be patient runner. His maturity too," said the head coach. "I think he's going to be one of the best running backs in the Pac-12."
- The most prominent storyline of Spring Football is the ongoing quarterback competition, and according to Helton, Max Browne continues to impress and is leading the way so far. However, the head coach has liked what he's seen from other members of the talented position group as well. "You could see the poise of Max Browne today, but 14 [Sam Darnold] has come out in his first spring and acts like he's been doing this for years," said Helton.
- "Max is ahead and that's the way it should be," said Helton. "But Sam, every time we come out here and put the lights on, he makes a big play. His poise in real live game situations for a young person is really impressive."
- As far as injuries go, Helton said that Noah Jefferson [back] is expected to be back next week, with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster [ankle] expected back early next week as well. LB Osa Masina continues to be out dealing with a hamstring injury, while TE Taylor McNamara is out for the time-being with a shoulder issue that he has battled since transferring to USC.
- Here is more from the head coach after practice...
- The practice had at least one casualty as DL Kenny Bigelow went down with a knee injury. He will have an MRI to see the extent of the damage. "We'll all be saying our prayers tonight for him," said head coach Clay Helton. "He's very much a leader of our team, and we need him."
- In other injury news, DL Noah Jefferson remains out with a lower back issue. WR Michael Pittman Jr. will likely be non-contact for the rest of spring, so his collarbone can fully heal. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is out with a hamstring injury. TE Tyler Petite is going through concussion protocol. LB Osa Masina (hamstring) is close to returning.
- Helton has emphasized physicality and toughness since taking over last season. Today, he challenged both lines with a 3rd and 2 competition. The veteran offensive line dominated their counterparts, winning three of four plays to send the defense running. "I expect that from our offensive line right now," said Helton about his most experienced unit. "I want it every period. They should be dominating."
- The defense had its most success in practice sending pressure off the edge, which is a staple of Clancy Pendergast's 5-2 scheme. "I'm standing behind the quarterback, and I can feel the pressure," said Helton about the outside rushers collapsing the pocket.
- Porter Gustin on the change in aggressiveness under Pendergast: "As a Predator, we're just blitzing more, more up on the line, playing the run a little more, not dropping back as much. It's great. I love the way he coaches. I'm loving the defense so far. It's very aggressive, and he's letting us play. I don't have to think too much, just go at it."
- Pendergast, who emphasizes communication over everything, has been working closely with the middle linebackers so far because they are the "quarterback" in his scheme, along with the free safety, and the group is inexperienced. He did not look at any of last year's tape, choosing to give the players a "clean slate."
- At linebacker, Quinton Powell is emerging as a breakout player this spring. The senior is playing in the middle for Pendergast. "I'm playing fast because I know what I'm doing and the coaches are working with me," said Powell. "I couldn't say the same when the old coaches were here, but the coaches now, they support me and I'm able to play with confidence and with speed."
- Powell loves working with Pendergast, saying, "[Pendergast] judges my heart. He knows I've got heart and at the end of the day, anyone can play linebacker if you've got heart."
- In the secondary, Pendergast brought in Ronnie Bradford to coach up a talented group, and the defensive backs have responded. "I got to give these guys credit," said Bradford. "They've been working their butts off. This time of year, you start working on fundamentals, but you're still installing a new defense. They come out here with a great attitude and great energy."
- With that said, like the entire defense, the secondary play has been inconsistent as they figure out the new defense. "Right now, we're throwing a lot at them. They're swimming," Bradford said. "They're drinking from a fire hose. There's a lot of defense coming at them right now."
- Here is Helton after practice:
Click here for the recap.
"This was a great event and a neat format," USC head coach Andrea Gaston said. "Four rounds, it's a lot of golf, and gives us good experience. Oregon on Monday was a heck of a match and emotions ran high. It was great to see Victoria [Morgan] come through with a couple great shots to halve her match and give us that win.
"We were able to lead Stanford most of the way, yesterday, as they did not have one of their better days, and today was really good because every match was pretty close. We had the lead but a lot can go wrong in the match and momentum can turn around. I love how Karen [Chung] closed it out today, nailing that nine iron, against the wind, to within six feet and converting the putt."
Click here for the recap.
In their latest triumph, the Trojans were led in scoring by Michaela Michael and Caroline de Lyra with four goals apiece. The defensive effort was just as impressive, including a career-best four ground balls by Cynthia Del Core.
USC will host an MPSF showdown on Sunday against Oregon at Noon. Come out to McAlister Field or watch it live on Pac-12 Network.
Here are the highlights from the win over Dartmouth:
Check out the results, photos and social media highlights from 2016 USC Pro Day by clicking on our Slate story below...
Click here for the recap and highlights.
USC boosted its record to 11-2, having won six consecutive dual matches. The Women of Troy are off until April when they travel to Miami for the Surf and Turf Classic.
Here is yesterday's Rapid Reaction:
- The Trojans were in shoulder pads and shorts today. They will be in full pads on Thursday and then head to the Coliseum on Saturday. Head coach Clay Helton is looking forward to seeing the quarterback competition play out on Saturday with "live bullets" flying.
- Pete Jenkins, who served as USC's defensive line coach during Ed Orgeron's stint as interim head coach, was out on the practice field to observe the defensive line. He cannot coach the players, but he can advise new DL coach Kenechi Udeze on technique and drill work.
- The new offensive line coach Neil Callaway has made noticeable changes to the practice habits of his unit, working the group relentlessly to build toughness. "Everyone has their way of doing things, we have our way of doing things," said the no-nonsense Callaway. "We need to play as hard as we can, as physical as we can, as smart as we can. If we get those three things accomplished, we can be a very good unit."
- The offensive line has nine players returning with starting experience led by redshirt senior Zach Banner. "I want him to be a guy that doesn't think that he's arrived," said Helton about the All-Pac-12 offensive tackle who is working on both ends of the line. "He's got a chance to be one of the premier tackles in the country, but to do that, he can't waste a second."
- Banner on Callaway: "He's a great coach. I think you always love a dude who gets you better. If you get bothered by how he yells then you don't deserve to play this sport. My father was the same way, it doesn't phase me."
- If the line comes together as a dominant unit, USC's plethora of skill position players will be the beneficiaries. The wide receiver group is double-digits deep with pass catching talent. "Let them all play," said offensive coordinator and WR coach Tee Martin. "The best thing that's happened here over the years is that we've been playing them young whether it was Marqise Lee or Nelson Agholor or JuJu Smith-Schuster and now you have this younger crowd coming behind them. It's the only way to get better. When they're ready to play, that's when they play. It creates this healthy competition in the room because they know if I'm not getting the job done, the guy behind me can. It makes us a better offense for it."
- Darreus Rogers returns as the veteran leader of the receiving corps. "Everything's slowed down, I'm capable of playing my game, having fun, teaching the young dudes," he said about going into his senior season. "I'm like two steps ahead of the game right now."
- Rogers sees more 50/50 opportunities in the passing game with Martin calling plays and Helton running the team, which is a strength of his game. "Towards the end of the season, I really saw him make some big plays in the passing game and plays downfield going vertical," said Martin about Rogers winning jump balls. "He really improved that part of his game."
- Ajene Harris (pictured), who sat out last season with an injury, is one of the under the radar weapons in this offense. The slot receiver made the practice-winning touchdown catch which sent the defense off running. "I knew the ball was coming to me," said Harris, who is fully recovered from hip surgery. "My defender was playing me inside and I had a corner route. I just knew I had to make a play for the team. It was a great throw, shout out to Max."
- As for the tailbacks, RB coach Tommie Robinson is still getting a feel for his stable. "Just like last time, I really didn't want anyone to tell me a lot about the guys when I first got here. I wanted to evaluate them myself. We know what happened last time, we were told what Buck Allen couldn't do and we found out real fast what he could do. I'm still going through the evaluation stage with these guys."
- Practices are a lot quieter as Helton has turned off the music. "We've turned the music off because we're here to work," said Banner.
- Two quick injury notes, DL Noah Jefferson is out with a back issue, while WR Michael Pittman Jr. is limited by a sore collarbone. Here is Helton's complete press conference:
USC's climb up the rankings is all the more remarkable considering the program played its first game in 2013. Under head coach Lindsey Munday, the Women of Troy have gone from west coast experiment to national power player in less than four seasons.
Last week, the Trojans went on the road and demolished Cal and Saint Mary's by a combined score of 35-5 after beating a tough Stony Brook team at home, 14-10. Junior attacker Kylie Drexel scored a hat trick in all three games, earning MPSF Offensive Player of the Week.
Next up, USC puts its winning streak on the line against Dartmouth (2 p.m. on Wednesday at McAlister Field) and Oregon (Noon on Sunday at McAlister Field). Both games will be live on Pac-12 Network.
In February, USC long snapper Jake Olson, who lost his sight to a rare form of cancer called retinoblastoma, was named one of six finalists for the Rare Disease Champion Award. And one month later, he was honored with the award at the Maxwell Awards Gala after winning an online vote.
The Rare Disease Champion Award winner goes to a leader in college football that makes an impact on the rare disease community. This award recognizes Olson's impact on others lives and his hard work to inspire and educate others about the disease.
Click here for the spring break photos.
Click here for the match recaps.
Hughes and Claes are putting together another extraordinary season atop USC's lineup. The reigning national pairs champions are 14-0, including 7-0 last week in Hawaii with all victories coming in straight sets. The duo is currently riding a 39-match winning streak, dating back to April 2, 2015.
Freshman Jasmyne Graham took home two crowns, winning the 100m HH and the long jump, to lead the Women of Troy. On the men's side, highly touted freshman thrower Matt Katnik lived up to the billing, tossing the shot put 61-7.75 (18.79m) for his first outdoor victory as a Trojan.
Click here for the recap.
The Trojans will continue their outdoor season this Friday and Saturday with the Power Conference Cardinal & Gold Challenge at the Loker Track. The meet will be televised by Pac-12 Network on Saturday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Here are the John McGillen photos from the Trojan Invitational:
At the University of Southern California, there are plenty of mouthwatering destinations for spring break. From parading the Mango Deck at the ever popular Cabo San Lucas to shredding down the slopes at Lake Tahoe, there's plenty of room and variation for a break from classes.
While many students were relaxing at those aforementioned locations, the women's water polo team was hard at work, though they also got to get away for a bit. Over the break, the Women of Troy took their undefeated record and No. 1 ranking to Honolulu for a battle against No. 4 Hawaii.
Click here for a complete recap of the match against Hawaii.
The top ranked Trojans stood the test of a great opponent and amazing scenery, winning 9-5, to remain undefeated at 14-0 on the year.
Despite allowing the first goal, USC came back strongly by scoring four straight to take a commanding lead. The four goals were scored by four different Trojans.
USC held a 6-4 lead at halftime, behind junior Stephania Haralabidis' first half hat trick. Haralabidis added another goal in the second half to bring her final tally to four on the day.
Like the rest of the student body, it's back to class and time to leave paradise, with a trip to face the San Jose State Spartans on the horizon.
Click here for Friday's recap.
Click here for Saturday's recap.
In need of some lumber, the Trojans' veteran sluggers delivered at Dedeaux Field. Junior catcher Jeremy Martinez had multiple hits in all three games, while senior 1B/RF A.J. Ramirez scored seven runs, drove in four and belted a home run in the series.
After 18 games, USC sits at 9-9 with perennial power Cal State Fullerton in town tonight (6 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network). The Trojans will play their next five games against non-conference foes before taking their first Pac-12 road trip to Stanford (April 1-3).
Here is the baseball recap show from last week:
Here are the March Madness photos from Raleigh, North Carolina, by John McGillen:
Click here for the recap and video highlights.
While the usual suspects paced the offensive attack, including four goals apiece for Michaela Michael and Kylie Drexel and three for Amanda Johansen, the Trojans' defense came through in the clutch in the latest victory. Sophomore goalie Gussie Johns made nine saves, while her Stony Brook counterparts stopped just two shots between them.
Click here to see Michael and Johansen on Trojans Live.
The Women of Troy will take their five-game winning streak on the road for the next two, visiting Cal and Saint Mary's, which also marks the start of league play.
Here are John McGillen's photos from Monday's victory:
But also, No. 15 USC got a first-hand look at the NCAA Championships site for 2016. Smith's teams always have title dreams, having won five national championships in the last seven years.
Click here for the recap.
Senior Max de Vroome, who knows what it takes to win a national title, paced the Trojans on the trip with wins in doubles and singles. For his efforts, he earned Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Click here for the complete obituary.
Jeter was a four-year (1973-76) starter for the Trojans, recording 234 career tackles at USC and winning all-conference first team honors his last three seasons. During his time, the Trojans played in three Rose Bowls (1974-75-77) and in the 1975 Liberty Bowl.
He was the fifth pick of the 1977 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He would go on to play 13 NFL seasons with the Giants, Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots.
Click here for the entire NCAA Tournament bracket.
USC finished 21-12 in the third year under head coach Andy Enfield, earning a spot in the Round of 64 for the first time since 2009. The Trojans will battle the Friars (23-10) for a spot in Saturday's Round of 32 against the winner of No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast or Farleigh Dickinson.
We will have comprehensive March Madness coverage all week long on @USC_Hoops (Twitter) and @usc_hoops (Instagram), but first, enjoy the Trojans' reaction as their ticket gets officially punched.
- USC head coach Clay Helton was impressed with his team's competitiveness on their first full day in pads, especially being one day away from the start of a week-long break. In the team's final competition period, the offense and defense went after it, forcing two turnovers and ending on a long touchdown from Max Browne to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
- While the offense had the final say, winning the competition drill on the final three plays, Helton felt that it was the defense which stole the show on Saturday. "I thought the defense won the war today, I really did," he explained. "I thought they brought a physicality and a toughness and created turnovers which hadn't been happening really in the first two practices."
- Senior safety Leon McQuay III highlighted the final 15 minutes of practice, intercepting Browne on back-to-back plays to give the defense an early lead. "To see Leon come up with two plays like that made me a happy person," said a pleased Helton, who explained that McQuay is a player he thinks has benefited from the one on one meetings the coaching staff had with the entire team this offseason. "He's an extremely talented young man and when he knows his assignment he plays really fast. He's a really physical player at the safety position as well. I'm expecting really big things from him."
- The head coach has also been impressed with some of the young members of USC's defensive line - Rasheem Green and Porter Gustin - through the first week of practice. A sophomore defensive tackle, Green has demonstrated "his quickness and quick twitch off the ball, especially in one on one pass rush", while Gustin, a sophomore defensive end, is "really causing havoc in both run and pass". On the opposite side of the line, Helton has been pleased with sophomore offensive tackle Chuma Edoga who he says has been "pretty special off the edge" through one week.
- Spring practices, and your RipsIt team, will be back in one week with more news from Howard Jones Field. For now, here's Helton's complete post-practice presser...
USC football got back to work on Thursday for its second practice of the spring with a very competitive and physical session...
- "You want a very chippy, mad football team that wants to compete," said head coach Clay Helton. "One decision can cost you a game. We're on a mission to go win a championship."
- The head coach is preaching an emphasis on technique and fundamentals at practice, something he sees a lot from new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. "I sleep really well at night," said Helton on having Pendergast back on staff. "He's really captured the defensive room."
- Pendergast returns to USC after spending the last year as the San Francisco 49ers linebackers coach, and he's looking for his defense to play very fast with plenty of nickel coverage. The new defensive coordinator is a familiar face for some players as he was the Trojans' defensive coordinator back in 2013. However, he's learning how to work with a plethora of new talent. "There's really not that many guys. You've got Quinton Powell, Leon McQuay, those are two guys I'm really excited about," said Pendergast. "Really it's dominated by the guys who weren't here."
- The defensive coordinator is familiarizing himself with the roster, understanding that it is a young group with flexibility throughout the linebackers and defensive line. "They're an athletic group, I like their size," said Pendergast of his young defensive linemen. "I like some of the things I see, but there's a transition from a technique standpoint compared to what they did last year, so they're taking baby steps."
- The few guys who've played for Pendergast are excited to have their former DC back in Cardinal & Gold. "Back in 2013, we had the number one defense in the Pac-12 under coach Clancy," said USC defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow Jr. "It's a more physical attacking defense (this year), more penetration altogether."
- Despite all the Xs and Os, the number one key for the new defensive coordinator's system seems quite simple: communication. "It all starts with communication. We're going to be a communication-oriented defense," said Pendergast. "I think the more we're out here, the better these guys are going to be."
- Last time at USC, Pendergast had a limited coaching staff, but this year Coach Helton allowed him to pick a coach for every position. He cited Ronnie Bradford's hiring as the secondary coach as a vital addition, as someone who he's previously worked with and who knows his system.
- While he believes there's plenty to improve on, he was reflective on how happy he is to be back. "I feel like I just left yesterday. I'm flattered to have an opportunity to come back," said Pendergast.
- The defense appeared to win the end of practice scrimmage with an interception; however, the play had been whistled dead. Max Browne responded by leading the offense down the field to beat the defense. Helton loved the resilience from Browne and Co. after the turnover from his quarterback.
- Update on the injury front: Taylor McNamara and Quinton Powell returned to practice on Thursday after missing the first spring practice due to strep throat.
- Here is Helton after the second practice...
Click here for the recap.
The four-stroke win was keyed by the usual suspects as sophomore Sean Crocker finished second overall and junior Rico Hoey carded a team-best 72 in the final round. Crocker turned in his fourth top 8 this year and his second in a row, finishing at 3-under 213 (70-68-75). Hoey kept his impressive streak of top 10 finishes alive, extending it to six in a row with a tie for eighth at 2-over 218 (76-70-72).
Here are the John McGillen photos from Las Vegas:
Here's a look at the week that was and the week that will be in USC baseball:
The USC men's basketball team kicked off the Pac-12 Tournament on an extremely high note, dominating crosstown rival UCLA, 95-71, to advance to the quarterfinals. This is the Trojans' first three-game sweep of the Bruins since 1942.
Click here for a full recap from the Trojans' first-round victory.
The Trojans opened up the game on a 14-2 run and never looked back, holding a double-digit lead for XX. USC once again owned its season-long slogan - It Takes A Team - finishing with six players in double figures. Freshman Bennie Boatwright led the team with 19 points followed by Jordan McLaughlin (18), Nikola Jovanovic (16), Julian Jacobs (11), Chimezie Metu (10) and Katin Reinhardt (10). USC also dominated the boards, outrebounding UCLA a whopping 52-29. Wednesday's opening round victory was the Trojans' largest margin of victory over the Bruins since 1945.
"It feels really good," said Jovanovic. "This Wednesday was a whole new start to the season. We didn't care what we did in the regular season. We knew what we had to do to win games in order to stay in the tournament. Every day is a fight. We're just going to go game by game."
It didn't look like the first Pac-12 Tournament game for freshmen Boatwright and Metu who lit up the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Boatwright led the team in scoring with 19 points, hitting five threes and collecting nine rebounds. Metu added the thrills, putting on a show for the Las Vegas crowd with an assortment of unbelievable dunks. He recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
"I had a feeling both would play well," said head coach Andy Enfield of the dynamite duo. "Bennie was terrific making those threes and then Chimezie came in with his career-high in rebounds. He played a key part in our defensive scheme. The freshman played beyond their years this evening."
On to the Next One
After an emotional win, the Trojans must now compose themselves and prepare for their impending second-round battle on Thursday night. USC will square off against Utah at 6 p.m., looking to erase the sour taste of an 80-69 regular season loss to the Utes. Be sure to follow @USC_Hoops for photos, in-game updates and more from the Pac-12 Tournament.
Check out the SnappyTV highlights from USC's emphatic first-round victory...
While Martin continues to grow as a player, she is also thriving in her other passions at USC, including her exceptional artistic talent. For her latest project, she added some color to the entrance at Merle Norman Stadium.
Click here to purchase.
USC football is officially back in action as the Trojans took the field for the first time in 2016 with some new and some familiar faces to kick off spring ball...
- "Spring ball is one of my favorite times of the year because you focus on the technique and fundamentals of the game - things that are going to win championships," said head coach Clay Helton. "I could hardly sleep last night with excitement to get back out with the team and be a part of this."
- Tuesday marked Helton's first spring practice as head coach along with his new coaching staff. He continually emphasized the new coaching staff's toughness and ability to coach players extremely hard. Toughness is just one of the coaching staff's "four T's" for spring practice. The staff's message is focused on the team's Technique - the fundamentals of the game, Toughness - the art of discipline of doing things right, Togetherness - a brotherhood, and Trust - trusting the process.
- The number one story line heading into the Trojans' spring practices is the quarterback competition between redshirt junior Max Browne and redshirt freshman Sam Darnold. Both impressed on the first day with some outstanding deep balls, including a roughly 40-yard touchdown to WR JuJu Smith-Schuster from Browne. "It was neat to see a third-year vet come out there and really look smooth and act like a third-year vet in Max Browne," said Helton. "And then to have three really talented young guys right behind him, it makes you feel good as a coach. It helps you sleep at night to have that position really solidified with a lot of talent."
- Browne understands his role as a three-year vet including how the experience gives him the slight edge in the position battle. "I'm older, I've been here longer, have more reps, so I'm taking the mindset that it's my job to lose but obviously at the end of the day, it's the coaches' decision," said the quarterback. "I'm one of the older guys here. I may not have the on-field experience as some guys but I've been through the ropes as far as offseasons and spring balls and all that. I've earned my stripes a little bit. I'm a leader and need to take that approach."
- Darnold stressed that in the eyes of the coaches it is still very much an even playing field. Though he understands his lack of experience, he isn't phased at the idea of stepping into the role as USC's starting quarterback against the Alabama Crimson Tide. "I like to think of myself as a leader by example mostly, but if guys need me to lead vocally or step up that way I can," said Darnold. "If there needs to be a little more juice around practice, more energy, I definitely think of myself as a guy that can do that."
- Helton emphasized that the coaching staff is looking to name a starter by the end of spring if there's a clear gap, but if there's still progress to be made, then they'll decide whether or not to continue it through Fall Camp.
- All eyes were on the quarterbacks, but Helton declared the wide receiver corps as the position group that stood out the most in the first practice, including early enrollees Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Imatorbhebhe, who looked like two-year veterans on their first day according to the head coach.
- "It's different because you have Max Browne who has a cannon, Sam Darnold who has accuracy and Jalen Greene who has the speed and throws with his left hand," said JuJu Smith-Schuster. "Trying to catch from different quarterbacks is kind of hard so I'm glad we're doing it at the beginning of spring so I can get used to it."
- This depth at wide out as well as in the running back corps allows the Trojans to have an extremely well-balanced offensive attack, something that Smith-Schuster recognizes. "For me, in order for our team to progress and move forward to the next level, I think I might have to step back a little and let the other guys play more."
- The first practice of 2016 brought a handful of Trojan football alumni out to Howard Jones to scope out this year's talented squad. The notable alumni list including recent players like Su'a Cravens, Soma Vainuku, Randall Telfer, Hayes Pullard and George Uko as well as Trojan legends like John Robinson, Marc Raab, Chris Hale and Tom Malone.
- After missing the Holiday Bowl to end last season, OL Chad Wheeler returned to the team after dealing with personal issues. "I had a personal situation and I regret my actions. I have apologized to my team and coaches and I apologize to our fans," said Wheeler. "I have dealt with my issue and I look forward to the season."
- A quick injury update to start spring ball - Cameron Smith, Toa Lobendahn, Khaliel Rogers and Chris Hawkins are all still rehabbing surgeries so their performances will be limited as they continue to heal. LB Osa Masina tweaked a hamstring and will most like miss the rest of the week. Strept throat has been traveling around the team with Taylor McNamara and Quinton Powell missing practice as they try to rest up for Thursday. Leon McQuay III won't be participating in spring practice because he has a class he needs to take to graduate but will work out separately with the coaching staff. Finally, Don Hill was absent for a violation of team rules and Scott Felix remains ineligible due to personal issues.
- Rounding out the Trojans absent from spring practice is three-way superstar Adoree' Jackson, who is spending the spring focusing on track. "To allow him to attempt to win a national championship and to be a part of the Olympics, you have to master it. I don't think you can go back and forth," said Helton. "He's one of those special players that needs three weeks of camp to be ready for a season. He's just that supreme of an athlete."
- Here is Helton after the first spring practice...
"I am looking forward to entering the 2016 season as a new coach not only with a roster of talented players with whom I already have a relationship, but with a coaching staff that I believe is exceptional," said Helton. "We want to run the ball on offense, stop the run defensively, play great special teams and not turn over the ball. However, there is a lot of development that must be done before the 2016 season and it starts with our time in spring practice and fall camp. I have no doubt that this staff will prepare our players well for the upcoming season.On offense, Tee Martin now runs the show, having proven his value as one of the nation's best position coaches and recruiters over the last six years. He will be tasked by Helton with creating a power identity.
"Our offense will be very consistent to what Trojan fans have seen in the past," said Helton. "Tee not only is an outstanding play caller, but he has been with us long enough to understand what works well here. We want to keep defenses off balance by being balanced offensively. We believe we have the personnel to run the ball effectively and physically and to be explosive in the passing game. At the end of the day, though, we know that we must be able to run the ball and not turn it over."
On the other side of the ball, Clancy Pendergast is back after leading the Trojans to the top of the league in total defense during his one-year stint as USC defensive coordinator in 2013.
"After seeing how effective the 5-2 defense was here in 2013 under Clancy, I'm excited to see it in action with the current personnel we have," said Helton. "It's an aggressive, attacking system and I believe it's the perfect fit for us. We want to stop the run and get to the quarterback, and create turnovers."And last but not least, Helton understands the importance of special teams. To that end, he brought back John Baxter, who is widely considered a leader in the profession.
"We are extremely fortunate that John came back to coach our special teams," said Helton. "He is one of the most respected special teams coordinators in the game. His trademark is impactful, creative special teams play.
Click here for more on the BMW Crosstown Cup.
The Trojans opened up a nice lead in the fall and winter by sweeping football and men's basketball, and they are just 30 points from clinching the cup with major events to come this spring. While USC and UCLA will square off in the first round of the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas (Wednesday at 6 p.m. on Pac-12 Network), it will have no effect on the Crosstown Cup as the Trojans have already beaten the Bruins twice.
Click here for a full recap of USC's Pac-12 honors.
Jacobs is the lone Trojan on the All-Pac-12 First Team, though sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin was given honorable mention status. Forward Bennie Boatwright was also an honorable mention for the All-Pac-12 Freshmen Team.
USC Spring Football begins Tuesday as the Trojans suit up for the first of 15 practices, culminating in the annual Spring Game at the Coliseum on April 16. Under the direction of head coach Clay Helton, the 2016 Trojans have several questions to answer before the fall, headlined by the starting quarterback competition.
Redshirt junior Max Browne is the most experienced under center, but he will be pushed by an athletic young trio in redshirt freshman Sam Darnold, redshirt sophomore Jalen Greene and true freshman Matt Fink. Cody Kessler's successor will have plenty of experienced weapons at wide receiver and tailback, including All-Pac-12 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and USC freshman rushing record holder Ronald Jones II. The strength of the Trojans offense should be up front with nine returning offensive linemen that have started a game led by All-Pac-12 OT Zach Banner.
USC will also be reintroducing Clancy Pendergast's 5-2 defense, focusing on getting pressure from the young defensive front seven, which officially returns only two starters. The experienced secondary should help give the pass rushers time though as all four starting defensive backs return, including lockdown corners Adoree' Jackson and Iman "Biggie" Marshall.
"I am looking forward to entering the 2016 season as a new coach not only with a roster of talented players with whom I already have a relationship, but with a coaching staff that I believe is exceptional," said Helton. "We want to run the ball on offense, stop the run defensively, play great special teams and not turn over the ball. However, there is a lot of development that must be done before the 2016 season and it starts with our time in spring practice and fall camp. I have no doubt that this staff will prepare our players well for the upcoming season."
Click here for the complete spring preview.
Click here for the spring practice schedule.
Spring Football will also mark the introduction of seven new freshmen with the rest of their classmates set to arrive in the fall. The Trojan Family will get its first look at WR Michael Pittman Jr., WR Josh Imatorbhebhe, DL Oluwole Betiku, QB Matt Fink, DL Liam Jimmons, DB C.J. Pollard and OL Nathan Smith.
As always, every practice will be covered right here on the USCTrojans.com RipsIt Blog, including video of Clay Helton's post-practice press conference.
USC women's tennis opened Pac-12 play this weekend with back-to-back victories over No. 41 Washington and No. 47 Washington State at Marks Stadium. The Women of Troy took down Washington, 5-2, on Friday and Washington State, 5-1, on Saturday.
Click here for a full recap of the win over Washington.
Click here for a full recap of the win over Washington State.
USC men's basketball will tip off its postseason on Wednesday in Las Vegas as the Trojans are the No. 7 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament at the MGM Grand. First up, USC will take its crosstown rivalry on the road by playing No. 10 UCLA at 6 p.m. inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
With a win, the Trojans would face No. 2 Utah in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 6 p.m. PT. Both games will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.
In his latest "Bracketology", ESPN's Joe Lunardi projects USC as a 10-seed in the NCAA Tournament, so the Trojans are in good shape to make the "Big Dance" for the first time since 2011, especially if they can knock off the Bruins for a third time this season.
Be sure to follow @USC_Hoops on Twitter and @uschoops on Instagram for behind-the-scenes coverage of the tournament as well as live game updates.
Click here for the complete release.
"I have worked with virtually every SID in America over the last 30 years, and Tim is the best," said USC athletic director Pat Haden. "This is a well deserved honor for one of the most loyal servants to our athletic department and university."
Tessalone graduated from USC in 1978 and then started as an assistant SID in 1979 before taking over the head job five years later. He won the 2013 Bert McGrane Award, given annually by the Football Writers Association of America to an FWAA member who has performed great service to the organization and/or the writing profession. Under Tessalone, USC is a five-time winner of the "Super 11" award, which recognizes the best sports information departments in college football (FBS).
No. 22 USC baseball faced tough, nationally-ranked opponents this weekend in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic, dropping two of three games in back-and-forth battles that were decided by one run or extra innings. The Trojans have now had seven games decided by one run and are 3-4 in those contests.
The weekend began on a high note with a 5-4 victory over Oklahoma that came down to the final inning when reliever Brad Wegman came in with runners in scoring position and got a 5-4-3 double play on just one pitch.
Click here for a full recap from Friday's dramatic, down-to-the-wire victory.
However, the next two games did not fall in the Trojans' favor as they lost to No. 20 Mississippi State and UCLA in dramatic fashion.
On Saturday against the Bulldogs, USC had the game-tying run on third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but it couldn't convert leaving yet another runner on base, an area where the team has really struggled to start the season. The Trojans have stranded 90 runners, a key stat when looking at the amount of one-run games so far this season.
Click here for a recap from Saturday's close loss to Mississippi State.
Sunday was even more gut-wrenching for the Trojans who lost yet another instant classic against crosstown rival UCLA at Dodger Stadium. The game lasted 14 innings, the longest ever in this rivalry's history, but the Bruins finally broke the stalemate in the top of the 14th on a single and a fielding error. USC looked like it might tie things up again in the bottom of the 14th with the tying runs in scoring position and only one out, but the Trojans could not convert in the clutch again, stranding both runners to end the game.
Click here for a full recap from Sunday's heartbreaking 14-inning loss.
In all three games this weekend, USC jumped out to an early lead, but struggled to maintain these leads late in the game against tough opponents. The competitive stretch of the season continues for the Trojans as they head to Fort Worth this weekend to face the No. 11 TCU Horned Frogs.
Here are the John McGillen photos from the Dodger Stadium Classic:
USC started strong with a little spark from the team's only senior Strahinja Gavrilovic, who scored the first four points of the game in his first start this season on Senior Day. The Trojans managed to cut a double-digit first half Oregon lead to seven entering the locker room, and started the second half on a 13-4 run courtesy of tremendous play from freshman Bennie Boatwright. The fast start climaxed with an insane dunk from the human highlight reel Julian Jacobs, but the Ducks demonstrated why they've won 11 of their last 13 games by eventually pulling away in the final minutes to win by 10.
"I think it's good that we know we can battle against Top 10 teams in the country," said redshirt junior Katin Reinhardt, who co-led the team in scoring with 12 points. The last time the Trojans' beat a Top 10 team was on January 9 when they beat the then No. 7 Arizona Wildcats, 103-101, in an instant classic quadruple overtime game.
"Two years ago when we came here we came with the goal to improve from year-to-year," said junior Nikola Jovanovic. "Prior to this season, we had a tough two years, but we all learned and grew from it. This year [the goal] was to make a statement."
Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor
Tennis is one of the loneliest sports in the world. It takes a certain person, a certain animal, to face and thrive under the isolation and mental obstacles that come up during a match. In many ways, successful tennis players have to act like a lone alpha wolf, looking out for themselves and abiding by nature's primary rule: survival of the fittest. While the professionals are stuck in a career of isolation, college tennis teams function less like lone wolves and more like packs.
A lone alpha is to a pack of wolves as star senior Giuliana Olmos is to USC women's tennis. One of only two seniors on her team, this season when she looks around her locker room there are only two other players who are not underclassmen.
"I had other people to look up to and now I guess I'm the one they're supposed to look up to," says Olmos with a laugh. "I'm the lonely one."
Expectations may be sky high for the reigning Pac-12 champions, and for a player who finished last season ranked No. 15 in the country, but Olmos is still focused on enjoying the ride.
"I'm just trying to enjoy each match as much as I can. I'm just playing with my best friends out there," said the reminiscent Olmos. "It's a lot of fun. I've loved every minute of being here at SC and playing for them."
She has loved every minute, but this season presents perhaps the biggest challenge of her career. Her young team has, in her own words, "gotten off to a bumpy start", with a 3-4 record including losses to California and Florida. If you know Olmos' story, however, you know the past two decades have prepared her for this very season.
Olmos, who plays both singles and doubles for USC, started playing tennis before the age of six, and naturally became more and more committed. "Tennis was literally my life," recounted Olmos.
From training two hours a day at the age of eight, to being home schooled at age 14 so she could practice six-to-eight hours a day, Olmos prepared herself for a potentially long career in tennis. Without knowing so at the time, she was also preparing for her senior year.
At an early age, she idolized the aggression of tennis greats like Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. As she grew, she learned the value of discipline - both mental and physical - and the focus it took to be one of the sport's elite. This past summer, while on her own in individual tournaments away from her teammates and coaches, she discovered even more the importance of mental strength.
"When I'm on the court I have to be my own best friend... Otherwise I'm going to be playing against myself," said Olmos.
Her mental strength allows her to stay composed in her own matches and talk her teammates through adversity. She also says she's gotten better at being able to adapt to different players' styles, which is knowledge she can certainly pass on to younger players.
Olmos loves leading her team, but soon it will be her turn to leave the pack. While it is bittersweet for the senior to leave behind the memories, championships and the Cardinal & Gold, she knows all of her hard work and dreaming is about to pay off.
"They've all helped me grow as a person and they've been so supportive here at my time at USC. They really are a family to me," said Olmos emotionally. "But I'm super excited to go out and play pro, and finally get to do what I've been training my whole life for."
But before this lone senior becomes a lone alpha in the professional tennis circuit, she has one last chance to lead the pack at USC. Her goals are to push herself to repeat as an All-American and her team as Pac-12 champions, work that continues with a new slate this weekend.
The path to win the Pac-12 starts Friday and Saturday at Marks Stadium against Washington and Washington State. The Women of Troy host the Huskies at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and take on the Cougars on Saturday at 12 p.m. Be sure to follow @USCWomenTennis for in-match updates and more all season long.
The USC women's basketball team begins its quest for its second Pac-12 championship on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. at Key Arena in Seattle against Washington State. The Women of Troy split games against the Cougars during the regular season, dropping one on the road but redeemed themselves a few weeks later at the Galen Center. However, the Women of Troy are entering the conference tournament on a four-game losing streak, something they look to end on Thursday night.
Click here for a full preview of the Pac-12 tournament.
If the Trojans win on Thursday night, they will face the No. 1 Oregon State Beavers at 6:00 p.m. on Friday. USC's performance in the Pac-12 tournament is critical if if wants a chance at making the NCAA tournament.
Prepare for the Pac-12 tournament by checking out this preview including head coach Cynthia Cooper's outlook heading into the tournament...
USC beach volleyball head coach Anna Collier understands the challenge in front of her team as the Women of Troy begin their season this week with the Cardinal and Gold Alumni Match (Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Merle Norman Stadium) and then play an elite tournament field in Malibu over the weekend featuring matches against No. 2 Pepperdine, No. 3 Hawaii, No. 4 Long Beach State and No. 6 UCLA.
Click here for the Pepperdine Kick Off preview.
Coming off an undefeated campaign, the Trojans know they will have a target on their back all season. Here is Collier on the road ahead:
Click here for the complete obituary.
Bukich was named the Player of the Game in the 1953 Rose Bowl after he
came off the bench and threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Al Carmichael
for the only points in USC's 7-0 victory over Wisconsin. He was a second round pick in the 1953 NFL Draft by the Los
Angeles Rams and then spent 14 years in the league, including winning the 1963
NFL championship with the Chicago Bears.
Nicknamed "Rifle Rudy" because of his arm strength, he was reportedly able to throw a football 100 yards.
Jovanovic is a three-year starter, averaging 12.2 points per game this season. With a strong senior campaign, the Serbian big man could make a push to be Top 10 all-time in scoring at USC, but the program leader, Harold Miner, is out of sight as the only man to top 2,000 career points (2,048).
Seymour was not the only star as LB Su'a Cravens thrived in field drills, showing off his elite cover skills.
Su'a Cravens has been incredibly fluid in these passing drills.-- Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 28, 2016
Cody Kessler displayed his typical timing and accuracy during the pass drills, but his measurements stood out the most. Despite being the shortest quarterback at the Combine, he had the biggest hands, which is considered a greater indicator for NFL success than height.
It was not all good news for the Trojans as Antwaun Woods had to bow out after suffering an injury during the bench press. However, he vowed to be fully fit for USC Pro Day on March 23.
Click here to read the recap of Day 1 at the Combine featuring C Max Tuerk, RB Tre Madden and FB Soma Vainuku.
It's been a blessing being apart of this years NFL combine, it has been a goal of mine since HS, next stop PRO DAY March 23rd at USC !-- Antwaun Woods (@USCTwocka99) February 28, 2016
Click here for tickets to the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic.
If you're just catching up on the Trojans, here's what you missed last week: