Fall Camp Dance-Off

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The USC football coaching staff is always looking for ways to make practice competitive, and that even includes the dance party. The big boys showed off their best moves at Thursday's practice.

The only question is who are you voting as the winner??

2015 Fall Camp #13: Notes

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QB Max Browne was in the spotlight today because QB Cody Kessler was one of three Trojans (LB Anthony Sarao and TE Taylor McNamara also) who missed practice to attend orientation for the Master of Communication Management program.
  • Browne took full advantage of his opportunity to play with the first team. "We don't know if it is week 1, week 7 or week 13 that his number might be called," said head coach Steve Sarkisian about Browne. "He can lean on this practice, knowing that he can operate this offense at a high level."
  • Browne was boosted by Adoree' Jackson's presence on offense, but the defense suffered without its shutdown corner. "That's two days in a row now that we haven't been at our best defensively and those are the two days that Adoree' was on offense," said Sarkisian. "We're obviously better when he's out there on both sides of the ball."
  • Especially without Jackson, Kevon Seymour is needed at cornerback, so the senior is pushing himself through some pain. "I just couldn't sit out," Seymour said. "If I'm able to go, I'm ready to go, so I can show the young guys how you do it. If you're not injured, you should be out there."
  • The depth continues to grow at cornerback as Seymour praised the improvement of sophomore Jonathan Lockett and freshman Iman Marshall, who he said "looks like a veteran" already.
  • The group has a tall task in practice though, facing a receiving corps that has much more height than previous seasons. Seymour thinks the secondary will benefit by learning to deal with size in practice, so the unit is ready for all the big targets on Saturdays. He also praised Darreus Rogers for having "probably the strongest hands I've ever seen."
  • Jackson's all-purpose talent reached a new height today when he kicked a field goal through the uprights. Seymour on Jackson: "He can kick. He can run. I don't know if y'all seen Friday Night Lights, but Adoree' is our Boobie Miles."
  • While Jackson can seemingly do everything, Alex Wood is more likely to handle placekicking duties this season. He has been battling with Matt Boermeester all camp, but neither can separate, "It was neck and neck in the spring," said Wood about the competition. "It was kinda annoying to be honest. We're working each other hard."
  • The defensive line will miss Claude Pelon (arthroscopic knee surgery) for approximately the next 1-3 weeks, according to head coach Steve Sarkisian. However, the unit has many more talented bodies this season to cover any losses. "The competition has been the neatest thing about it with all the quality depth we have," said defensive line coach Chris Wilson. "It's a lot of young guys, but the beauty of it is, they're coming out, and they've got the right attitude, and they're working hard."
  • Sarkisian has stressed since day one that while any team would miss Leonard Williams, the defensive line can benefit by playing as a unit instead of waiting for a superstar to make a play. "We've got a football team and a defense that is really accountable to one and other," the head coach said. "I don't think it is about one guy or one leader. I think it is everybody working together for a common cause."
  • Sarkisian started his post-practice press conference with a length injury report, but nothing too serious as LB Su'a Cravens (back spasm), RB Justin Davis (chest contusion), WR Steven Mitchell (ankle) and OL Chad Wheeler (head) were among those to sit today out.

Get to Know: Soma Vainuku

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Beyond the recruiting bios, stat columns, post-game quotes and jersey numbers, every one of USC's elite student-athletes possesses a unique personality. Whether it's their life motto, hidden talent or spirit animal, there's more that makes up each of our Trojan athletes than what's put on display come game day.

Work hard, play hard - USC fullback Soma Vainuku has mastered the art of balance in his life. A workhorse in the backfield on Saturdays, the redshirt senior makes time to play 18 holes whenever he gets the chance. On top of a busy football schedule, Vainuku managed to intern for USC alum Rick Caruso at one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the country this summer.


One Free Quote, Two Free Tickets

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Mercury Insurance has an offer for Trojan fans that is too good to pass up. Simply, get a FREE insurance quote online and receive two FREE tickets to one of the first six USC football home games this season.

Collect your tickets now!!

Tickets get scooped up quickly, so get your free quote now before time runs out.

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75th Anniversary All-American Trio

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USC football legends Ronnie Lott, Ron Yary and Troy Polamalu were named to the FWAA 75th Anniversary All-America Team. Lott and Yary made the first team at defensive back and offensive line respectively, while Polamalu is listed as a third team defensive back.

Click here for the complete team.

While there are some notable Trojans omitted, the three names included are impossible to argue against. Super Bowl winners Lott and Polamalu are on any short list of the greatest safeties of all-time, while Yary was the first Trojan to be selected No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft.

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The Internship: Dominique Randle

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Written by Grace DeWitt, USC blog contributor

School may not be in session, but many USC student-athletes stayed busy this summer pursuing a variety of internships. As the start of the fall semester approaches, we'll feature some of the unique experiences several Trojans had this offseason.

IMG_5201.JPGName: Dominique Randle
Year: RS Junior
Sport: Women's Soccer
Internship: Special Olympics World Games

Grace DeWitt (GD): I know your internship was with the Special Olympics, but what was your exact role?

Dominique Randle (DR): With the Special Olympics there's the Games Organizing Committee, so I interned with the Organizing Committee in the department of community relations and fan development.

GD: What was it about the internship that interested you?

DR: Last year, they hosted the [Special Olympics Summer Games] invitational at USC, and I went with a couple other student-athletes. We were really inspired, so I thought, "Okay, next year when they come to LA, I want to do something." I originally applied for special events, but the person in charge had just filled the spot. But she said there were other openings and forwarded me to HR. I had a conversation with their HR people and they put me in contact with the community relations department.

GD: Since it wasn't what you originally wanted to do, did you know what community relations would entail?

DR: They originally do a phone screening, so they get more of background of your personality and see which role would benefit you and what you want. I was talking to HR and basically what they said was, "It seems like you want to be able to interact more with people, something a little more fulfilling, rather than just being behind the scenes," - which is what special events would have been more of. What was unique about community relations is that I got to go out to events, like I went to Wango Tango and got to interact with all the people going to the concert. It was things like that that we got a chance to be a part of.

GD: What would you say was the most rewarding part of the internship?

DR: My department goes out and recruits people to come volunteer and cheer on the athletes for a couple hours. Going to the Galen Center, for example, and seeing it full with everyone cheering was probably the most inspiring thing. Also, USC had the Trojan Games and I helped on the Special Olympics side to put that on. Seeing all of my friends and student-athletes paired with a kid and cheering on our competitors was probably one of the most fulfilling moments of the entire time.

GD: What was most challenging?

DR: The most challenging thing was selling the sports that a lot of people don't hear about. In the Convention Center we had more non-traditional sports than what you'd see in the regular Olympics, like bocce and handball. Getting out of your comfort zone and talking to people was challenging too. Sometimes people were a little hesitant to help because it wasn't the hands-on role that they wanted, but once you kind of made it a story about how important it is for athletes to have people in the stands to cheer them on, they got more inspired. A lot of people got really enthusiastic and made shirts and tried to recruit as many other people as they could.

GD: What is it about being an athlete yourself that you think made you good for the role?

DR: I think working with deadlines. No matter what was going to happen, we couldn't push things back. Certain challenges popped up that we just had to deal with on the fly, running and doing it ourselves instead of giving it to someone else. I think that was helpful. And because it's a sporting event it made it a lot more personal for me. How would I feel if no one was there watching me? That was probably the main reason why I did it, to make sure that the athletes had the best experience that they could.

GD: Did the athletes themselves teach you anything? What did you learn from them?

DR: I learned a whole different level of determination. There's this one athlete I watched for track. They wheeled him out, and we're all sitting there in the stands thinking, "is someone going to push him or is he going to wheel himself around?" Then they say, "on your marks" and they lift him out of the wheelchair, and then the gun goes off. He's crawling on his hands and knees. I'm in the front row watching him like, "wow." It was honestly probably that athlete that was most inspiring. And then there was this kid who played basketball. He kept trying to make threes the entire time, and everyone was yelling at him to pass the ball, but he was determined to make this three. It happened to be a buzzer beater in the third quarter. He just went for it, and he hit it, and he was so excited he started crying. Just being able to be resilient, and knowing what you want, that inspired me the most.

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Get to Know: John Plattenburg

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Beyond the recruiting bios, stat columns, post-game quotes and jersey numbers, every one of USC's elite student-athletes possesses a unique personality. Whether it's their life motto, hidden talent or spirit animal, there's more that makes up each of our Trojan athletes than what's put on display come game day.

John Plattenburg Jr. isn't playing games when it comes to the upcoming football season. "Pacman", as he's nicknamed, returns for his sophomore year looking to imitate his on-field role model, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, as a playmaker in the secondary. Plattenburg is dedicated to being great off the field too, contributing some of the most community service hours of anyone on the team.


2015 Fall Camp #12: Notes

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

We're quickly running out of words to describe sophomore Adoree' Jackson, who played with the offense for the first time this camp during Wednesday's practice. Taking turns as both a wide receiver and running back, Jackson made one spectacular play after another all morning...
  • "I thought he looked really good today," head coach Steve Sarkisian said afterwards. "It felt like every time he touched the ball he might have scored. That's what it should feel like. It's why we're using him on offense."
  • Jackson (pictured) played "only" three positions for the offense during practice, lining up in the slot, at running back and even stretching the field for a diving, back of the end zone reception as an outside receiver. "When I'm out there I feel like I'm at home," the sophomore said with an enormous smile. "I have a lot of fun when I'm on the offensive side of the ball because you get to do spectacular things. You get the momentum going and get your teammates excited."
  • Quarterback Cody Kessler enjoys having Jackson on his side of the ball because of the versatility it offers his offense. "He's a really dynamic player and he can do so many different things. He's that guy that you can't really scout. He does everything. He always seems to make things happen."
  • USC_Football_Fall_Camp_081015_MCG1498(1).jpgThough it's tempting to want to see Jackson in his huddle all game, Kessler said he's increasingly in support of watching the playmaker from the sidelines instead. "I love him on offense, but I know how difficult it is to go against him on defense, and I love knowing that other quarterbacks see that too. You have to throw the ball pretty much perfect every time when he's playing coverage and that really stresses out the quarterback."
  • According to Sarkisian, one of the most difficult tasks is figuring out when and where the team needs Jackson the most. Much of the determination regarding the number of snaps he'll play on offense and defense during games will depend on specific opponents. "We're trying to figure it out, we're trying to do it right," Sarkisian explained. "We're trying to do what's best for the team but we know Adoree' will play some offense."
  • Incredible catches aside, the head coach was mainly impressed with Jackson's preparation in his first day on the opposite side of the ball. The sophomore explained that switching back and forth requires shaking off a little rust, but is something he's always ready for. "I knew Sark was going to get into me if I did play bad," Jackson said. "When I first got out here, I dropped those two passes in warm ups and he was almost going to send me back to defense. I know I can't take it for granted because I know I have to be out here and do what I have to do or else someone else will."
  • Tempo continues to be a focus for the Trojans, now in the second year of Sarkisian's faster system. With the install phase of camp behind them, the head coach believes his team will really start picking up the pace.
  • After reviewing film from Monday's scrimmage, Sarkisian noted the strength of his defensive line especially when playing at a low pad level. On the opposite side of the ball, the head coach did note the couple interceptions Kessler threw but believes practice is the best place for the redshirt senior to work out those mistakes. "We really believe our practice field is the most competitive practice field in America. You're going to go against good players," Sarkisian elaborated. "When you're off a little bit, the good players are going to make you pay."
  • From the quarterback's perspective, the biggest thing that stood out from Monday's film was the performance of his wide receiver corps. "JuJu was a guy who stood out to me," Kessler said. "He caught a touchdown on the first drive and made some plays that were pretty critical there. That's what you expect from him coming into this year. It was really cool to see Steven Mitchell make a lot of plays too."
  • Wrapping up the day's extensive practice report, Sarkisian announced that redshirt junior TE Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick will be focusing on academics this fall and will not join the team until the spring.
  • Injury updates: Redshirt junior DT Jordan Simmons has swelling in his knee and will sit out practice until it goes down. Redshirt senior DE Claude Pelon has a sprained knee which will be scoped tomorrow to ensure it is not a more serious injury.
  • Here is Sarkisian after the morning practice...

2015 USC Football Poster

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The 2015 USC football schedule poster is available to fans for FREE at the September 5 season opener at the Coliseum upon exit of the stadium. Thereafter, you can pick it up in the Heritage Hall lobby, the USC ticket office or purchase it online.

Here is your exclusive first look at the new poster featuring QB Cody Kessler, LB Su'a Cravens, CB/WR Adoree' Jackson and WR JuJu Smith:



Update: Prices Lowered!

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC women's volleyball opens the 2015 season at Galen Center with the Women of Troy Invitational, a two-day tournament on August 28-29. All-inclusive ticket packs, NOW AT LOWER PRICES, are available for purchase here, and include a USC plastic mason jar mug, pregame happy hour refreshments and a pregame Chalk Talk with Mick Haley.

The Women of Troy's first game will be against North Carolina at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 28. On Saturday, the Trojans face Chicago State at 10 a.m. and BYU at 8 p.m.