Bye Week Wednesday: Notes

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The heat is on the Trojans literally and figuratively.
  • The acronym of the day was "DYJ" meaning "Do Your Job."  In the anxiety of the moment Saturday night, the defense did not stick to its responsibilities and tried to do too much, which led to large gaps and explosive plays.  "Everybody needs to do their own job and is on their own assignment. That's really the biggest thing," said DT Antwaun Woods. "We just weren't doing our jobs."
  • Option football can expose a defense that is not sticking to its assignments. "I think there were times during the game where we were fine," said defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. "And other times, we started to press, where we were trying to do too much and when you do that against an option team, that costs you."
  • Wilcox took responsibility for the overall defensive breakdown Saturday. "We've got good kids. They care," he said. "We've just got to be more detailed and disciplined with our eyes. We've got to play with better technique and we will. But obviously it starts with me, it's my job, and I've got to do a better job preparing them."
  • LB Hayes Pullard echoed the same sentiments about keeping to the task even when things go bad. "You've got to trust your teammates and be able to stay focused out there, when bullets start flying you can't lose your fundamentals and what we've been taught all week."
  • Su'a Cravens had a strong game with three tackles-for-loss, but he is playing out of his natural position as a hybrid safety/linebacker in this system. "I like him around the ball," said Sarkisian. "I don't know if it best suits our team and him exactly right, but what I do know is that he is closer to the action. He's able to make more plays."
  • As for the freshmen, Adoree' Jackson was the "player of the day" in practice forcing three turnovers.
  • WR Ajene Harris, who has not gotten many opportunities in the first three weeks, is on the rise again. "For this week, for him, it's kind of gotten him back to training camp mode, which is when he really impressed us the most," said Sarkisian. "We have refocused this week on Ajene in the slot, and it's showing up again. His toughness, his playmaking ability, and that's allowed us to move Nelson [Agholor] a little bit more outside, where he is really comfortable too."
  • Here is Sarkisian's morning press conference...

2015 USC Football Schedule

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The 2015 USC football schedule was announced tonight on Pac-12 Networks. 

Click here for season ticket info.

Click here for more on the schedule.

Take a look and mark your calendars:

September 5 -- Arkansas State

September 12 -- Idaho

September 19 -- Stanford

September 26 -- @ Arizona State

October 8 (Thursday) -- Washington

October 17 -- @ Notre Dame

October 24 -- Utah (Trojan Family Weekend)

October 31 -- @ California

November 7 -- Arizona (Homecoming/Reunion Weekend)

November 13 (Friday) -- @ Colorado

November 21 -- @ Oregon

November 28 -- UCLA

2015 marks the return of Oregon and Washington to the Trojans' schedule, and the removal of Oregon State and Washington State.  The 2015 Pac-12 Championship Game will be played on Friday, Dec. 4, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

USC has not played at Autzen since ending the Ducks nation leading home winning streak in 2011.

UNFILTERED: Boston College

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The Trojans were dealt an early setback at Boston College suffering the first loss of the Steve Sarkisian era.

Here's an UNFILTERED look at how it happened and how the Trojans plan to bounce back:

2014 NFL Week 2

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TE Xavier Grimble was signed to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad to go along with another positive week for Trojans in the NFL.

The Best

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - Two blocked kicks plus a game-saving knockout

TJ-Mac.jpgThe hard-hitting safety was instrumental in the Rams first victory of the season.  In the second quarter, he blocked a punt to setup a field goal.  In the fourth quarter, he blocked a field goal to save three points and lead to another St. Louis field goal.  And finally, he made five solo tackles including a powerful hit on Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans, which forced the trainers to come on the field thus running the clock out.

Best of the Rest

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 2 sacks

Shareece Wright, CB, Chargers - Team-high 7 tackles (5 solo) and a pass defended

Silas Redd, RB, Redskins - 8 carries for 41 yards and his first career NFL touchdown

Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers - 8 tackles (6 solo)

Nickell Robey, CB, Bills - 5 tackles (4 solo)

Rhett Ellison, TE, Vikings - 24-yard catch

Malcolm Smith, LB, Seahawks - 5 tackles (4 solo)

Clay Matthews, LB, Packers - 5 tackles (4 solo) including a sack plus a pass defended

Hoops Schedule Locked and Loaded

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The 2014-15 USC men's basketball schedule is now finalized with opponents, dates, times and networks.

Click here for the complete schedule.

While the non-conference schedule has been set for months, the Pac-12 slate is newsworthy with a three-game home stand in January featuring Cal (January 7), Stanford (January 11) and UCLA (January 14).  The Trojans miss Arizona and Arizona State at home, while they do not travel to Washington and Washington State.

Click here for tickets.

Every game all season long will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports Network or Pac-12 Networks.

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Bye Week Tuesday: Notes

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The Trojans endured a morning practice on Cromwell Field under oppressive heat.
  • Four players are using the bye week to get healthy.  DE Leonard Williams, TE Randall Telfer, RB Tre Madden and WR JuJu Smith spent the morning rehabbing.
  • Farmer-BC14-McG.jpgTwo more health related notes: Walk-on WR Christian Tober had surgery at USC Keck Hospital to repair a broken collarbone and senior RB D.J. Morgan is not playing football this season to focus on track and field. "I recruited D.J. out of high school, and he was an elite track athlete, and he wants to get healthy for that opportunity, and so we wish him the best of luck," said head coach Steve Sarkisian. Morgan clarified after practice that he needs to get healthy, but could still pursue an NFL career.
  • While the Trojans have many regrets about the performance at Boston College, the focus is on fixing the problems going forward and not dwelling on past mistakes. "We need this bye week. We need to get better. A bye week does not mean a week off," said Sarkisian. "The taste is going to be in our mouth a little longer than normal, which maybe isn't a bad thing."
  • Several Trojans have suggested since the game that they did not handle the success of a Top 10 ranking very well.  QB Cody Kessler said they had a team meeting about it this week.
  • On the offensive side of the ball, the questions remain about play-calling vs. execution, and the answer seems to be both.  Coaches need to improve on "in-game adjustments" and handling "in-game adversity," said Sarkisian.
  • Kessler put it on himself and the players, saying, "We had a lot of missed assignments when we were trying to establish the run. The play calls were there. The looks we wanted were there."
  • As for the five sacks given up, "The offensive line is getting blitzed all day and I need to get the ball out of my hands. That's all on me," said Kessler.
  • The offensive linemen know they need to do a better job protecting the quarterback, paving holes for the running backs and communicating. "We all need to be on the same page. We need to come a lot more focused from now on," said RT Zach Banner. "We can't loosen up the screws, like Coach Sark says. We can't let up. I'm not saying that's what we did. But we need to come and play our game. If we had played our game, it would have been a totally different outcome."
  • The wide receivers are certainly not pointing fingers at anyone else. "We've got to run better routes. We've got to catch the ball when it comes our way, and we've got to get open," said Nelson Agholor. "Things that wide receivers should always do whether the ball comes their way or not."
  • George Farmer was a positive for the wide receiving corps securing his long awaited first touchdown as a Trojan (pictured). "It felt great. It's been awhile since I've been in that end zone. I think since high school, so yeah, it felt great," said Farmer. "Unfortunately, it couldn't contribute to the win so it didn't really mean that much. Next time, I hope I can have a touchdown that will contribute to our win."
  • While Kessler is hard on himself, his play has also been a bright spot.  He is completing 71% of his passes with 8 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. "I think I can do better," he said. "Like I've always said, protecting the ball is my biggest thing and I've been doing an OK job with that right now."
  • The Trojans will have to wait two weeks for Oregon State at the Coliseum, but they are already chomping at the bit. "We're still going to go hard and Oregon State is going to feel the wrath," said Farmer. "Coming off a loss, no one wants to feel down about it, so we're going to come out hard."
  • Here is Sarkisian's post-practice press conference:

Sarkisian Q&A: BC and Bye Week

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USC head coach Steve Sarkisian broke down the loss to Boston College and the bye ahead in his weekly Q&A with our David Foley.

Clean Sheet

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No. 14 USC women's soccer is still unbeaten in the Keidane McAlpine era as the Women of Troy managed a win and a draw last week.  The Trojans defeated Pacific 3-0 thanks to three second half goals on Friday, while they were tied up by UC Irvine on the road yesterday.

Click here for the Pacific recap.

The Trojans have two more games this week to wrap up the non-conference schedule before Pac-12 play begins on September 26 at Arizona.  USC will host Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday at 3 p.m. and Pepperdine on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Here is Jamie Fink and her fake microphone interviewing Tamara Mejia after the Pacific victory:

Fine Form

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No. 3 USC men's water polo dismantled four different opponents this weekend by a combined score of 90-19 to sweep the Inland Empire Classic.  The Trojans are off to an 8-0 start in search of a seventh consecutive national championship.

Click here for the recaps.

Next up, USC will head to Stockton for the NorCal Tournament against a loaded field featuring No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Cal.  The Trojans have won three of the last four Norcal Tournaments.

In case you missed it, here are Kostas Genidounias and Rex Butler, water polo's dynamic duo, on Trojans Live last week.

Volley Hits Bump in the Road

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Just like football, USC women's volleyball is licking its wounds this week trying to overcome an early season setback with bigger goals ahead.  The Women of Troy started the season 6-0 on the road, but they were bounced out of their own gym by Texas A&M and No. 10 Florida as part of the USC Classic last week.

Click here for the recaps.

This week, the Trojans look to rebound in the Pacific Northwest as part of the Pac-12/Big Ten Showcase.  They will play Wisconsin on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. PT and Maryland on Friday at 5:30 p.m. PT.  Both matches will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Networks.