Help Has Arrived

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Signinday_Basketball_Buggs2.jpgWith the departures of Nikola Jovanovic and Darion Clark, USC men's basketball needed help in the front court, and it arrived in the form of Minnesota grad transfer Charles Buggs. The fifth-year senior will be immediately eligible for the 2016-17 season, his one and only as a Trojan.

"I chose USC because of its academic excellence," said Buggs. "Secondly, I chose USC for its great heritage of athletic achievements. The USC basketball team has had great success in the past and has great coaches to help develop and bring the most out of their players. I'm looking forward to attending and becoming part of the Trojan Family."

Click here for the full story on Buggs.

Buggs played in 28 games and made 21 starts for the Golden Gophers during the 2015-16 season, averaging 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds. He was second on the team in field goal percentage (.462), third in free throw percentage (.769), third in blocks (14) and fourth in three-pointers made (23).

Silver for Our Sprinter

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On Monday evening, USC alum Allyson Felix took second place in one of the most dramatic races of Rio 2016 so far. Her silver medal in the 400m made Felix the most decorated female Olympic track athlete in U.S. history.

Click here for the full story.

Felix cruised down the stretch and looked like she had caught up to the leader of the pack --- the Bahamas' Shaunae Miller --- but Miller stumbled and fell across the finish line, besting Felix by .07 seconds.

The silver is Felix's seventh Olympic medal, breaking her tie with Jackie Joyner-Kersee for most track & field medals ever by an American woman. Her medal brings USC's medal count to eight (three gold, three silver, two bronze) at Rio 2016.

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Next up for Felix: the 4x400 relay heats on Friday at 4:40 p.m. PT.


2016 Fall Camp #13: Notes

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On the second half of a two-a-day, USC engaged in a 75-play scrimmage.
  • The best news from the scrimmage was that no one got hurt. Head coach Clay Helton reported zero injuries. Also, DT Noah Jefferson (back) is improving and did a lot of work in the morning practice.
  • USC_Football_fall_camp_mcgillen_081516_DSC4290.JPGHowever, Helton was not overjoyed by his team's execution. The coaches backed away a little to see which players were prepared and who needed more time in the playbook. "Reality day," Helton called it.
  • Early in practice, QB Max Browne threw three passes that ended up in defenders' arms, albeit two of them were on drops, but Helton was impressed with how he bounced back from disappointment. "He did some really nice things late, I thought, especially in the red zone and in the two-minute drive," said Helton about his veteran QB. "It's how you react from it."
  • Overall though, the offense struggled to move the ball for the first half of practice and penalty flags piled up. "As you can see, we started off slow, Coach Helton, JuJu [Smith-Schuster], [Darreus Rogers], the leaders of the pack spoke on it," said sophomore WR Deontay Burnett. "We had to spark our energy."
  • Burnett provided a lift in the passing game. "You can really see how he's matured," said Helton, who credited Burnett with two touchdowns today. "He really played like a vet player, not like a young kid."
  • Coming in as a blueshirt and needing to add weight, Burnett was not expected to do much, but he worked his way onto the field and has never looked back. "My mindset going into this camp is compete every day just like my freshman year," he said. "My freshman year I believed that I would play because I compete, and I knew if I put in hard work that good things would come. And it's going to continue until I leave this place. I love USC. This has been my dream school, so I'll fight and work hard every day that I can."
  • Helton also praised sophomore RB Ronald Jones II, who is "starting to become a complete back on every down."
  • As the offense found its rhythm late in practice, QB Sam Darnold made a big play down the field to freshman WR Velus Jones Jr. for a long touchdown.
  • On the defensive side, Adoree' Jackson reeled in another interception, which of course, he took back for six. "Adoree' Jackson is getting in prime form," said Helton. After working him back slowly from track season, he is able to practice fully now without limitation.
  • Here is Helton after practice:

Goal Getters

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In Sunday's season-opening exhibition game, USC women's soccer topped Air Force, 4-0. Four different Women of Troy scored: senior Katie Johnson, junior Nicole Molen, freshman Ashleigh Plumptre and junior Sydney Johnson.

A few days prior to the game, USC was tabbed second in the Pac-12 coaches poll. The Trojans garnered 112 votes --- just four fewer than Stanford. While the Cardinal earned six first place votes, the Trojans earned four. USC will enter the season ranked No. 11 in the nation, aiming to improve upon last year's 15-6-2 record.

Check out John McGillen's gallery of SC's final tune-up before the start of the regular season on Friday:


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Technique is not sexy, but it wins games, and that's what Clay Helton is all about.

Eyeing an Olympic Record

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medaltracker.jpgAllyson Felix, one of USC's most decorated Olympians, is gearing up to add more medals to her collection at Rio 2016.

The six-time Olympic medalist finished first in the 400m prelims and semifinals and will compete in the finals at 6:45 p.m. PT tonight.

Click here to follow #USC2RIO!

Felix, who will also compete in the 4x400 relay, has the chance to surpass Jackie Joyner-Kersee as the most decorated female track & field athlete in American history if she medals in either of her events.

Watch Felix discuss that record and the influence that Joyner-Kersee has had on her during her Olympic career.

De Grasse Gets a Bronze

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Recent USC alum Andre De Grasse took home the bronze medal in the 100m dash on Sunday, bringing USC's medal count at Rio 2016 to seven (3 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).

Click here for the full story.

De Grasse, who won the NCAA championship in the 100m dash in his final year at USC, finished with a wind-legal personal best time of 9.91 (+0.2). Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won gold with a 9.81, while American Justin Gatlin finished second with a 9.89.

Click here to follow #USC2RIO!

By winning the bronze, De Grasse became the first Trojan since 1976 to medal in the 100m dash. He joined Charles Paddock (gold in 1920), Ralph Metcalfe (silver in 1932 and 1936), Lennox Miller (silver in 1968 and bronze in 1972) and Don Quarrie (silver in 1976) as the only Trojans to ever medal in the event.

Next up for De Grasse is the 200m prelims on Tuesday. Should he advance, the finals are on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. PT. He will also compete in the 4x100 relay beginning Thursday.


2016 Fall Camp #11: Notes

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On a hot Saturday afternoon, the Trojans put on full pads for a physical practice.
  • The injury report per head coach Clay Helton: LB Quinton Powell (neck sprain), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe) and OL Chad Wheeler (plantar fasciitis). S Chris Hawkins and S Matt Lopes returned.
  • Redshirt junior Matt Boermeester is the heavy favorite to win the placekicking battle over freshman Michael Brown. The punters are posing more of a dilemma for Helton. Redshirt sophomore Chris Tilbey has a bigger leg, but walk-on sophomore Reid Budrovic has been more consistent.
  • The coaches challenged the team with a competitive goal line drill, and the defense prevailed on three out of four snaps from the two. Helton continues to be impressed by the growth defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast has been able to make on that side of the ball since spring.
  • Several notable alums attended practice today including Sam Cunningham, Willie McGinest, Shaun Cody and Larry Parker.
  • No players were made available today. The Trojans have tomorrow off and then practice in the Coliseum on Monday. Here is Helton's entire press conference including a shout out to Jeff Fisher and the Rams as they play in the Coliseum today against the Cowboys:

Trojans Take Home Two More

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Trojan athletes collected two more medals at Rio 2016 today, bringing USC's all-time Olympic medal count to 294.

Katinka Hosszu, who took Rio by storm by winning three golds in her first three events, just barely missed out on a fourth in the 200m backstroke. Hosszu finished in 2:06.05, good for a silver medal behind American swimmer Maya DiRado. Hosszu's four individual medals are the most any Trojan has ever collected in a single Olympics and the most overall medals a Trojan has earned since swimmer John Naber netted five (three individually, two on relays) in 1976.

Steve Johnson started the day with a close loss to defending Olympic gold-medalist Andy Murray in singles, but bounced back to win a bronze medal in doubles with partner Jack Sock later in the day. Johnson and Sock defeated the Canadian pair of Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil, 6-2, 6-4. In his Olympic debut, Johnson became the first Trojan tennis player to bring home an Olympic medal since 1968.


2016 Fall Camp #9: Notes

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USC had an energetic practice on Friday, with speakers blaring music as well as some simulated crowd noise.
  • Full injury report per head coach Clay Helton: OT Frank Martin (stomach bug), OT E.J. Price (stomach bug), S John Plattenbhurg (concussion), OT Chad Wheeler (plantar fasciitis), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe, ankle), CB Jack Jones (quad). porter.jpg
  • Safeties Chris Hawkins (hamstring) and Matt Lopes (hamstring) and QB-WR Jalen Greene (hamstring) returned to practice.
  • S Biggie Marshall missed practice to attend a funeral for a death in the family.
  • Helton was frustrated with the team's performance during the simulated crowd noise portion. He called it "a little bit sloppy" and stressed the need to do it a few more times before the start of the season.
  • QB Max Browne connected on two deep balls during the scrimmage portion, just a day after Helton critiqued both his QBs for missing big play opportunities.
  • The defense came up big, too, with LB Connor Murphy tipping a pass that safety C.J. Pollard came down with for an interception.
  • Helton noted that Murphy "has a ways to go," but praised him for beating Zach Banner one-on-one in Thursday's practice to record a sack. "It's neat to see that big a body step up in a hurry," Helton said of Murphy.
  • Helton also praised LB Osa Masina, who has practiced especially well the past two days. "I think with Osa, the talent is so much there," Helton said. "What we're trying to get Osa to focus on is the assignment soundness of staying in his gap. He gets drawn a little bit to eye candy sometimes."
  • Masina said he's been improving upon his focus on the field. He lists that along with "really getting after it in the individual drills, really getting after it in the film room [and] really getting after it in the weight room" as his biggest improvements from Year 1 to Year 2.
  • Masina and Porter Gustin, who both prepped in the state of Utah, are working to make a name for themselves in a crowded group of linebackers. Gustin (pictured) tied for the team lead in sacks last season, but wants to distinguish himself even more. "I don't want to be just another player out there. I want to be something different," Gustin said. "The work I've put in the offseason has really separated me, all the hours put in."
  • When asked about what he'd like to achieve this season, Gustin had a simple answer: "To play in January. That's the goal."
  • The Trojans are back on the practice field tomorrow at 3 p.m. and have Sunday off.
  • Here is Helton's full press conference: