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Colorado Wednesday: Notes

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Injuries, redshirts and motivation were the topics of the day.
  • CB Adoree' Jackson returned to practice, so he is on track to play Saturday.  Head coach Steve Sarkisian also feels confident that DE Leonard Williams will be good to go. 
  • PK Andre Heidari is still testing out his injured groin.  Alex Wood could potentially handle kickoffs leaving Heidari to stay focused and healthy for field goals and extra points.
  • Sarkisian on RB Tre Madden and LB Lamar Dawson: "In a perfect world, they're both going to redshirt for us." Assuming the NCAA grants both the year back, Madden would still have two remaining years of eligibility and Dawson would have one to go.
  • Freshman John Plattenburg continues to push for a starting spot at safety alongside Gerald Bowman. "Plattenburg is a really bright guy and has a high football IQ, and it shows with his ability to adapt to the system here as a true freshman," said Sarkisian.
  • Plattenburg: "I know I'm young, so I'm still learning things, but I've got to learn fast. We don't really have much depth. I hold myself accountable for all the mistakes I'm making."
  • Justin Wilcox was asked repeatedly about the fourth quarter defense in the previous two games, and he related it more to scheme and execution than effort or energy. "I don't sense that the guys are relaxing," he said. "It's the situational awareness. What type of routes are we getting on third down. It's the technique. It's the emotion of the game, and being able to play with a calm mind."
  • Some of the third down issues land on a young secondary that puts itself in good positions, but often fails to make a confident play on the football. "We're just trying to make them mentally tough," said DB coach Keith Heyward. "Make them understand that we have to finish, we have to play technically sound and play with great eyes. Colorado throws the ball a lot to Nelson Spruce. After that, Utah is slinging the thing around and then Wazzu who throws it about a million times a game if they can and it keeps going after that. We have to do our job, we've got to play disciplined with our eyes and we ultimately have to finish."
  • As for a potential letdown game, Sarkisian is having none of it. "This is a championship game. They all are from here on out."
  • Here is Sarkisian's morning press conference...


Trojan Spotlight: Antwaun Woods

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Redshirt junior Antwaun Woods is thriving at USC. The nose tackle is a force on the defensive line and nearing his degree in the classroom. 

Woods owes his success to a single father who changed his ways and sacrificed himself to raise a young man who proudly represents both of them in the Cardinal and Gold.

Here is their story...


2014 NFL Week 6

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The Best

Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns - 3 catches for 102 yards and a TD

After his breakout season in 2013, Cameron has been battling injuries for most of this campaign, but he looked healthy Sunday breaking off a 51-yard touchdown reception.  He topped the 100-yard mark for the first time this season leading Cleveland to a 31-10 blowout victory over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Cameron has been an amazing story turning a quiet college career into NFL stardom.

Best of the Rest

Jurrell Casey, DT, Titans - 9 tackles (7 solo) including 3 TFLs and 2 sacks

Robert Woods, WR, Bills - 7 catches for 78 yards and a TD

Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers - 8 tackles (6 solo) including one for loss

Everson Griffen, DE, Vikings - 6 tackles (4 solo) including a sack

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals - 28/44 for 250 yards passing and 2 TDs with 0 INTs

T.J. McDonald, S, Rams - Team-leading 10 tackles (7 solo)

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Put a Ring on It

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Sara Hughes arrived at USC as the first stud recruit in the brief history of the sand volleyball program, and she did not fail to disappoint in her freshman season winning the national pairs championship.

The new season does not begin until spring, but Hughes picked up her first piece of jewelry last week.

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The champ! @sarahughes14 got her ring for her 2014 Pairs National Championship!

View on Instagram


House Call

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Chris and Michael McCaffrey have endowed the "Tom House Baseball Scholarship," which will ensure that a baseball scholarship carries House's name in perpetuity. They surprised House with the news in Pat Haden's office last week (pictured).

"Tom was instrumental in the development of so many student-athletes and young men over the last several decades," Chris McCaffrey said. "He made a tremendous impact on helping players reach their full physical potential, but most importantly is a master at teaching the mental side of the game and the mental side of life. Tom has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I've met and I am blessed to have him as a friend and mentor. The world needs more people like Tom House."

House played at USC in 1967 and returned to coach the Trojans from 2008-11.  In between, he earned three degrees from USC and a reputation as a revolutionary thinker in the field of health and human performance in regards to baseball pitchers.

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Win a Cali Camaro

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Dollar Loan Center is giving away the ultimate USC fan car. The custom USC Chevy Camaro will be driven home by a Trojan fan at the end of the season.

Click here to win the Cali Camaro!

You can visit the car at Fan Fest outside the Coliseum before Saturday's game and sign-up for the sweepstakes there as well.

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Colorado Tuesday: Notes

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Lots of different topics to discuss as the Trojans prep for a Homecoming game against Colorado...
  • On the injury front, CB Adoree' Jackson (hip) and DE Leonard Williams (shoulder) were notably limited in practice.  WR Ajene Harris is working his way back from a hamstring injury, but head coach Steve Sarkisian admitted that he is not sure who he will have available by the end of the week.
  • The secondary is in flux with the injury to Jackson, and a push for playing time from freshman S John Plattenburg.  At the corner spot, Rahshead Johnson, who was supposed to be redshirted, could be utilized Saturday.  "We're obviously getting put in some precarious positions here with just sheer numbers," Sarkisian explained. "I like his competitive spirit. If we do play him on defense, he'll obviously help us on special teams as well."
  • As for Plattenburg, he is a contender to start in front of Leon McQuay, who he displaced at times during the fourth quarter in Tucson.  In general, Sarkisian wants more play-making from his secondary, which does not always trust itself.  "I have to keep pushing this young secondary and their confidence because they're talented guys, but we have to play with confidence," he said.
  • Offensively, it's all about Buck. Sarkisian wanted a run-first offense, and he's got it with Allen matching Bishop Sankey's productivity from his 2013 Washington team. "Buck is right there with Bishop at this point," said RB coach Johnny Nansen. "Their numbers are comparable, their yardage is really similar I believe. I'm fired up to see how Buck is going to finish out. I think he's going to have a great year. I know for a fact he's determined."
  • Allen's determination matched with an improving offensive line was the key in Tucson. "Our young kids are starting to pick up the offense, and they're doing a great job, and Buck is starting to trust them and that's what you saw Saturday," said Nansen. "Obviously he's got to continue to develop that relationship with those guys, and you're going to see more big runs from him."
  • Buck on the offensive line: "Every game they do a better and better job. Coach [Tim] Drevno does a great job of making sure the assignment is perfect and they are blocking the right guys and making the right calls."
  • While the running game is in full flight, Sarkisian would like to see the offense go vertical in the passing game. "We need to continue to fight for explosive plays," he said. WR George Farmer "is in the mix" to stretch the field, and they "called a couple shots for him the other night," said Sarkisian, but the play was not there.
  • As for the fourth quarter issues in the past two games, Sarkisian is rethinking his offensive philosophy in terms of holding a lead. In this explosive conference, there always seems to be time for a comeback. "The old traditional way of milking the clock just trying to eat up possessions, I don't know if that's exactly where we need to be. I think we need to remain aggressive," said Sarkisian.
  • Here is Sarkisian's complete press conference...


UNFILTERED: Arizona

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The Trojans are back in the AP Top 25 at No. 22 thanks to a dramatic win in Tucson.  Here is an UNFILTERED look at how they beat the 'Cats...


Big Mac Caps Vengeance Tour

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No. 4 USC men's water polo avenged both its losses this season by taking out No. 1 UCLA and No. 3 Cal in one day en route to the SoCal Tournament title in Westwood. The Trojans' win over the Bruins also vaulted USC atop the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup standings (15-10).

Click here for the tournament recap.

USC has now won 11 of the past 12 SoCal Tournament championships, including the last three.  While they beat UCLA handily (10-6) in the semifinals, the title match was filled with drama as junior Mac Carden netted the game-winning goal in a 10-9 victory.

Here are the Trojan Highlights:


Sarkisian Q&A: Colorado Week

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USC head coach Steve Sarkisian broke down the incredible performances by RB Buck Allen and DE Leonard Williams, and previewed the Colorado game ahead in our weekly Q&A.