The Pride Drill

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

The level of intensity has been high over the first five days of USC Fall Camp, but it reached its peak at Wednesday's practice when the team donned full pads and competed in one of its favorite drills.

"The Pride Drill brings the man out of you. It shows who's a man and who's not," said USC sophomore JuJu Smith-Schuster after the practice. The wide receiver gave freshman CB Iman Marshall his unofficial welcome to college when the two faced off in the electrifying drill that poses offensive and defensive players against each other in 1-on-1 fashion.

Check out some of the highlights here...

Photo Gallery: Fall Camp #5

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The Trojans were all smiles on Wednesday night because they finally got to put on the pads and hit somebody.

Here are the John McGillen photos:

The Internship: Julian Jacobs

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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.

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Name: Julian Jacobs (pictured far left)
Year: Junior
Sport: Men's Basketball
Internship: C.B. Richard Ellis

Grace DeWitt (GD): How did you go about getting your internship?

Julian Jacobs (JJ): My mentor at the internship, Mark Sprague, is Coach Enfield's neighbor. Last year, (former USC football player) Josh Shaw interned for Mark and was one of the only athletes there. Mark wanted to repeat taking on an athlete, so he reached out to Coach Enfield, who gave me first dibs on the chance. I felt like it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass on.

GD: What do you think it is about being an athlete that made you an appealing candidate for the internship?

JJ: I think it adds another dynamic, not necessarily specifically to C.B.R.E., but among the other interns there. Athletes are used to working in a collaborative environment, so it's easy for us to transition, even though we may not know about commercial real estate. Also, a lot of the other interns go to USC, so I think it's cool for them to see someone they cheer for to be working in the same environment as them. It's humbling for me.

GD: How did your experience speak to the concept of the Trojan Family?

JJ: It definitely did. Mark is a USC alum. I want to say almost 70% of the interns go to USC, or graduated from here.

GD: What is it about the opportunity that interested you?

JJ: The whole networking process, getting to be around a bunch of successful people. C.B.R.E. is one of the most successful corporations in the world. You have an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone, which was big for me. I wanted to see if I could learn about something I wasn't well versed in.

GD: And what did you learn?

JJ: I got to sit in on calls with my mentor and talk to some of his clients. I made a lot of phone calls and did a lot of research. It wasn't necessarily busy work, but more learning all the fundamentals of what it means to understand commercial real estate. That was pretty cool.

GD: What were some of the more unique experiences within the internship?

JJ: Every week my mentor would have me determine what, say, a 'cap rate' was. He taught me a lot of vocabulary. He would have me find out certain percentages. Even if he knew the answer, he would have me do it just to see if I understood the concept. That was pretty fun. A lot of my time was spent on the group presentations toward the end where we had a case competition among all the interns. I learned a lot about the retail market. I actually got to sit down and talk with Rick Caruso (USC, B.S. Business '80), which was pretty cool. I was lost when I got to The Grove, and Soma (Vainuku, USC FB) was actually the one who showed me to Caruso's office, so that was pretty funny. Just another testament to the Trojan Family.

GD: What was the most difficult thing about the internship?

JJ: Sitting at a computer desk for eight hours in a row. I'm used to getting up and moving all the time, so a lot of the time sitting at a desk for like eight hours a day was probably the worst part about it. But what are you gonna do? I will say this: at C.B.R.E. they have medicine balls you can sit on and a little StairMaster you can be on while you work on your computer, which was pretty sick.

GD: What did you learn at the internship that you can apply to this school year and to basketball?

JJ: One of the biggest things I learned--well, I'm still learning--is time management. That was actually one of my goals going into it, trying to manage my time a lot better than I had previously. It was definitely a huge thing that I learned from employees there, and from other interns. With [completing] the group project, it was just about managing my time, really setting up a calendar and sticking to it.

GD: If you were going to pick the three coolest things about your internship, what would they be?

JJ: Meeting with Caruso was definitely one of them. The final group presentation that we had was awesome. We had been preparing for it the entire internship, every day. It was really cool because whoever from the company that wanted to come was there. I want to say there were easily fifty people who watched my group and I present. That was probably number one. Caruso was number two. And number three? I really enjoyed my time with my mentor, interacting with him everyday.


Newcomer Numbers

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Each year, when Fall Camp begins, it can be jarring to see new faces and bodies in old familiar numbers.

For example, Nelson Agholor barely took off his No. 15 before junior college transfer Isaac Whitney stepped into the uniform. Meanwhile, no defensive player has worn No. 7 since All-American T.J. McDonald, but here comes five-star freshman Marvell Tell III cutting a similar figure at safety in the single digit.

For the complete roster, click here.

For the fans in the stands, numbers are everything, so here is your cheat sheet to start studying up on all the scholarship freshmen and transfers.


2015 Fall Camp #5: Notes

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

On Wednesday, the Trojans strapped on full pads for the first time during Fall Camp and turned up the intensity...
  • According to head coach Steve Sarkisian, sometimes the addition of pads brings too much intensity. That wasn't a problem for the Trojans who impressed the head coach with their focus and control. "I always like the first day of pads. Day five, they're always fired up," said Sarkisian. "I thought it was a really good, physical practice. I thought the guys were intense and competitive, but I thought their composure was really good."
  • The added protection allowed the Trojans to run a team favorite, the "Pride Drill", a 1-on-1 face-off between an offensive and defensive player five yards from the goal line. "You have pride in a 1-on-1," senior CB Kevon Seymour said as he explained the origin of the drill's name. "The receiver has five yards to score, and you, whether it's a DB or a linebacker, have to make the play. It's intense and competitive. Other than our route-running 1-on-1s, it's probably the best drill."
  • "The pride drill brings the man out of you," added an animated JuJu Smith-Schuster. "It shows who's a man and who's not."
  • The sophomore WR has been animated on the sidelines throughout Fall Camp as well, using his resting reps to encourage his teammates. "With Nelson not here to be a leader, it changes my mind and my approach," Smith-Schuster explained. "I'm more vocal, I'm talking to the guys...and I think that's the big difference. Last year, I was more of a follower and watched. This year, I'm more of a teacher."
  • Wednesday brought a lighter load for RB Tre Madden after USC_Football_Fall_Camp_081015_MCG1392.jpgseveral outstanding, but exhausting practices earlier in the week. This opened the door for the trio of talented freshmen running backs to step up and get work in with the 1s. Sarkisian praised Aca'Cedric Ware's (pictured) performance, noting a marked improvement after five days of camp. Ronald Jones II also had a strong day, breaking away for an electrifying run in the later portion of practice.
  • Running backs coach Johnny Nansen was also happy to see the trio get more touches, as he sees an array of versatile weapons in this new RB class. "Ronald and Ced are more of the power style," Nansen explained. "Ronald is a break away guy. Cedric is more like a Buck Allen, a guy that can do it all. He's got good pass protection, he's reliable, and he's a very, very smart kid. And then Dominic, he's special, you can use him out of the backfield, motioning and trying to create mismatches, but he's also a tough runner."
  • Nansen has high expectations for his returning running backs, Tre Madden and Justin Davis, as well heading into 2015. "We're pushing them. There's a reason that they came here, an expectation. USC is obviously 'Running Back U' and we want to build that tradition, we've got to continue to raise the standards. They both had an unbelievable summer and start to camp."
  • Across the line, redshirt senior DT Antwaun Woods cited freshman DT Jacob Daniel as a newcomer who is improving right away. "He's been getting better every day. He has the attitude that he wants to get better all the time which is a great thing. It's good to see him progress. We're a team defense so I do whatever I can to help him and the other guys get better."
  • Woods, a veteran leader on the defensive front, has high expectations for his entire unit this year. "The standard around here, the standard for the USC defensive line is to always be tough. We just keep telling them that and eventually it will become their personality. I'm not going to be here forever but we have to keep that standard for our line going."
  • Thursday is the first rest day for the Trojans, and the team will take advantage of the day off with a trip to the movies where they'll see the soon-to-be-released "Straight Outta Compton".
  • Here is Sarkisian who briefly shares an update on Bryce Dixon's status before getting into a practice recap. We apologize for the technical difficulties as the video cuts out for several seconds near the 1:30 minute mark...

Get to Know: Anthony Sarao

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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.

USC LB Anthony Sarao's work doesn't finish when the whistle blows. After wrapping up his undergraduate career with a degree in policy, planning and development in the spring of 2015, the redshirt senior started on a Master's in Communication Management. Sarao aspires to a career in real estate when his football days comes to a close.


Bricio Leads the Way

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

USC women's volleyball is projected to finish fifth in the Pac-12 Women's Volleyball Coaches Poll that was announced on Tuesday. Tabbed an underdog by the conference coaches, the Trojans kick off their season on August 28 at the Women of Troy Baden Invitational. In 2014, USC made its 24th straight NCAA Tournament appearance before falling in the second round to No. 7 North Carolina. 

In order to surprise the conference as a front-runner for the title, the Women of Troy will rely on the leadership from outside hitter Samantha Bricio. The senior was one of 14 players named to the Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference team, the third preseason recognition of her career. Bricio leads the conference in service aces (22) and is a two-time AVCA All-American. In her three seasons at USC, the outside hitter boasts a .250 hitting percentage and 3.93 kills per set. The senior is joined among the top returnees by libero Taylor Whittingham, an All-American honorable mention, along with a highly-touted freshman class. 


Buon Viaggio

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USC men's basketball departs today for an 11-day trip to Italy, making stops in Milan, Venice, the Adriatic Coast and Rome. Follow the trip on the team's Twitter (@USC_Hoops) and Instagram (USCHoops).

Click here for more.

"Our players, coaches and staff are looking forward to the trip to Italy," said head coach Andy Enfield. "From a basketball standpoint, this affords our young team extra practice, a chance to learn to play together, improve their skills and work on game situations. The Italians have a strong and growing basketball tradition and we look forward to the great competition they will provide.

"The trip is so much more than just basketball, though. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow together as a Trojan family, learn about the Italian culture and visit some amazing historical sites. This trip will be a special learning experience for everyone involved in our program, both on and off the court."

USC will play three games and a scrimmage, including August 16 in Vicenza, August 18 at Senigallia and August 20 at Ferentino.

Trojans finish up their last lift before their trip to Italy! #FightOn #usc

A photo posted by USC Men's Basketball (@uschoops) on

Salute to Troy Is Near!

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Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor

Salute to Troy is just around the corner! The annual celebration of past and present USC football teams will be held on August 22 at 6:00 p.m. at Loker Track Stadium and is open to everyone. This year, the 1965 and 1990 football teams will be honored as they celebrate their 50th and 25th anniversaries. Also, the 2015 USC football team will be officially introduced to kick off the upcoming season.

Click here to RSVP.

Here's USC QB Cody Kessler with more information and an invitation to come out and celebrate...

2015 Fall Camp #4: Notes

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The Trojans were much sharper tonight, and they are primed to put full pads on for the first time this Fall Camp on Wednesday.
  • The defense won the "finish challenge," the best of five series at the end of every practice, thanks to the pass rush, which showed up in the form of back-to-back sacks for Greg Townsend and Scott Felix. "That's what should happen," said head coach Steve Sarkisian. "We should be able to force teams into a 3rd and long and then we need to rush the passer. It's an area that I think we really need to improve upon from last year."
  • USC_Football_Fall_Camp_080915_MCG9195.jpgThe key for the defense was pushing through the fatigue that set in yesterday. "It's the second day in pads, and I think everyone's getting used to the soreness," said senior LB Lamar Dawson. "Mentally, we just got to overcome our internal battles and just keep practicing hard."
  • The offense made its plays tonight though, including another outstanding practice from RB Tre Madden. Sarkisian loves the way his skill set fits the offensive system, and he is finally 100% healthy.
  • QB Cody Kessler connected with JuJu Smith-Schuster on a deep ball during the "finish challenge" as he continues his day-in day-out battle with CB Kevon Seymour. Smith-Schuster's energy level is a marvel even to his teammates. "It's hard to keep him off the field anyways, but he could run 30 plays, come on the field right after a touchdown and go right in on kickoff," said FB Soma Vainuku. "We were talking about it today. He's got this crazy stamina."
  • The Trojans did a lot of special teams work, and it sounds like Adoree' Jackson will carry the load in the return game this season. Head coach Steve Sarkisian said that he plans to use the electrifying three-way talent as his primary punt and kick returner.
  • The tight end position is a wide open competition with almost zero returning experience in the room. Highly-touted freshman Tyler Petite and Oklahoma transfer Taylor McNamara (pictured) both worked with the first team today, while walk-on Connor Spears was number one in the spring.
  • TE coach Marques Tuiasosopo on Petite: "His ability to keep coming back, and it hasn't been perfect, and he's made some pretty good catches. He's made some pretty big plays. He's just putting his head down and chugging forward."
  • Tuiasosopo had the luxury of a wise, old veteran like Randall Telfer in his room last year, but McNamara, the graduate transfer with one career catch, is the only tight end with any seasoning. While he is getting up to speed on the terminology, Spears is the closest thing to an expert on the offense. "All the young guys, the new guys, are looking at Connor Spears," Tuiasosopo said. "He's doing a good job of teaching."
  • While all the outside questions are about catching passes, tight ends are asked to block as much, if not more, as run routes. "That is a learned trait. Very rarely do you have a young man who can come in and do that right off the bat," Tuiasosopo said about blocking. "I am hopeful by the end of camp that they'll be ready to roll."
  • Cyrus Hobbi, who came out of retirement to play this season, should be the tight end most familiar with blocking given his past as an offensive lineman. He has opened eyes early with his mind more than anything, chalking up the fewest missed assignments in the group, according to Tuiasosopo.
  • The full pads practice is open Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m., so come on down to Howard Jones and Brian Kennedy Fields to watch. Here is head coach Steve Sarkisian: