Photo Gallery: Fall Camp #5

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USC football took Fall Camp to the Coliseum on Monday. Practicing in full pads for the first time since camp started, the Trojans were high-energy and hard-hitting. Both those traits are on display in John McGillen's Day 5 photo gallery:

The Iron Lady Nets Another Gold

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USC legend Katinka Hosszu captured a second gold medal on Monday night, coming from behind to win the 100m backstroke.

Click here for the full story.

Hosszu, who also won gold in world-record-breaking fashion in the 400m IM on Sunday, was in sixth place at the halfway point of Monday's race, but rallied with a strong final sprint to finish in 58.45, edging American Kathleen Baker by 0.30.

Tonight, the Hungarian-born swimmer will compete in the 200m IM final, looking to make it three golds in three events.

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Thanks to Hosszu's two first-place finishes, USC now boasts 137 gold medals all-time -- more than any other American university can claim. Trojan alum Amanda Weir also brought home a silver in the 4x100m free relay, so USC's total medal count now stands at 291 -- also a record for American schools.

2016 Fall Camp #5: Notes

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USC suited up in full pads and bused to the Coliseum for the first time this camp.
  • The injury report has some new names, but nothing major, so head coach Clay Helton was thankful after a physical practice. Injury report: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (dislocated pinkie finger), S John Plattenburg (concussion), RB Vavae Malepeai (shoulder stinger), DL Rasheem Green (elbow/triceps bruise) and OT Chad Wheeler (plantar fasciitis).
  • USC_FOOTBALL_FALL_CAMP_080816_mcgillen_1192.jpgNoah Jefferson's back is the biggest health issue so far. The Trojans are counting on the sophomore defensive lineman to have a big season, but he is relegated to core training for "a week or so."
  • Tackling technique was the emphasis tonight as Helton continues to mold the Trojans into a physical team. He appreciates his players "wanting to be physical," but he also said, "You never know until you get to that first game exactly where you're at."
  • Offensively, the physical identity is established in the run game. The "Texas Two Step", Ronald Jones II and Aca'Cedric Ware, ran hard tonight, per Helton, who also shouted out Toa Lobendahn and Nico Falah, explaining the luxury of having "two quality centers."
  • In the competitive team portion, Helton was impressed by the "fluidity by the offense" moving the ball down the field. QB Max Browne created a highlight by throwing a strike to TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe down the seam for a touchdown.
  • However, the defense responded with three out of four stops when the ball was placed at the 10-yard line, which is a huge sign of improvement from spring. "I think the defense stepped up," said OLB Uchenna Nwosu. "I feel like we are finally buying into and picking up on [Clancy Pendergast's] plan."
  • On paper at least, the strength of the USC defense is in the secondary. "I think we can be great," S Marvell Tell III said about his unit. "We've just got to keep working, not get complacent. Everybody's got to know their role and do their job and we'll do great."
  • Tell is still growing as a player after missing most of last season with a broken collarbone. "Being more aware of the offense, what they're trying to do to us. Knowing the plays with Coach Clancy coming in in the spring," he said about his keys right now. "Going through spring, we had our kind of building, learning, learning, learning. But now we got the installs already, so we've got to go in and play and execute."
  • Pendergast is excited about the future of his young safety. "He's gotten better and better every time we've stepped out here. He's a very talented guy and I think his arrow's only going up for a while. I'm glad he's only a sophomore, because he's got a really, really good career ahead of him if he continues to make progress," said the defensive coordinator about Tell. "His skill set is one that they're definitely looking for at the next level."
  • When asked which freshman are standing out defensively, Pendergast noted rush ends Oluwole Betiku and Connor Murphy as well as CB Jack Jones.
  • The Trojans have a day off tomorrow followed by a scrimmage on Wednesday on Howard Jones Field.
  • Here is Helton in the Coliseum:

Check Your Mailbox

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If you are a USC football season ticket holder, keep an eye out for your special delivery this week!

Hang Out with Helton

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USC head coach Clay Helton will host five luncheons throughout the 2016 season dedicated to giving fans an inside look at USC football.

During the program, called Monday Morning Quarterback, Helton and a guest football player will lead fans through film playbacks and a Q&A session. The events will be emceed by Chip Stuart and feature former head coach John Robinson and Fox Sports analyst John "JJ" Jackson as well.

The program will take place on the following dates in the Galen Founders' Room, with a luncheon at 11:15 a.m. and the program at 12 p.m.:

Sept. 12
Oct. 3
Oct. 17
Nov. 7
Nov. 21

Fans have the opportunity to attend any of the events or purchase a season pass. Contact Becky Gramstrup for tickets.


Swag Alert

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When the Trojans reported for Fall Camp, they were greeted by a bag of new gear to rock for the coming season. Take a look!

Winning World Tour

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USC beach volleyball seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes continued their dominance this week with their second NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) title in Puerto Rico on Sunday.

The top-seeded tandem went 5-0 and only dropped a single set throughout the tournament. They bested teams from Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the United States to face the Canadian duo of Marie Lapointe and Megan Nagy in the finals. Claes and Hughes earned a 21-11, 21-15 victory in the title match to add to their recent accolades. The tandem also captured the crown at the NORCECA North Bay stop on July 3.

The pair, who were each named AVCA All-Americans and won the inaugural Pac-12 Pairs Championship in 2016, now returns home to play in the FIVB (Federation Internationale de Volleyball) Long Beach Grand Slam later this month.

Olympic Oaks

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Just three days into Rio 2016, Trojan athletes have already made their mark, winning two medals to bring USC's all-time medal count to 290.

Katinka Hosszu's world-record-breaking time in the 400m IM helped USC extend its streak of athletes winning a gold medal at every Olympics since 1912.

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Following the Berlin Olympics in 1936, two of USC's storied gold-medal winners brought home something more than just their hardware. Athletes who won gold that year were given the seeds of an oak tree (Germany's national tree) to plant in their home countries.

Ken Carpenter '39, who won gold in the discus throw, and Foy Draper '36, who along with fellow Trojan Frank Wykoff '32, Ralph Metcalfe and Jesse Owens, won gold in the 4x100 relay, planted their oak trees on the campus of USC.

Carpenter's tree and Draper's tree, which died of root rot in 2002 and was replaced by a mature oak, cast their shadows in USC's Associates Park, between the Bovard Administration Building and the Physical Education Building.

USC students pass these trees every day on their walk to class, but may pay some special attention during Rio 2016, where 44 Trojans are competing to continue USC's incredible Olympic tradition.


2016 Fall Camp #4: Notes

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The intensity ratcheted up another notch as the Trojans got physical during red zone period.
  • No major injury news to report. RB Justin Davis was held out with discomfort in his knee and hip, but head coach Clay Helton said it is "nothing serious." WR JuJu Smith-Schuster was limited by the same toe issue. DL Khaliel Rodgers is undergoing concussion protocol.
  • USC_Football_Fall_Camp_2_080516_mcgillen_DSC8242.jpgCompetition is the story of Fall Camp to this point. After years of depth issues, the Trojans find themselves with a glut of talent at several spots, which has completely changed the intensity level of practice. Not only are twos pushing the ones for snaps, but the talent drop-off is not nearly as steep when the backups go in as it used to be.
  • Steven Mitchell (pictured) has seen the Trojans run out of scholarship receivers at crucial times the last few years, but those days are over. "It's really different in our receiving room," Mitchell joked that it's hard to find a seat these days when he used to have a whole row to himself. "[Competition] is the whole reason I came to USC."
  • Mitchell has had a great first week of camp. "I'm actually the healthiest I've ever been," said Mitchell, who is up to 200 pounds. "It's helping my confidence more when I get out there, going across the middle [and] catching those hard balls. I'm ready."
  • Junior C Toa Lobendahn started from day one as a freshman in part because the team had few other options. Now, he is at the center of one of the nation's most experienced offensive lines. "We definitely have all the pieces to the puzzle to make it happen this year," said Lobendahn. "It's awesome to be out here with my boys from the very start and to see what we've become."
  • The defensive line is one area where youth will still be served, but the unit has received a boost from the oldest player on the team. "Stevie [Tu'ikolovatu] is 25 years old. He's married. He's a grown man," said Helton with a smile. "To add that maturity in the room is huge."
  • Lobendahn on Tu'ikolovatu: "He's a beast. He's going to help our team a lot. He's definitely one of the missing parts that we needed."
  • With an improved defensive line and the return of some key players, the defense is "light years" ahead of where it was in the spring, per Helton.
  • USC football alums Matt Willig and Pat Harlow attended practice Sunday.
  • Monday's practice in the Coliseum will be the first opportunity for the Trojans to suit up in full pads, so the coaches will emphasize proper tackling technique. The first scrimmage is coming Wednesday. Here is more from Helton:

World Record Start

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USC alum Katinka Hosszu was the star of day one at Rio 2016, smashing the world record in the 400m IM en route to her first Olympic gold medal. In doing so, the Iron Lady extended USC's astounding streak of winning at least one gold medal in every Summer Games since 1912.

Click here to follow #USC2RIO.

Hosszu's gold was followed by silver for Amanda Weir as part of Team USA's 4x100m relay team. So with only one day down, the Trojans have already banked two shiny medals.