Trojans Take On Arizona This Saturday
Oct. 1, 2000
TICKETS-Tickets for the USC-Arizona game, priced at $27, are available at the USC Ticket Office (213-740-GO SC), L.A. Sports Arena box office and all Ticketmaster agencies. For group discounts (25 or more), call (213) 740-4170.
RADIO-TV-Live regional TV: 12:30 p.m. (PDT), ABC-TV, Keith Jackson, Tim Brant, Todd Harris.
USC HOTLINE--Dial (213) 743-2989 for a brief taped interview with USC coach Paul Hackett.
INFO CONNECTION--Dial (770) 558-6000, passcode 72210, for the Pac-10 Info Connection, a fax-on-demand system that provides access to press releases from the Pac-10 Office and all Pac-10 schools on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Media callers must have a PIN number (which can be obtained by calling 770-399-0096). Media can also access information at www.mediateamlink.com.
USC ONLINE--The USC athletic department has an official "home page" on the World Wide Web, featuring current and historical information about Trojan sports. For access, type http://www.usctrojans.com.
IT'S NOT SOUTHERN CAL--Note to the media: In editorial references to athletic teams of the University of Southern California, the following are preferred: USC, Southern California, So. California, Troy, Trojans and (for women's teams) Women of Troy. PLEASE do not use Southern Cal.
PAC-10 ONLINE--Pac-10 information, press releases, statistics and links to all league schools are available online at http://www.pac-10.org.
PAC-10 SATELLITE FEED-The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed featuring interviews with coaches and selected players regarding upcoming games along with highlight footage. The half hour feed airs every Wednesday at noon (PDT) through Nov. 22. Coordinates are Telstar 5, Transponder 16 (C-band). Trouble numbers: 310-543-1835 or 310-286-3749 or pager 888-423-0095 or 925-932-4411.
PAC-10 COACHES TELECONFERENCES-Pac-10 football coaches are available for 10 minutes each on a media teleconference beginning at 9:30 a.m. (PDT) every other Tuesday during the season. The remaining dates are Oct. 10, Oct. 24 and Nov. 7. USC coach Paul Hackett comes on at 10:45 a.m. (PDT). Beginning at 1:30 p.m. (PDT) each of those Tuesdays, a taped replay of the teleconference is available anytime. Call the Pac-10 office (925-932-4411) or USC sports information office (213-740-8480) to obtain the media-only phone numbers for the Pac-10 Coaches Teleconference.
USA TODAY/ESPN POLL
USC VS. ARIZONA (19-5-0)
N1-Phoenix Indian School, Phoenix, Arizona
NO. 18 USC FOOTBALL LOOKS TO REGROUP AT HOME AGAINST ARIZONA
THE FACTS--USC (3-1 overall, 0-1 Pac-10 for seventh place tie) vs. Arizona (3-1, 1-0 for second place tie), Saturday (Oct. 7), 12:30 p.m. PDT, Los Angeles Coliseum.
THEMES-USC returns home to the Coliseum looking to regroup after its first loss of 2000 (and its first loss in 33 years to Oregon State). The Trojans will host dangerous Arizona, which is coming off an impressive road spanking over Stanford. The Wildcats feature a defensive unit that is ranked in the national Top 20 in rushing defense, scoring defense, total defense and turnover margin. This will be UA's first visit to Coliseum since 1996. The game will be shown live regionally on ABC-TV.
RANKINGS-USC is ranked 16th by USA Today/ESPN and 18th by AP. Arizona is not ranked.
SERIES-USC holds a 19-5 lead in its series with Arizona, with 4 of the losses coming in the 1990s (including last season). Eight of the last 15 games have been decided by 7 points or less (including 3 by a field goal or less), including last year's outing. USC, which won the first 9 games in the series and 15 of the first 16, has won 3 of the last 4. In Los Angeles games, USC is 13-2, most recently a 14-7 win in 1996 (USC RB LaVale Woods scored on a pair of 1-yard runs on Troy's opening drives of both halves). Last year in Tucson, Arizona defeated No. 22 USC, 31-24. The Trojans gained just 271 total yards (including Ð20 on the ground) and allowed 7 sacks, while the Wildcats had 550 total yards. The game was tied at 10-10 at halftime. After Arizona QB Keith Smith raced 57 yards for a TD in the first quarter, USC LN Zeke Moreno stripped Smith of the ball and CB Antuan Simmons went 44 yards for a score early in the second quarter. The teams then traded field goals (with USC PK David Newbury hitting a 40-yarder). USC went up in the second half when QB Mike Van Raaphorst hit WR Windrell Hayes on an 18-yard TD pass. But UA scored 3 unanswered touchdowns (a 17-yard Smith pass to WR Dennis Northcutt, an 11-yard run by TB Trung Canidate and a 24-yard fumble return by CB Kelvin Hunter). Van Raaphorst then hit WR Marcell Allmond for a 21-yard TD with 28 seconds to go. Van Raaphorst was 23-of-41 for 291 overall, Hayes had 9 catches for 115 yards and WR Kareem Kelly gained 100 yards on 6 receptions.
IN THE COLISEUM--USC has a 358-115-27 (.743) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923.
CONNECTIONS-While only 1 Trojan claims Arizona as his home--USC TE Doyal Butler prepped at Sabino HS in Tucson and then played at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College-44 Wildcats hail from CaliforniaÉUSC OG-C Norm Katnik's father, Norman, started at center at Arizona for 2 yards (1978-79).
LAST GAME-Behind the running of TB Ken Simonton and an opportunistic defense that forced 4 turnovers, Oregon State ended 33 years of frustration when it upset No. 8 USC, 31-21, before a noisy sold-out crowd of 33,775 in Corvallis and a live FOX Sports Net West 2 local TV audience in the Pac-10 opener for both schools. The loss snapped USC's Pac-10 record 26-game winning streak over the Beavers (OSU's last win over Troy was in 1967). And it was Troy's first defeat after a modest 6-game winning streak. Simonton, Oregon State career rushing and scoring leader who entered the game as the nation's No. 5 rusher (158.3), ran for 234 yards (the second most ever against USC and the second most by a Beaver) on 37 carries (tied for the third most ever against Troy) and scored 3 times. And the Beaver defense, which was ranked in the national Top 20 in every category, picked off 3 passes by QB Carson Palmer, recovered a fumble (on the USC 6), and limited the Trojans to 63 rushing yards and 4-of-14 on third down conversions. USC squandered several scoring opportunities, including missing a field goal (after a touchdown was erased because of a penalty) at the start of the second half and throwing an interception at the OSU 9 late in the fourth quarter. Oregon State jumped off to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a 15-yard TD pass from QB Jonathan Smith to SE Chad Johnson (after picking off a Palmer pass) and then on a 20-yard Simonton TD burst. But USC tied it up quickly as Palmer hit WR Matt Nickels on a 12-yard TD pass and then LB Zeke Moreno scooped up a fumble and raced 80 yards for a score early in the second quarter. After a scoreless third quarter, OSU took a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter on a 2-yard Simonton TD run (after USC's fumble near the goal line) and a 41-yard field goal by PK Ryan Cesca. Despite throwing interceptions on its next 2 drives, USC pulled within 24-21 with 2:16 to play on a 1-yard Palmer TD pass to FB Chad Pierson (following a botched OSU punt attempt). But USC couldn't recover the ensuing onside kick and Simonton soon ran 36 yards for the final score. Oregon State ran off 14 more plays (82-62) and had 7 more first downs (23-16) than USC. The Beavers were particularly dominant in the first half, outgaining Troy 276-150. Palmer was 19-of-38 for 282 yards. USC played most of the second half without TB Sultan McCullough (33 yards on 10 carries), who slightly sprained his knee on the opening drive of the half. Moreno had a game-high 11 tackles, including 3 for losses (2 were sacks), while DT Matt Childers added 8 tackles (2 for losses). USC had 5 sacks. The win gave Oregon State its first 4-0 start since 1957.
SCHEDULE--Although USC plays 7 of its 12 games at home, its 2000 schedule began with a challenge as the Trojans traveled to East Rutherford, N.J., to play Penn State in the Kickoff Classic. Beyond that, Troy doesn't have a long road trip, going to defending Pac-10 champion Stanford, 1999 bowl teams Arizona State and Oregon State, and UCLA. Visiting the Coliseum are non-conference foes Colorado (the 1999 Insight.com Bowl winner), Notre Dame and San Jose State, plus Pac-10 opponents Oregon (the 1999 Sun Bowl champ), Arizona, California and Washington State.
FUN FACT-USC's amazing Olympic gold medal streak was continued at the Sydney Games: a Trojan has won a gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912. Two of those gold medalists-high hurdler Fred Kelly in 1912 and discus thrower Ken Carpenter in 1936-were football lettermen.
HACKETT--Energetic and innovative Paul Hackett, a one-time USC assistant coach who has been on coaching staffs that have won a national championship in college and a Super Bowl in the pros, made an immediate mark on the Trojan football program upon his return to Troy as its head football coach. In his first year at USC's helm, he led the Trojans to an 8-5 record in 1998 (5-3 in the Pac-10 for a third place tie) and a berth in the Sun Bowl. With his 1998 opening win over Purdue, he became the first head coach to win his Trojan debut since Jess Hill in 1951, and by starting off 3-0, he became only the third Trojan coach since 1915 to win his first 3 games (joining Hill in 1951 and the legendary Howard Jones in 1925). Hackett is one of only two USC head coaches to have won their first outing against Notre Dame (John Robinson is the other). Hackett, Robinson and Larry Smith are the only USC coaches to have guided squads to a bowl game in their first seasons at Troy. In 1999 in his second year at USC, Hackett's team went 6-6 overall (4-5 in the Pac-10 for a sixth place tie) as Troy won its final 3 games of the season and snapped UCLA's 8-game winning streak over the Trojans. USC was in every game, as it was the first time ever that Troy lost all 6 games by 10 points or less. The 53-year-old Hackett signed a 5-year contract to replace Robinson on Dec. 17, 1997. Regarded as one of the game's most progressive offensive coaches, he has 31 years of experience as a college and professional assistant and head coach. He has tutored some of football's top players--including Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Jerry Rice, Andre Rison, Tony Dorsett, Steve Bartkowski, Charles White, Brian Sipe, Herschel Walker, Danny White, Dwight Clark and Vince Evans--and has worked under such head coaches as Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Marty Schottenheimer and Robinson. Before coming to Troy, Hackett was the offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs for 5 years (1993-97). The Chiefs advanced to the NFL playoffs in 4 of those years, including 1997. Before that, he was at the University of Pittsburgh (1989-92), the first season as the quarterbacks coach and then 3 seasons as the Panthers' head coach (posting a 13-20-1 record). As a college coach, he has a 30-32-1 overall mark in 5 seasons, including 17-12 in 3 years at USC. Hackett began his coaching career for 3 seasons (1969-71) at his alma mater, UC Davis. He then was an assistant at California for 4 years (1972-75). Then, at age 29, Hackett moved to USC for 5 years (1976-80), where under Robinson he was in charge of the quarterbacks and receivers for the first 2 years and then the quarterbacks and passing game the final 3 years. During his Trojan tenure, USC was the 1978 national champion, won 4 bowl games (including 3 Rose Bowls), posted a 50-8-2 record and produced a Heisman Trophy winner (White). Hackett began his pro coaching career as quarterbacks coach with the Cleveland Browns for 2 seasons (1981-82). He next was the quarterbacks and receivers coach with the San Francisco 49ers for 3 years (1983-85). The 49ers won Super Bowl XIX in the 1984 season. He then became the pass offense coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys for 3 years (1986-88) before returning to the college ranks at Pitt. A 3-year starting quarterback at UC Davis (1966-68), Hackett collects old music juke boxes filled with 1950s and 1960s rock Ôn roll music. A rock music fan, he sat in the front row at the final Beatles concert, held in 1966 in Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Born on July 5, 1947 in Burlington, Vt., he shares a birthday with former USC head coach John McKay. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have 2 sons, David, 28, and Nathaniel, 20. David played on the 1988 Texas Division III state football champion while at Carroll High in Southlake, Tex., and then was an administrative assistant with the USC football program, while Nathaniel is a sophomore on UC Davis' football team. Hackett is 0-1 in his career against Arizona.
PALMER--There's little doubt that sophomore Carson Palmer (76-of-126, 60.3%, 982 yds, 5 TD, 5 int in 2000) is one of the nation's premier quarterbacks. How valuable is he to the Trojans? With Palmer at the reins, USC started off the 1999 season undefeated as he completed nearly 75% of his passes. But when he broke his collarbone 2 plays before halftime in Troy's third game (at Oregon), USC hit a tailspin from which it took a while to recover. After missing the rest of the 1999 campaign while rehabilitating the injury (he was allowed to redshirt because he was knocked out so early in the season), he is fully healthy now and has regained the form that has him already ranking eighth on USC's career passing ladder (with 245 completions) with just 12 starts under his belt. He is also 15th on Troy's all-time total offense chart (3,108 yards).
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT CARSON PALMER
ALSO AT QUARTERBACK--USC might have the most experienced backup signalcaller in the nation in senior Mike Van Raaphorst. A 15-game starter in his career, he is 10th on USC's all-time passing list (232 completions) and 20th on the Trojans' career total offense chart (2,809 yards). He took over for 5 games in 1999 when Palmer went down before being replaced by John Fox. Against Stanford, he set USC single game passing yardage (415 yards) and total offense (390 yards) records. Also a star in the classroom, he has a team-best 3.72 GPA and is taking classes in USC's M.B.A. program this fall after receiving his bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and political science this spring. He is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship.
RUNNING BACKS--One tailback usually carried the ball for Troy in 1999: Chad Morton, a 2-year starter who ended his career as USC's No. 8 rusher (2,511 yards), including a dozen 100-yard outings, and now plays in the NFL. Last fall, he ran for 1,141 yards (the most at USC since 1990) and 15 TDs (the most by a Trojan since 1981). In 2000, look for a combination of speed burners and power runners to share the load at tailback. Sophomore Sultan McCullough (88 tcb, team-high 388 yds, 4.4 avg, 1 TD in 2000, plus 4 rec, 3.2 avg) is a legitimate speed merchant. He is averaging 22.0 carries a game in 2000 (the most since Ricky Ervins had 22.4 in 1989). The 1999 Pac-10 100 meters champion and eighth-place finisher in the 2000 NCAA 100 (he also ran a leg on USC's 400-meter relay which was fifth at the 2000 NCAA Meet), McCullough is the fastest Trojan footballer ever (10.17 in the 100, the best mark in the world in 1999 by an under-20 runner). He showed flashes of his gridiron potential last fall, even jetting 48 yards against UCLA for Troy's longest run of 1999. The power guys are senior Petros Papadakis (35 tcb, 107 yds, 3.1 avg, 4 TD in 2000, plus 1 rec, 11.0 avg), who ran for 365 yards and a team-best 8 touchdowns while starting 4 times in 1998 but missed all of 1999 and last spring's practice with a serious foot injury (he is healthy now) and junior Malaefou MacKenzie (15 tcb, 57 yds, 3.8 avg in 2000, plus 10 rec, 10.4 avg and 1 KOR, 20.0 avg), who has 538 rushing yards and 2 starts in a career that has been injury-plagued. Look for Papadakis is USC's short-yardage formations (his 4 rushing TDs in 2000 have all been 5 yards or less). A pair of Trojans appear at fullback, led by returning starter Charlie Landrigan (2 tcb, 7 yds, 3.5 avg in 2000, plus 2 rec, 7.5 avg), an unheralded junior who performed solidly in 1999, and sophomore Chad Pierson (3 tcb, 16 yds, 5.3 avg in 2000, plus 4 rec, 15.2 avg, 1 TD). Both are rugged blockers and good pass catchers, but none has been asked yet to prove his running ability.
WIDE RECEIVERS--You'd think that USC would be in trouble at the wide receiver spots in 2000, since such high-caliber players as starters R. Jay Soward and Windrell Hayes are gone. After all, Soward finished his time at Troy as the school's No. 4 all-time pass catcher (161 grabs, including 51 last fall) and was an NFL first round draft pick. Hayes, another NFL draftee, caught 79 passes in his Trojan career, including a team-best 55 in 1999 with 4 TDs. But USC might have the best young wideout corps anywhere, led by experienced sophs Kareem Kelly (team-high 20 rec, 13.9 avg, 1 TD in 2000, plus 2 tcb, 1.5 avg), Marcell Allmond (13 rec, 16.4 avg in 2000, plus 2 tcb, 23.0 avg and 1 KOR, 16.0 avg) and Steve Stevenson (1 rec, 28.0 avg in 2000, plus 15.5 KOR avg). Kelly, the 1999 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American second teamer, was USC's second-leading receiver last fall. He set Pac-10 freshman records for most catches (54) and receiving yards (902) while starting twice. The only Trojan with a catch in every game in 1999, he had 4 outings with 100 receiving yards. He's on the 2000 Biletnikoff Award Watch List. He has caught a pass in every game since he arrived at USC (16 in a row) and has 6 100-yard receiving games in his career. With 74 career receptions, Kelly is 21st on USC's all-time pass catching list. Allmond started 3 times in 1999, while Stevenson's start at Oregon in 1999 marked the first time that a true freshman started at wide receiver for USC since 1984. Kelly (sprints) and Allmond (hurdles, decathlon), former California state prep champs in their specialties, also compete for the Trojan tracksters. Kelly owns the world junior record in the indoor 50-meter dash, while Allmond was second in the 110-meter high hurdles and seventh in the decathlon at the 2000 Pac-10 Meet. Other wideouts who contribute are senior Matt Nickels (5 rec, 12.2 avg, 2 TD in 2000), an ex-walk-on who earned a scholarship this season, redshirt freshman Sandy Fletcher, who spent the early part of last season as a safety and also briefly played point guard on the USC basketball team last season, and prep All-American Keary Colbert (7 rec, 16.1 avg in 2000), a freshman.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT KAREEM KELLY
TIGHT ENDS-Look for USC's tight ends to be more prominent in 2000. Senior Antoine Harris (7 rec, 10.0 avg, 1 TD in 2000), a reliable veteran, starts at tight end for his fourth season in 2000 and could be in for a big senior campaign. An accomplished blocker and able receiver, he has 38 receptions with 3 touchdowns in his career. Besides backup Scott Huber, a sophomore, a pair of top-quality recruits have entered the picture this fall: sophomore Doyal Butler, who spent 1998 at Purdue, and freshman Alex Holmes (2 rec, 8.0 avg in 2000).
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN--For the first time in Paul Hackett's 3 years, USC has solid depth on its offensive line. But, as has been the case the past 2 seasons, Troy's offensive success will depend heavily on the performance of these blockers. Dependable senior Brent McCaffrey starts for his third season at left tackle. Senior Trevor Roberts, who started 3 times at left tackle last year, entered the fall as the starting left guard, but has been slowed with a foot injury. So, redshirt freshman Lenny Vandermade, who can also play center, has stepped in there for the first 4 games. The right side of USC's line suffered the loss of 1999 All-Pac-10 first team tackle Travis Claridge, last year's Pac-10 Morris Trophy winner who started all 48 games of his USC career (the first Trojan offensive lineman ever to do so without redshirting) and is now in the NFL. But junior Faaesea Mailo, who started 5 times last fall at guard, has moved out to right tackle. He also was used as a fullback in short yardage situations at times last year and proved to be a devastating blocker, watch for him in the backfield again in 2000. Sophomore Zach Wilson, who started the final 7 games of 1999 at right guard and was impressive enough to earn Freshman All-American second team notice, starts there once again. Senior Eric Denmon returns at center after starting there most of last year at center, but his Trojan career has been marked by nagging injuries.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN--The defensive line is the most veteran unit on the entire USC team. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better pair of tackles than USC's returning starters: senior Ennis Davis (16 tac, 5 for losses, 3 sac, 1 dfl, 1 FF in 2000), a 2-year starter and on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy "Watch List," and junior Ryan Nielsen (11 tac, 2 for losses, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2000). Davis, a 1998 All-Pac-10 first teamer, was never quite himself last season after suffering a knee injury in the 1998 Sun Bowl, but he still showed his big-play potential often, tying for the team lead in sacks (5) and even intercepting a pair of passes (returning one 30 yards for a TD as he hurdled his 300-pound body over an opponent to get into the end zone). The underrated Nielsen was named USC's Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1999. Sophomore Bernard Riley (4 tac, 1 BLK in 2000), who appeared mostly in short yardage situations last fall, will push this duo for time. USC's already-deep group of ends was bolstered by the return of senior Sultan Abdul-Malik (9 tac, 4 for loss, 1 sac in 2000) to the position. He was USC's sack leader in 1997 and 1998 while starting at end, but started at strongside linebacker last fall. He was moved back to the line to take advantage of his pass rushing skills (he has 20 sacks in his career). Abdul-Malik competes with junior Lonnie Ford (3 tac, 1 sac, 1 dfl in 2000), who started at end in 1999 after playing tight end earlier in his USC career. Ford's 5 sacks last fall gave him a share of the Trojan lead. The other end spot again is manned by seniors Matt Childers (16 tac, 4 for loss, 2 sac, 1 FF in 2000) and Shamsud-Din Abdul-Shaheed (6 tac, 2 for loss, 1 sac in 2000). They are an interchangeable pair as Childers started 7 times last season and Abdul-Shaheed had 5 starts. Childers tied for the team lead in sacks (5) in 1999.
MORENO/STEELE--USC's 2 returning starters at linebacker are good enough to merit consideration for the Butkus Award (both are on the Butkus Award "Watch List"): seniors Zeke Moreno (30 tac, team-high 8 for losses, 2 sac, 1 dfl, 1 FR for a TD in 2000) in the middle and Markus Steele (team-high 31 tac, 7 for losses, 2 sac, 1 FR in 2000) on the weak side. Moreno, who is starting for his third year and is also on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy "Watch List," was USC's leading tackler in 1999. He was third in the Pac-10 in tackles (9.0), tied for first in forced fumbles (5) and tied for third in fumble recoveries (2). Steele, who made an immediate impact in 1999 after transferring from a junior college, topped Troy in tackles for losses last season and was second in total tackles. He was third in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (3) and tied for third in fumble recoveries (2). Each found the end zone in 1999, Moreno twice (on an interception and fumble recovery against Oregon State) and Steele once (on a fumble recovery at Hawaii).
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT ZEKE MORENO & MARKUS STEELE
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OTHER LINEBACKERS--Even though one of 1999's starting linebackers--Sultan Abdul-Malik--moved to the defensive line, there's no cause for concern at the Trojans' strongside linebacker position in 2000. The new starter there is junior Kori Dickerson (7 tac in 2000), who played defensive end earlier in his career (even starting once there last fall). He also high jumps for the USC track squad, with a best of 6-8.
DEFENSIVE BACKS--If it's competition you're looking for, watch USC's secondary throughout the 2000 season. The Trojans are well-stocked here, particularly at the cornerback spots, so expect all the players to be going all out all the time to get into the lineup. Both cornerbacks who started in 1999 came back, although only one will see the field in 2000. Junior Kris Richard (4 tac, 3 dfl in 2000, plus 3 PR, 11.2 avg) led USC in interceptions (6, tied for 17th nationally) last season (he returned 2 for scores), opening some eyes in the process. Senior pre-season All-American Antuan Simmons, a 3-year starter who has blocked 6 kicks in his career (including 2 field goals and a PAT last year), missed spring drills while recovering from late-season back surgery. He then had surgery in May to remove a benign abdominal tumor and will redshirt the 2000 season while recuperating. He returned a fumble 44 yards for a TD at Arizona in 1999. Grabbing Simmons' corner spot are sophomore Darrell Rideaux (9 tac, team-high 4 dfl in 2000), who started USC's last 2 games of 1999 for an injured Simmons and was named a Freshman All-American second teamer, and junior Chris Cash (15 tac, 1 int, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2000), a junior college transfer who enrolled at USC last spring and participated in spring practice. Rideaux doubles as a sprinter for the Trojan tracksters (in the spring of 2000, he was fifth in the 100 meters at the Pac-10 Meet and ran leadoff for the 400-meter relay squad which was fifth at the NCAA Meet). Sophomore Kevin Arbet (12 tac, 1 for a loss, 2 dfl in 2000, plus 21.4 KOR avg), a one-time walk-on who made such an immediate impression in 1999 that he earned a scholarship during his initial fall camp, is USC's nickel back (he can play either cornerback or safety). Arbet, who started twice in 1999 as an extra defensive back, returned an interception 75 yards for a TD against Louisiana Tech last season. Last season's starting free safety, senior Ifeanyi Ohalete (26 tac, 1 for a loss, 3 dfl in 2000) is back and joins with new starting strong safety Troy Polamalu (16 tac, 1 sac, 2 dfl, 1 int for TD, 1 FR in 2000), a sophomore. Ohalete led USC in deflections (15) and was third in tackles (84) in 1999, and also tied for first in the Pac-10 in forced fumbles (5) and fumbles recovered (3). Polamalu is looking to fill the shoes of USC's only departed defensive starter from last season, 1999 All-Pac-10 first teamer David Gibson, a 3-year starter who had 241 career tackles (81 last fall). Two other safeties see playing time: junior Frank Strong (4 tac, 1 BLK in 2000, plus 20.0 KOR avg), a one-time tailback who was moved to defense in the middle of last season, and sophomore DeShaun Hill (5 tac, 1 for a loss in 2000), who was able to redshirt last fall after suffering an early-season back injury.
SPECIALISTS--Junior Mike MacGillivray (42.5 avg in 2000) is back for his third season as USC's punter and is listed on the "Watch List" for the Ray Guy Award. An effective placement punter (61 of his 176 career punts have pinned opponents inside the 20) with an above-average leg (23 of his career punts have traveled at least 50 yards), he is looking to become more consistent in 2000. Although junior David Newbury (4-of-7 FG, 9-of-11 PAT in 2000) was USC's placekicker last fall, a 3-way battle for the job was waged this fall between Newbury, senior David Bell and 1999 prep All-American John Wall, a freshman. Newbury, who finally regained his job for 2000, began his first year at Troy by nailing a season-long 48-yard field goal on his first attempt at Hawaii in 1999, but then struggled with consistency the rest of the way. Bell, who is in his fourth season as USC's strong-legged kickoff man, has had touchbacks on 13 of his 20 kickoffs in 2000 (3 others were not returned past the 20, another 3 didn't advance past the 26 and 1 was an unsuccessful on-side kick). Last year, he took over the placement chores for Newbury in the third quarter of the season-ending Louisiana Tech game and nailed a 38-yard field goal and both extra point kicks.
TO THE RESCUE-Four USC players--DT Bernard Riley and Malcolm Wooldridge, WR Steve Stevenson and S Kyle Matthews--have received quite a bit of national attention for their role in coming to the aid of an injured USC student early in the season. In the early morning hours on Sept. 1, USC sophomore Danielle Dauenhauer accidentally fell head first out of the second floor window of her campus apartment, only to get impaled in the buttocks by a pair of spikes on a security fence. The players, who were in the downstairs apartment, heard her screams and rushed outside. For the next 20 minutes, they supported the 165-pound woman (her feet were sticking in the air, her head was pointed down) to relieve the pressure of the spikes while paramedics were summoned. They also kept talking with her to help calm her down. When the paramedics arrived, the bars were cut off the fence still sticking in her, she was taken to a local hospital where the bars were removed, and unbelievably she was released the following day in good condition. (If she hadn't been impaled, she likely would have landed on her head and broken her neck). The players subsequently appeared on such national television shows as NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America" and ESPN's "College GameDay." They also received a commendation from California lieutenant governor Cruz M. Bustamante.
STATS OF NOTE-USC is outgaining its opponents (400.2 total yards to 312.8)ÉUSC is converting 45.8% (27-of-59) of its third downs and holding opponents to 26.7% (16-of-60)...USC has had 2 punts blocked in 2000 (one for a safety and another for a TD)ÉUSC, which was penalized an average of 10.7 times for 91.1 yards a game in 1999, has cleaned up that area in 2000, where it has had 7.8 penalties for 72.5 yards per outingÉUSC, which had a national-best 39 takeaways in 1999 (3.3 a game), has just 5 in 2000 (1.3 average).
ROSTER UPDATESÐThere are several personnel updates that are not listed in the 2000 USC football media guide: Malcolm Wooldridge, a 6-2, 300-pound first-year freshman defensive tackle (he'll wear #96), joined the Trojans midway through training camp as a scholarship player. He played at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., in 1999 after spending the 1997 and 1998 seasons at Olympic Heights High in Boca Raton, Fl. (he was a 1998 All-Palm Beach County Athletic Conference Class 5-A first teamer and made 80 tackles with 9 sacks in 1997)...OT Nate Steinbacher is now #71, SNP-TE Joe Boskovich is now #64 and S Danny Bravo is now #47...Ten walk-ons have joined the Trojan squad: #5, QB Richie Wessman (6-1, 195, San Clemente, San Clemente HS/Orange Coast JC), #13, CB Peter Polk (5-10, 175, Los Angeles, St. Bernard HS/West Los Angeles CC), #15, QB Matt Harris (6-4, 210, Las Vegas, NV, Meadows HS), #18, P Tommy Huff (6-1, 225, Bellevue, WA, Bellevue HS, U. of Michigan), #31, P-PK Drew Thomas (6-3, 200, Johnson City, TN, Westlake HS), #41, P-CB Matt Lemos (5-10, 165, Redwood City, St. Francis HS), #46, WR Forrest Mozart (6-1, 195, Los Altos Hills, St. Francis HS), #48, S Kyle Matthews (6-0, 170, Agoura, Westlake HS), #61, LB Aaron Orndorff (6-1, 235, Bakersfield, Stockdale HS), and #70, OG Spencer Torgan (6-1, 265, Calabasas, Harvard-Westlake HS). Wessman and Polk are sophomores, Huff is a redshirt freshman and the others are first-year freshmen...A trio of walk-onsÐ#40 Michael Torres, #47 Spencer McCroskey and #82 D. HaleÐhas quit the team, as has #57 Carlos Acosta...Freshman DT Sagan Atuatasi did not meet USC admission standards and is not with the Trojans in 2000.
USC:COLLEGE OF THE YEAR 2000--USC was named the "College of the Year" by the 2000 edition of the Time/The Princeton Review College Guide. USC was chosen because of the remarkable bonds the university has forged with local schools, community residents, police, businesses and community organizations. "More institutions might do well to emulate USC's enlightened self-interest," according to the guide's editors. "For not only has the 'hood dramatically improved, but so has the university." The editors cited the university's model of service learning -- the practice of applying academic theory to real-life situations through public service -- as their main reason for choosing USC as college of the year, saying USC has one of the most ambitious social-outreach programs of any university in the nation. USC also has seen its undergraduate applications nearly double over the last few years and enrolled the most academically accomplished freshman class in its history. And USC is the only university in history to have received three individual gifts of $100 million or more.
USC: "HOT SCHOOL" OF 2001--USC has been chosen as one of America's nine "hottest schools" by the 2001 edition of the Newsweek/Kaplan College Guide. USC was selected because it lives up to its reputation as a top-notch institution of higher education. "Just as East Coast students go for New York and NYU, the West Coast is gravitating to USC in Los Angeles," according to the guide's article. "USC has morphed from a jock school to a serious contender for top students." Students quoted in the article said Los Angeles' ethnic diversity, the offer of scholarships, the small classroom sizes and USC's standing in academe attracted them to the university.
ACADEMICS--USC's official 2000 NCAA football graduation rate is an all-time high 80%...and the 2001 rate will rise to 82%. That rate is more than 20 points higher than the national football average for Division I schools. Among the top scholars on the 2000 Trojan squad are QB Mike Van Raaphorst and LB Ryan Shapiro, who both sport a team-best 3.72 GPA. Both received their bachelor's degrees last spring and are taking graduate courses this fall (Van Raaphorst-who is applying for a Rhodes Scholarship--received his degree in broadcast journalism/political science and is now taking M.B.A. classes, while Shapiro was a business administration grad who is going after his master's in communication). Other USC footballers who star in the classroom are: FB Brennan Ochs (3.12, political science), TE Scott Huber (3.10, business), TE Chad Cook (3.00, business), OG-OT Trevor Roberts (2.96, public policy and management), OT Brent McCaffrey (2.82, planning and development), DT-DE Bobby DeMars (2.82, business administration) and OT Phillip Eaves (2.80, business). Van Raaphorst and Ochs made the 1999 Pac-10 All-Academic first team (Van Raaphorst was an honorable mention selection in 1997 and 1998 and Ochs was an honorable mention pick in 1998), while Huber was an 1999 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention pick. In its history, USC football has produced 22 Academic All-American first teamers (tops in the Pac-10 and tied for fifth in the nation), 20 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners, 12 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes, 4 NCAA Today's Top Six winners, 1 Rhodes Scholar and 1 Academic All-American Hall of Famer.
IN THE NFL--USC is always well-represented in the NFL. There were 31 ex-Trojans on 2000 opening day NFL rosters (tied for seventh among all schools), including players such as LB Junior Seau, OLs Tony Boselli and Bruce Matthews, DLs Willie McGinest and Darrell Russell, WRs Keyshawn Johnson, Curtis Conway and Johnnie Morton, QB Rob Johnson, and DBs Jason Sehorn and Mark Carrier. Six NFL head coaches have USC ties (either as former players or assistants): New York Giants' Jim Fassel, Tennessee's Jeff Fisher, Seattle's Mike Holmgren, San Francisco's Steve Mariucci, Washington's Norv Turner and San Diego's Mike Riley. Seven current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: C Eric Denmon (cousin, Rod Jones), WR Kareem Kelly (cousin, Rashard Cook), LB Darryl Knight (brother, Sammy), S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr., father, Clay Matthews, uncle, Bruce Matthews), OT Brent McCaffrey (father, Bob McCaffrey, uncle, Mike McCaffrey), S Troy Polamalu, (cousin, Nicky Sualua), QB Mike Van Raaphorst, (father, Dick Van Raaphorst). Additionally, head coach Paul Hackett and assistants Dennis Thurman and Brian Schottenheimer were NFL assistants (Thurman also played in the NFL).
ON TV--USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 276 times, including all 12 games in 1998 and 1999. In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997.
SCOUTING ARIZONA-Arizona, under 14th-year head coach Dick Tomey (the school's winningest coach), opened Pac-10 play last Saturday (Sept. 30) with a 27-3 win at Stanford. Senior QB Ortege Jenkins (45-of-89, 50.6%, 546 yds, 3 TD, 2 int in 2000) directs the offense, with freshman RB Clarence Farmer (33 tcb, 211 yds, 6.4 avg, 1 TD) and sophomore RBs Larry Croom (38 tcb, 174 yds, 4.6 avg, 1 TD in 2000) and Leo Mills (40 tcb, 163 yds, 4.1 avg in 2000) sharing the carries and soph WR Bobby Wade (11 rec, 14.9 avg, 1 TD in 2000) and freshman WR Andrae Thurman (11 rec, 11.2 avg in 2000) catching most of the passes. The Wildcat defense-which 3 times in 2000 has allowed only a field goal in a game-is fourth nationally in scoring defense (9.0, first in Pac-10), ninth in rushing defense (75.3, second in Pac-10), tied for seventh in turnover margin (+1.8, second in Pac-10) and 20th in total defense (288.0, third in Pac-10). Soph ILB Lance Briggs (team-high 38 tac, 4 for losses, 1 int in 2000) is among the Pac-10 tackle leaders (9.5) and seniors ILB Antonio Pierce (26 tac, 5 for losses, 1 FR in 200) and senior DE Joe Tafoya (18 tac, team-best 6 for losses, 1 FR in 2000) have been forces.
HACKETT SAYS-"It was a very difficult loss for us at Oregon State. To be a contender, you have to win on the road and we weren't able to do it. We had many, many opportunities, all the way up to the onside kick at the end of game. We just couldn't make the plays when we had to make them. The red zone continues to haunt us and our special teams continue to hurt us. We've just got to put this behind us, regroup and get ready for ArizonaÉThe Wildcats are on the move. They have momentum and had a big win at Stanford. Winning on the road is so important in the Pac-10. Ortege Jenkins appears to be coming into his own. But it's their defense and the unorthodox style that is the key for Arizona. They really held Stanford down. Arizona seems to be gaining confidence and momentum. This will be a very difficult task for us on Saturday."
GAME PROMOTIONS-Computer screensavers featuring USC athletics will be handed out after the game, compliments of America WestÉSenior Amber Buhl, a member of the USC women's rowing team who has a 3.31 GPA, will be recognized during the Verizon Academic SaluteÉThe USC men's volleyball team, which has been 1 victory away from advancing to the NCAA Final Four the past 2 years, will be saluted during the Team Trojan Spotlight.
INJURY UPDATE-OUT: S Matt Grootegoed (mono), Joe McGuire (back), Gregg Guenther (back), TB Chris Howard (knee), LB John Cousins (finger), CB Antuan Simmons (abdominal tumor), TE Chad Cook (knee), DE Jamaal Williams (leg), S John Morgan (knee). PROBABLE: WR Kareem Kelly (quad, ankle), TB Sultan McCullough (knee), TB Petros Papadakis (concussion), OG-OT Trevor Roberts (foot), DT Bernard Riley (ankle).
USC IN NCAA/PAC-10 STAT RANKINGS
RED ZONE PRODUCTION
MIKE MacGILLIVRAY PUNTS
DAVID BELL KICKOFFS
A LOOK AT USC'S DAVID BELL
It's easy to take kickoffs for granted. Sure, they signal the start of a football game and they occur after every score, but they are soon forgotten--a mere formality until the real game resumes.
But for USC placekicker David Bell, kickoffs are a matter of pride. The strong-legged senior from Anaheim, Calif., has nailed 13 of his 20 kickoffs this season for touchbacks. Three more have failed to be returned past the 20-yard line by Trojan opponents. Bell has suddenly become a special teams weapon.
"It's (kicking a touchback) something I certainly shoot for," said the 6-0, 190-pound Bell."If I kick it in the end zone every time and they start on the 20 every time, there's no chance of a big return against us. It keeps the pressure off the kick-off team."
As the backup field goal kicker to David Newbury, Bell hasn't had much of a chance this season to show his wares that way, but he did hit a 38-yarder last year against Louisiana Tech and added two extra points. Bell knows he must be ready if called upon.
"I still practice field goals a lot just in case something was to happen to Newbury," Bell said. "I'd be prepared to step into that position, but most of my preparation goes towards kick-offs now.
"My main focus right now is doing the kickoffs and putting the opposing offenses as deep in their territories as possible. If we could get them to start on the 20 every time, I would feel like I'm doing my job pretty effectively."
As a senior at Western High in Anaheim, Bell hit 34-of-39 extra points, eight-of-15 field goals and put 42-of-54 kickoffs into the end zone as touchbacks. The last signee from USC's 1996 recruiting class, Bell handled the Trojans' kickoff duties in the last 10 games of his freshman season and proved effective, but the transition to becoming a college placekicker was a tough one.
"Probably the biggest adjustment coming from high school was going from a tee to the ground on field goals," said Bell. "A lot of kickers kick off a two inch block during high school which makes it a lot easier to kick balls, so when they come into college it's a big adjustment."
With the field goal duties firmly in the hands (or feet) of Adam Abrams when Bell arrived at USC, kickoffs became Bell's focus. Now in his third year of kickoff duty, he has the process narrowed down to a science.
"I pretty much try to kick through the ball," Bell explains. "As I'm approaching the ball, I try to find a spot beyond the ball to kick through. A lot of times if you hit too far under the ball you get a real fast rotation and the ball won't travel as far. I have a little spot on the ball that I aim at and I try to kick through that spot. A lot of it is mental, because if you're going to the ball thinking that you're going to kill it, then on your last step you'll really jump at the ball and it really throws everything off."
Bell used his kickoff expertise to great effect against Penn State at the Kickoff Classic, as five of his six kicks sailed into the end zone for touchbacks. Penn State's offense seemed to get demoralized each time it realized that an 80-yard drive was the prerequisite to scoring a touchdown. For Bell, it was a gratifying experience to be such an integral part of a team win.
"It's definitely different being a kicker," notes Bell. "You have to look at things differently. You see all the guys out there on the field working hard and you want to do something. You want to work hard, too. But you can't go out there and kick 200 balls a day because by the time it came down to it, you're leg would fall off."
Bell certainly doesn't have the stereotypical kicker's mentality. He enjoys getting the chance to make tackles on kickoffs, though he admits that the allure has faded somewhat this season.
"Last year, I had six tackles," said Bell, who also played running back and linebacker in high school. "I liked running down there, but I guess I might be getting a little lazy in my old age. I figure it would be a lot easier if I just kick it in the endzone and not have to run down as much."
A public policy and management major, Bell is due to graduate in January. After taking some time off, he might go to work for the appropriately-named Pacific Bell, where he interned this past summer.
"I worked for the engineering department," said Bell. "My main responsibility was filling orders and helping customers with their service."
In the meantime, USC can count on David Bell to continue his long distance kickoff service--free of charge.