Thursday, September 07, 2006

I'm going to San Diego on a secret blog-related mission.

No more posts from me until Monday, at the earliest.

Fight On!

Four Downs with Matt Hayes...of The Sporting News - Mobile Register
...A. I'd have Alabama play Southern Cal. They had some great games in years past and it matches two great, traditional programs...

...Q. If you could move a college head coach from one program to another, who would you move and to what school?

A. I'd take Texas' Mack Brown and put him at UCLA so he could recruit head-to-head against Pete Carroll at USC. They're the two best recruiters and it would be interesting to see them work in the same city...
Builder, political activist, humanitarian dies at 90 - Inland Empire Press-Entrerprise
...He earned a journalism degree at USC and later worked at "Western Livestock Journal" magazine.

Mr. Hunter volunteered to join the Marine Corps and served as an artillery officer in the Philippines. Mr. Hunter left the service at the rank of major and returned to Riverside...

...By the early 1950s, he owned a thriving construction business, building extensively in Jurupa...

...Mr. Hunter also worked for such prominent Republications as Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon...
The NFL's Search for El Dorado - Washington Post
...Then there is also Matt Leinart. The former USC star and Heisman Trophy winner grew up in nearby Santa Ana and admitted, after playing his first exhibition game with the Arizona Cardinals, that it was the first NFL game he had ever been to. He was the first of an era of kids since the Rams arrived in 1946 who had grown up in Los Angeles without a local pro football team.

"It's probably why I didn't like football much when I was a kid," he says.

As a child, he'd watch an occasional game, but often with disinterest...

...This is something the league worries about...

"You've lost a generation,"
said Chadwick, of the coliseum commission...
[Dufresne] THE TIMES' TOP 25 - LA Times

...4. USC (1-0); Six running backs got the ball against Arkansas but let's not get carried away just yet.


Also, [Maisel] The Power 16 - ESPN
Athlon 119 - Athlon Sports
[McNulty Ray McNulty deals out his top 25 college football teams - Sebastian Sun
All-Sports Rankings - CNNSI
Trojans report: Strategy and personnel - CBS Sportsline
S Taylor Mays
-- The true freshman might get a starting role when USC gets back on the field...against Nebraska...he'll have to earn the starting job in practice. "He's a big strong kid who makes plays," said coach Pete Carroll. "He's everything we could have hoped for."

RB Chauncey Washington -- The junior was a bit of an unknown heading into the first game, as he was slowed by a hamstring injury most of camp...Washington ended up rushing for 55 yards on eight carries...

...LB Keith Rivers -- He's an athletic freak who can wreak havoc from his outside linebacker spot. He's in line for major postseason honors this season, and he got off to a great start by earning Pac-10 Player of the Week honors...

Also, Trojans report: Notes, quotes - CBS Sportsline
Trojans report: Inside slant - CBS Sportsline
Sanchez's Debut Also a Success - LA Times
Lost in the hoopla that surrounded John David Booty's impressive performance against Arkansas in his first start was the debut of another USC quarterback.

Redshirt freshman Mark Sanchez took his first snaps midway through the fourth quarter and directed two series. Sanchez's 19-yard pass to freshman receiver Travon Patterson set up USC's last touchdown...

...Though Sanchez played a small role in the opener — he completed one of two passes — he knows he could become prominent in an instant if Booty is injured...
Unity among offense - LA Daily News
The star power might be down, but there's a new feeling of equality among USC's offensive players that has raised morale following the Trojans' first game.

"Eighteen different people touched the ball against Arkansas," wide receiver Chris McFoy said. "This is unheard of at 'SC. It means everyone gets the ball. I'm excited. We're all excited."

McFoy said even though USC is without marquee players Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White, there is more unity.

"Oh yes, there is a big difference," McFoy said. "The offense is a unit and works together...
Special teams making great strides from last year - Daily Trojan
Lost amid the glowing reviews for the reloaded offense and reinvigorated defense, USC's special teams reasserted itself against Arkansas after a dreadful 2005 campaign.

In fact, they might have kept the Razorbacks at bay with Mario Danelo's 44-yard field goal to end the first half...

..."What I like most about it is we have a new holder and got through the game just fine. The snapping was great, the holding was great and our line protected good. With all that stuff going good, my job is the easiest part," Danelo said...
[Jahner] No losses is USC's only true option - Daily Trojan
This could get messy. It's just that no one realizes it yet.

It would seem that with Arkansas left battered in the rear-view mirror, USC would find itself in the driver's seat of its BCS title game hopes. And with either Ohio State or Texas destined to hit a pothole in their No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in Austin on Saturday, the No. 3 Trojans should climb a spot during a bye week, putting them in position to finish the season in Glendale, Ariz. for the BCS title game.

Bottom line: USC slips out only if USC slips up.

But in the zodiac of college football, this might be the year of the undefeated. This year could make BCS debacles in 2001, 2003 and 2004 fond memories...Controversy is imminent...
Bradford No Safety - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
...It's pretty much freshman Taylor Mays' job to lose at this point, but the four others behind him -- Mozique McCurtis, Antwine Perez, Garrett Green and David Buehler -- will get plenty of chances to make a play for it.

Buehler will also remain in the kickoff competition with Troy Van Blarcom and stay as USC's long field goal kicker, if needed.

Just don't pencil in ex-safety Allen Bradford as one of the candidates.

After a bruising day of running the ball at tailback with the first-team offense, the 230-pound freshman from Colton High will not be a candidate...

...Kevin Ellison, the strong safety, knows he'll be partnered with a new teammate when Nebraska comes to town...

Also, Young DBs fight for spot - OC Register

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Veteran schools Eagles' rookie - Wilmington News Journal
It happens nearly a dozen times during each Eagles practice.

Defensive end Darren Howard puts a quick move on Winston Justice and closes in on the quarterback in the red jersey.

Thankfully for the quarterback, that jersey absolves him from contact.

But there is nothing to protect Justice from getting served each snap.

Practice after practice. Day after day. Since minicamp began in May.

"It's frustrating," the rookie left tackle admitted. "But I know he's making me a better football player."...
Against all odds - San Diego Union-Tribune
...Wideout Grant Mattos signed with the Chargers after going undrafted out of USC in 2003. He bounced between the practice squad and the active roster as a rookie but was released...he sat out the season and signed with Denver the following January. His goal was to earn their respect during offseason workouts, and he succeeded by not missing a workout and rarely dropping a pass.

But on the first day of training camp he got the call that every player dreads...Detroit picked him up soon after, but almost as quickly it released him to sign someone else.

Three teams, three rejections, one unmistakable conclusion for Mattos: Keep after it...
USC freshmen get a chance - Daily Breeze
..."We're real accustomed to this,'' Carroll said. "We've been in this format for two years and we've taken advantage of it, a real mind-set of trying to find some improvement in different ways...basically it goes back to the philosophy of competing and opportunities...

...That meant a lot of reps for freshman Thomas Herring at right tackle, freshman Stanley Havili at fullback, freshman Shareece Wright at cornerback, freshman Anthony McCoy at tight end, freshmen Travon Patterson and Vidal Hazelton at receiver and even freshman Stafon Johnson, who had been relegated to a service team running back.

Already, the Trojans are in a youth movement. Against Arkansas, they used 12 true freshmen...

Also, Mix-and-match backfield produces familiar results - Daily Trojan
Trojans pass tough road rebuilding test with surprising ease - Daily Trojan
Makin' Bacon - Daily Trojan
...Five USC drives started in Arkansas territory and another at midfield thanks to a ball-hawking defense...

...And then there was the offense.

Despite new starters on the offensive line, in the backfield and at quarterback, USC ran off 31 straight points to turn a close game near halftime into another Trojan trouncing.

"People doubted us and didn't really know what we had," redshirt junior quarterback John David Booty said. "To come out and score 50 points was great."

But the game did not start as a track meet...
Free Safety Fill-Ins Abound - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Taylor Mays didn't sound much like a freshman who is about to get the first shot at earning a starting spot for the home opener against 21st-ranked Nebraska on Sept. 16.

Mays wanted first to talk about the Trojan he could replace at free safety, Josh Pinkard...

..."I called Josh Sunday," Mays said.

Pinkard's non-contact kickoff coverage injury came when he planted his right leg and he "heard it pop," Pinkard said.

"I saw him go down," said Mays, one of the nation's most-touted high school players a year ago...

..."It's like an older brother going down," Mays said...

Also, Trojans lose free safety for rest of season - Daily Breeze
Pinkard out for season; safety auditions begin - Daily Trojan
Mays to replace injured Pinkard - LA Daily News
Mays Might Replace Injured Safety Pinkard - LA Times
Pinkard lost for season because of torn ACL - OC Register

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

USC's Pinkard out for the season - OC Register
USC free safety Josh Pinkard will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, university officials announced today

Results from Pinkard's MRI returned today revealing the severity of the injury. Surgery likely will be scheduled for later this month. The junior is expected to apply for a medical redshirt this season.

The loss of Pinkard severly depletes the depth of the USC secondary because he could play both cornerback and safety. The Trojans likely will look at freshmen Antwine Perez and Taylor Mays as possible replacements...
Week 1: Pac 10 recap - Athlon Sports
The rest of the Pac-10 had USC right where it wanted when Pete Carroll took over as Trojans coach five years ago. Average. Mortal. Beatable.

Somehow those other nine teams let the beast out of the box, and there remain no visible signs of recapturing it any time soon...

...this supposedly was a season for the Trojans to throttle back. Not take their foot off the gas completely, just ease up a bit in their dominant ways. Maybe compete for the league title, but not a national championship.

From Week One, the big news was the worst news possible for the rest of the league: Outside of a jersey nametag or two, nothing has changed for the all-encompassing Carroll empire. USC is still fearsome. Still overpowering. Still three or four players deep at each position...
[Mandel] Lay off the Irish - CNNSI
...1. Ohio State Buckeyes...2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish...3. Texas Longhorns...

...4. USC Trojans (1-0)
I'm not sure why people are making such a big deal out of USC's 50-point output against Arkansas -- 27 of them came late in the second half, when it was clear the game was over. But make no mistake, the Trojans' defense was exceptional, and John David Booty had a solid first start.

5. Auburn Tigers...

Also, 2006 College Football Rankings - Week 1 - ESPN
Sept. 5, 2006 poll - USA Today
CFN Rankings No. 1 to 119 - College Football News
[Barnhart] Lessons learned in opening week - Atlanta Journal-Constitution
...3. USC ain’t going anywhere.

With a new quarterback and a new running back the Trojans went into Arkansas, which had been geeked up after last season’s 70-17 thumping, and, as Steve Spurrier used to say, “laid half a hundred on them.” Wow. And now that it appears California is not the real deal, there doesn’t seem to be anybody on the schedule who can beat USC until the final game with Notre Dame in November. If Texas beats Ohio State on Saturday, could we be looking at a Texas-USC rematch for the BCS championship?...
[Smith] Baby shouldn’t be such big news - OC Register
...To bring the inquiring minds up to speed, Matt Leinart, the Heisman Trophy-winning Trojans quarterback, dated Brynn Cameron, a promising guard on the school's basketball team, for about two years.

He used to be in the stands to watch the women play. And about the same number of people were in the stands to see Leinart...

...Leinart and Cameron took a ballroom dance class together while the world said, "How cute!" to the connection this Prince Charles-Lady Di-like connection was between the superstar athlete and his blond schoolmate.

In Trojan World, Matt and Brynn became Brad and Angelina, Vince and Jen or Jen and Ben. They were - cue the music - sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes...
Week One Thoughts - College Football News
1. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Texas and USC are the only four teams that truly control their own destinies.
If Texas beats Ohio State, it'll be ranked in the top two as long as it stays unbeaten, and if USC and Notre Dame go unbeaten before meeting late in the year, the winner will play for the national title. Everyone else has to worry about being 2004 Auburn and on the outside looking in no matter how good they might be...
Trojans report: Inside slant - CBS Sportsline
USC's new offense. The same as the old offense?

The new-name Trojans might not have hit their stride until the second half -- but, hey, a lot of the Leinart/Bush/White teams followed that pattern, too -- and the result was certainly familiar. USC poured it on and routed an Arkansas team that was supposedly on the rise, 50-14.

"I knew we weren't going to miss a beat without Matt and Reggie," receiver Dwayne Jarrett...

Also, Trojans report: Strategy and personnel - CBS Sportsline
Trojans report: Notes, quotes - CBS Sportsline
[Forde] Different players, same results for the men of Troy - ESPN
Last year, the Trojans scored 28 points in their first eight offensive plays against Arkansas. This year, USC was still scoreless against the Razorbacks after eight plays.

It kicked a field goal on its ninth.

After that, USC made its fans wait an interminable 18 more plays before scoring its first touchdown of 2006. It took another eight plays to score a third time, on another field goal. You can imagine the disbelief rippling through Troy at that point.

Last year the Trojans scored 70 points on 67 offensive plays against Arkansas. This year, they needed 80 offensive plays to score their measly 50 points...
[Krikorian] Bruins' thunder quieted by Trojans - Long Beach Press-Telegram
...It is a memorable Saturday opener for the Bruins, but, naturally, as always, it is overshadowed by what their crosstown rivals, the University of Southern California, do in their opener the same day against Arkansas...

...even when things break fortuitously as they did against Utah, the UCLA football team remains ensconced in the massive shadow of USC...
[Waldner] It's not all fun and games when USC is the subject - Daily Breeze
Trusting readers, and those with less faith in the ability of the local thinker, have thoughts of their own.

They responded in force about USC's off-field football issues.

E-mails demonstrated passion. A minority also demonstrated depth of vocabularies not reflecting favorably on the Trojans.

Not everyone was angry at the messenger. Some agreed. Some, quite possibly those of UCLA persuasion, were angry at USC for ignoring what they believe are high crimes.

The basic point here was that this is not fun and games...
Opener upsets tailback - LA Daily News
As USC concluded its blowout victory over Arkansas, freshman tailback Stafon Johnson was crying on the sideline, but they were not quite tears of joy.

Johnson's emotional display came from the fact he was the only tailback who did not play for the Trojans in the season-opener.

"I feel as if I didn't contribute or anything," Johnson said. "Everyone wants to compete and get out there and show what they can do."

Johnson was placed on the scout team heading into the Arkansas game, so it's not completely surprising he did not play, despite the lopsided nature of the contest...
Casting Call Goes Out This Week - LA Times
Auditions to possibly replace safety Josh Pinkard will begin today when USC returns to practice, but that is only one position where young players will get extended looks because of Saturday's open date...

...As he did in 2002, 2004 and 2005, Coach Pete Carroll will use practices preceding a second-week open date to evaluate young players and rest banged-up veterans.

"I love this time because you can be real specific about what you want to look at without a game coming up immediately," Carroll said...

...Freshman Taylor Mays or another player could do the same if the knee injury Pinkard suffered Saturday against Arkansas is serious...

Also, Season-opening drubbing hard for Cal to bear - Eugene Register-Guard
Doris Tennant Westcott, 98; USC's First Helen of Troy, Veteran Educator - LA Times
Even if Doris Tennant Westcott had not become a pioneering educator in Compton or served with distinction in the WAVES during World War II or helped students in financial need after her retirement, she would have still had a historic place at USC.

For Doris Tennant Westcott, class of 1930, was the school's first Helen of Troy.

Westcott, who died May 16 at age 98, will be honored Thursday at a memorial service at the university, where she made national headlines in 1928.

An active presence on the USC campus, Westcott was elected Helen of Troy in 1928 and again the next year...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Carroll makes new Trojans look like old - Portland Oregonian
...Apparently, it didn't matter that this year's USC backfield is full of rookies. Six backs carried the ball, three of them in their first game on the college level. Freshmen C.J. Gable, Emmanuel Moody and Allen Bradford combined for 122 yards on 24 carries.

"We know there were those questions in the air about where we would be, what we're all about," Carroll said in his postgame news conference. "We came back and played football the way the Trojans play football."

Not, however, without a few concerns...

Also, Pac-10 round up and power rankings - Portland Oregonian
[Markazi] Deja vu - CNNSI
...The big story of the night was obviously the performance of Booty, who had the most prolific debut for a first-time starting quarterback at USC since Carson Palmer in 1998. Booty looked more than comfortable in the pocket as he spread the ball around to seven receivers and looked more nimble than his predecessor in avoiding defenders.

Just as important as Booty's success, if not more so, was the play of USC's defense, which gave up only 14 points and 287 total yards. It was reminiscent of the style of defense Carroll prided himself on when he took over the team five years ago...

Also, Teams Either Start Strong or Start Over - NY Times

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Gable records a first, scores TD, too - OC Register
C.J. Gable became the first first-year freshman tailback in USC history to start in a season opener.

On the Trojans' opening series in their 50-14 victory Saturday night against Arkansas at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Gable, from Sylmar, was the first to take the rebuilt offense forward.

Gable pounded ahead the first play - a handoff - and gained 1 yard. Gable had 12 carries for 51 yards (4.2 average), with one touchdown.

Only four other first-year freshman tailbacks have started in games for USC: Frank Strong against Cal in 1998; Malaefou MacKenzie (Capistrano Valley High) against Arizona State in 1997; Scott Lockwood against Boston College in 1987 and against Michigan State in the 1988 Rose Bowl; and Charles White against Stanford in 1979...

Also, Tailbacks Impress - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Pinkard injures knee - LA Daily News
USC safety Josh Pinkard suffered a potentially serious knee injury against Arkansas.

Pinkard injured his knee on a punt return and felt a crack. X-rays were negative but he will undergo a magnetic-resonance imaging test to determine if there is ligament damage...

...Linebacker Oscar Lua pulled a hamstring on the game's first play and will probably be out at least two weeks. He will also undergo an MRI.

Ironically, Lua got hurt by starting. He didn't return after that as Rey Maualuga replaced him...

Also, Pinkard and Lua Suffer Injuries - LA Times
Booty puts advice into action - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
..."He just told me to keep dealing it," Booty said of Leinart's advice for his first start in four seasons at USC. "It pretty much took me the first quarter to get going, but that's what I'm trying to do -- make good plays, don't get us backed up and get the ball to all the great athletes around me."

On a night when USC scored 50 points to surpass last year's record-breaking average of 49.1, USC totaled 472 yards of offense (280 passing, 192 rushing) for the kind of quarterback-dealing night Leinart encouraged from Booty.

"The game kind of slowed down for me as we got going," Booty said...

...That's the idea, Coach Pete Carroll has always said: Play too fast for your opponent to stay with you but not too fast for yourself...

Also, Booty's debut is big success - Daily Breeze
[Plaschke] New QB Shows He's No Fake - LA Times
Booty shakes nerves to orchestrate offense - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
USC exploits tired, thin UA defense - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Trojans simply ball hogs - Daily Breeze
A year ago, USC's rout of Arkansas was electrifying.

This year's version of the stomping was excruciating for the Trojans at the beginning, slightly less impressive overall, but undoubtedly more satisfying.

Riding a defense that was not only suffocating but nasty, the Trojans inexorably worked their way to a 50-14 season-opening win, silencing a record Razorback Stadium crowd of 76,564, who had wooo-pig-soooied their lungs out in anticipation of a return engagement with USC.

Quarterback John David Booty and the reloaded offense misfired at times in the first half, but when it was all over, the newcomers had just enough touches reminiscent of the recent bygone era...

Also, Trojans go Hog wild, again - LA Daily News
Putting Pigs in a Blanket - LA Times
Opportunistic USC rolls - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Fifty nifty for a start - OC Register
Worse for wear - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette