Saturday, October 28, 2006

Marlin McKeever, 66; former USC All-American, L.A. Rams linebacker - LA Times
...McKeever was in charge of the Trojan Football Alumni Club and had been one of a handful of former Trojan greats issued a sideline credential for the 2006 Rose Bowl against Texas.

USC's leading receiver in 1959 and 1960, he caught a 21-yard touchdown pass during an eventual 17-6 upset victory over No. 11 UCLA in 1960, earning him honors as the Trojans' player of the game. Legendary USC Coach John McKay, then in his first year with the Trojans, would later say that the victory saved his job.

Both McKeevers also competed in the discus throw and shot put for the USC track team.

They also had brief acting careers, appearing together in "The Three Stooges Meet Hercules" (1962) and as football players in the 1961 Disney film "The Absent-Minded Professor."...

Also, [Krikorian] McKeever's state is tough - Long Beach Press-Telegram
USC All-American Marlin McKeever Dies - Official USC Website
Carroll comes to Trojans' defense - OC Register
...Instead of playing backups, the Trojans (6-0, 4-0 in the Pac-10) have had to hold on for three weeks in a row, with narrow victories over Washington State, Washington and Arizona State.

"I felt in control of those games, which is different from when you feel out of control and you're just hanging on for dear life," Carroll said. "It hasn't felt like that."

Maybe not, but an occasional lack of swagger from quarterback John David Booty's offense and a season-long lack of ball-hawking by the USC defense has left the Trojans more susceptible-looking than they have been in three years...

Also, Air might be the way for Trojans to go - LA Daily News
Ex-USC star gains by losing - OC Register
..."This is the new me," announces Anthony Davis...

...Davis, 54, runs a hand over the smooth line of three buttons fastening his coat. Trim is the stomach that he used to call "my big frog belly." Healthier is his body – "that shell," he called it – that had once swelled to almost 300 pounds and disguised his past as a fleet-footed athlete.

He shuffles his feet in a soft-soled Meringue, wiggles his slender hips wildly enough to flutter the bottoms of his pleated trousers, shakes his broad shoulders and smiles – Ta-da! Touchdown! – like a newly crowned champion.

"Actually it's the old me. It's me!"
he celebrates. "How do I look?"...
OSU optimistic as USC looks vulnerable - Salem Statesman-Journal
The numbers are staggering. Twenty-seven straight Pacific-10 Conference wins, a 51-2 record since losing to Washington State in October of 2002, and two national championships in the past three years.

Yes, No. 3 USC resides among the super powers of college football, taking a backseat to no one.

But Oregon State won't be playing against the Trojans' mystique today at Reser Stadium.

"We could be playing the New England Patriots. It's just another game," quarterback Matt Moore said. "You have to look at it like that. If you go in cutting yourself short, that's not a good start."...

Also, Inside Oregon State-USC - Salem Statesman-Journal
Injury might bench Bernard - Portland Oregonian
Polk is ready if Bernard can’t play - Corvallis Gazette-Times
'Old man' and the Beavers look to reel in Trojans - Daily Breeze
Aiming to come out of its fog - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
..."The whole week has been right on the money," Carroll said of the week of practice following USC's bye week. "If we take a step . . . we have a chance to significantly change some things."...

...The young Trojans, with just one senior starter on defense, "are getting more confident," said cornerback Terrell Thomas.

Ditto for the offense, said quarterback John David Booty, who heads into his seventh career start.

Don't expect the Trojans to look different today, at least not that much, Booty said. But "we do have some new wrinkles," he admitted...

Also, No. 3 USC at Oregon State - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
USC expects dawn of a brighter day - Daily Breeze
Scouting Report: USC vs. Oregon State - Daily Breeze
USC turning down the pressure - LA Times
Trojans try on their game face a day before the game - LA Times

Friday, October 27, 2006

Former USC, NFL star McKeever dies from head injuries - AP via CBS Sportsline
Marlin McKeever, a two-time All-American at Southern California who played 13 years in the NFL, died Friday of head injuries from a fall at his home earlier this week. He was 66.

Kathleen O'Guin, director of public relations and marketing at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, said McKeever died at the hospital with his family at his bedside.

The family issued a statement through the hospital announcing McKeever's death and saying it had been "overwhelmed by the love, support and prayers received in the last few days."...

...McKeever was a fullback-defensive end and punter at USC from 1958-60, and was the Trojans' leading receiver in his junior and senior years...
Trojans great McKeever in critical condition - OC Register
Coach Pete Carroll asked defensive end Lawrence Jackson to lead the USC football team in prayer after practice Thursday, and Carroll remained rattled by the sudden decline of Marlin McKeever, a two-time All-American at USC.

McKeever, 66, was comatose and in critical condition in a Long Beach hospital after a fall at his home. Carroll made it back just in time for practice after visiting the hospital early in the afternoon.

"It's just a tragic situation," Carroll said...

...McKeever runs the Trojan Alumni Club, and Carroll, who arrived in 2001, relied on him as his bridge to USC's storied past. McKeever was a fullback, defensive end and punter at USC from 1958-60...

Also, [Krikorian] USC great Marlin McKeever in coma - Long Beach Press-Telegram
[Davis] Postcard from USC - CNNSI
I witnessed a piece of history Tuesday afternoon in the City of Angels. The USC Trojans held their first practice in the brand new, state-of-the-art, $147 million Galen Center...They looked like a bunch of grade-school kids...Finally, Nick Young, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, weaved through the masses, dunked the ball and exalted in his triumph. It was good to be young -- and Young.

Alas, there was a somber undercurrent to the joviality. For the last hour of practice, several hundred USC boosters watched from the lower seats. They were there as part of an event to support a scholarship fund created in honor of Ryan Francis...Francis wasn't on anyone's top-20 list as a high school senior, but he had terrific speed and toughness...He was one of those baby-faced kids you couldn't help but like, always saying "Sir" or "Ma'am" and relishing the chance to practice every day.

USC responded to Francis' death with typical class. The school flew the entire team to Louisiana, picked up the tab for the funeral and established the endowment, which it hopes will someday grow to $500,000...
USC brings circus to town - Corvallis Gazette-Times
The circus comes to Corvallis on Saturday.

No, not the Greatest Show on Earth, the kind filled with lions, tigers and bears. This circus is of the media variety, armed with notepads, tape recorders, television cameras and microphones, ready to catalogue every facet of the 12:30 p.m. Southern California-Oregon State football game at Reser Stadium.

OSU Sports Information Director Steve Fenk has issued about 40 credentials for the working media (including photographers). That’s double the amount issued for OSU’s previous big game, the Sept. 23 Pacific-10 Conference home opener against California.

“It’s always a big deal,” Fenk said of USC in town...

Also, Some continue to see stars around USC - Corvallis Gazette-Times
Turning the corner - Daily Trojan
After three consecutive close victories and a rash of injuries, last week's bye week couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the Trojans, but it is yet to be seen if the time off will translate to success against Oregon State on Saturday in Corvallis, Ore.

USC coach Pete Carroll has been stressing the importance of the bye week because it allowed injured players the chance to heal and it allowed younger players more opportunity to show what they can do.

"We rested guys last week. That helped us feel a little bit better about ourselves," said Carroll, who owns a career post-bye record of 9-2. "Hopefully, we can hold onto that...

Also, It's half the battle for USC - LA Daily News
Brown cleared to play - LA Daily News
Trojans are eager for their play date - LA Times
Is This The End? - Edmonton Sun
Ed Hervey wants everyone to keep tonight's game in perspective.

While the popular wide receiver could be wearing an Edmonton Eskimo uniform for the final time in his eight-year career, the world is not coming to an end.

"No one is dying," said Hervey.

"This is football. Good things come and good things go.

"Whatever comes after (tonight) let it be.

"But (tonight) I am going to be a kid again.

"If I get to the end zone, I might even dance."...
In the line of fire - Eugene Register-Guard
John David Booty waited and waited and waited for what he called his chance of a lifetime - to be the starting quarterback at USC.

His wish came true. Finally.

"I didn't play much for three years, and it's taken some time to get the rust off me," the 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior admitted amid preparations earlier this week for Saturday's Pac-10 Conference football game against Oregon State at Corvallis.

"It's been fun to be a part of the program the last few years, but now I'm the guy."

The ride from the bench to behind the center, while a winning one, has not been all that smooth...

Also, Booty better than Leinart? FSN wants you to think so - LA Times

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Trojans report: Notes, quotes - CBS Sportsline
This is definitely not the USC offense of the past few years...Steady but not spectacular so far, USC might be able to pick up steam in the second half of the season...

Like the offense, the defense has been solid, although the big plays have been missing. The concern at midseason is the lack of sacks...What continues to go well is the play of the LB corps...

"I love what I am doing, and it's a lot of fun for me. I always have thought if we're not having fun, then I'm screwing it up." -- USC coach Pete Carroll on how he handles stress.

Also, Trojans report: Inside slant - CBS Sportsline
Trojans report: Strategy and personnel - CBS Sportsline
[Gimino] A scary thought-- USC has room to improve - Lindy's Sports
Of all the teams in the top 10, perhaps the top 25, USC has the biggest room for improvement.

Scary thought.

The Trojans, with one senior starter on defense and first-year starters at quarterback and tailback, managed to go 6-0 in the first half.

USC has five senior starters overall, and one listed as a backup.

"They have taken everyone's best shots and still won games," said Oregon State coach Mike Riley. "That's the bottom line and that's why they get all the due respect."...

Also, Carrolling season begins for Trojans - OC Register
Rivers in flow, looking like star - Daily Breeze
The glamour position at USC these days is linebacker, where the Trojans are well stocked and the envy of opposing coaches.

They're so deep there, they could afford to move sophomore Brian Cushing to the defensive line. Senior Dallas Sartz is holding down the weak side and sophomore Rey Maualuga is drawing attention from the groups who hand out awards.

Somewhat overlooked might be the guy on the weak side, who may be making the strongest statement on the team this year, junior Keith Rivers.

With 41, Rivers is three tackles shy of Maualuga, the team leader, but both have 18 solo tackles to lead USC. Rivers has more tackles for loss, and he's forced one fumble and recovered another...

Also, Maualuga matter considered closed - LA Daily News
Trojans sense the urgency - Daily Breeze
The most noticeable aspect of USC's practice Tuesday was the tempo after a week off.

"You can tell the way guys are running, even with the quarterbacks, the way the guys were throwing,'' quarterback John David Booty said. "Just getting those couple days off has made a big difference.''

Even the rest and relaxation of a week off didn't stem the sense of urgency...

...They've heard it all from the media and their fans about how they don't score enough points or win games by larger margins.

Join the club, Coach Pete Carroll said...

Also, Simple Goals for USC - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
[Dilbeck] Will the real USC please step forward? - LA Daily News
Memories are not lost in fog - LA Times
Week 9: USC at Oregon State - Athlon Sports
Tommy Johnson, 71; noted tuba player's movie work boosted the tension in 'Jaws' - LA Times
...John Williams composed the music and the mounting tension it conveys for the soundtrack of the movie "Jaws."

Tuba player Tommy Johnson lifted those relentlessly accelerating notes off the page, giving voice to the shark while bringing terror to the movie audience.

A "first call" studio musician who played tuba on thousands of film scores over nearly 50 years, Johnson died Oct. 16 from complications of cancer and kidney failure...

...He received a bachelor's degree in music from USC in 1956 and a year later married Patricia Lehman, a fellow music student...
Youth emerging for USC's stretch run - Daily Trojan
...The need to rest Jarrett and Smith during the bye week allowed freshmen wideouts Travon Patterson and Vidal Hazelton to take on more prominent roles in practice, a development that might diversify the offense down the road.

"We run a very complex offense and we're very limited when our personnel don't know every play," senior center Ryan Kalil said. "Getting the young guys reps helps broaden the offense."

Patterson and Hazelton each have just one catch on the season, but they've been given ample opportunities...

Also, Sound Play by Youngsters - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Wright could see time in secondary - LA Daily News
For more options, simply hit 'pound' - LA Times
Pete Carroll watched as the USC tailback took handoff after handoff and pounded his way down the field.

It was late in the fourth quarter. The game was on the line and the Trojans had put the ball, and their fortunes, in the hands of a punishing runner led by a determined offensive line.

Carroll had witnessed such a scene before, though his vantage point and allegiance along the USC sideline two weeks ago against Arizona State was markedly different than it was on Jan. 1, 1980...

Also, Breaking away - OC Register
Fewer carries bother Moody - OC Register
Bye week lets players heal - OC Register
..."I'm real excited to get them back out there," Booty said. "I know what potential those guys have and what they've been able to do out there with the offense. I hate not having them out there with me."

The feelings were mutual at Monday's longer-than-usual practice after a three-day break.

"I'm excited to be out there," Smith said. "I don't know if we've had a game this year when both me and Dwayne have been completely healthy."...

Also, Jarrett ready to soar again - Daily Breeze
Jarrett, Smith beef up offense - Daily Trojan
Week off has helped Jarrett's shoulder heal - LA Times
Booty's Numbers Get No Respect- Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
John David Booty knows how tough it can be to escape history.

Heisman Trophy history. USC quarterback history. National championship and NFL draft day history.

As the third quarterback chapter in Pete Carroll's history of USC football this season, Booty is living proof of that...

...It's full-speed from here on out. If not Jarrett and Smith, then it'll be the young guys.

Booty said he's tried not to let it bother him.

"It's football," Booty said with a shrug Monday. "People are going to get hurt. You have to deal with that."...

Also, Finding strength in family - Daily Trojan
Passing bothers Kiffin - LA Daily News
Sanchez's back forces quarterback shuffle - LA Times

Monday, October 23, 2006

Swann's ex-teammates not all backing election - Philly Inquirer
...As a receiver, Swann was fearless, whether it was going across the middle for a ball, or approaching the team's unapproachable and feared head coach, Chuck Noll.

Blount recalls one year when, to his teammates' surprise, Swann showed up at Noll's front door to sing Christmas carols...

..."You don't have to worry about Lynn doing something casually or getting 'a little bit' involved," Ham said.

Former linebacker Robin Cole said Swann always kept his word, whether it was what you wanted to hear or not. "His word is gold... black and gold," Cole said...
Walter happy to finally top Leinart - Arizona Republic
Andrew Walter kept insisting Sunday that the Raiders' first victory of the season was a "team win." Then again, it also felt good to finally beat Matt Leinart.

After all, Walter's Arizona State teams were 0-2 against Leinart and the Southern California Trojans. And every time he turned around, Walter said, it seemed like the USC golden boy was hoisting one trophy or another.

"It was tough looking over and watching him celebrate with Coach (Pete) Carroll all the time," Walter said...

Also, [Ostler] For Walter, victory wasn't personal. No, really. - SF Chron
Walter steps out of the shadows - Contra Costa Times
[Kindred] Reyes reminds us of baseball's greatness - Sporting News
When Cardinals rookie righthander Anthony Reyes threw his first pitch, he became the official worst pitcher ever to start Game 1 for the unofficial worst team ever to play in a World Series. Only Reyes, of all God's children, ever started a Game 1 having won just five games all season. Only the '73 Mets were alive near Halloween after winning fewer regular-season games than these Cardinals, and those Mets had Tom Seaver, a Hall of Famer, not Anthony Reyes, who irons his cap bill...

...Now comes Anthony Reyes, World Series hero. Who irons his cap bill.

Looks that way, anyway. People say he does it. But he denies it, says it comes out of the box that way. He likes it, says it lets in more light...

Also, Cards must ponder Reyes' role - St Louis Post-Dispatch
Reyes strong-arms Tigers - Detroit Free Press
Reyes on the Straight and Narrow - Washington Post
Players use layoff to mend - LA Times
...Flanker Steve Smith, who sat out last week because of a foot injury, is expected to return along with guard Chilo Rachal and tackle Kyle Williams, among others.

"This is as strong as we've been in a while," Coach Pete Carroll said Sunday.

USC will need every sound body it can muster for the second half.

For the first time since 2001, the Trojans play their last six games without an open date.

The Trojans parlayed second-half schedule breaks into four consecutive Bowl Championship Series bowl-game appearances...
He Tries to Avoid Type Casting - LA Times
With no practice Friday and an open date today, USC players are enjoying a weekend respite from the physical punishment that is meted out on the field.

Few welcomed the revitalizing break more than Ben Malcolmson, a sportswriter-turned-receiver who made the unlikely jump from the press box to the roster of one of the nation's top college programs.

"I'm always sore," Malcolmson said, laughing.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Malcolmson, who had not played tackle football since the fifth grade, participated in an open tryout at USC...
Cogent Founder Gives $35 M to USC - LA Business Journal
Ming Hsieh has donated $35 million to the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, the school said Monday.

Hsieh founded Pasadena-based Cogent Inc. after graduating from USC in 1984. The school will rename the college’s electrical engineering department after the successful entrepreneur. The gift is the largest ever to an engineering department in the country, and the largest resulting the renaming of a department at USC.

"Ming's name adds luster to a department that is already highly distinguished. He is a great Trojan who cares deeply about educating future engineers," said USC President Steven Sample, who is also an electrical engineer and a faculty member...