Saturday, August 18, 2007

Moody's mood lifted by decision - LA Times
For the first time in weeks, Emmanuel Moody appeared completely at ease.

He walked away from Heritage Hall on Friday afternoon with no bags of ice strapped to his bruised knee and, perhaps more telling, sporting a grin.

Moody, a sophomore tailback who was USC's second-leading rusher last season, said he was at peace with his decision to transfer to another school in search of a featured role.

"I had to make a business decision for my future," he said. "I think it was the right thing to do."...

Also, [Hoffarth] In no mood to fight on - LA Daily News
Less time led to Moody's blues with USC - LA Daily News

Friday, August 17, 2007

[Ventre] Trojans retool, reload around Booty - MSNBC
It is a requirement of the quarterback position to anticipate change. Every look downfield for a receiver is slightly different than the last. Every situation has at least one or two wrinkles that require an adjustment. The signal-caller who is best at thinking on his feet is usually the one who avoids landing on his butt.

For the 2006 college football season, John David Booty of USC had to deal with one big delightful change. After sitting behind Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart for three years, he finally got the nod as a starter. His debut campaign was largely successful: 3,347 passing yards, 29 touchdowns...
[McCartney] Dynamic duos - CNNSI
...4. USC
Mind you, the '06 Trojans running game was the worst of Pete Carroll's tenure, but the talent in this crowded backfield will get things back on track.

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian expects a strong 1-2 punch to emerge out of the nine backs on the roster...though it has the feel of a running-back-by-committee. The leader of the group to start the season will be senior Chauncey Washington...though he'll get a push from C.J. Gable... USC's biggest threat may be fantastic freshman Joe McKnight, who has created quite the buzz at practice. Little-used sophomores Allen Bradford and Stafon Johnson should also get carries.

The likely combo is a mix of Washington and Gable with a sprinkle of McKnight...
And then there were. . . nine.

Emmanuel Moody's decision to transfer has diminished USC's depth at tailback, but not the perception that it remains bloated.

According to Coach Pete Carroll, however, tales of a nine- or 10-deep tailback supply are greatly exaggerated.

"That's not what we're practicing with -- it doesn't feel like that out here," he said Thursday. "We're having to take care of some guys and we're having to work our way through it...
The incredible bulk - OC Register
College football has its share of physical freaks and USC collects them.

The Trojans can pack a meeting room with high-school track champions. They have monster dunkers and former soccer stars, even an ex-boxer. They have a parade of hulking behemoths jogging around the practice field.

But if they were asked to produce one character to slide into the next "X-Men" movie, they might send Sedrick Ellis into the audition room. Ellis moves things few men can.

How strong is Ellis, the Trojans’ All-American nose tackle? Conditioning coach Chris Carlisle stifles a laugh at the question. Is Ellis the strongest Trojan? Uh, yeah, how about ever?...
Green days highlight USC's scrimmage - LA Daily News
Tailback Broderick Green and new wide receiver Garrett Green highlighted USC's 78-play scrimmage Thursday night.

Broderick Green gained 60 yards in seven carries while Garrett Green caught three passes for 34 yards in his first game at receiver.

"It was fun; we'll see if I make the highlight reel," Garret Green said.

Broderick Green, still not cleared by the NCAA, was even more impressive.

"I was really pumped up by the big fella," USC coach Pete Carroll said...

Also, Green, Mustain add a touch of Arkansas to scrimmage - LA Times
Trojans tailback Moody to transfer - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Emmanuel Moody may have hinted at what he was going to do, and how he differed from the rest of USC's tailbacks, when he said last week that the decision about who would be the featured back would cause "chaos" for the talented backs who weren't picked.

No other USC tailback talked of that kind of downside. Allen Bradford, C. J. Gable and Chauncey Washington all said they were hoping the competition would make them better. Freshman Joe McKnight just laughed, saying there was a big upside because with 10 tailbacks in camp, they were getting so much rest between reps.

That Moody, the Trojans' second-leading rusher last season, has decided to transfer after one season didn't come as a surprise to Coach Pete Carroll...

Also, Not in a competitive mood - SJ Mercury-News
USC back to transfer, is considering Oklahoma State - The Oklahoman
Moody proves to be appropriate name for former Longhorn recruit - Austin American-Statesman

Thursday, August 16, 2007

...The largest arrival is Manuel Wright, who comes aboard with extra tonnage and plenty of baggage.

A 6-6 defensive tackle listed at an optimistic 329 pounds...Wright is a former USC lineman who two years ago made headlines...

...Wright reportedly gained 28 pounds during the 2006 offseason and was eventually released by the the Giants are giving him a shot. Just last week, Tom Coughlin said he did not think his defensive tackles were stout enough in the loss to the Panthers.

“Pro personnel has been kind of tracking him for quite a while,” Coughlin said. “He’s done a...good job of getting his weight we would like to take a look...I don’t know that he’s completely in shape.”...

Also, Wright weighs in as DT - NY Daily News
[Dodd] Pac-10 Preview: One year left, but it's still Booty time - CBS Sportsline
This is the senior year John David Booty never had. USC's quarterback could win the Heisman and national championship this season but isn't about to give career advice.

"I wouldn't recommend anybody doing what I did unless the situation was the same," John David Booty said. "It's your senior year in high school. You look forward to it your whole life. I had brothers go before me...

...Seems like ancient history, but four years ago Booty became what is believed to be the first high school football player to skip his entire senior year to sign a major-college scholarship...

..."The Heisman? That's not on my list," Booty said. "(But) I'm definitely in a place where that could happen ... Coming here to SC was the best decision I made in my entire life."...

Also, [Hill] Time for Pac-10 to shake its perception - FoxSports
Source: Tailback Moody will transfer from USC - LA Daily News
USC tailback Emmanuel Moody decided to transfer Wednesday, possibly to Oklahoma State.

Moody was unhappy with his role, according to sources.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound sophomore rushed for 458 yards on 79 carries yards last season before missing the last four games after spraining his ankle...

...He was The Sporting News' Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year...

... Fullback update: Carroll raved about fullback Stanley Havili, who scored several touchdowns in red-zone drills Wednesday.

"He's potentially the best fullback since we've been here," Carroll said.

Also, Tailback Moody to transfer - LA Times
Moody's decision shocks teammates - LA Times
Moody transferring - OC Register
USC tailback Moody to transfer - Dallas Morning News

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Moving the pieces - OC Register
Injuries already are scrambling the USC football team's plans for its offensive line.

Right tackle Drew Radovich is unlikely to be ready by the Sept. 1 opener because of a back injury and All-America left tackle Sam Baker will miss the remainder of this week with a cracked rib, a painful injury that has a tendency to linger.

Into the void have stepped two lightly tested replacements: Charles Brown and Thomas Herring.

Brown, a converted tight end from Chino Hills, has been impressive in camp. Baker (Tustin High) called him a "ridiculous freak," because of his strength and agility...

Also, Here's good news: Byers is injury-free - LA Times
Top 25 countdown: No. 1 USC - Sporting News
So star receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith are gone. Does anyone really think that's a problem for USC? The Trojans are as deep and powerful as ever with 18 returning starters. Anything less than serious national title contention would be a surprise.

Quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian also will coordinate Pete Carroll's high-powered, balanced system.
The Trojans might go to the shotgun formation, a favorite of quarterback John David Booty's, in some situations.

Here's a surprise: USC has another Heisman candidate
at quarterback...
USC receivers Turner, Ausberry starters - LA Daily News
What looked like an intriguing pairing a week ago officially became USC's starting wide receiver duo Tuesday, as 6-foot-5 receivers Patrick Turner and David Ausberry are on course to start the season opener together.

"If we played a game right now, David would get the opportunity," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "And Patrick's worked really hard...

...Ausberry surpassed sophomore Vidal Hazelton on the depth chart, although there should be a slight asterisk because Hazelton has been hampered by a sore groin. That injury could be troublesome because Hazelton has battled the injury since the end of last season, and he did not take part in Tuesday's practice.

"It definitely (hurts me)," Hazelton said. "You have to be strong-minded about it."...

Also, 'Twin Towers' loom large - OC Register
Husker cornerbacks hope big plays will be bounty instead of bane - Columbus Telegram
[Klima] Reaching a Secret Goal - Daily Breeze
As a studious young freshman intent on sacking his way into the spotlight, Lawrence Jackson took a short break from team meetings one day to head to the restroom....

...Former USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron had business of a different kind to take care of. He followed Jackson into the restroom and pulled Jackson aside. He told him that he had grand visions of what Jackson might accomplish, but these aspirations could not be met if Jackson did not meet the goal that Orgeron established for him...

..."(Orgeron) told me he wanted me to do something before I left USC,"
Jackson said. "That's something I'm working toward. I don't want to put a lot of pressure on myself, so I won't say it."...
McKnight is finding his way - LA Times
Joe McKnight has shown only flashes of the speed and moves that made him one of the nation's most highly prized recruits...

..."We know he's a great player and what he's capable of doing," quarterback John David Booty said. "Now he's just got to go do it on Saturdays."

On Tuesday, USC made McKnight available to the media for the first time during training camp. He spoke with confidence and humility about the transition from high school to college football and how he expects to fit it on a team that is projected to contend for the national title.

"I'm kind of like feeling my way at this point, trying to find my role on the team," he said...

Also, McKnight will have much to say about Trojans success - Inland Empire Press-Enteprise
[Hayes] Hot-button issue: USC - Sporting News
USC making its case for being the new Linebacker U. - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
How hard can it be to pick the nation's top group of linebackers?

Try counting to three
, as most of the preseason pundits have done, and you come up with USC's Keith Rivers, Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing.

Rivers already is one of the nation's best going into his senior season, while the 250-pound juniors, the hard-hitting Maualuga in the middle and ball-hawking Cushing on the outside, appear ready to join the elite.

"They're beasts," said Trojans assistant Rocky Seto, who has coached them the past three seasons. "So big, so fast."

There's not much debate about the nation's best linebackers -- except at USC, where they don't stop counting at three...
Raider inspired by Martz - Sacramento Bee
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz gave receiver Mike Williams the blues last year.

Martz made it known when he was hired that Williams wasn't his kind of player.

He was merciless in his critiques of Williams, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft who was in the midst of an underwhelming two-year stay with the Lions.

Williams said he still could hear Martz's voice in his head during practices with the Raiders. And he couldn't be more thankful.

If Williams can fulfill the promise he showed in two seasons at USC by making the Raiders and having an impact this season, it will be because of the prodding he took from Martz last season...
KICKING INTO HIGH GEAR - Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
David Davis spends most of his practice time with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers on one end of the field while the rest of his teammates are on the other end.

His job is often a thankless one and he is easily one of the most recognizable players when he is in uniform, mainly because of his size — 5-foot-11, 160 pounds.

But Davis came up big Tuesday when he was named af2 kicker of the year...

...For Davis, though, the award signifies a mark of consistency...

...The last time Davis received an honor such as this was in 2001 while at Southern Cal..
Trial begins in Francis’ death - Baton Rouge Advocate
...The only witness to testify Tuesday was USC head basketball Coach Tim Floyd, who was called to identify photos of Francis. He also described how he met Francis, the first player he signed to play at USC.

After court, Floyd said he flew to Baton Rouge to attend the trial and to support Francis’ mother and family.

“It’s important to all of us at USC,” he said. “We all miss him and haven’t forgotten him.”

Floyd described Francis as a bright, respectful young man who did not miss classes, study halls or practices...
As Smith Takes Flight, Giants Take Notice - NY Times
A scene from Tuesday’s morning practice illustrated why the Giants are excited about Steve Smith.

Smith broke toward the corner of the end zone, closely shadowed by a defender. Quarterback Tim Hasselbeck threw the ball anyway, because even when Smith is covered, he finds a way to make catches. As the ball spiraled toward him, Smith adjusted his body, leaped high in the air and made an acrobatic catch that drew hoots of approval from his teammates.

The Giants believe that Smith, a second-round pick from the University of Southern California, can be a reliable complement to Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer, and Coach Tom Coughlin, who does not habitually heap praise on rookies, makes an exception with Smith...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

[Miller] Taylor Mays is the tailor-made player ... back to face Huskies - Seattle P-I
This is a work of science fiction. It's about building the perfect football player.

First, you need a breathtaking athlete...

...Next, he must love football...

...Can't leave out the head. He must be smart...

...Finally, his hobby would be ... thinking about football. Nightclubs, parties, dating, a social life? That's not for perfect football players...

...This is not a work of science fiction....But Washington fans already sniffed that out. For them, this is actually a horror story. It's about the one who got away...

...It's about Taylor Mays...
SI's Top 20 Scouting Reports: 1. USC Trojans - CNNSI
You get the feeling that every time coach Pete Carroll walks out his front door, he trips over another high school All-America longing to be a Trojan. With an impressive recruiting haul that added to a roster already overflowing with talent, it's little wonder that the Trojans are the popular pick to win the national championship. The only thing they appear to lack is enough playing time to distribute...

...The crowd at running back, where USC has 10 -- seriously, 10 -- former high school stars, might be the best evidence of the Trojans' wealth of talent. But most of those backs are notable more for their promise... Rather it's at linebacker, where Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers are arguably the best three-man unit in the country, that USC's overabundance at every position is most apparent. "This is the biggest, fastest, most aggressive linebacking group we've had," says Carroll...
[Markazi] Postcard from camp: USC - CNNSI
Joe McKnight is not allowed to talk to the media. Not yet, anyway. Due to the team's freshman policy all McKnight can do at this point is offer up a smile as he runs off the field after practice.

It's just as well. There aren't many words that can describe his style of play. Much like his "presidential" predecessor, his talents need to be seen not heard to be truly appreciated...

..."I remember exactly what I did the first time I watched Joe on tape," said USC coach Pete Carroll. "I quickly turned the thing off because I knew he was the real deal and he could do all of the stuff that we wanted to do. I just wanted to know who he was and where he was from."...

Also, Trojans take to McKnight - OC Register
Pac-10 preview: Trojans look stronger than ever - Athlon Sports
1. Southern Cal (12-0, 8-0) — There is no vanquishing Pete Carroll and his Trojan forces from the conversations of national is still a given that the USC offense will be as strong as ever; however, people in the know believe Carroll may oversee the best defense in his tenure at USC.

...Carroll's coaching and game day preparation should combine with the talent to spell another shot at a national championship for mighty Troy.

...2. California...3. Oregon State...4. UCLA...5. Arizona State...6. Oregon...7. Arizona...8. Washington State...9. Stanford...10. Washington...
[Duffey] Don't miss these conference games in 2007 - ESPN
...USC at Cal (Nov. 10)
Can the Bears figure out a way to unleash gamebreaker DeSean Jackson
against the Trojans? Can USC clear the toughest of three conference road hurdles?...

...UCLA at USC (Dec. 1)

The Bruins pushed around their crosstown rivals and knocked the Trojans out of a possible BCS title game last season. Think John David Booty and Pete Carroll remember?...
Garratt and USC Trojans eye run at national title - Tahoe Daily News
Former South Tahoe High School linebacker Nick Garratt, entering his third year at USC, knows the target will be on the Trojans' backs whenever they take the field this season. He wouldn't want it any other way.

Garratt, a former walk-on, is excited about playing on the college football team that most experts predict will end up winning the national championship game in New Orleans next January.

"Everyone will be shooting for us," Garratt said about his Trojans, who will attempt to play in their third national championship game in four years. "We're excited about the schedule, especially going to Notre Dame and Nebraska."...
Tuesday Question - 3 Things We're Sure Of - College Football News
...Pete Fiutak...
...2. USC will lose a game.

Not only is USC the No. 1 most talented team in America, but it's not even close. The second, third, and even fourth stringers are better than most teams' starters...Even with all that talent that's come through Pete Carroll's program, the team has only gone tape to tape once without a loss, and this year's team isn't the 2004 squad...

...Richard Cirminiello
1. USC will win the Pac-10 in a walk.
Although Cal and UCLA are quality programs, the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 is no more pronounced than it is in this conference. And while the Trojans have retooled for another monster run toward a national championship, the other nine programs are packed so tightly that they’ll cannibalize one another every Saturday...
Chino's Ellis getting his share of acclaim at USC - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Meet Sedrick Ellis, cover boy. The 2002 Chino High School graduate is on the cover of the 2007 USC football media guide.

The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Ellis won All-American first-team acclaim after his 2006 season and will start for a third season at nose tackle this fall. He also is on the list for those to consider for the Lombardi Award and Lott Trophy.

In 10 games last fall - he missed three due to arthroscopic surgery for torn cartilage in his right knee - Ellis had 34 tackles (including 4.5 sacks for minus-37 yards). He blocked a field goal at Stanford that USC returned for a touchdown.

Pac-10 offensive lineman also voted Ellis the Morris Trophy, symbolic of the conference's top defensive lineman...
Thumb Injury Sidelines Trojans QB Sanchez - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Mark Sanchez didn't know when he did it or even how it happened, but the result of Sunday's scrimmage for the backup USC quarterback was a hairline crack on his right thumb that will sideline him until the pain subsides...

..."A couple of weeks," was USC coach Pete Carroll's guess, with USC's opener against Idaho on Sept. 1 just 19 days away.

"It's going to be close," Carroll said, noting that there is no danger with the injury and that no surgery will be required.

Carroll said USC will "really have to protect John David (Booty)" for the next few weeks, while getting plenty of reps for new backup Michael McDonald, a senior, and freshman Aaron Corp...

Also, USC QB Sanchez may miss opener with injury - LA Daily News
Sanchez injures right thumb - LA Times
[Smith] USC passing lanes heavily congested - OC Register
Sunday scrimmage recap - OC Register

Monday, August 13, 2007

Trojans' change opens place for Moore defense - LA Times
USC defensive end Kyle Moore is all smiles.

The junior from Georgia has seemingly been grinning ever since spring practice when the Trojans abandoned the 3-4-hybrid defensive scheme they employed last season and reverted to a traditional 4-3 -- four linemen, three linebackers.

Moore was the main benefactor.

With Brian Cushing moving from the "elephant" position along the line of scrimmage to strong-side linebacker, Moore is hoping to start at end opposite senior Lawrence Jackson...
Jaguars sign Knight - Official Jaguars Website
The Jaguars have signed veteran Sammy Knight for the purpose of adding depth to the safety position.

“Smart, tough, veteran safety; he’ll get a chance to compete for a backup role,” head coach Jack Del Rio said of Knight, one of three veteran safeties the Jaguars worked out on Monday morning...

...Knight, 6-0, 205, would be in his 11th NFL season this year. He played in 16 games for the Kansas City Chiefs last year and intercepted one pass. Knight played in New Orleans when Del Rio was a young assistant with the Saints. Knight played collegiately at USC, which is also Del Rio’s alma mater...
Could the BCS championship game pit LSU against USC? - New Orleans Times-Picayune
The debate has raged on for nearly four years now -- who was the country's best college football team of 2003 -- LSU, which defeated Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl to claim the BCS national championship, or Southern California, which was shut out of the BCS title game despite being No. 1 in both polls and wound up with The Associated Press version of the championship with its victory against Michigan in the Rose Bowl?

The sniping has never abated. Fans of both teams even paid for taunting billboards placed near the others' campuses.

Finally, if most projections pan out...that major piece of unfinished business will finally be settled when the Trojans and Tigers meet in the BCS championship game Jan. 7 at the Superdome...

Also, T-P's Top 25 - New Orleans Times Picayune
[McCartney] Instant impact - CNNSI
Ronald Johnson, WR, USC
High School: Muskegon (Mich.)
Offense. Defense. Special teams. "RoJo," as they're calling him in Troy, can do it all. In one game during his senior season he touched the ball four times, totaling 310 yards and four touchdowns...

...RoJo and his blazing 4.4 40-speed are also getting a look on punt returns...

...Joe McKnight, RB, USC
High School: River Ridge (La.) John Curtis
...While the Trojans have a crowded backfield with 10 runner backs on the roster, the shifty jack-of-all-trades will assuredly touch the ball...
Nebraska's Business Plan To Keep Up With The Trojans - Nebraska State Paper
...The USC model is sexier. It's practically divine...Suddenly, on one afternoon in 2002, the Trojans simply had all the players. Freakishly gifted players; one of a kind guys...It was a group of seniors in 2002, led by quarterback Carson Palmer, that gelled for a very good season. The group after that, which included Leinart and Bush, was off-the-charts...

...Were they coached up? Oh, sure, somewhat. But, to his credit, Head Coach Pete Carroll doesn't pass himself off as a mastermind at the chalkboard. The NFL believes a couple of Carroll's former offensive coordinators...were pretty brilliant, but they also had Bush, Mike Williams, Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith and LenDale White to move around the field.

Anyway, USC has a fine staff, but it's not coaching. It's Carroll's program management...
Trojans experiencing overload at tailback - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
They get to use only one football at Tailback U., and that's starting to look insufficient.

The running backs just keep coming.

"So many guys," USC coach Pete Carroll said often during the first week of practice.

It's been fun for the fans who flock to the side practice field where the kickers normally work after the nine-on-seven drill.

It's offense against defense. Man on man. Lots of contact. Power against power. One running back after another with the defense knowing they're coming...

Also, Punt returns steal show at USC scrimmage - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
Flexibility becomes watchword - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
USC freshman end Griffen gains reputation - LA Daily News
Trojans' offense not on track in scrimmage - LA Daily News
[Painter] For USC coach Carroll, coaching is part fun and sun - LA Daily News
Johnson does a number on special teams - LA Times
Less Chauncey - OC Register