The Official USC Trojans Thread

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Ohio State 10 24.39%
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 09-02-2007, 03:34 PM         #76
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Those Should Go In The Ownage Thread....

 09-04-2007, 11:01 PM         #77
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Karen Tapia-Andersen / Los Angeles Times

Brothers Marquis and Maurice Simmons continue the family linebacking legacy. They have each committed to USC.
As the youngest of the Simmons' seven boys to play the position, Dominguez High's Maurice and Marquis learn the game and what's important from their brothers.
By Dan Arritt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
9:15 PM PDT, September 3, 2007
As the youngest of seven boys, all of whom played linebacker, Maurice and Marquis Simmons have learned their share of lessons.

Brother Melvin taught them to trust their instincts, brother Marvin demonstrated the value of quickness, brother Marlin emphasized the importance of a positive attitude, and twin brothers Marcel and Marcello showed them how to squeeze the most from their abilities.

The in-house education has been key to the development of Maurice, a senior at Compton Dominguez High, and Marquis, his junior teammate. Each has committed to USC, where Melvin, the oldest brother, was co-captain of the Trojans' 2003 national championship team.

"You want to follow in the same footsteps," Maurice said. "It's coming sort of easy to us because our brothers have already gone over certain things. . . . We know more than the average kid."

Melvin, 26, graduated from Dominguez in 1999; Marvin, 24, played for Long Beach Poly, Compton College and Kansas State; Marlin, 21, graduated from Lynwood and earned a scholarship to California before a spinal injury ended his football career. Marcel and Marcello, 19, are former Dons who play for El Camino College.

Then there are sisters Marquita, 30, Katina, 25, Kolina, 23, and Kameka, 22, who recently finished her women's collegiate basketball career at Nevada Las Vegas.

Each won a major championship during his high school or collegiate athletic career, but what makes their parents, Melvin and Kathleen, especially proud is that their children have either graduated from a university, currently attend college or, in the case of Maurice and Marquis, have solidified their college choices.

"They know the more time they spend right now making the right decisions, it will benefit them later," said Melvin, Sr., who also has a 40-year-son, Gary Dumas, from a previous relationship.

Melvin and Kathleen, who teaches at Lynwood Middle School, have raised their bunch under tight supervision and unbending rules.

Melvin has not worked full time since injuring his knees in a construction accident in 1988, allowing him to shuttle his children to and from school and keep close tabs on their whereabouts. Among the rules he sets down: His two youngest sons are not allowed to attend parties unless he can come along, and they are not allowed to have visitors at home if a parent is not present.

Melvin figures if his sons don't appreciate his discipline now, they will later.

"I tell them, 'In five or 10 more years, you're going to see a lot of your friends around the neighborhood, shooting baskets, some on drugs, some dead,' " Melvin said. "You have a chance right now."

On the field, Marquis has moved into Maurice's role at weakside linebacker, and Maurice has moved to middle linebacker. In the season opener Friday night, host Corona Centennial, ranked fifth in the Southland in The Times' preseason poll, wore down the fifth-ranked Dons as the heat, the Huskies' no-huddle offense and their standout running back Ryan Bass proved too much to handle in a 38-17 loss.

Marquis, at 6 feet 2 and 225 pounds, is bigger than the rest of his brothers were at his age. Maurice, at 6-1, 205, said he'll probably move back to weakside linebacker at USC, where he'll sometimes be matched against the opponent's fastest receiver.

"I have good speed and can actually be on a wide receiver," said Maurice, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.

One piece of advice they didn't heed from their brothers was the timing of their college commitments. Maurice said they all recommended waiting until after their senior seasons, so they could experience official recruiting trips. However, during their visits to the Coliseum over the years, they made up their minds.

"We looked at each other during one game and said, 'This is where we want to be,' " Maurice said.

His offer from Trojan Coach Pete Carroll came last spring and, shortly after, Marquis received his. Not yet halfway through his high school career at the time, he didn't hesitate making up his mind.

"Once they gave me the chance," he said, "I jumped on it."

 09-04-2007, 11:16 PM         #78
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It's one and done for USC in Mexico

Three of Trojans' four scheduled games on preseason trip are canceled, but players and coaches still enjoy the experience.
By Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 4, 2007
MAZATLAN, Mexico -- It was like a business trip in which the all-day meetings were canceled after 15 minutes and the itinerary magically transformed from presentations and projections to swimming and sunbathing.

USC came to this seaside resort to play four games in two days, a grueling stretch in which the Trojans were scheduled for two late-night doubleheaders stretching toward midnight.

But the only game they ended up playing was a 102-82 victory Saturday over Caballeros de Sinaloa of Mexico's Professional National Basketball League.

USC's second game Saturday was canceled because Caballeros players were too tired for a rematch, and the Trojans' Sunday doubleheader was scratched because of a damaged gym.

So the players ended up spending more time poolside than courtside, not that any of them were loudly complaining about the siesta with the season opener still more than two months away.

"It was nice to get an unexpected vacation out of it, definitely," junior forward Keith Wilkinson said.

The players spent Sunday in the pool and the ocean at the team hotel, some of them body boarding with the coaches.

"That's way too crazy for me," freshman forward Marcus Simmons said. "I just sat back and watched. It was my first time in the ocean."

Strength and conditioning coach Rudy Hackett impressed Simmons with a flying leap off a large rock into the hotel pool. Freshman guard O.J. Mayo wasn't quite as adventurous.

"I just slept a lot," he said. "I don't like swimming and all that."

Coach Tim Floyd chartered a boat Monday morning and went fishing before rejoining his team for the flight back to Los Angeles.

The Trojans departed with deeper tans and a tougher-than-expected victory over a Caballeros de Sinaloa team that proved more formidable than the "junior college-level talent" a.ssessment Floyd had offered before the trip.

Caballeros gave the Trojans plenty of problems during a first half in which they made seven three-pointers and built a 10-point lead. But USC rallied behind freshmen Mayo and Davon Jefferson, who scored 29 points each.

"I've been playing with him a lot this summer and I know how to get it to him at the right spot," Mayo said of his ability to feed Jefferson for easy baskets.

Mayo showed a deft touch running the point and spotted up for seemingly effortless three-pointers. Jefferson looked like a versatile talent, running the fastbreak, mixing it up inside with taller big men and pulling up for smooth 15-foot jumpers.

"These freshmen are going to help our team," Floyd said. "O.J. was absolutely terrific. I thought he got everybody involved early in the game, and his passes were terrific."

There were other pleasant surprises. Freshman center Mamadou Diarra repeatedly found his way to the foul line and sophomore walk-on Ryan Wetherell displayed the ballhandling skills necessary to serve as a capable backup at point guard to Mayo and sophomore Daniel Hackett.

Every player who made the trip scored except freshman walk-on James Dunleavy. The most anxious moment might have been when players spotted a tarantula in their locker room.

"That was crazy," Mayo said.

Perhaps not as wild as traveling roughly 1,000 miles to play only one game. Still, players said the 10 days of practice leading up to the trip should accelerate the team's preparations for the season opener once practice officially starts next month.

"Even though we only got to play one game, we got to jell together really well and learn about the new guys a lot," Wilkinson said. "We're just going to be ready to go Oct. 12 and be a step ahead of other people."

Said Mayo: "We got an early start and got an idea of how the coaching is going to be and how intense the practices are. We also got to know the personnel on the team. I think it will help us a lot in the long run."

 09-04-2007, 11:18 PM         #79
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For the fifth time in six seasons, USC has a week to heal and experiment a bit before beginning preparations for its second game. Trojans still have plenty to work on after an easy victory that lacked dominance.

By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
10:25 PM PDT, September 3, 2007

[pic - click to view]

A season opener at home was somewhat rare for USC under Coach Pete Carroll.

An open date before the second game is nearly standard practice.

Time for a break
click to enlargeFor the fifth time in six seasons, USC has a week to heal, work out the kinks and experiment a bit before beginning preparations for its second game. The Trojans play No. 20 Nebraska on Sept. 15 at Lincoln, Neb.

"We love this bye," Carroll said after USC's 38-10 victory over Idaho. "We've always liked it and have a real clear intention of what we're trying to get done."

USC discovered the joys of a post-opener off week in 2002 when freshman offensive tackle Winston Justice used the extra time to win a starting job before the second game against Colorado.

Barring injury, it is unlikely that a young player will make that kind of jump this week, but the Trojans still have plenty to work on after an easy victory that lacked dominance.

"We gave up some big plays on top on the passing game and gave up some big runs -- that's not our character," senior defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis said. "So I think we have to come back and fix those things and get better for Nebraska."

Carroll expects young players who got experience against Idaho to return more confident. Center Kristofer O'Dowd, defensive lineman Everson Griffen, running back Joe McKnight, receiver Ronald Johnson and linebackers Malcolm Smith and Chris Galippo were true freshmen who played in the opener.

Redshirt freshmen playing for the first time were receiver David Ausberry, fullback Alfred Rowe, linebacker Michael Morgan, offensive lineman Zack Heberer, defensive lineman Derek Simmons and fullback/tight end Cooper Stephenson. Defensive lineman Gerald Washington, a redshirt junior, and JC-transfer fullback Adam Goodman also made their debuts.

"Now, we have to get ready to get these guys on the road in a very difficult situation," Carroll said of playing at Nebraska. "I don't know if they have more than 92,000 [at Memorial Stadium] in Nebraska. I don't know what they've got. But I'm sure it's going to be pretty crazy."

Nebraska drew a stadium-record 85,800 for the 2006 regular-season finale against Colorado. The crowd that watched last week's opener against Nevada extended the Cornhuskers' NCAA record streak of sellouts to 283.

"It's going to be loud," quarterback John David b00ty said.

Linebacker Brian Cushing will rest the sprained ankle he suffered against Idaho, joining offensive tackle Sam Baker (rib), receiver Patrick Turner (neck), cornerback Josh Pinkard (knee) and other players with nagging injuries hoping to use this week to recover.

Senior running back Chauncey Washington (shoulder) could return this week, but Carroll said there was no reason to decide yet whether there would be a three-tailback rotation with Stafon Johnson and C.J. Gable.

Freshman tailback Broderick Green was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday for a stress fracture in his foot. . . . Freshman tailback Marc Tyler, who practiced only once during training camp, will rejoin workouts Tuesday. Tyler broke his leg last season at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High.

Last edited by -Scar-; 09-04-2007 at 11:22 PM..

 09-04-2007, 11:33 PM         #80
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Last edited by -Scar-; 09-04-2007 at 11:35 PM..

 09-06-2007, 02:48 PM         #81
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Backup quarterback practices for the first time since breaking his thumb.

By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 6, 2007
Mark Sanchez played it safe after breaking his right thumb three weeks ago.

USC's backup quarterback started his car with the key in his left hand. He opened doors with his left hand and avoided slapping hands with teammates for fear of further injury.

On Wednesday, a day after testing his pain threshold by tossing a Nerf football after practice, Sanchez worked out for the first time since suffering the injury during a scrimmage at the Coliseum.

"Nerf ball to full recovery in one day -- we should have done it two weeks ago," Coach Pete Carroll said.

Sanchez did not handle snaps or participate in contact drills, but he looked sharp during seven-on-seven drills and proclaimed that he would be available when USC plays Nebraska on Sept. 15 at Lincoln, Neb.

"I felt accurate," Sanchez said. "I thought that would be my biggest concern, you know, coming back off that break and not being able to put the ball on target. But I felt good."

Sanchez said not participating in the Trojans' season-opening victory over Idaho was difficult. However, the time away from drills and the huddle might have proved beneficial.

"He got a chance to watch a scrimmage. He got a chance to watch a game and he got a chance to sit in meetings and look at it a little different way," offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said. "Only time will tell, but I think it's been effective."

Sanchez is one of several players working their way back from injuries this week.

Freshman tailback Marc Tyler went through contact drills for the first time since training camp began. Tyler, coming back from a broken leg suffered in high school, impressed at times but also fumbled.

Sixth-year senior Hershel Dennis (knee) also increased his participation but did not absorb hits.

"Not yet," he said, adding, "The impact isn't really a problem, it's the pounding into the ground when I'm making hard cuts. That's the only thing I'm worried about."

Freshman center Kristofer O'Dowd made some mistakes against Idaho but apparently played well enough to hold off a challenge for the job.

O'Dowd's performance, coupled with junior guard Jeff Byers' solid game, convinced Carroll to stay with the status quo rather than have Byers move to center.

"I thought we'd come back and compete for it again, but I don't think it's necessary," Carroll said. "I really liked the way it worked out, so it's just a matter of leaving guys in the same spots and working together now and trying to get some continuity in a hurry."

Receiver Vidal Hazelton was slow to get up off the ground and appeared momentarily stunned after colliding with safety Taylor Mays. . . . Linebacker Brian Cushing (ankle) said his condition was improving and that he would practice next week in preparation for Nebraska. . . . Receiver Patrick Turner (neck) remains inactive, but Carroll said he probably would return next week. . . . Offensive lineman Nick Howell said he was scheduled to have hernia surgery Friday. . . . Fullback Adam Goodman missed practice because he has been suffering from vertigo. He said he probably would return today. . . . Carroll will attend Saturday's Angel City Classic at the Coliseum. The event will include a football game between North Carolina A&T and Prairie View A&M at 2:30 p.m., along with a battle of the bands and other activities. "Hopefully, we can support it and help some kids get to college that might not have gone otherwise," Carroll said.

 09-06-2007, 02:51 PM         #82
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September 4, 2007

Jonathan Kay
USCFootball.com Staff Writer

Related Links:
Recruiting: Devon KennardInside the Idaho game: Clay MatthewsInside the Idaho game: Stafon Johnson

Talk about it in The Peristyle
Josh Pinkard said he will be back Wednesday, and Patrick Turner said he should return "not too long from now." Pete Carroll said Brian Cushing's ankle sprain is, "not nearly as bad as we thought. He's going to make it back before too long."

Marc Tyler got back to work on Tuesday.
As USC gains optimism for their returns, Kaluka Maiava has emerged as a question mark, and Broderick Green had surgery to repair the stress fracture in his foot. Taylor Mays, who practiced Tuesday, will have one of his wrists X-Rayed.

Meanwhile, running backs on each end of USC's spectrum sixth-year senior Hershel Dennis and true freshman Marc Tyler each carried the ball for the first time in about a month. Plus, Will Harris has returned earlier than expected.

Fallen starters

Pinkard injured his left knee not the one he had surgery on last year during practice Thursday and sat out the season opener against Idaho. The cornerback had an MRI, which revealed only a bone bruise.

"You can play with a bone bruise it's just how bad it feels out there," Pinkard said. "Right now, it's not feeling too bad, so I'll be out there tomorrow practicing."

Turner suffered a stinger or pinched nerve last week, when he took a hard hit from Rey Maualuga.

"It just feels like my arm is weak," the junior wideout said. But, "I'm getting better each and every day."

He had expected to play against Idaho but the doctors did not clear him. His left arm feels "a little light," which makes it more difficult to catch a football.

"They just want to make sure I heal up, before I do anything and re-aggravate and prolong it," Turner said. "Other than that, everything looks good."

Itching to return

Marc Tyler approached contact when he stumbled into an offensive lineman. The next time USC wears pads, he will get hit.

"It felt kind of weird, getting the ball and actually going through the holes," said the true freshman tailback, who practiced Tuesday for only the second time as a Trojan.

Tyler broke his leg in November, during a first-round playoff game for Oaks Christian, and sat out all but one day of fall camp, as the leg healed. Finally, he has been cleared for contact.

"It was horrible," he said. "I think the worst part was having to watch my high school team in the playoffs and then the state championship (which Oaks Christian won). And then watching the first game on Saturday, knowing I could be out there."

Coaches have not talked to him about taking the year off, and Tyler said, "I want to play real bad.

"I don't want to redshirt."

He must regain full strength in his left leg and practice the rust off.

Said Carroll, "He'll join the fray here, and we'll see what happens with it."

Will Harris worked as a second-team safety, two weeks after spraining his left ankle in the team's second preseason scrimmage.

Will Harris could find himself in the Trojans' safety rotation soon.
Secondary coach Rocky Seto said Harris will have the opportunity to work his way into the rotation. First, the redshirt sophomore must find a way to stay healthy.

Harris appeared in only three games as a true freshman, because of ankle and knee injuries. He redshirted last year after tearing his ACL in May.

"It's been frustrating. I can't even explain," Harris said. "But I've always got to stay positive. And if you stay positive, positive things come out of it."

This year's pre-sprain highlight was a big hit on the since-transferred Jamere Holland, who suffered a concussion as a result and never took the field as a Trojan again.

"There were times during fall camp where he has showed flashes of being one of the more brilliant players on our team," Seto said. "He's got a lot of playmaking ability."

Sights and sounds from Tuesday's helmet, no-pads practice on Cromwell Field

# Notable non-participants: Maiava, Matt Spanos, Chauncey Washington, Green, Turner, Pinkard, Cushing, Nick Howell, Terrell Thomas, Mark Sanchez.

Thomas took a shot during the Idaho game and has a bruised thigh. It is not expected to be serious.

Sanchez threw a Nerf football Tuesday, and, "He's all but ready," Carroll said. "Probably by Thursday-Friday, he'll throw the ball a little bit and see how he takes to it, and we'll start bringing him back."

Spanos is trying to work his way back quickly to avoid surgery on his torn right triceps. Coaches are preparing to use him at a position other than center, because the injury will affect his snapping ability.

Maiava had dealt with soreness in his right hamstring prior to Saturday's game, and the injury flared up against Idaho.

"We're going to sit him out for a little bit and see what happens," Carroll said. "It's kind of a day-to-day thing. It's going to take him probably the rest of this week before we work him."

# Post-post-game thoughts:

After reviewing game film, Carroll said "a lot of stuff" jumped out at him that USC must improve. When pressed, he declined to go into specifics, but he did praise the Trojans' receivers, running backs and kicking.

He said true freshman center Kristofer O'Dowd, "did a nice job up front and made a number of mistakes that are just classic and typical. We can see the upside from him, so we really have to tune that whole communication thing up and get it right."

Notably absent from Carroll's praise: the defense.

# The offense practiced in white jerseys, the defense in red, for the first time since fall camp opened. The players' helmets were adorned with Trojan logos for the first time on the practice field.

# Rey Maualuga cut his hair short and also got some rest, as Luthur Brown slotted in as the first-team middle linebacker at times.

# Alex Parsons took second-team reps at center he had one bad exchange with Aaron Corp and Drew Radovich worked solely with the second team, at right tackle.

# David Buehler made all of his field goals. The kickers will practice on Cromwell even when the team returns to a re-sodded Howard Jones Field because the Cromwell field is made of artificial turf, same as Nebraska's Memorial Stadium.

# Gridiron Australia, a football group from down under, ranging in age from "16-32," attended USC's practice. The crew stopped at BYU last week and will head to UCLA in a few days.

"I asked them if they needed a thrower," Carroll said.

 09-06-2007, 02:52 PM         #83
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September 5, 2007

Zack Lehatto
USCFootball.com Staff Writer

Related Links:
2009 WR opening eyesPerry in contact with SCSC still in Walker's top 5

Talk about it in The Peristyle
The sweltering heat of the Inland Empire in late August took its toll on a pair of future Trojans on Friday night.

Maruice Simmons had 25 tackles for losses as a junior

The brothers Simmons Maurice (2008) and Marquis (2009), both USC commits found themselves on the losing end of their season opener against Corona Centennial after a sluggish second half. The 2007 season represents the final year that the brothers will play together until they meet again at USC in 2009.

In the first of a two part series, Maurice reflects on the game and his mentality heading into his senior season, one in which, unlike most high school seniors, he doesn't need to worry about where he'll eventually go to school.

"Nobody should be ashamed of anything because we all played our hearts out," Maurice said about the loss to Cenetennial. "We really couldn't have played any better in a game where it was like 108 degree, and a locker room that was even hotter. No air conditioning or nothing, we were in there for an hour getting taped up in a room that doesn't even have the proper tables.

It all took a toll on our whole team. We had a hell of a good first half, the second half was when they made all their adjustments, and we didn't make any adjustments because we didn't think we had anything to adjust to.

"It got to the point where we couldn't get hyped anymore. I gave so many pregame and half-time speeches about how much that game meant to me, but we were all so dead tired when we walked back out on to the field.

"Right now, the team is just focusing on finishing the rest of the season."

Although his sweat ended in a loss, Maurice opened the season with a valiant effort against the Huskies.

"I thought I played really good," said Maurice, who had 14 tackles, five for loss. "I came in and shut down the backs and quarterback the whole first half. It was sort of tricky for me to get to them (in the second half) because I had so many linemen coming at me.

"But overall, I had a hell of a game."

His hard work didn't go unnoticed by anyone who was at the game on Friday night, including fans of Corona Centennial and even the referee who pulled Simmons aside to applaud his efforts after the game.

Maurice is the seventh boy in his family to receive a D-I scholarship

"When I was done playing on Friday, people from Corona Centennial were like, 'at least you still got that SC offer'," Maurice said about his walk back to the bus after the loss.

"But, I've been playing hard since Pop Warner, so just because I committed to USC doesn't mean I can take it easier or that I've got to play harder, it's something I'll always do, with or without the commitment.

"I don't want people to be left thinking that 'Maurice Simmons, he wasn't that good.' So I walk onto the field with the perspective that I want people to come away thinking, 'You know that No. 1 had a hell of a big game'."

Simmons could not be more excited to bring that attitude to USC next summer, where he covets the opportunity to play on an entire team of high-school All-Americans and practice hard every day.

"With that SC commitment, everyone expects you to play hard, but also practice hard," Maurice said about the pressures of an early commitment. "It's something that I work on, but before I didn't necessarily work on it as hard as I could have.

"I've been working on going 110-percent in practice, I know when I get to SC that's all they do: 110-percent. When they're at practice or walk-throughs, they expect that much."

Maurice has already implemented much of what Pete Carroll and his coaching staff preach into his workouts, game preparation and personal goals: finishing.

"I set my personal goals, not actually winning all of the rest of our games because I know we could come across a good team just having one of those nights, but just to finish. Finish the game strong, the whole team finishing strong as a unit."

Along with that attitude, Simmons may also bring a number of highly rated prospects with him to campus.

"I've been going to the camps and telling players that this is where you want to go," he said. "Anywhere you go you're going to have to f!ght for a position, so why not do it at the best school to prove that you're the best."

That logic led to the commitment of Marquis, his hyper-talented younger brother.

In the second part of the series, the brothers talk about what it means to carry on the Simmons name at USC and to have the rare opportunity to play alongside one another at the highest level of college football.

 09-06-2007, 02:52 PM         #84
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September 5, 2007

Jonathan Kay
USCFootball.com Staff Writer

Related Links:
Video: Shareece WrightRecruiting: Simmons brothersThursday Insider: Revolving infirmary door

Talk about it in The Peristyle
Mark Sanchez does not feel comfortable enough to take a snap but one step at a time.

Josh Thompson
Mark Sanchez returned to practice Wednesday and said he expects to return for the Nebraska game.
USC's backup quarterback finally threw a football Wednesday, 24 days after suffering a hairline fracture in his right thumb, during the Trojans' first preseason scrimmage. The redshirt sophomore participated in positional drills and seven-on-sevens, completing 80 percent of his passes against the defense, he said.

His arm looked strong, as usual. The biggest challenge will be mental.

"If anything, I'm a little tentative, just to slap hands with anybody, to do anything too crazy," Sanchez said. "Even when I drive my car, turn the keys, I'm always doing it with my left hand. I'm opening doors with my left hand.

"I've just got to get used to using it again and get it out of my head."

During the past few weeks, Sanchez exercised some beside the practice field. But he spent most of his time watching.

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian gave him the script each day.

"I studied the quarterbacks more than anything the way J.D. (John David b00ty) handles the huddle, the way he calls plays, the way he emphasizes different points in the play to certain players," Sanchez said. "I was really focused, and I think it's carrying over into my play today."

A quarterback known more for his big arm than his decision-making even corrected some play calls in the huddle Thursday, he said.

"I wouldn't have done that without being out for those three weeks, really focusing in on the calls," Sanchez said. "It felt good today, and mentally I feel that much more aware."

Sanchez does not want to take snaps before he is ready, so he is in no rush. But he expressed confidence that he would be ready for USC's next game, at Nebraska, Sept. 15.

"If not, I'm going to knock out one of the trainers," Sanchez said with a laugh.

Coach Pete Carroll said that should not be necessary.

"His thumb's out of danger," Carroll said. "Just got to hopefully make it through without any backward steps. I think it won't be a question. He'll be ready to go."

Sights and sounds from Wednesday's helmet and shoulder pads practice

# Notable non-participants: Nick Howell, Adam Goodman, Matt Spanos, Josh Pinkard, Patrick Turner, Brian Cushing, Kaluka Maiava.

Chauncey Washington did not wear pads, but he did participate in light drill work.

Pinkard jogged on the side, but he is awaiting the arrival of a left knee brace, before returning to contact, Carroll said. He is expected to sit out the rest of the week.

Pinkard said Tuesday that he has a bone bruise. Carroll characterized it as sprain.

Turner should return next week, Carroll said.

# Carroll said the veteran offensive guards would help Kristofer O'Dowd dictate blocking schemes, from now on.

Chilo Rachal, along with Jeff Byers, will help true freshman center Kristofer O'Dowd determine blocking schemes.
"He made some calls that were great calls but just at the wrong time," Carroll said with a laugh. "Now we're really digging in to make sure that Jeff (Byers) and Chilo (Rachal) take a bigger responsibility to make this thing really sharp."

# Less than a week after Jordan Campbell's redshirting plans seemed all but finalized, the true freshman fullback received a significant amount of reps. Previously, he had told coaches he wanted to redshirt because his injured shoulders were in disarray.

Saturday against Idaho, USC struggled to block for Allen Bradford, with the second-team offensive line and fullback Adam Goodman, who is now sick.

"We're still working at that," Carroll said of the team's fullback depth. "That's not really where we would like it at."

# Marc Tyler fumbled once during his first day in pads. The defense returned the ball for a touchdown.

"He did some good things, and (also) stumbled around, made a couple of mistakes, as you would think," Carroll said. "But he had fun playing football for us for the first time, and it's great to see him out."

# Vidal Hazelton caught the mild-injury bug. During seven-on-seven drills, he tripped crossing the middle and got up limping. Later in practice, he caught a ball and ran into Taylor Mays. Although Mays did not really hit Hazelton, the collision sent the receiver crashing to the ground, and it took him longer than usual to get up.

He appears to be fine.

# Joe McKnight is scheduled to wear a brace on his injured right knee through next week.

"The idea is to wean him off of the thing, and he doesn't need it for the (Nebraska) game," Carroll said.

McKnight entered the Idaho game without the brace. When coaches realized, they pulled him out and sent a.ssistants into the locker room to get it.

"I liked his attitude about it, but not now," Carroll said.

# Gerald Washington left the field rubbing his eye after a play late in practice.

# Field goal report: 5-for-7

During kicking drills, David Buehler made his extra point but missed from 37 and 52 yards out. During 11-on-11s, he connected from 27 and 35.

Joe Houston made kicks of 32 and 42 yards.

# The Coliseum will play host to the Angel City Classic, Saturday at 2:30.

The event, in which two HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) face off in a football game, will pit North Carolina A&T against Prairie View A&M.

 09-06-2007, 02:52 PM         #85
Hurricane Ra  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
September 6, 2007

Zack Lehatto
USCFootball.com Staff Writer

Related Links:
Sabino back from CaliCardinal Blood: Part IVideo: The Rise to No. 1

Talk about it in The Peristyle
Four months ago the truly diehard Trojans fan knew that Patrick Johnson was one of the top players in the class of 2008.

Johnson could visit USC Dec. 1

After his literal and figurative arrival to the University of Southern California for a summer camp, every single USC fan now salivates at the thought of bringing down the one remaining wall that has yet to be breached by Pete Carroll and his staff: going into South Florida and winning a recruiting battle against the elite Florida colleges, especially the University of Miami.

Johnson is still committed to Miami; but memories of his brief stay in Los Angeles have piqued his interest enough to at least keep USC in the running for his final commitment.

"USC coaches have more enthusiasm than any other coaches," Johnson said after his practice Wednesday at Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely. "They're always live and get involved. At (other schools) they're just coaching.

"No coaching staff on the planet is better than USC's."

Of that coaching staff, Johnson said he has kept in contact with the school periodically since his first visit in July.

"They're telling me what a great player I could be at USC and I'd have an opportunity to come in and play right away," Johnson, who possesses a SPARQ 4.38 40-time, said. "They told me all the things the (football team) had to offer, and then they told me about the classes.

"It's a prime (educational) institution so that's another jump over other schools that you get with USC. Education is very important, football don't last for ever. You need a degree to fall back on when football is over, so at least you'll have some money in your pocket."

With the start of football season across the country, Johnson, like most high school standouts, keeps a fairly busy schedule; one that is keeping him from knowing exactly when he'll be back to Southern California.

"I'm not sure yet," Johnson, revealing that USC is the only school who will definitely get an official visit, said about the date. "I just want to get out there and do everything that you can do during the process."

It would have been easy for the five-star prospect to rest on his laurels and coast through his senior season, but with a little coaching and mentoring Johnson said he's improved nearly every facet of his game.

"I definitely feel like a whole new Patrick," he said. "I improved on my back-pedal, and my bump-and-run. Everything that I feel needed a little tune up got tuned up.

"I got much faster than I was last summer. I got much bigger, I was 5-foot-11.5 last summer and now I'm 6-foot-1. So that's a real big jump."

But Johnson didn't stop with the physical side of the game. He's spent hours studying game films of the receivers he faced last year, and will spend even more time on the opponents he'll be facing this year.

"Basically just staring down my opponent," he said about his studies," Johnson said. "Each and every week see what I have to face. I have to go against the number one wide receiver. I watch his every move; I see how he lines up; what type of routes he ran the previous game; how he interacts with the quarterback.

"Basically just preparing myself mentally to go in and lockdown receivers."

However, the fruits of his labor may be more frustrating than anything, as his opponents tend to shy away from even looking towards his side of the field.

"They're not going to throw my way so it's hard for me to have any personal goals. But I guess if I had to make a goal: 11 interceptions."

While it's unlikely that Johnson will even have 11 balls thrown his way all season long, he's making the best of the situation and trying to stay positive.

"I see that as an achievement," he said.

"Knowing that the quarterback sees you as a lockdown cornerback so he's not even going to look your way, that's a compliment."

USCFootball.com will continue to bring you the latest on Patrick Johnson's recruitment throughout the year.

 09-06-2007, 02:53 PM         #86
Hurricane Ra  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
September 6, 2007

Gerard Martinez
USCFootball.com Senior Analyst
This list does not directly reflect the opinions of the Trojan coaching staff

High Priority Priority Evaluating
Defensive Linemen
Name Height Weight Style Interest Offer Article School, State
Wes Horton 6-6 235 End C&G Yes 1 2 Notre Dame, CA
Jurrell Casey 6-0 280 Nose High Yes 1 2 3 Long Beach Poly, CA
Armond Armstead 6-5 290 Tackle C&G Yes 1 2 Pleasant Grove, CA
Solomon Koehler 6-2 315 Nose Med No 1 Castle, HI
Dion Jordan 6-6 215 End Med No 1 Chandler, AZ
Nick Perry 6-4 230 End Med No N/A King, MI
Datone Jones 6-4 240 End None Yes 1 Compton, CA
Raphael Washington 6-3 265 Tackle Med No N/A St. Bonaventure, CA
Jamaar Jarrett 6-5 240 End High No 1 2 Mission Hills, CA
Rod Davis 6-2 300 Tackle Low No N/A Eisenhower, TX
Lavon McCoy 6-3 340 Tackle Med No 1 Washington, CA
Kavario Middleton 6-7 250 End Med No 1 Lakes, WA
Kapron Lewis-Moore 6-4 225 End Med No 1 Weatherford, TX
Everette Thompson 6-4 235 End High No 1 Kennedy, WA
Benjamin Jones 6-6 270 Tackle Low No N/A Northwestern, FL
Ryan Panapa 6-2 260 End Med No N/A St. Bonaventure, CA
Courtney Campbell 6-5 240 End Med No N/A Fairfax, CA
Adren Dorsey 6-4 280 Tackle Med No 1 John Tyler, TX
Lawrence Guy 6-3 260 Tackle Med No N/A Western, NV
Greg Grimes 6-0 280 Nose Med No N/A Inderkrum, CA
J'Marcus Williams 6-2 270 Nose Med No N/A Mt. View St. Francis, CA
Maurice Simmons 6-1 205 Outside C&G Yes 1 2 Dominguez, CA
Brendan Beal 6-4 235 Inside Med Yes 1 2 Liberty, PA
Arthur Brown 6-1 210 Outside Med Yes 1 2 3 Wichita East, KS
Marcus Robinson 6-2 210 Outside Low Yes 1 Homestead, FL
Jerrell Harris 6-3 230 Outside Low Yes 1 2 Gadsden, AL
Etienne Sabino 6-3 230 Outside Med Yes 1 2 Dr. Krop, FL
Uona Kavienga 6-0 230 Inside None No N/A Leuzinger, CA
Damion Whittington 6-1 225 Inside High No 1 Norco, CA
Wesley Tameifuna 6-1 225 Inside Med No N/A Santiago, CA
Spencer Reeves 6-2 210 Outside Med No N/A Skyline, TX
Defensive Backs
Will Hill 6-3 200 Safety Low Yes 1 St. Peters Prep, NJ
TJ Bryant 6-1 175 Corner Low Yes 1 2 Lincoln, FL
Patrick Johnson 6-1 195 Corner Med Yes 1 2 Ely, FL
Joe Adams 6-1 165 Corner C&G Yes 1 2 Cen. Ark. Christian, AR
D'Anton Lynn 6-1 177 Corner High Yes 1 Celina, TX
Drew McAllister 6-1 190 Safety C&G Yes 1 Monte Vista, CA
Aaron Hester 6-1 180 Corner Low No 1 Dominguez, CA
Vaughn Telemaque 6-2 180 Safety High No 1 Long Beach Poly, CA
Joseph Ibiloye 6-2 195 Safety Low Yes 1 South Garland, TX
Burton Scott 5-11 195 Corner Med Yes 1 Vigor, AL
Gerell Robinson 6-4 210 Safety Med No 1 Hamilton, AZ
Victor Johnson 5-11 200 Corner Med No 1 Mission Bay, CA
Charles Germany 5-11 160 Safety Med No 1 Milpitas, CA
Michael Williams 6-0 170 Corner Low No N/A Beaumont, TX
Rashad Evans 5-9 160 Corner Med No N/A James Logan, CA
Brandon Turner 6-3 190 Safety Med No N/A Kentridge, WA
David Henderson 5-11 170 Corner Med No N/A SF Lincoln, CA
Corey Trisby 6-3 190 Safety Med No N/A Hoover, CA
AJ Pickens 5-10 175 Corner Med No N/A Don Lugo, CA
Thaddeus Brown 6-0 180 Corner Med No N/A Notre Dame, CA
Steve Christian 5-11 160 Corner Low No N/A Christian Brothers, CA
Josh Foley 5-10 180 Corner High No N/A Norco, CA
Recruiting Resources
Offensive Target List
The Peristyle
Pac West Football

 09-06-2007, 08:42 PM         #87
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
Tyler needs to just face it and take the redshirt

adn Rey cutting his hair prolly means he'll leave after this year..

 09-08-2007, 04:06 PM         #88
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
Oklahoma football fans are irritated about plenty of things -- especially what they view as the NCAA's preferential treatment for the Trojans -- but the team is out to make them forget all that this

By Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 8, 2007

NORMAN, Okla. -- Three members of the spirit group known as "Ruf/Neks" agreed to meet for Labor Day lunch at a restaurant not far from the Big Red Sports/Imports car dealership that fuel-injected Oklahoma football toward its sixth major NCAA probation.

One wore a T-shirt that read "We Only Came Here to Drink and Beat Texas."

The "Ruf/Neks" were formed here almost a century ago and their many duties now include cleaning up after "Boomer" and "Sooner," the ponies that pull the school's famous schooner during football games.

The Ruf/Neks think the probation is a load of you-know-what.

They want to know why Oklahoma was forced to vacate all eight wins from its 2005 season while No. 1 USC continues to play on without paying pipers.

Oklahoma self-reported its violations, punished itself, and yet the NCAA still descended.

Elsewhere, allegations swirl that USC may have defeated Oklahoma to win the 2004 national title while using an ineligible player, Reggie Bush.

"And we get our wins erased?" Justin Myers, a 21-year-old marketing major, asked. "I'm not saying it's a conspiracy, it's just not the proper allocation of rules and regulations."

Cody Busch, 19, who wants to be a sports agent, leans more toward grassy knoll scenarios.

"What would they do without USC?" Busch wondered. "They're too important to the success of college football. It's suspicious USC doesn't get anything."

Colin Huff, 20, majoring in finance, spoke up from Myers' left.

"They're like America's Team," Huff huffed of USC.

Fair to say this is a ticked-off team and a ticked-off town, and that might not be good news today for incoming Miami or anyone else standing in the Sooners' way this season.

North Texas bellied-up 79 points and nearly 700 total yards here last weekend and was lucky it wasn't 100 points and 1,000 yards.

Oklahoma appears a team with a chance to go. . .

"Undefeated," former Sooners coach Barry Switzer said from his office chair in the home he built five years ago on a corner lot not far from campus.

Oklahoma's rough patch started in 2006 training camp, when Coach Bob Stoops dismissed starting quarterback Rhett Bomar and guard J.D. Quinn after it was learned the players had been paid for work not performed at a local car dealership.

That bit of distraction was followed by a September trip to Oregon in which Oklahoma was -- by all credible accounts -- robbed of victory by a Pacific 10 Conference officiating crew that was subsequently suspended for its performance.

Oklahoma would somehow rally to win nine consecutive games and the Big 12 Conference title despite playing seven games without star tailback Adrian Peterson, who broke his collarbone Oct. 14 at the end of a 53-yard touchdown run against Iowa State.

Then came the Fiesta Bowl, and that dramatic overtime loss to Boise State, and that Boise State tailback proposing to his girlfriend, and Oklahoma forever becoming the black mustache in this villainous backdrop.

"It's going to make a great movie," Ruf/Nek Myers said, "but I'm not watching it."

Another Ruf/Nek described the post-Fiesta Bowl scene back on campus:

"People would not talk," Busch said. "It was like someone died."

In July, just as Oklahoma learned how to master remote-control jumps over Fiesta Bowl highlights on ESPN, the NCAA dropped the "failure to monitor" bomb stemming from the car dealership scandal.

The school was ordered to vacate eight wins from 2005, expunging the record from history books while dropping Stoops' career win total from 86 to 78.

The school would lose two scholarships for 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

The sanctions were major, meant to send a message, but seemingly not contention-damaging.

"They didn't do anything to Oklahoma to keep them from winning," said Switzer, whose Oklahoma program drew far more punitive NCAA damages two decades ago.

Still, the school's reputation was further impugned after years of image restoration led by Athletic Director Joe Castiglione.

Do fair-minded people believe the program came clean?

"There are those who don't and those who do," Stoops said this week. "So in the end we can't worry about it."

The school is appealing the sanctions, with one official saying final resolution might not come until December. Now in his ninth year at Oklahoma, Stoops is pushing the program forward. He has been hyper-competitive almost from the crib, so it's hard to imagine there being more hitch in Stoops' step -- but there is.

"There really isn't anything to hinder us now," Stoops said between whistle blows at the end of Monday's practice. "To me, the distraction was last year."

Stoops rescued a sanctions-sullied program and brought home Oklahoma's seventh national title in 2000. But last season may have been his best coaching job.

After the Oregon fiasco, he called his team together and said it had a decision to make.

"I told them, 'If you want your excuse,' it's there," Stoops said.

He gave the same speech three weeks later after Peterson was lost to injury. Stoops asked his Sooners whether this was where they wanted to call it quits. His players all shook their heads no.

"Most teams would fall down from that," Allen Patrick, the tailback who replaced Peterson in the lineup, said of the distractions.

Junior receiver Malcolm Kelly said one message is ingrained in Oklahoma players from the start.

"[Stoops] always says this university is bigger than him, bigger than us, bigger than any starter," Kelly said.

The coach said the program had no time to wallow after any of last season's downturns, including the Fiesta Bowl.

"The Boise deal isn't a deal to me," Stoops said. "The Big 12 championship trophy is still in there. And it isn't going away. In the end, you lost in a tight, wild game. What were we going to gain this year from it?"

Stoops was surprised the NCAA acted independently on top of Oklahoma's self-imposed sanctions but is comfortable with his role in the affair.

"You don't follow your teenage kids around at night do you?" Stoops said. "No one does because there's a level of trust there. Eventually, if there's a problem, you find out about it and you deal with it."

Stoops offered no public opinion regarding the Bush investigation at USC, stalled in large part by NCAA's lack of subpoena power and the unwillingness of potential witnesses to cooperate.

Others, of course, are free to speak their minds.

Switzer called USC and Notre Dame the "sacred cows" of college football programs while, in terms of NCAA scrutiny, "Oklahoma's been their whipping boy." Switzer said the alleged problems at USC are no more the fault of Trojans Coach Pete Carroll than Stoops is to blame for Oklahoma's monitoring woes.

"They got alumni out there doing things for their kids too, just like it happens here," Switzer said.

Switzer says the NCAA's order for Oklahoma to vacate wins is laughable, and would say the same if USC was forced to relinquish the 2004 national title it claimed with a 55-19 victory against Oklahoma.

"I still know who won the game and who's the best team," Switzer said. "And Stoops knows too. That don't change history. I don't think they want the trophy."

If the NCAA really wanted to punish Oklahoma, Switzer said, it could have ordered the kind of scholarship strip that devastated Miami and Alabama in the 1990s.

Oklahoma appears to have enough gas left to unleash wrath for many seasons. Next comes today's long-time-no-see game against Miami that rekindles 20-year-old memories of high-caliber execution, excitement and expletives.

The schools played three consecutive years starting in 1985.

"We were the two best teams," Switzer said. "But they were better than us. We were 33-0 against everybody else in that time span. We were 0-3 against them."

Miami is not the Miami of then, in full re-tooling mode after a 7-6 season that led to the firing of Larry Coker and the promotion of a.ssistant coach Randy Shannon.

Want another conspiracy theory?

Paul Dee, Miami's athletic director, served as chairman on the NCAA Committee on Infractions that handed out sanctions against Oklahoma.

It might not mean much to most.

But the Ruf/Neks may want to know.

Last edited by -Scar-; 09-08-2007 at 07:40 PM..

 11 years ago '07        #89
CHILL24 1 heat pts
avatar space
$3,211 | Props total: 800 800
^ n*gga i got a headache tryna read that sh*t!!!

 09-08-2007, 07:40 PM         #90
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
guess I might have to bold the dark red then.......fixed.....

 09-08-2007, 07:45 PM         #91
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
Carroll lectures Stafon Johnson about old habits, and four freshman oversleep and later pay the price.

By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 8, 2007

Numerous educational research studies have explored whether young people learn better early in the morning or later in the day.

USC Coach Pete Carroll's motivation for scheduling a pre-dawn practice Friday was based more on coaches' travel schedules than academic curiosity, but it produced some hard lessons that are sure to be imprinted in several players' memories.

Hands-on training
click to enlargeSophomore tailback Stafon Johnson, who seemingly overcame issues that buried him on the depth chart last season, got a lecture on the field from Carroll after Johnson attempted to handle a pass with one hand rather than two.

The short speech lacked the expletives that accompanied an early training-camp outburst by Carroll after Johnson threw the ball at a taunting defender.

Johnson said Carroll's on-field intervention Friday was a reminder to avoid falling into old habits and to expend maximum effort on every play.

"I knew what I did wrong, and I knew that it wasn't of my . . . new character," said Johnson, who scored two touchdowns in the top-ranked Trojans' season-opening victory over Idaho.

Johnson also appreciated a post-practice consultation with Carroll outside the athletic dining hall.

"It's a great thing we're talking about this instead of what we were talking about last year--playing, period," Johnson said. "We were talking about some things that can be worked on [rather than] some things that need to be turned around completely."

USC, which has an open date this week, practiced under the lights at 6:15 a.m., so that coaches could leave in the morning to begin recruiting trips. Running backs coach Todd McNair had left Thursday night and tight ends coach Brennan Carroll also was scheduled to travel out of state. Carroll and the rest of the staff were scheduled to attend local games throughout the weekend.

"Actually, I kind of enjoyed it," Johnson said of the early start.

Chris Galippo, Malcolm Smith, Marc Tyler and Marshall Jones did not.

The four freshmen overslept and arrived late, earning a continuous series of punitive conditioning drills that included rolling in the wet turf.

"My alarm just didn't go off," said Galippo, anxiously eyeing linebackers coach Ken Norton after practice.

"I just have to be more responsible. I should have set two alarms. . . . When I'm a sophomore or junior it will be something to laugh about, but right now . . . "

Tyler, a roommate of Jones and Smith, was rolling on the turf for the second day in a row. The tailback missed a morning weightlifting workout Thursday.

"I've always been a morning person," Tyler said. "Now that I'm here and doing this early stuff, I don't think I am anymore."

Receiver Patrick Turner (neck) participated in a few drills and said he would practice next week in preparation for Nebraska. . . . Tailback Joe McKnight (knee) did not practice, but Carroll said he would play against the Cornhuskers. . . . Cornerback Josh Pinkard (knee) will practice Monday or Tuesday to gauge whether he will play in the game. Tailback Chauncey Washington (shoulder) also is still awaiting clearance from doctors, Carroll said. . . . Offensive lineman Thomas Herring was moved from tackle to left guard. "Whatever it takes to get on the field," the third-year sophomore said. . . . The Trojans are off today and Sunday.

at Nebraska (1-0)

Sept. 15, 5 p.m., Channel 7

 09-12-2007, 12:47 AM         #92
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
Quarterback found he didn't fit in at Arizona State, where he was a rising star before a USC comeback and an injury derailed him. Now at Nebraska, he's about to get another shot at No. 1 Trojans.

By Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 11, 2007

LINCOLN, Neb. -- "Destiny is not a matter of chance," the quotation reads above the entrance to the Osborne Athletic Complex. "It is a matter of choice."

The phrase is credited to Nebraska politician and statesman William Jennings Bryan, but the words might as well be inscribed on a chain around the neck of Nebraska senior quarterback Sam Keller.

Two years ago, while starring at Arizona State, Keller disappeared into halftime at Sun Devil Stadium with a 21-3 lead over No. 1 USC.

Keller raised his arms to a jubilant student section on his way to the locker room. The upset victory was going to make Arizona State a national title contender and possibly make an All-American out of Keller.

A reporter for the Arizona Republic proclaimed "game over" in the press box and a reporter from Los Angeles scribbled the premature proclamation on his notepad.

Less than a year later, Keller woke up here, running Nebraska's scout team.

Bad dream?

"Probably the luckiest thing that's ever happened to me," Keller said.

Keller played that second half against USC in 2005 and had four passes intercepted, the last hitting star receiver Derek Hagan in the hands before the ball trickled somewhat miraculously into the arms of USC's Kevin Ellison, who made the game-cinching pick while flat on his back.

USC rallied to win, 38-28, and it was Keller's turn to go belly-up.

He suffered torn thumb ligaments the following week at Oregon, relinquished the job to Rudy Carpenter, then earned his starting spot back before the 2006 season, only to lose it the next day when Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter, reportedly under pressure from players, gave the job back to Carpenter.

And that was Keller's cactus career.

He transferred to Nebraska, sat out last year, and will be in the huddle here Saturday night when No. 1 USC plays the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska is ranked No. 14 in this week's a.ssociated Press poll.

Arizona State was No. 14 when it played host to top-ranked USC on Oct. 1, 2005.

"Kind of weird how it ends up," Keller said in a recent interview on campus. "You get another crack at a team that was, in actuality, your last point of success as a starter. . . . I never would have foreseen this."

Keller foresaw beating USC two years ago and leading Arizona State to the Pacific 10 Conference championship, if not the national title.

After stepping in for injured Andrew Walter to win most-valuable-player honors in the 2004 Sun Bowl -- he threw for 370 yards in a victory over Purdue -- Keller opened the 2005 season by passing for a school-record 669 yards in his first two games.

Forty touchdowns and 4,000 yards seemed possible. Keller might even have turned pro.

"That could have happened if I didn't get hurt, or that could have happened if I had beaten USC," he said.

Plans changed. Arizona State went one way and Keller went another.

Nebraska was running low on quarterbacks after touted prospect Harrison Beck transferred to North Carolina State.

"When he raised his hand to come, I said, 'Absolutely,' " Nebraska Coach Bill Callahan said of Keller.

What happened at Arizona State remains somewhat a mystery.

This is Keller's don't-want-to-talk-about-it version:

"It was a business decision they made, players and coaches alike," he said. "Me, I made my own decision . . . and that was not to stay there."

One story: Keller's teammates didn't trust him with the quarterback keys, so they revolted at a team meeting. Keller had a reputation as a partyer. There were posted pictures of him in the company of booze and girls.

The Omaha World-Herald, in a recent article, quoted an anonymous former Arizona State player saying a couple of seniors complained about Keller's off-field behavior and essentially "threw him under the bus."

There was another plausible theory that, if a choice had to be made between quarterbacks, Keller was more expendable. He had only one year of eligibility left compared with three for Carpenter, who might have transferred had Koetter stuck with Keller.

Keller, who turns 23 on Sept. 28, has never denied that he likes to socialize. He is of legal drinking age. When frequenting bars now, Keller is careful not to have a drink in his hand when someone snaps a picture.

He also says Internet stories regarding him were overblown.

Rather than beat the stories down, Keller said, he ignored them.

"You can't let it bother you or it will tear you up," he said. "Half the reason people say some of the things is they want a reaction out of you. They want to see you go in the tank, they want to see things get worse and worse. And the reason is, you were once way up there. And once you're on top they want to knock you off."

Keller knew there would be trust issues when he transferred into town. "You come to a place and you're new, and your picture is on the front page of the paper before you even get here," Keller said. "It's like, 'Who is this guy?' "

He couldn't just walk in here with his gunslinger reputation, so he made a calculated decision. "The minute I got here I went to work," he said. "I became a grinder."

Callahan knew about the rumors that trailed Keller from Arizona State.

"None of that factored in," he said. "People asked me the same thing you're talking about. I don't know what went on, I don't really care what went on. All I'm happy about is that he's here and playing for us."

Nebraska players said they would have been suspicious had Keller walked into town with an attitude.

"If he would have come in with a big head, he obviously would have shunned some guys," senior safety Bryan Wilson said. "Sam's not that guy. . . . He came in humble. He ran the scout team last year."

Wilson even did his own research on Keller.

"I knew a couple of guys who went to ASU," Wilson said. "Everybody said the same thing. He's a good guy. He wasn't arrogant; he was just a fun-loving guy who loves football."

Go to school, go to practice -- "books and ball," as Callahan says.

Isn't that how a new player earns respect?

"You just show them," Keller said. "Talk is cheap. Everything that circulated [in Arizona] was all talk, know what I mean? I just had to come here and be myself. The whole process made me realize how much I love football, and how blessed I was to have this second opportunity. Because it was taken and yanked away, and I've had to crawl my way back."

Keller has not been spectacular in victories against Nevada and Wake Forest. He is averaging 225.5 yards passing per game, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Part of Keller's problem in the past was that he sometimes took too many chances on the field -- that's the gunslinger in him. He has had to accept a more mature approach in Callahan's West Coast offense. But even Callahan says: "I don't want to k!ll his spirit. I told him, 'All I'm trying to do is get you to maintain your poise, keep you thinking ahead, keep you thinking through the job.' "

Unlike with the Arizona State team he led in 2005, Keller has a marquee tailback to lean on at Nebraska in Marlon Lucky, who is third in the nation with 323 yards rushing.

As far as destiny goes, well, Keller made his choice and it wasn't by chance.

And now top-ranked USC is coming back to town -- a different town.

Two years after Keller thought he'd flushed it all away that day in Tempe, the gunslinger gets one more shot here in Lincoln.

Don't expect any first-half fist pumps this time.

 09-12-2007, 10:21 AM         #93
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
The junior defensive back has a torn ligament in his left knee and will need surgery. He played only one game in 2006 after tearing a ligament in his right knee.

By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 12, 2007

USC defensive back Josh Pinkard is all too familiar with the scenario.

Pinkard, a fourth-year junior, sat out nearly all of the 2006 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the opener against Arkansas. He went through a rigorous rehabilitation and was at the top of the depth chart at cornerback heading into this season's opener against Idaho.

Pinkard, however, injured his left knee in practice and sat out with hopes of returning for Saturday's game against No. 14 Nebraska.

Those hopes ended Tuesday when Pinkard was informed that he needed season-ending surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee.

"I've just got to go through it all again," Pinkard said. "I've been through it before, and I think the second time will be much easier."

At 6 feet 1 and 215 pounds, Pinkard is regarded by coaches and teammates as one of the Trojans' best and most versatile players. He started last season's opener at safety.

"We'll just have to bring him along with us, take care of him, and hopefully he'll figure out a way to put this in a good place, come back and get some more [playing] time done when he gets healed up," Coach Pete Carroll said.

Pinkard said he initially suffered a bruise in the week before the Idaho game and that an MRI exam revealed stable ligaments. But Pinkard said his knee gave out on Monday and he knew he had torn the ligament.

"Once you mess up one, you know the feeling," Pinkard said. "As soon as it happened, I was like, 'Yeah, that was it.' "

Pinkard will be a fifth-year senior in 2008 and could apply for a sixth year after his eligibility is complete.

Junior safety Kevin Ellison, who came back from 2005 knee surgery, said Pinkard would be missed.

"We're not worried about him," Ellison said. "He's going to be fine. He's going to be back on it, get to rehab, set his goal and come back ready to go."

Sophomore Taylor Mays, who replaced Pinkard last season and became a freshman All-American, said, "It hurts our depth, but at the same time through adversity guys have to step up."

In Pinkard's absence, sophomore Shareece Wright is expected to fill an even larger role in the cornerback rotation.

On consecutive plays against Idaho, Wright tackled receiver Stanley Franks for a 13-yard loss as he was attempting a pass off a reverse, and then stopped running back Deonte Jackson for a four-yard loss after he caught a pass.

"Two best back-to-back plays by a cornerback maybe in a long time," Carroll said. "He's equipped and ready to roll."

Wright agreed.

"It's what I've been wanting and asking for -- now it's up to me to do my part," he said. "I can't be yakking for something I'm not ready for. I just have to be ready when it's my time."

Carroll on Saturday's game between Michigan and Notre Dame, both winless: "What a great match-up this is this time. I mean, you can't imagine -- I mean, none of us could imagine how hungry those two teams are, the coaching staff, their fans as well.

"Unfortunately for one of those teams, somebody's going to get knocked off again. It's got to be extremely tense for those guys."

Tailback Allen Bradford said he sat out most of practice because of a bruised right knee and was scheduled to see a team doctor Tuesday night. Bradford said he injured the knee against Idaho but did not inform trainers until Tuesday. . . . The usually ultra-positive Carroll was unhappy with the Trojans' practice effort. "I didn't think we were as sharp as we need to be. . . . Hopefully, we'll come back [today] and be on the money." . . . Carroll said linebacker Brian Cushing (ankle) would practice today. . . . Senior Drew Radovich continued to work with the first-unit offense at right tackle. Carroll said both Radovich and sophomore Charles Brown would play against Nebraska.

 09-12-2007, 10:24 AM         #94
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
After finishing in the top five in turnover margin for five straight seasons, USC slipped to 38th in 2006. The defense is trying to figure out how to turn it around.

By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 12, 2007

Rey Maualuga and his fellow USC defensive players spent the spring, summer and training camp focusing on one theme: creating turnovers.

After finishing no lower than fifth nationally in turnover margin in each of the previous five seasons under Coach Pete Carroll, the Trojans ranked 38th in 2006.

So when Maualuga returned an interception to the end zone in the season opener against Idaho two weeks ago, he thought USC's turnover troubles were over. But officials ruled that the passer's knee had touched the ground before he threw the ball, nullifying Maualuga's takeaway.

"It was one of the greatest feelings I've ever felt," Maualuga said of his sprint across the goal line. "The next thing I know, I'm looking at Coach Carroll as I'm running to the sideline and he's like, 'Go back! Go back! That's not a touchdown.'

"I was hoping he would celebrate with me."

USC went on to beat Idaho, 38-10, but defensive players were somewhat subdued after losing the turnover battle, 3-1.

The Trojans recovered one fumble but missed several chances for interceptions.

"We were just a hair from doing it," Carroll said. "It would have been a perfect start. It would have been 21 points or more."

On Saturday, after two more weeks of ball-hawking emphasis, top-ranked USC will face No. 14 Nebraska. Defensive players intend to decide the outcome by taking the ball from the Cornhuskers.

"When the opportunity comes you have to seize it," said senior linebacker Keith Rivers, who dropped several passes against Idaho.

Before last season, USC thrived in creating turnovers.

In 2001, the Trojans tied for fifth nationally with a 1.27 turnover margin and finished 6-6.

They ranked fifth again in 2002 (1.38) and improved to 11-2 by capping the season with an Orange Bowl victory over Iowa.

In 2003, USC ranked second in turnover margin (1.54) and won its first a.ssociated Press national title in 25 years. The unbeaten Trojans ranked first (1.46) in 2004 when they won the Bowl Championship Series title.

In 2005, USC finished second (1.62). The Trojans intercepted 22 passes and recovered 16 fumbles. Then came last season's precipitous fall to 38th (.31). The Trojans had 11 interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries.

Cornerback Terrell Thomas said the decline, "had to do with teams trying to be conservative," to keep the games close.

Nebraska provided a blueprint for cautious play in a 28-10 defeat at the Coliseum, and other teams followed suit.

"It was definitely different than years past in terms of what people were doing against us," defensive end Lawrence Jackson said.

A switch from a 4-3 defensive scheme to a 3-4 hybrid that got more linebackers onto the field also might have affected USC. New clock rules also shortened games and reduced the number of plays.

This season, the Trojans reverted to the 4-3 scheme and the NCAA rescinded most of the clock rules, setting the stage for what USC hoped would be a dominant performance in the opener against Idaho.

Maualuga appeared to provide the spark with his first-quarter interception deep in Idaho territory.

"I was like, 'Here we go. It's time,' " Thomas said. "We were just talking about it the series before. . . . When it got [nullified] it kind of took the wind out of us."

Defensive end Kyle Moore provided the only turnover when he fell on a ball that slipped out of Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle's hand.

Defensive coordinator Nick Holt was not discouraged, even though the Trojans recorded only two sacks against an overmatched opponent.

"The ball was all over the place -- we were knocking it down and we had our hands on it a couple times," he said this week. "But we have to get after the quarterback a little better."

USC faced Nebraska quarterback Sam Keller two years ago when Keller played for Arizona State.

The Trojans intercepted five passes in a 38-28 comeback victory.

Keller was a redshirt last season at Nebraska and has led the Cornhuskers to victories over Nevada and Wake Forest. The fifth-year senior has had three passes intercepted and the Cornhuskers have lost one fumble.

Thomas is hoping the Trojans can cause more.

"If our offense gets ticking like they did against Idaho and can make Nebraska pass the ball and not be conservative to try to keep the game close, then maybe we can force more turnovers," he said.

 09-13-2007, 11:32 AM         #95
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  

[pic - click to view]

[pic - click to view]

Series: USC leads 2-0-1 Last Game: USC 28-10 (2006)

Lets Bring It Home Again.......

[pic - click to view]

[pic - click to view]

[pic - click to view]

 11 years ago '07        #96
CHILL24 1 heat pts
avatar space
$3,211 | Props total: 800 800
CHEAAAAAA!!! Huskers baybee!!!! when tha hell did they tie tho?

 09-13-2007, 11:42 AM         #97
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
The last time Nebraska and USC met was in 1970. The game ended in a 21-21 tie. That game came a year after USC handed the huskers a defeat at Lincoln's Memorial stadium.

 11 years ago '07        #98
CHILL24 1 heat pts
avatar space
$3,211 | Props total: 800 800
so they played a yr b4 nebraska's 1st title...didnt kno they played each other b4 last year

 09-13-2007, 11:59 AM         #99
-Scar-  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
Yeah they should schedule us against y'all a lil more......instead of faithfully bringin cupcake a.ss Notre Dame to us(why?).......

 09-13-2007, 12:32 PM         #100
Rugged_1888  OP
$n/a | Props total:  
this is my upset pick of the week..just have a feeling with nebraska at home..putting lsu where they belong in the #1 spot



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