The Official USC Trojans Thread
|4 years ago||'10 #1013|
$19,306 | 2182
Welcome back to the War Room. I'll begin the session with the ground rules so everyone knows what we are doing here. Everything that is reported in the War Room must stay in the War Room and can be talked about in The Peristyle. Sometimes the info is sensitive enough that it simply does not need to be passed on beyond the doors of this thread.
This is a special feature for subscribers only. The reason why it is posted on the premium board is because it's the only way to ensure that the info stays exclusive to Trojan fans. This will only work if everyone helps make it work and so far we haven't had any problems.
USC fall camp starts Monday, officially kicking off the 2012 football season. In the War Room this week we explain the math behind the scholarship sanctions the Trojans will be dealing with for the next three years.
Let's get down to it…
A great day on hold?
Last weekend, USC had Penn State running back Silas Redd on campus while entertaining phones calls from recruits wanting to commit. One commitment, that from Houston (Texas) four-star defensive end Torrodney Prevot, stuck and went public Sunday. With limited scholarship offers, it now appears that if others are to commit publicly to USC, it may have to follow a de-commitment from the 2013 class.
On the record, all of USC's 18 commitments are solid verbals. However, behind the scenes, there are rumblings that not everyone will hold true to their pledge. Santa Monica (Calif.) four-star wide receiver Sebastian LaRue frequently comes up in those conversations. Sources say LaRue wants to play wide out as a true freshman, and doing that at USC will be an uphill battle. His confidence is waning along with his commitment. Schools like Texas A&M, UCLA, Florida and Cal are continuing to pitch early playing time.
On the Board
With defensive end Torrodney Prevot in the bag, another public commitment for USC would most likely come from a defensive back. The two big names on the board are Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) four-star safety Tahaan Goodman and Seffner (Fla.) four-star safety Leon McQuay III. Both are very, very high on USC, although getting a public commitment from either may require more work.
Goodman's mother has been adamant that he take all five of his official visits before making a verbal commitment. Goodman was supposed to meet with Lane Kiffin this week to discuss a commitment, but to our knowledge, that meeting never took place. McQuay also has family ties pulling him back from making a public pledge to SC. Sources say McQuay was ready to announce a college decision this week, but his father was against the idea. McQuay's parents are divorced, and the direction of his recruitment seems to change depending on which parent you talk to.
McQuay is basically down to USC and Vanderbilt at this point, with dad wanting to keep his son in the South. There was a chance McQuay would unofficially visit USC with his mother, but now that visit may not happen until the season starts. Beyond September his visit would be of the official variety.
Goodman is a versatile athlete that could play either safety position, or possibly even linebacker depending on how he physically develops. McQuay is a free safety who is more of a coverage defensive back than a physical presence near the line of scrimmage.
Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) four-star cornerback Chris Hawkins is often talked about in the War Room for his efforts in helping recruit for the 2013 class. However, Hawkins should also be noted for his toughness. Breaking his thumb at the Rising Stars Camp in June, Hawkins attended The Opening with the injury before getting his hand in a cast. In fact, he had an interception that was taken away because the play was called dead for a quarterback sack.
Hawkins has surgery on his thumb after The Opening, but against doctors orders, and his dad's, the Army All-American participated in The Gridiron Kings Passing Tournament with his hand in a cast. Under the cast, his thumb had stitches, yet he still played. Those types of intangibles cannot be measured in the rankings. Hawkins was originally expected to miss most of the season with his injury, but we hear he hopes to be on the field when the Cougars play Servite Sept. 1 in week two of the season.
Rogers feeling confident
Carson (calif.) in-coming freshman receiver Darreus Rogers is confident that he will be academically eligible this fall. This week, Rogers sent out tweets that he was looking forward to being on campus soon. Sources say that Rogers has completed the class work he was forced to retake when his secondary school grades from Carson Christian were not accepted by the NCAA Clearinghouse. However, that course works has to go through the NCAA Clearinghouse once again, which could take weeks. The good news, it appears once he is cleared by the NCAA, admissions at USC should grant enrollment shortly after. Rogers needed to raise his core GPA with three classes, so if the NCAA clears him to enroll, USC will be able to as well.
The dreaded "75"
With the Trojans ranked so high in the preseason, many forget the meat of the NCAA scholarship sanctions are just getting started. In February, the Trojans signed a recruiting class limited to just 15 players. Those are initial scholarship limitations.
This weekend USC will experience for the first time the overall scholarship sanctions, where the team can only carry 75 players on athletic aid instead of 85.
As the Trojans a.ssemble their class of 2013, three leftover rides that went unfilled in February can rollover and be used now, giving Lane Kiffin some wiggle room for this class.
But as we mentioned before, and now have reconfirmed, one of those leftover class of 2012 spots must be used on Silas Redd. Any transfer scholarship player will be an initial and overall counter for the new program. Redd arrives in the fall of 2012 and will count as one of the 15 scholarship athletes USC is allowed to sign for the class of 2012. End of story.
So that means USC now has one less scholarship to play with for the class of 2013. By our count, this class is now limited to 17, not 18, because Silas Redd takes one of those rides.
The Trojans currently have 18 verbal commitments, but there is still plenty of time for that to sort itself out. Verbal commits are not an official tally and the earliest hard numbers start to come in will be when the early enrollees sign in December.
The issue that USC is dealing with right now is the overall scholarship number of 75. The Trojans need to be under 75 scholarships at the beginning of fall camp (Monday) and they must remain under 75 scholarships throughout the football season. That is the real number coaches are dealing with right now and our sources tell us they are not only under it, but they have room to spare.
Before signing Silas Redd, our count showed USC stood at exactly 75 scholarships. With Redd, that number bounced up to 76. That count includes Will Andrew, Tony Burnett and Abe Markowitz, three former walk-ons that earned scholarships. It also includes the aforementioned Darreus Rogers, incoming freshman wide receiver who has yet to enroll.
To deal with the NCAA sanctions, here is what USC is forced to do. Ever hear of the saying from Wheel of Fortune that, "Once you buy a prize, it is yours to keep?" Yeah, they don't sell prizes any longer on that show, but that was what Pat Sajak used to tell the contestants every episode.
Same thing holds true for scholarships on the football team. Once you give a player a scholarship, it is his to keep (for a year). You can't take it away once it is granted, but you can give scholarships out anytime during the season.
So to make sure the team is under 75 scholarships, we have learned that at least two of the former walk-ons did NOT have their scholarships renewed. But at least one, and possibly both, would be issued a scholarship for 2012 when the dust settles and the coaches have a better understanding of what the roster looks like with all of the new players enrolled.
Classes do not start until August 27 and by that time, or soon after, USC should know where Darreus Rogers and the rest of the new players stand.
It is an unfortunate situation for those former (and now current) walk-on players, but USC's hands are essentially tied because of the NCAA sanctions. On the positive side, until school starts all players (scholarship and walk-ons) are pretty much on the same page with room and board taken care of in the dorms for fall camp.
Of course when school starts then the story changes. Those players will have to go back onto non athletic aid and try to pay the $50-60 thousand tuition on their own.
Our guess is that if Rogers makes it in, one walk-on will not be reissued his scholarship. If Rogers has to go the JC route for a year or greyshirts, all three walk-ons will play this season on scholarship.
Stars . . . in stripes?
Too bad the Pac-12 football officiating folks didn't have the open session for the media again this year. We'd have liked to find out whether the impending NFL officials strike/lockout is going to have any impact. And that was just our first question.
So we thought we'd try to find out. Here's what we've learned. The NFL will not raid any of the FBS leagues or teams for officials, just FCS and below. So no Pac-12 guys to replace. But . . .
There may be some benefits from NFL football guys not going back who can work for the Pac-12 in various advisory capacities, we hear. On the field, we also hear that after dropping a dozen officials before the 2011 season, the Pac-12 axed another five for 2012. So that's 17 in two years. As they say about a thousand lawyers on the floor of the ocean, it's a good start.
We also hear that at least one official from the USC-Stanford game, reportedly the one whose end-game conversation with Lane Kiffin ended up with the USC coach getting that $10,000 fine over the clock confusion might be one not to return. And even though we keep hearing they got the end-game call correct, we're also understand that every official in that game got marked down for the way it got out of control.
From someone in the know, that missed pass interference call on the tackle in the end zone of Robert Woods well before the ball got to him was the k!ller missed call in that triple-overtime USC loss. "That was the game," our insider said after the official on the play fell down after slipping on a yard marker and no one else on the crew saw it, or at least was willing to step in and do the right thing. They all did deserve to be downgraded after that.
|4 years ago||'10 #1014|
$19,306 | 2182
Will there be a test?
For the first time since USC was sanctioned by the NCAA, the media, much like the coaches and officials, will have to know the rules. Here's the word from USC on a new policy starting next week:
"USC's Office of Athletic Compliance will conduct an NCAA rules seminar specifically for media who cover the Trojans on a regular basis. In order for representatives of such a media organization to gain access into USC's practices and/or games in 2012, at least one member of that organization MUST attend this seminar. The objective is to provide information that should be shared with all pertinent members of that organization. The 30-minute seminar will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6, in the Heritage Hall Auditorium, prior to USC's first football practice of 2012. If a USC beat media organization is not represented at this seminar, it will not be credentialed to USC practices and/or games."
Not bored on these boards
OK, last week with all that went on was one of those times we enjoy perusing other fan sites just to see what they were saying. Stopped by at Penn State and couldn't stay. Too much of a downer all the way around. Throwing Silas Redd on top of their NCAA hate and the way they feel about their own president and board of trustees, not to mention Jerry Sandusky and Lane Kiffin, produced a volatile mix of emotions that produced way too much heat with too little light and no humor.
And the Notre Dame folks are all football-fired-up right now. Hope springs eternal in South Bend.
So that left the Bruins -- a surprisingly cynical, darkly humorous mix of real-world realism as some prepared to head to San Bernardino, lovely San Berdoo and the Inland Empire this weekend, for the start of fall camp. Had to stop by when we saw posts preparing people for life on the edge of the desert where fans were Google-Earthing the practice field and wondering why there were no stands and just three trees in sight as they tried to decide which would be the greatest disincentive to attend practice.
Would day after day of 100-plus temperatures would be more threatening to their health than the occasional exploding meth lab, that was the question.
And so we kept reading and saw a thread titled: "Redd to USC is official . . ." followed by this comment: "The sanctions will hurt them in 2014 . Count on it." and then in the same vein: "USC sent 6 coaches to Redd's house to recruit him . . ." followed by this response ". . . "They must be serious about football."
And then these followup posts: "Boy these sanctions to SUC are just crippling! Makes me want to hurl! . . . Really sucks to be penalized so bad that you come out of your bowl ban pre-season #1, grab a likely #1 recruiting class (at least from a star ranking), have the Heisman hopeful AND get to add to your roster a significant player in the current year with zero restrictions. Just WOW . . . SC is despicable and so is NCAA . . . Agree . . . I want to punch Barkley in the face."
The posters then turned inward with this challenge: "We will all know UCLA football is back when . . ." and got these responses: "When Kickers and Punters no longer grace the cover of our Media Guide" . . . when "our jerseys don't look like they were bought at a swap meet" . . . and finally, when "[site] Premium isn't covered with threads about SUC."
If only they knew
Returning to Penn State for a moment, one thing upsetting the fans there and causing a combative relationship with the NCAA is summed up best by this comment on just how long players would be allowed to transfer this year and next.
"I agree that the NCAA guidelines are written poorly," fan after fan hashed and rehashed the what, where and when of the "free-agency" transfer rules trying to figure them out. "You would think that an organization that supposedly values academic success would be able to put together a coherent document."
You would think. But as unhappy as Penn State fans are about the rules, poorly written as they are, here's what they need to know about the same rules two years ago that USC was hit with. Those weren't poorly written, not a bit. Of course, there was a good reason for that.
They weren't written at all. Which might help explain some of USC Coach Lane Kiffin's exasperation with them. Penn Staters are the lucky ones. As inarticulate as the NCAA may be, at least they tried to put them in writing this time.
C'mon guys, stop and think
OK, we can accept people picking LSU No. 1 and USC No. 2, as The Sporting News did this week in its preseason rankings. What we can't accept is the follow-up comment that not only do they pick LSU and USC 1-2, they go on to say they expect the two of them to play in the BCS title game in Miami and that LSU will win. Now that's where you give yourselves away as just not getting it, TSN.
If USC gets there, wherever they're ranked, if you're LSU, you probably do not want to be there. You do not want to be anywhere near there. Not a matchup the SEC wants. Not the formula for their success. Not the way they've won six straight, which first of all required that there be no USC on the other side of the field. If the Trojans are there, bye bye Bayou Bengals. Book it.
|4 years ago||'04 #1019|
$3,734 | 17
Fall Camp #1: Notes
# New year, new injury policy. The coaches and players are going to be mum on injury specifics, so our reports will mostly consist of "in or out" unless Lane Kiffin elaborates on specific cases.
# Tonight, C Khaled Holmes, WR George Farmer, DE DeVante Wilson and DE Wes Horton were among the players to miss a portion of practice. Kiffin explained that Horton and Wilson suffered from cramps due to dehydration.
# Also, incoming freshman WR Darreus Rogers has yet to be cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, while CB Isiah Wiley and LB Marquis Simmons are awaiting summer school grades before practicing.
# Robert Woods participated on a limited basis as Kiffin hopes to ease him back from offseason ankle surgery.
# Silas Redd was the star of the show tonight as he got mobbed by the media hoard after his first practice at USC. The running back, who is wearing No. 25, flashed great speed.
"I am a Trojan now," Redd pronounced. "This is known as 'RB-U', so I was excited to suit up."
"I made a business decision," Redd explained coming to USC. "Academically and athletically, I felt like this is the best place to be."
# Presumed starting running back Curtis McNeal looked awfully sharp in the opening practice as well. "Curtis has grown up with his approach to the game and his approach to life," Kiffin complimented the senior. "This just pushes him a little further. We all need competition."
# "Those guys are competitors," Redd said about his fellow backs. "We are coming out here and competing for that No. 1 spot. They understand that. I understand that. There's no animosity."
# With Redd in tow, Nelson Agholor is playing wide receiver exclusively, which was always his wish, according to Kiffin. He is a tremendous athlete who stood out from the very start of practice. He is wearing No. 15.
# Defensively, J.R. Tavai is going to get the first shot at replacing injured DE Devon Kennard. He moved over from defensive tackle leaving redshirt freshman Antwaun Woods to fill the void.
# Other position news: Freshman Leonard Williams is playing defensive tackle, while Charles Burks moved to fullback.
# On the field, Matt Barkley was picked off twice. Jawanza Starling stepped in front of one and then Anthony Brown made a great play to intercept a deep ball.
# True freshman LB Jabari Ruffin made the play of the day. In his debut practice, he showed tremendous athleticism covering FB Soma Vainuku on a wheel route and knocking a pass away.
Last edited by bouncer900; 08-07-2012 at 12:22 AM..