Sunday, January 01, 2006

Reggie Bush on Houston Texans

Watch the video

Thursday, December 01, 2005

We've Moved!

The address of this blog has changed. At the end of November, it was relocated to:

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Leinart Wins Unitas Award

Congratulations to USC quarterback Matt Leinart, who today was awarded the 2005 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award for being college football's top senior quarterback.

Leinart is the third Trojan to receive the award. Carson Palmer won it in 2002 and Rodney Peete won it in 1988.

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Trojan Profile: Josh Pinkard

Name: Josh Pinkard

Number: 36
Class: sophomore
Position: cornerback (formerly safety)
Hometown: Oxnard, CA

Siblings: one brother, two sisters
Roommates: Desmond Reed and Mozique McCurtis

Girlfriend: yes, from home
Most attractive characteristic in a girl: sense of humor
Least attractive characteristic in a girl: being too sensitive, like when you can't joke with them

Non-football highlight: Just being in college
Best sport other than football: Basketball
Career other than football: own my own company

Scares you: snakes and alligators
Pet peeve: When people don't clean up after themselves
Formerly slept with a stuffed animal: No, but I slept with a little blankie

Specialty in the kitchen: enchiladas

Favorite professional football team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite professional football player: Brian Dawkins

Opponent you dislike the most: I hate Cal the most

Funniest teammate: Clay Matthews
Prettiest: Thomas Williams
Most athletic: Reggie Bush
Most humble: Steve Smith

Funniest team moment: The Halloween prank. I totally believed it when LenDale [White] was yelling at the coaches and walked out.

Pete Carroll in one word: Awesome

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Quote of the Week

Brandon Hancock on UCLA:
"We respect Notre Dame and at the end of the day it's a pretty healthy rivalry. But all bets are off with these pansies."
UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Trojan Profile: John Walker

Name: John Walker

Number: 18
Class: redshirt senior
Position: cornerback
Hometown: North Hills, CA

Siblings: one brother, one sister
Roommate: William Buchanon

Girlfriend: Yes
Dream girl: Adriana Lima (Victoria's Secret model)
Most attractive characteristic in a girl: faithful in support
Least attractive characteristic in a girl: insecurity

Non-football role model: Jesus
Non-football highlight: returning to Hawaii for the first time for this year's game against the Warriors [Walker was born in Hawaii but moved away several months later]

Best sport other than football: track (hurdles) [was ninth at the 2001 California State meet in the high hurdles]

Career other than football: television actor [from As a youngster, Walker was a television actor who appeared in such shows as "E.R." and "7th Heaven"]

Formerly slept with a stuffed animal: My Buddy doll

Specialty in the kitchen: anything to do with meat

Surprising fact: I have genuine love for everyone; I'm the most approachable person

Scares you: birds like ducks and geese...anything that scampers...squirrels are horrifying

Pet Peeve: dirty fingernails

Proud of: my work ethic

Favorite professional football player: Troy Polamalu

Opponent you dislike the most: I hate, hate, hate Notre Dame because that's where I'm from [Walker used to live in Chicago]

Funniest teammate: Chilo Rachal
Prettiest: Thomas WilliamsMost athletic: Josh Pinkard
Most humble: Patrick Turner

Funniest team moment: A group of us players were at a dinner in Malibu. There were two comedians there doing stand up and some of the players started booing them because they didn't think they were funny. So the comedians started making fun of the football team. They just roasted us.

Pete Carroll in one word: Competitive
MORE on Walker, from an article in Sunday's LA Times on UCLA and USC's pro prospects:
[NFL scouts] favored John Walker — a fifth-year senior who became a starter after Eric Wright transferred and Terrell Thomas was injured — over two-year starter Justin Wyatt, also a senior. Walker was hurt this season and has yet to reclaim his job opposite Wyatt from sophomore Josh Pinkard[...]

Scout 1: "Wyatt is small but a very good football player. He'll be drafted in one of the middle rounds. Walker is prototypical everything: size, speed, and he looks like a Greek god.

"He's somebody who's under the radar as far as the NFL, but a lot of scouts like him."

Scout 2: "[Walker] is very raw and not sound technique-wise. But he's got great upside. He's a player that NFL teams will work and try to develop."

Scout 3: "There's a lineage of Pete Carroll corners. They come out of there and know how to play. Pete's really a good secondary coach. Walker showed enough in the time he was healthy that this is a guy who has some tools."
UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Call for Help

The producer of ESPN's College Gameday just emailed to ask if we would post the following:
ESPN's College GameDay invites the entire USC student body to a live broadcast of the premier college football pregame show in the country. Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard will be broadcasting LIVE beginning at 7:00 am on Saturday outside the main entrance of the Coliseum. The show is hoping to set the record for most people to view the show live on Saturday. We have already received a strong reception from UCLA and are hoping that the Trojan faithful will show up to outnumber the Bruins fans.

Come show your support and have the chance for your face to be LIVE on College GameDay -- 7AM on Saturday!
We promised to do all we can to encourage the Trojan family to come out and help set that record -- and outnumber UCLA's fans, of course.

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

USC Takes Home Most Conference Awards

Today the Pac 10 handed out its postseason awards, as selected by the coaches in the conference. Not surprisingly, plenty of Trojans were recognized. From the Pac 10 website:

Bush, a junior from Spring Valley, Calif., is an electrifying, multi-purpose player who excels as a running back and receiver, as well as a kickoff and punt returner. A leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, Bush becomes just the fifth player in Conference history to be named Offensive Player of the Year two years in a row. With one regular-season game still remaining, Bust leads the nation in all-purpose yards with an average of 212.5 yards per game and is the only player to average more than 200 yards per game. He also ranks fourth in the nation in rushing with an average of 127.1 yards per game. In his most recent outing in USC win against Fresno State, Bush set a Pac-10 single-game record with 513 all-purpose yards. To date this season, Bush has rushed for 1,398 yards and 13 touchdowns and has averaged 8.6 yards per carry. He has added 31 receptions for 373 yards and two scores and leads the Trojans in punt and kickoff returns. He is averaging 10.0 yards on his 233 touches in 2005 and has scored a total of 16 touchdowns. Bush was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week three times this season.


Carroll earns Coach of the Year honors for the second time for keeping the Trojans on track in their quest for an unprecedented third consecutive National Championship. With one regular-season game to play, USC is 11-0 and has extended its winning streak to 33 games, the longest in the nation and a Pac-10 record. In addition, the Trojans have tied the Pac-10 record for consecutive Conference wins (22) and consecutive home wins (26). Carroll has had USC ranked No. 1 in the AP poll dating back to 2003. The Trojans are know this season for their prolific offense, leading the nation in total offense at 571.3 yards per game and ranked second at scoring offense at 48.6 points per game. Overlooked is the fact that USC leads the Pac-10 in total defense and ranks second in scoring defense.

First Team Offense:

QB Matt Leinart, Sr., USC
RB Reggie Bush, Jr., USC
WR Dwayne Jarrett, So., USC
OL Ryan Kalil, Jr., USC
OL Taitusi Lutui, Sr., USC
OL Sam Baker, So., USC

Second Team Offense:

RB LenDale White, Jr., USC
OL Fred Matua, Jr., USC

First Team Defense:

DL Frostee Rucker, Sr., USC
DL Lawrence Jackson, So., USC
S Darnell Bing, Jr., USC

Second Team Defense:

S Scott Ware, Sr., USC

Second Team Specialists:

PR Reggie Bush, Jr., USC
UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Inaugural Video Report

We're excited to announce a new feature on this blog: video reports.

Below is the first effort, a video version of a story we reported last week on the Trojan whose jersey is in highest demand.

(Future video reports will contain original content not previously reported on the blog.)

NOTE: You'll need QuickTime installed on your computer to watch this video.

Watch the video

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Inside USC Media Day

Tuesdays are especially hectic for the USC football team. That's because it's been designated by the sports information department as media day.

Last week, while children crowded the sidelines aiming to get autographs from their favorite players, camera crews and reporters like Shelley Smith (ESPN) and Lindsay Soto (Fox Sports Net) stood by to interview players and coaches.

The man of the hour was Reggie Bush, who had turned in a breathtaking performance against Fresno State just a few days earlier. ESPN and Fox's Best Damn Sports Show had requested interviews with the Heisman contender, and ESPN also wanted to talk to Carroll -- though they would have to wait until he finished a conference call with other reporters.

Despite just having completed an exhausting practice, Carroll and Bush patiently sat through hours of questions from reporters. Bush's fifteen minute interview with ESPN stretched to 45 minutes, but he never complained, politely answering all of Smith's questions. When she quizzed him about comparisons to the legendary Gale Sayers, Bush demurred. "It's flattering just to be compared to him."

Carroll was equally unassuming, taking the time to formulate his responses to each question and doing a poor job of hiding how excited he was to talk about his team and his players.

All this was expertly choreographed by veteran USC sports information director Tim Tessalone. At one point, Bush was talking to a reporter from Best Damn Sports Show and Carroll was on the conference call. In the blink of an eye, Carroll was downstairs talking to Smith while Bush sneaked out of Heritage Hall to grab some food at the Galen Center for ten minutes before being called back to his next interview.

At any other school, this would have been the busiest media day of the year. For the Trojans, it was business as usual.

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Mystery of Bush Messages Revealed

Many college football fans have noticed that Reggie Bush has been writing special messages on the tiny black strips he's been wearing under his eyes this season. Those strips, designed to mimic traditional eye black but without the smeary side effects, are worn to reduce glare from the sun or other bright lights.

Bush has been adding his own personal touch to the eye black strips, writing 619 or SE on them with a marker. The 619 is easy enough to figure out; it's the area code of his home city of San Diego. But what about the SE?

"It stands for South East [San Diego]," said Bush.

He says both messages are his way of saying hello to friends back home.

"I don't ever want to forget where I come from."

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Senior Bowl CEO Scouts Trojans

There was an unfamiliar face at USC practice last week, but he had a good reason for being there. Steve Hale, CEO of the Senior Bowl, was in Los Angeles to get a good look at the Trojans' senior class.

Part all-star game, part pre-draft showcase, the Senior Bowl features many of college football's top players. They're split into two teams, each coached by an entire NFL coaching staff and put through a week's worth of workouts. At the end of the week, they face off in Mobile, Alabama's Ladd-Peebles Stadium. This year, that game will be held on January 28th, 2006.

"We only take players who have completely exhausted their eligibility," said Hale in an exclusive interview. "There doesn't need to be any more incentive for players to leave college early than there already are."

But first, those players need to be selected, which is why Hale is visiting college campuses across the country.

"A certain cap is made for each position and from there we choose the best players, until the cap is reached," he said. "Unfortunately this method creates inconsistency, since each year the number of seniors varies per school. For example, this year there will be a disproportionate amount of players from the Deep South just because there are a great deal more talented seniors graduating."

Trojans eligible for the Senior Bowl include Frostee Rucker, Justin Wyatt, Taitusi Latui, Dominique Byrd, Scott Ware, John Walker and David Kirtman. Matt Leinart is also eligible but not likely to accept an invitation; he is already projected as a top pick and not expected to risk injury by playing in the game.

Even with plenty of players to scout, Hale said he tried to fly under the radar and keep his presence at practice from becoming a distraction.

"I know that Pete [Carroll] doesn't want to focus on anything except his next game, so I'm not going to put any pressure on him about the [Senior Bowl]. He had other things on his mind."

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bush or Leinart: Who Sells More?

UPDATE: Watch a video version of this story

There's an epic battle being waged between USC teammates Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, but it's not over the Heisman Trophy. In fact, this competition can't even be settled on a football field.

Instead, you'll have to head to the USC bookstore, where number 5 and number 11 jerseys have been flying off the shelves.

Who sells more? That depends on the week, according to Gretchen Margolis, who supervises the jersey department.

"For instance, this week it's just going to be more Reggie Bush," said Margolis. "It just depends on which one does the most in the games."

Still, Bush's record breaking performance wasn't enough to sway one USC student considering making a purchase.

"I think I'd get Matt Leinart's jersey [if I bought one]," said Shelby Moore. "He's my favorite player."

Fans wanting a Bush or Leinart jersey have several options to choose from -- none of them cheap.

"The authentic jersey, which is the jersey the players wear, that's $150," said Margolis. "We have a replica jersey with the tackle twill numbers sewn on to it, and that's $70, and then we have a replica jersey, which is a screen print, and that's $50."

The bookstore also stock special jerseys just for girls, but only in Bush's number. "We never had Matt jerseys for girls," said Margolis, "but in the children's [sizes], we have both Reggie Bush and Matt and the girls will come in and buy the Matt Leinart jerseys."

But girls aren't the only ones buying number 11 jerseys.

"Matt Leinart's come in and bought a jersey," said Margolis. "He bought his own."

So were Leinart's personal purchases enough to push him past Bush when it comes to the all-important question of who has sold the most jerseys? Margolis was tight-lipped, but after some prodding, she revealed the answer.

"Reggie Bush."

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Trojan Profile: Dwayne Jarrett

Name: Dwayne Jarrett

Number: 8
Class: sophomore
Position: wide receiver
Hometown: New Brunswick, NJ

Siblings: none
Roommates: Matt Leinart

Girlfriend: No
Dream girl: Halle Berry
Most attractive characteristic in a girl: personality
Least attractive characteristic in a girl: insecurity or jealousy

Non-football role model: grandfather
Non-football highlight: making it to college
Best sport other than football: basketball
Career other than football: music producer

Formerly slept with a stuffed animal: Seriously, I never slept with one

Specialty in the kitchen: lasagna

Surprising fact: I sing R&B and church/gospel music

Scares you: having a close family friend pass away

Proud of: how I present myself

Favorite professional football player: Randy Moss

Opponent you dislike the most: Notre Dame

Funniest teammate: Fred Matua
Prettiest: Thomas Williams
Most athletic: Reggie Bush
Most humble: Matt Leinart

Funniest team moment: Whenever someone asks Pete Carroll to do "The Trojan" and he starts to dance

Pete Carroll in one word: Fun

NOTE: Congratulations to Dwayne for being named a Biletnikoff Award finalist

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Friday, November 18, 2005

Friday Morning Report

Scott Wolf in the LA Daily News:
  • First team All-American selections that will be officially announced next week: Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Dwayne Jarrett and Taitusi "Deuce" Lutui
  • Fred Davis to start at tight end for the second straight week.
  • Carroll: Oscar Lua will start Saturday. "It looks like we'll start him. He looks good but I don't want to wear him out."
  • Walker Lee Ashley no longer in contact with University of Minnesota coaching staff, another sign that he is likely to end up at USC.
  • Freshman Kaluka Maiava saw his first hockey game on Thursday night, with teammate Collin Ashton. "I just want to see fights," Maiava said. "I don't care who wins. I don't understand the rules either." Ashton: "Hockey is boring. There needs to be more fighting and more scoring."
  • Bush: doctor says his voice frequently hoarse due to irritated vocal cords.
Gary Klein in LA Times:
  • USC sports information office e-mailed video clip of Dwayne Jarrett to the national media to promote him for the Biletnikoff Award. He and teammate Steve Smith are semi-finalists for the award.
UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Trojan Profile: Frostee Rucker

Name: Frostee Rucker

Number: 90
Class: redshirt senior
Position: defensive end
Hometown: Tustin, CA

Siblings: two sisters
Roommate: Ryan Powdrell

Girlfriend: No
Dream girl: Just someone good-looking; I don't care about celebrities
Most attractive characteristic in a girl: great listener
Least attractive characteristic in a girl: being into me because I play football

Formerly slept with a stuffed animal: Yes, a panda

Specialty in the kitchen: spaghetti or lasagna

Surprising fact: Outside of football, I'm not aggressive and I'm a fun guy

Scares you: Being lonely at the age of 35 [Rucker is currently 22]

Non-football highlight: Getting my USC acceptance letter
Best sport other than football: Madden Football...along with every other football player!
Career other than football: sports broadcaster

Proud of: The fact that I'm a hard worker and tough

Favorite professional football team: None
Favorite professional athlete: Shaquille O'Neal

Opponent you dislike the most: I hate Cal

Funniest teammate: Chilo Rachal
Prettiest: Reggie Bush
Most athletic: Dwayne Jarrett
Most humble: Matt Leinart

Funniest team moment: Watching Matt going into the shower and slipping and falling right in front of me. And it was a huge fall.

Pete Carroll in one word: Leader

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Offensive Line Photo Gallery

Winston Justice, Ryan Kalil, Sam Baker and Deuce Latui on the sidelines during the Cal game last Saturday.

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In The Inbox

An email from Pete Carroll:
Trojan Fans,

With the Holiday Season fast approaching, the Trojans, in conjunction with Chance for Children, will be hosting a toy drive for the homeless children living in shelters in the Los Angeles community.

Toys will be accepted three hours prior to kick-off, through the first quarter. Collection bins will be located at the peristyle end of the Coliseum.

We sincerely appreciate your kindness in this charitable endeavor!
UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Kalil Happy To Be a Trojan

Coach Pete Carroll, right, hugs Ryan Kalil following USC's win over Notre Dame. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

When Fresno State coach Pat Hill discussed USC's prolific offense during his weekly press conference Tuesday, he didn't single out usual suspects Reggie Bush or Matt Leinart.

"I am a big Ryan Kalil fan," said Hill, turning more than a few heads. "I think it starts with him. He is the leader of that [offensive line]. He is an outstanding, outstanding offensive center."

In fact, Hill tried to get Kalil to come play for the Bulldogs.

"I really liked him out of high school. We recruited him out of Servite. I thought we had a chance."

But in an exclusive interview, Kalil said Hill's staff was less than frank during his recruitment. "Fresno State told me that my good friend Sam Baker had committed to them, and they told Sam the same about me," said Kalil, "just because they wanted the two of us to play for them."

Instead, Kalil chose the Trojans.

"The first love I got was from 'SC," he said. "In high school I was in this phase where I didn't know what I wanted to do and it really stressed me out. Recruiting seemed like a forever process."

But a good showing at a USC football camp cleared things up. Kalil was attracted to "the energy, the love, the guys. And Coach Carroll was the icing on the cake."

"When Pete took me upstairs and offered me a scholarship, he was probably waiting for me to talk about my other options and ask for time to think about it," said Kalil, "but I was ready and said, 'I want to be a Trojan.'"

Now a USC veteran, Kalil is clearly happy with that decision.

"Coach Carroll knows how to do a good balance between fun and work. Attention all the time is tiring, mentally and physically," he said, "but Coach Carroll uses jokes, team outings and competition drills to get guys excited and in high spirits."

Kalil says that is especially helpful toward the end of a season, when the effects of big-time college football start to take their toll.

"Coach Carroll helps with the team's endurance for the long season by mentally refreshing us," he said, "making it fun. Otherwise people start to think of it as a job."

But that's not to say football isn't taken seriously at USC.

"We prepare every week as though it's our last," said Kalil. "It's so hard mentally and physically in practice each week, so for games all we have to do is bring our heart and the rest will follow."

Even so, Kalil admits that USC has underestimated teams in the past.

"Two years ago we did with Cal, and even last year with Stanford it happened."

"It's hard to do what we do, to win college football games," said Kalil, "and it's harder the higher up the totem pole you are. It's our opponent's championship game every week because everyone wants to beat us, so it has to be a championship game for us, too."

"But it's fun to see where we have come from since Cal two years ago and even the Stanford game," he said. "We are learning from our mistakes."

As the USC winning streak grows, the pressure on the program increases as well, but Kalil said it doesn't get to the players.

"Coach Carroll does a great job of keeping the pressure away from us," he said, "setting us up to do what we need to do to win."

"Every team has talented players. It's just how you utilize them. And Coach Carroll does a great job of doing that."

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Trojan Profile: Ryan Kalil

Name: Ryan Kalil

Number: 67
Class: junior
Position: center
Hometown: Corona, CA

Siblings: one brother, one sister
Roommates: Sam Baker and Kyle Williams

Girlfriend: No
Dream girl: Jessica Alba
Most attractive characteristic in a girl: humble, possess a spark
Least attractive characteristic in a girl: needing attention

Non-football role model: Frank Kalil (father)
Non-football highlight: Coming to USC
Best sport other than football: Golf
Career other than football: movie director
Favorite movie: Swingers

Scares you: not knowing where I'm going in life
Formerly slept with a stuffed animal: Yes, Leonardo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Surprising fact: I'm a Frank Sinatra fan and although I'm not as talented as my little sister [who just signed with Sony and we can report is an amazing singer], I love to sing

Specialty in the kitchen: lamb

Pet peeve: People who exaggerate stories

Proud of: The relationship with my mom because she's my best friend and I love her to death

Favorite professional football team: San Diego Chargers
Favorite professional football player: Frank Kalil (who played center for Arizona after transferring from Arkansas and then professionally with the Buffalo Bills)

Opponent you dislike the most: Oregon State

Funniest teammate: Taitusi "Deuce" Lutui
Prettiest: Thomas Williams
Most athletic: Reggie Bush
Most humble: Sam Baker

Pete Carroll in one word: Real

UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Thursday Morning Report

Gary Klein in the LA Times:
  • LA City Attorney has police report on Rey Maualuga incident. "We are looking over the report and weighing the merits of the case," city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan said. "No decision has been made."
  • Oscar Lua confident he'll be ready to play Saturday. "Everything is on track," Lua said. "My knee feels great." Carroll, however, said he'd wait awhile longer before deciding whether Lua would start. "We have to make sure he's confident in all the moves he has to do."
  • John Walker has resumed full-speed drills in practice. In the meantime, he's been replaced by Josh Pinkard at cornerback. "It's definitely hard to see someone else in the place where you feel you should be," he said. "But, then again, with the types of athletes that we have, it's understandable that when a guy gets an opportunity and does well you have to be able to support that."
Scott Wolf in the LA Daily News:
  • Highly touted recruit Walker Lee Ashley, a defensive lineman who was declared academically ineligible to enroll in August, has contacted USC about enrolling for the spring semester. He was rumored to be heading to Minnesota (he's from Eden Prairie, MN), but that did not happen and he has since been cleared to play by the NCAA. He still has four years of eligibility.
  • Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin: Cal game offense's second-worst of the season. "For all 11 guys, play after play, it was our worst besides Notre Dame," he said. "Thirty-five points is bad when your defense gets that many turnovers. Guys were screwing up on little things. A bad (pass) route or a wrong read by a (running) back or a wrong step by a lineman." He did add: "But it was a great game because we won."
  • Wolf: Middle linebacker Oscar Lua (strained knee) practiced but doesn't appear well enough to last a whole game.
  • Brian Cushing still bothered by soreness from dislocated shoulder but will start at outside linebacker.
  • Reggie Bush ignores recent Heisman Trophy polls showing him trailing Texas quarterback Vince Young. "I'd lie if I said I didn't want to win it, but I don't even look at the polls."
UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday Morning Report

Gary Klein in the LA Times:
  • Carroll to conduct seminar for draft-eligible players in December. Possible early-entrants: Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Winston Justice, Steve Smith, Darnell Bing and Lawrence Jackson. "I've talked to all of the guys to let them know it's OK to talk about it," Carroll said.
  • White: "There are some guys that are going to have in their heads what they're going to do. Some people have already made up their minds."
  • Mike Williams: "I have all the money, I'm a pro athlete and I'm where I want to be on the big stage," Williams said in a telephone interview. "Still, I was talking to [Lion quarterback] Joey Harrington and I was saying, 'Man, we're young, we're rich and this and that and the other, but I still remember the days when I went to practice and went back home to the apartment with [defensive lineman] Frostee Rucker … getting ready for UCLA. I miss that."
  • More from Williams: "I regret leaving school and I really didn't understand that Coach Carroll and Coach [Lane Kiffin] and those guys had my best interest in mind. I was thinking, 'They want me to stay because it helped them.' "
  • Thomas Willams had arthoscopic surgery on his knee Tuesday.
  • Klein: Oscar Lua "took part in limited team drills but said he felt good and would work with the first-team defense today."
UPDATE: We've moved! To view up-to-date postings, go to:

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Highlights From This Week's Press Conferences

Pete Carroll:
Linebacker coaches Rocky (Seto) and Kenny (Norton) have really taken [the freshman linebackers] under their wings and have done a marvelous job preparing them, mentally and tactically and technically on how to get this done. It is a lot to ask of these guys.

Early on you would ask me if it was possible for one of these linebackers to start, and I really doubted the fact that they could do that, just because there is so much stuff going on. The outside backs spot is a little easier, in [the Mike] spot, possibly.

But now that we can see these guys play, and it has taken some time, they are ready to play. They can play (on a) full time basis. That is a great asset to us. We didn't realize it would be this necessary. They have turned out all right and now we are ready to go.


We have grown to this point where we need these match-ups (with teams like Fresno State), we need these kinds of challenges. It keeps us strong and directed. We don't need to have a varying degree of opponents. We need everybody to be tough, every step of the way.

How much more difficult can it be to finish off this season? Two 9-1 teams coming at us. We have earned everything that we get this year. We are going to have to earn it this week and [in two] weeks as well.


[Fresno State has] really good players. They do a really good job; Pat [Hill] is a really good evaluator of talent. He is able to find guys that other teams don't take and make them really good players.

Their football is at the highest level, as far as offense and defense and scheme-wise. Their coaching staff has been really solid, with good continuity.

Look at the end result of their players over there. They have a lot of NFL players. You don't just make those kinds of players. You recruit those guys and then you help them become that. You find the right kinds of guys that can play up to that talent level.

I don't know what their numbers are but I am sure there are just as many NFL guys [from there] as [from] anywhere else on the West Coast, maybe more. What difference does it make where they are from if they have the right stuff to play at this level?"
Pat Hill:
I have made it really clear that I am a really big USC fan. I am from southern California; I grew up going to games at the Coliseum. In this country when you have lived in Baltimore, you have lived in Cleveland -- a lot like Pete has when he was with the Jets -- there is always something about the West. That we don't play as good of football out here.

USC has picked up the flag for the west United States, especially California, in bringing us national championships and greatness with USC football. I think that is important.

I like their attitude of playing all comers. Their schedule is not like the other schools in the country. They will play everybody. I admire their attitude and they will back it up every week.

I have a lot of respect for them as a team and their philosophy. I have a lot of respect for the way they coach them.

I talk to pro scouts all the time; I am always interested in how other teams practice. I am not interested in what they do -- just how they practice. I know how USC practices: they practice very hard, they are very aggressive in their 9 on 7 drills, they go one-on-ones. There is a reason they are as tough as they are and they play as hard as they do.

I have respect for them; I like to see tough hard nose football teams, and they are definitely a tough team.

I don't need to go through and rehash their personnel. Everybody already understands offensively their personnel. I could go through them all if you want me to; I have studied them pretty hard.

It all starts with their offensive line. I am a big Ryan Kalil fan. I really liked him out of high school. We recruited him out of Servite; I thought we had a chance. He isn't as big as people are looking for in this day and age. I think it starts with him. He is the leader of that unit. He is an outstanding, outstanding offensive center.
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Tuesday Morning Report

Gary Klein in the LA Times:
  • Linebacker Thomas Williams to have arthroscopic surgery on his knee today; says he'll be back for UCLA game.
  • Pete Carroll: Oscar Lua will start against Fresno State if his left knee is sound; Lua said it still felt "shaky."
  • Carroll: "[Linebacker] Collin [Ashton] is our ace in the hole." Ashton might also be snapper on punts and place-kicks if Will Collins fails to recover from a lower leg injury suffered against Cal, though Collins said X-rays were negative and that he would play Saturday.
  • Carroll: Receiver Steve Smith did not practice Monday because he was attending to an academic matter.
  • Trojans lost to Fresno State 24-7 in the 1992 Freedom Bowl.
  • USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin played for and coached at Fresno State.
Scott Wolf in the LA Daily News:
California coach Jeff Tedford apologized to USC coach Pete Carroll on Monday for a head butt delivered to Trojans tailback LenDale White after White's helmet came off in a pile of players last weekend.

Golden Bears linebacker Zack Follett head-butted White and drew a personal-foul penalty for the play.

"Jeff called and apologized and said he called (Follett) in and made him apologize for the play," Carroll said.

White said the personal foul didn't bother him because he experienced rough plays all season.

"That's what happens, life goes on," White said. "I told the refs they were grabbing my face mask. I feel like every team we play does it. They're twisting ankles, spitting, punching your head.

"But that's football. It really only happens when you're winning and it's a last resort for the other team."

Ironically, Cal offensive lineman Aaron Merz said USC was the "cheapest" defense he faced and said the Trojans spit, poked eyes and grabbed face masks.

"I didn't see anything like that on the film," Carroll said. "Our guys said they were the ones doing stuff like that."

USC defensive end Frostee Rucker denied spitting and defensive end Lawrence Jackson said the game was no rougher than usual.

"There was one play and (Cal offensive lineman) Ryan O'Callaghan pushed me in the back and I said, 'What's going on?' and he said, 'It's all fun. I'm not trying to hurt you.' So obviously, he didn't feel like we were doing anything dirty."

Carroll's more concerned about the continuing trend of helmets flying off in games and spoke to equipment personnel on Monday about it. The reason is USC switched to plastic helmet buckles this season, which become stretched out and loose after repeated use.

Carroll said he wanted to switch back to the metal buckles because they are more reliable. USC switched to plastic this season because former players Troy Polamalu and Alex Holmes cut their hands in practice on the metal buckles.
  • No rush for Williams to return from injury now that Brian Cushing has emerged at outside linebacker.
  • Tom Malone still bothered by a hip flexor. Carroll: "He's still not 100 percent. This is not him at his best. He used to be very active in practice. He can't do that anymore and only kicks one or two days."
  • Toy drive will be held at the Coliseum on Saturday for local children and those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Carroll and the USC Athletic Department behind the drive.
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Monday, November 14, 2005

Number 58

Sports Illustrated's Peter King:
Lofa Tatupu rocks. Learn about him. There aren't five middle linebackers playing any better right now.
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