After 2-Year Break USC Football Faces Washington

Sept. 30, 2001

Complete Weekly Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

THE FACTS-
USC (1-3 overall, 0-2 in Pac-10 for ninth place tie) vs. Washington (3-0, 1-0 for third place tie), Saturday, Oct. 6, 12:30 p.m. PDT, Husky Stadium, Seattle, Wash.

THEMES-
After a 2-year hiatus because of the Pac-10 scheduling format, USC and Washington-the 2 winningest teams in league history-renew their rivalry. The Trojans are trying to snap a frustrating 3-game losing skid, as the losses have been by a total of 11 points. At 1-3, Troy is off to its slowest start since 1961. The defending Pac-10 co-champion Huskies, the third Top 12 team USC has faced in 2001 and the fifth undefeated team it has played this season, are riding an 11-game winning streak (with 8 Pac-10 wins in a row) after a comeback victory last Saturday at California. Traditionally, USC-UW games have been close affairs. It's the first of 3 road trips for Troy in its next 4 games. USC's schedule is ranked the fifth toughest in the nation. The game will be shown live nationally on FOX Sports Net.

RANKINGS-
Washington is ranked 10th in the USA Today/ESPN poll and 11th by AP. USC is not ranked.

SERIES-
USC leads its series with Washington, 42-25-4. The teams have gone 2-2-1 in the past 5 meetings (USC has won only 3 times and tied once in the past 9 games). Fifteen of the past 23 meetings have been decided by 12 points or less. Of the 71 games overall, 28 have been decided by a TD or less. In their last 38 meetings since 1960, the Trojan-Husky winner has advanced to the Rose Bowl 23 times (15 by USC).In games in Seattle, the series is deadlocked at 15-15-4, but Troy has lost 6 of the last 9 there (3 were shutouts) and 8 of the last 12. In 1997 in its last trip to Seattle, USC was blanked 27-0 by the No. 7 Huskies. The Trojans had just 157 total yards (only 86 passing) and never penetrated the UW 35-yard line. Washington ran for only 31 yards.The teams' last meeting came on Halloween in 1998, USC posted a 33-10 win in the Coliseum. It was Troy's most decisive win over the Huskies since 1974. QB Carson Palmer, making his first career start (becoming only the second true freshman to start for USC), completed 18-of-31 passes for 279 yards, including a 57-yard TD to WR Billy Miller. The Trojans led 14-0 at halftime behind the Miller's score and a 10-yard TD run by TB Chad Morton (he had 110 yards on 13 carries overall). But UW closed to 14-10 in the third quarter on a 34-yard field goal by WR-PK Joe Jarzynka and a 23-yard TD pass from QB Brock Huard to WR Chris Juergens. Then, 3 interceptions helped USC regain control, including 2 for touchdowns by CB Antuan Simmons (29 and 90 yards) to tie a Pac-10 record. USC's other score came on a 1-yard run by TB Petros Papadakis after the first of those 3 picks. Overall, USC had 5 interceptions, blocked a field goal and limited UW to 116 rushing yards. Washington threw a Pac-10 record-tying 68 passes as Huard was 33-of-62 for 301 yards.

OCTOBER GAMES-
USC has a 263-101-19 (.711) all-time record while playing in the month of October, but the Trojans have lost their last 8 October contests.

ARTIFICIAL TURF-
USC is 13-6-1 in its last 20 games on artificial turf.

RAIN GAMES-
With rain always a possibility when playing in Seattle, USC has an 18-21-2 record in all games in which it rained during a major portion of the contest (the last such USC rain game was at Notre Dame in 1999, a 25-24 Trojan loss).

CONNECTIONS-
USC has 2 players who prepped in Washington-TB David Kirtman of Mercer Island HS and P Tommy Huff of Bellevue HS-while the Huskies have 32 California natives...USC running backs coach Wayne Moses was a 4-year (197-74, 1976-77) letterman at Washington, starting the last 2 seasons at cornerback (getting 7 interceptions), and then spent the past 4 seasons (1997-2000) as the Huskies' running backs coach...Washington SE Matt DeBord is the cousin of ex-USC WR Benji DeBord (1995)...Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel earned his law degree from USC in 1990...USC women's basketball coach Chris Gobrecht was the winningest coach in Washington history in her 11 years (1986-96) there, where she led the Huskies to 9 NCAA tourneys and 3 conference championships while she was twice named Pac-10 Coach of the Year...Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges was a key administrator in the USC athletic department from 1974 to 1991...Washington women's volleyball coach Jim McLaughlin was the USC men's head coach for 7 seasons (1990-96), guiding the Trojans to the 1990 NCAA title and the runner-up spot in 1991...Washington men's tennis coach Matt Anger was a 3-time All-American at USC and then was an assistant coach for Troy's 1994 men's NCAA championship tennis team...UW assistant sports information director Jeff Bechthold is a USC graduate.

LAST GAME-
USC lost its third close game in a row, this time 21-16 to Stanford before 53,962 fans in the Coliseum and a live FOX Sports Net 2 local cable audience. The Trojans, who dropped to 1-3 for the first time since 1961 (and 0-2 in the Pac-10 for the second consecutive season), have lost by a total of 11 points. It was Stanford's third win in a row over USC (also by a margin of just 11 points), the first time that has happened since 1954-56, and its first 3-0 start since 1986. The Cardinal jumped off to a 21-0 halftime lead (Troy's largest halftime deficit since a 35-point gap in the 1994 Penn State game) on a 4-yard run by TB Kerry Carter in the first quarter and a pair of second quarter passes from QB Randy Fasani to FL Luke Powell (34 yards) and TE Brett Pierce (2 yards). The last 2 scores followed Trojan turnovers in USC territory. The Trojans got untracked in the second half, sparked by some big defensive and special teams plays. First, after CB Kevin Arbet recovered a fumble (LB Frank Strong stripped Fasani of the ball), PK David Davis nailed a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter. Then 2 series later, after Arbet returned a punt a career-long 47 yards to the Stanford 8-yard line, TB Sultan McCullough ran it in on the next play. Finally, with 6:34 to play in the game, CB Chris Cash blocked PK Mike Biselli's 39-yard field goal try and CB Kris Richard raced 65 yards for a TD (USC's 2-point conversion try failed). It was Troy's first TD return with a blocked field goal since Jerald Henry's 60-yarder against California in 1994. The Trojans got the ball back again with 5:20 to go, but had to punt after 3 plays and Stanford ran out the clock (in fact, it was Troy's only possession of the quarter). USC missed on several other scoring opportunities, getting within the Cardinal 36-yard line 4 times but coming away with no points (turning the ball over on downs, missing a 26-yard field goal, throwing an interception and being forced to punt), and were hampered by some untimely penalties (9 for 93 yards). Overall, USC had just 268 total yards (only 28 on the ground, with just 1 rushing yard in the first half) to Stanford's 397 (only 166 came after the half, including just 44 passing). The Trojans held the ball only 24:12, converted only 4-of-15 third downs, had just 13 first downs and had 3 turnovers. For USC, QB Carson Palmer was 22-of-42 for 240 yards, but had 2 interceptions, while WR Kareem Kelly caught a game-high 6 passes for 46 yards. Fasani was 11-of-25 for 194 yards and the 2 scores, but was picked off once and lost 2 fumbles (he added 43 yards on 10 rushes). Pierce caught 5 passes for 40 yards, Powell had 4 grabs for a game-best 124 yards, Carter ran for 79 yards on 23 carries and TB Brian Allen added 63 yards on 12 tries. S Troy Polamalu had a game-high 10 tackles and blocked a punt, LB Mike Pollard added 9 stops and 3 deflections, LB Chris Prosser had 8 tackles (with a sack) and S DeShaun Hill made 7 stops and intercepted a pass.

SCHEDULE-
USC's 11-game schedule is challenging, featuring 7 teams that played in bowls last season and 5 that were ranked in AP's final Top 15. Five opponents are ranked in this week's AP Top 25 poll. The current USA Today/Sagarin rankings say USC is playing the nation's fifth toughest schedule. To date, 3 of USC's 5 opponents have been ranked in the AP Top 12 at the time of the game and all 5 foes have been undefeated at gametime. At the start of the season, Sports Illustrated said USC has the nation's toughest schedule, Phil Steele's magazine ranked it sixth toughest nationally and The Sporting News said USC plays the toughest schedule among TSN's pre-season Top 25 teams. Troy opened its 2001 slate at home against San Jose State, also visiting the Coliseum are last year's No. 4 Oregon State, No. 9 Kansas State, Stanford, Arizona State and UCLA. On the road, USC goes to No. 3 Washington, No. 7 Oregon, No. 15 Notre Dame, Arizona and California.

FUN FACT-
USC head coach Pete Carroll's 1972 senior season at Pacific began with a 13-6 loss at No. 9 Washington. Carroll started at safety in the game and had 8 tackles.

CARROLL-
Pete Carroll, who led the New England Patriots to the NFL playoffs twice in 3 years, brings big doses of experience, enthusiasm and leadership in his quest to revive the USC football program. He was named the Trojans' head football coach on Dec. 15, 2000 (he signed a 5-year contract). The 50-year-old Carroll, who also has coached on the college level for 10 years, has 26 years of NFL and college experience. He is 1-3 as a college head coach. He was the head coach of the NFL's New England Patriots for 3 seasons (1997-99) and New York Jets for 1 year (1994). He guided the Patriots into the playoffs in his first 2 seasons, winning the AFC Eastern Division title at 10-6 in 1997 and advancing to the second round of the playoffs, then posting a 9-7 regular season mark in 1998. His overall record in New England was 27-21 in the regular season (including 8-8 in 1999) and 1-2 in the playoffs. He owns the franchise's second-best winning percentage (54.9%). After serving as the Jets' defensive coordinator for 4 seasons (1990-93), he became the team's head coach the following season. His 1994 Jets went 6-10. Only 3 other Jets head coaches won more games in their rookie campaign. He spent the next 2 years (1995-96) as the defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, who won the NFC Western Division title both seasons. The 49ers were 11-5 in the 1995 regular season when they had the NFL's top-ranked defense and then went 12-4 in 1996. Carroll began his coaching career at the college level, serving as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Pacific, for 3 years (1974-76), working with the wide receivers and secondary. He then spent a season each as an assistant in charge of the secondary at Arkansas (1977) under Lou Holtz as the Razorbacks won the 1978 Orange Bowl, at Iowa State (1978) under Earle Bruce (the Cyclones played in the 1978 Hall of Fame Bowl) and at Ohio State (1979) under Bruce. That Buckeye squad lost to USC in the 1980 Rose Bowl. He next spent 3 seasons (1980-82) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at North Carolina State, then returned to Pacific in 1983 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator. He entered the NFL in 1984 as the defensive backs coach of the Buffalo Bills, then held a similar position with the Minnesota Vikings for 5 seasons (1985-89). The Vikings advanced to the playoffs his last 3 years there, getting to the NFC Championship game in 1987. The 1988 team was 11-5 in the regular season and the 1989 squad won the NFC Central Division crown with a 10-6 mark. His secondary averaged 25 interceptions a season and led the NFL in passing defense in 1989. Carroll spent the 2000 season as a consultant for pro and college teams, doing charitable work for the NFL and writing a column about pro football for CNNSI.com. Carroll was a 2-time (1971-72) All-Pacific Coast Conference free safety at Pacific and earned his bachelor's degree in 1973 in business administration. He received his secondary teaching credential and a master's degree in physical education from Pacific in 1976. He was a 3-sport (football, basketball and baseball) standout at Redwood High in Larkspur, Calif., earning the school's Athlete of the Year award as a senior. He played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. He then played football at Marin Junior College in Kentfield, Calif., in 1970. He was born on Sept. 15, 1951 in San Francisco. He and his wife, Glena, who played volleyball at Pacific, have 3 children: sons Brennan, 22, a senior tight end at Pittsburgh (he previously played at Delaware), and Nathan, 14, and daughter Jaime, 19, a sophomore on the USC women's highly-ranked volleyball team which competed in the 2000 NCAA Final Four. His late father-in-law, Dean Goranson, received his master's degree from USC.

CAPTAINS-
USC's 2001 captains, by vote of the players, are FB Charlie Landrigan, CB-S Antuan Simmons and S Troy Polamalu.

PALMER-
USC has one of the nation's better signalcallers in 2001 in junior Carson Palmer (84-of-146, 57.5%, 1,061 yds, 2 TD, 6 int in 2001). He is on the 'Watch List' for the 2001 Davey O'Brien Award. He is 14th nationally in total offense at 279.3 (third in Pac-10). He already ranks third on Troy's career passing list (481 completions). He is also fourth on USC's all-time total offense chart (6,167 yards), 27th on the Pac-10 career list. His 6,220 career passing yards are third-most in USC history and 25th in Pac-10 annals. He owns the USC single game total offense record (419 yards at Oregon in 2001) and his 411 passing yards in that game were 4 shy of tying another school mark. He is on pace to break Rob Johnson's school career records for completions (676) and passing yardage (8,472), plus Rodney Peete's USC career total offense yardage mark (8,640). With 24 career starts under his belt, he has completed at least 60.0% of his passes 11 times (including 5 contests at 70.0%-plus) and thrown for at least 200 yards 15 times. After missing the last 9 games of 1999 with an injury, in 2000 he showed signs of brilliance (his 228 completions and 2,914 passing yards were the second most in USC history) and rustiness (he tied the school interception mark with 18). His 5,159 career passing yards through the 2000 season were the most by a Trojan at the end of his sophomore year.

  • He was 21-of-28 for 213 yards (with an interception) and hit his first 9 aerials in the San Jose State opener.
  • Against Kansas State, he ran for a team-best and career-high 60 yards on 12 carries (the most rushing yards by a Trojan quarterback since Reggie Perry's 60 versus Memphis State in 1991) and hit 16-of-36 passes for 197 yards.
  • He set the USC single game total offense record with 419 yards at Oregon and his career-high 411 passing yards were 4 yards shy of another school mark, he completed 25-of-40 aerials, including TDs of 93 and 75 yards (the 2 longest passes of his career), but he was intercepted 3 times and sacked 5 times.
  • He was 22-of-42 for 240 yards against Stanford, but he threw 2 interceptions.

    OTHER QUARTERBACKS-
    Besides Carson Palmer, no other quarterback on the Trojan roster has ever thrown a pass in college. Redshirt freshman Matt Cassel and 2000 prep All-American freshman Matt Leinart are competing to be Palmer's backup in 2001.

    McCULLOUGH-
    Troy returned a 1,000-yard runner in 2001 and he's a good one: speedy junior tailback Sultan McCullough (79 tcb, 270 yds, 3.4 avg, 5 TD in 2001, plus 6 rec, 16.7 avg, 1 TD). He is listed as a candidate for the 2001 Doak Walker Award. He is 17th on USC's prestigious career rushing chart with 1,846 yards and has run for at least 100 yards in 8 games at Troy. His rushing total of 1,163 yards last fall was the most at USC since 1990. He hit the 100-yard rushing barrier 7 times in 2000 (the most by a Trojan since 1989), including 4 games in a row. That was good enough to earn him All-Pac-10 second team acclaim in 2000. The 1999 Pac-10 champion in the 100-meter dash, he is the fastest player ever to wear a Trojan football uniform (10.17 in the 100 meters).

  • He rushed for 167 yards with 3 TDs (14, 35 and 7 yards) on 25 carries (all game highs) in San Jose State opener (it was the most rushing yards by a Trojan in a season opener since Marcus Allen had 210 yards versus Tennessee in 1981, as well as his eighth 100-yard outing in his career and his first multi-TD game).
  • He scored USC's only touchdown (a 7-yard run) versus Kansas State and ran for 40 yards on 18 carries.
  • At Oregon, he ran 20 times for just 31 yards, but caught 3 passes for 84 yards, including a 75-yard TD (the longest reception of his career and the first career TD catch).
  • He had just 32 yards on 16 carries against Stanford and caught 3 passes for 16 yards.

    OTHER RUNNING BACKS-
    Coming into 2001, it looked like the Trojans would have a 1-2 punch at tailback with Sultan McCullough joined by powerful and experienced senior Malaefou MacKenzie (41 tcb, 284 yds, 6.9 avg in 2000, plus 27 rec, 9.2 avg), a threat running and receiving. But MacKenzie has yet to play this season: he missed USC's first 2 games with a knee sprain, the third while attending his father's funeral in Samoa and the fourth after re-spraining his knee. He was second on the Trojans in rushing last season and his 27 receptions were the most by a USC running back since 1996. In his career (which includes 4 starts), he has 765 rushing yards and 37 receptions. Besides McCullough and MacKenzie, Troy's other tailbacks have carried the ball only 4 times in their careers. Redshirt freshman Chris Howard (2 tcb, 0 yds, 0.0 avg in 2001), who is coming off 2000 knee surgery, and freshmen Darryl Poston (2 tcb, 1 yds, 0.5 avg in 2001), a 2000 prep All-American, are angling for backup tailback duty. At fullback, senior Charlie Landrigan (3 tcb, 5 yds, 1.7 avg in 2001, plus 14 rec, 14.6 avg), an outstanding blocker, returned as the starter. Behind him are senior Sunny Byrd (1 rec, 9.0 avg in 2001), who redshirted last fall after transferring from a junior college, and junior Scott Huber, a converted tight end who had 1 start last fall but no receptions.

  • Landrigan caught a then-career-best 4 passes for 45 yards in the San Jose State opener.
  • Against Kansas State, Landrigan grabbed 5 passes for 58 yards, both career highs.
  • Landrigan caught a pair of passes for 24 yards at Oregon and Poston got his first career action, getting 1 yard on 2 carries.
  • Landrigan had 3 catches for 77 yards (with a career-best 63-yarder) and a 4-yard rush versus Stanford, Byrd had a 9-yard catch and Howard got his first career carries (2 for 0 yards).

    OTHER WIDE RECEIVERS-
    In addition to Kareem Kelly, USC's wide receiver corps in 2001 has a nice blend of experienced, speedy veterans and talented newcomers. Last year's co-starters at the other wideout spot also return in sophomore Keary Colbert (11 rec, 11.1 avg in 2001) and junior Marcell Allmond (16 rec, 15.2 avg in 2000). However, Allmond-who doubles as a hurdler and decathlete on the Trojan track team-will miss USC's 2001 games while suspended for a student conduct violation. He was off to a good start in 2000 before breaking his leg in the fifth game and sitting out the rest of the way. Colbert took over for him then and ended up second on the team in receptions with 33 (the second most ever by a USC freshman). Also in the mix is a pair of junior college transfers-2000 J.C. All-American Grant Mattos (9 rec, 10.2 avg in 2001), a junior, and sophomore Devin Pitts (5 rec, 7.4 avg in 2001)-and junior Steve Stevenson (1 rec, 0.0 avg in 2001), who has 22 catches and 3 starts in his career.

  • In the San Jose State opener, Mattos had a team-best 5 catches for a game-high 75 yards in his USC debut, Pitts added 2 grabs for 12 yards in his Trojan debut and Colbert had a 7-yard catch).
  • Besides Kelly, no other wide receivers had catches versus Kansas State.
  • At Oregon, Colbert had a game-best 6 catches for 67 yards, Mattos added 3 grabs for 9 yards and Pitts had 2 for 18 yards.
  • Colbert had 4 catches for 48 yards versus Stanford, while Mattos (8 yards), Pitts (7 yards) and Stevenson (0 yards) each added a grab.

    TIGHT ENDS-
    USC had quite a challenge in finding a replacement in 2001 for dependable 4-year starting tight end Antoine Harris, who had 61 catches and 7 scores in his career. Going into the 2001 season, the tight ends had just 11 catches and limited offensive playing time to their names. The starter comes from an unlikely spot: defense. Rangy senior Kori Dickerson (11 rec, 13.9 avg in 2001) was last season's starting strongside linebacker, where he notched 32 tackles. He was moved to tight end this past spring and was impressive. He doubles as a 6-8 high jumper for the USC track team. Behind him are junior Doyal Butler (4 rec, 13.0 avg in 2000) and sophomore Alex Holmes (6 rec, 6.7 avg in 2001), a Freshman All-American second teamer last year.

  • In the San Jose State opener, Dickerson-in his first game as a tight end-caught 3 passes for 41 yards and Holmes had another 3 receptions for 15 yards.
  • Dickerson (51 yards) and Holmes (13 yards) each had 2 catches against Kansas State.
  • At Oregon, Dickerson caught 4 passes for 32 yards, while Holmes added a 12-yard grab.
  • Dickerson had 2 catches for 29 yards versus Stanford.

    OFFENSIVE LINEMEN-
    Three-fifths of USC's starters on the offensive line are back in 2001 and each is an outstanding player. But the rest of the unit is relatively inexperienced, which is a concern since Troy starts new tackles and must develop some reliable depth along the line. Manning the guard spots are senior Faaesea Mailo, who started at tackle last season but had 6 starts earlier in his career at left guard, and junior Zach Wilson, a 3-year starter on the right side. Both tip the scales at more than 300 pounds. Mailo, the only senior lineman, fills the left guard spot held by Trevor Roberts last fall. A twisted knee slowed him in fall camp, so sophomore Norm Katnik started there in the San Jose State opener and then again versus Stanford (Mailo came in off the bench in both of those games). Katnik can play any line position: he worked mainly at center in 2000, was moved to tackle last spring, went back to center this fall and now is also working at guard. So far in 2001, he has appeared at all 3 line spots, even starting at center at Oregon and guard against Stanford. Sophomore Lenny Vandermade returns as the center after earning Freshman All-American first team honors last year (he also started some at guard in 2000). He is on the 'Watch List' for the 2001 Dave Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center. Sophomores Jacob Rogers (he missed last spring's practice while recovering from shoulder surgery) and Eric Torres (he saw limited time in 2000) won the starting tackle jobs vacated by 3-year starter Brent McCaffrey on the left and Mailo on the right.

    DEFENSIVE LINEMEN-
    The situation on the USC defensive line coming into 2001 was not as dire as it might have appeared. Although starters were gone at 3 positions-tackle Ennis Davis (who had 146 tackles, including 36 for losses with 15 sacks, as a 3-year starter) and ends Sultan Abdul-Malik (a 3-year starter who had 22.5 career sacks) and Matt Childers (a 2-year starter)-USC had plenty of quality bodies to fill in. Last year, senior Ryan Nielsen (12 tac, 1 dfl in 2001) and junior Bernard Riley (22 tac, 4 for loss, 1 FR, 1 dfl, 1 int in 2001) shared a tackle spot. This season, Nielsen-a 3-year starter-and Riley are side by side at tackle. However, Nielsen sprained his shoulder against Stanford, so look for 2000 prep All-American freshman Shaun Cody (4 tac in 2001), who was USA Today's national Defensive Player of the Year, to take over (Cody began the year as a backup end, but moved to tackle after the second contest). One end spot is a pseudo-linebacker, giving USC's 4-3 look a 3-4 feel. Senior Lonnie Ford (16 tac, 5 for loss, 2 sack, 1 dfl, 2 FF in 2001), who has 21 tackles for losses and 17 starts in his career, is the ideal man for that job, with soph Omar Nazel (6 tac, 2 for loss, 2 sack, 1 dfl in 2001), who saw brief action in 5 games last season without making a stop, backing him up. The other end has been shared by senior Bobby DeMars (1 tac, 1 dfl, 1 blk FG in 2001), who had seen limited action entering the 2001 season, and redshirt freshman Kenechi Udeze (14 tac, 2 for loss, 1 sack , 1 FR in 2001). Udeze started the San Jose State and Kansas State games and DeMars started against Oregon and Stanford (but DeMars suffered a neck sprain versus Stanford).

  • In the San Jose State opener, Udeze had 4 tackles (1 for a loss), Riley had 4 stops and made a nice 1-handed interception of a deflected pass, Nielsen had 4 tackles, Ford and Nazel each had 2 stops and a deflection and Cody had a tackle.
  • Against Kansas State, Riley had 10 tackles, recovered a fumble (to set up a USC TD) and deflected a pass, Udeze and Ford both had 7 stops (both had a sack and Ford forced the fumble which Riley recovered) and Nielsen added 4 tackles.
  • Ford had 5 tackles (1.5 for losses) at Oregon, Riley added 4 stops (0.5 for a loss), Nielsen had 3 tackles and a deflection, Nazel had a 7-yard sack and DeMars-in his first career start-had a tackle, deflection and blocked field goal.
  • Riley had 4 tackles (2 for losses) versus Stanford, Cody, Udeze and Nazel added 3 stops each (Udeze also recovered a fumble and Nazel had a sack), Ford had 2 stops (with a sack) and forced a fumble which USC recovered, and Nielsen had a tackle before spraining his shoulder.

    LINEBACKERS-
    Of any area on the USC team, the linebacking corps faced the biggest challenge in 2001. After all, Troy had to replace all 3 starters, including a pair of elite linebackers: 3-year starter Zeke Moreno, who posted 285 tackles (33 for loss), 5 picks and 4 touchdowns in his career while topping the Trojans in stops the past 2 seasons, and 2-year starter Markus Steele, who made 152 tackles (29 for loss) in his career. Last year's starter on the strong side (Kori Dickerson) moved to tight end. Filling in at middle linebacker for Moreno are juniors Mike Pollard (31 tac, 2 for loss, 4 dfl, 1 FF in 2001) and Aaron Graham (26 tac, 2 for loss, 1 sac, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2000), who started there for USC's final 4 games last fall when Moreno moved to the weakside for an injured Steele, and redshirt freshman Lee Webb (6 tac in 2001), a converted fullback who broke his foot against Stanford. The outside spots manned last season by Steele on the weak side and Dickerson on the strong side are being handled by a pair of converted safeties: senior Frank Strong (18 tac, 3 dfl, 1 FR, 1 FF in 2001), who was a free safety the previous year-and-a-half and also was USC's top kickoff returner last year (21.6 avg on 25 runbacks), on the weak side and redshirt freshman Matt Grootegoed (11 tac, 2 for loss in 2001), who sat out last year with mononucleosis, on the strong side. When Strong missed the Kansas State game with a knee sprain and Grootegoed missed the Oregon and Stanford games with a shoulder sprain, senior John Cousins (11 tac, 1 for loss in 2001)-who is deaf in one ear and hearing impaired in the other-got the starts versus Kansas State and Oregon and sophomore Chris Prosser (11 tac, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 1 dfl in 2001), who missed USC's first 2 games of 2001 while ineligible, got the start versus Stanford.

  • In the San Jose State opener, Strong had game bests of 8 tackles and 2 deflections, Pollard added 5 stops while forcing a fumble which USC recovered and deflecting a pass which Troy intercepted, Grootegoed had 2 tackles and Webb added a stop.
  • Grootegoed had 9 tackles (1 for a loss) against Kansas State, Pollard and Cousins added 6 stops and Webb had 5 (Strong sat out with knee sprain).
  • Pollard had a game-best 11 tackles (1 for a loss) at Oregon, Strong added 6 stops and recovered a fumble, Cousins had 5 tackles (1 for a loss) and Prosser had 3 (1 for a loss), while Grootegoed sat out with a shoulder sprain.
  • Pollard had 9 tackles and 3 deflections versus Stanford, Prosser added 8 stops (with a sack) and a deflection, and Strong had 4 tackles, forced a fumble which USC recovered and deflected a pass.

    DEFENSIVE BACKS-
    There is an embarrassment of riches in the USC secondary in 2001 in terms of experience and depth. Seven players have started there in their careers. Junior Troy Polamalu (team-high 37 tac, 5 for loss, 2 dfl, 1 FF, 1 blk P in 2001) was the team's No. 2 tackler last fall (83) while starting all season at strong safety. He currently is sixth in the Pac-10 in tackles (9.2). Senior Antuan Simmons (13 tac, 1 int, 1 dfl in 2001), a 4-year starter at cornerback (he was moved to safety this fall) who sat out the 2000 campaign while battling a life-threatening illness (a benign abdominal tumor that left him hospitalized for 6 weeks), has emerged as the starter at free safety. He slowly worked his way back into shape, was impressive in last spring's practice and won the free safety job this fall. He is an impact player, with 188 tackles, 8 interceptions and 6 blocked kicks in his career. Behind Simmons is junior DeShaun Hill (12 tac, 1 for loss, 1 dfl, 1 int, 1 FR in 2001), who shared the starting free safety duty last season with Frank Strong. The corners are equally stacked. Senior Chris Cash (18 tac, 2 for loss, 1 int, 1 blk FG in 2001) starts on one side and is backed by the player he shared the spot with in 2000, junior Darrell Rideaux (5 tac in 2001, plus 9 KOR, 21.8 avg), who also is a sprinter for USC's track team with a best of 10.27 in the 100 meters. On the other side, there's senior 3-year starter Kris Richard (17 tac, 4 dfl, 1 TD on a blk FG in 2001), who also was Troy's top punt returner last season (7.5 avg on 13 runbacks). He has 6 career picks. Backing him up and serving as the nickel back is junior Kevin Arbet (6 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 2 dfl, 1 FR in 2001, plus 7 PR, 11.4 avg and 2 KOR, 13.5 avg), a 4-game starter last year and the stepson of ex-USC receiver Jeff Simmons.

  • In the San Jose State opener, Polamalu had 7 tackles (1 for a loss) and a deflection, Hill and Simmons added 4 stops each (Hill also recovered a fumble), Cash had 3 tackles (1 for a loss) and an interception, Richard had 3 stops, Arbet had 2 tackles and Rideaux made a tackle and returned a kickoff 15 yards.
  • Against Kansas State, Polamalu had a game-high 13 tackles (2.5 for losses) and forced a fumble, Richard had 8 stops and broke up a pass, Cash had 3 tackles and Simmons had 2 tackles and intercepted the eighth pass of his career.
  • Cash had 8 tackles (1 for loss) at Oregon, Polamalu added 7 stops and a deflection, Simmons had 5 tackles, Richard had 3 tackles and 2 deflections, Rideaux had 3 stops and returned 4 kickoffs for 97 yards, Arbet had 2 tackles (with a sack) and a deflection, plus returned a punt 10 yards and a kickoff 13 yards, and Hill had a stop and a deflection.
  • Against Stanford, Polamalu had a game-high 10 tackles (1 for a loss) and also blocked a punt, Hill made 7 stops (1 for a loss) and an interception, Cash added 4 tackles and blocked a field goal, Richard had 3 stops, 1 deflection and returned Cash's blocked field goal 65 yards for a TD, Arbet had 2 tackles, a deflection, a fumble recovery (which led to a Trojan field goal), and returned 5 punts for 70 yards (including a career-best 47-yarder to set up a TD) and a kickoff 14 yards, Simmons added 2 tackles and Rideaux had a tackle and returned 2 kickoffs for 38 yards.

    SPECIALISTS-
    Senior Mike MacGillivray (39.7 avg in 2001), who owns a 39.4 career punting average while punting for the fourth year, is a battle-tested veteran but has struggled with his consistency. An effective placement punter, more than a third (85) of his career punts have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line (including 11 of his 26 boots in 2001) and 27 have traveled 50-plus yards. With 245 punts for 9,650 yards, he is within range of breaking John Stonehouse's USC career records for punts (259) and punt yardage (10,578). USC's placekicking was an adventure in 2000 and 2 of the 3 kickers are back, but a newcomer has won the job: junior David Davis (5-of-6 PAT, 4-of-6 FG in 2001), a junior college transfer who had an impressive fall camp. Senior David Newbury (4-of-9 FG, 9-of-12 PAT in 2000) began 2000 as the kicker, but he was inconsistent (he is handling the kickoffs this fall, with 2 of his 16 kickoffs pinning opponents within the 20, with both being touchbacks). Newbury was replaced midway through last season's fifth game by sophomore John Wall (5-of-5 FG, 9-of-14 PAT in 2000), whose field goals were all within 27 yards and his 5 missed extra points were all blocked. When Wall was sidelined by a groin injury and then a knee injury in the final 3 contests of 2000 (he's still coming around from that knee injury), the now-graduated David Bell took over. Primarily USC's effective kickoff man the past 4 years (nearly 50% of his 243 career kickoffs were not returned past the 20-yard line, with 62 touchbacks), Bell will long be remembered for his game-winning field goal with 9 seconds to go at UCLA last fall (it was only the second three-pointer of his career and the first after 3 misses in 2000).

  • Davis hit all 3 of his PAT tries in his debut in the San Jose State opener, while 2 of Newbury's 4 kickoffs pinned SJSU within the 20-yard line.
  • MacGillivray averaged 41.6 yards on 9 punts against Kansas State and 7 of them pinned the Wildcats within the 20-yard line (2 of his boots were 50-plus yards), while Davis came up short on a 42-yard field goal try and had his PAT kick blocked.
  • Davis hit all 3 of his field goal tries (the first of his career)-32, 43 and 39 yards-and his PAT at Oregon, while MacGillivray averaged 39.2 yards on his 6 punts.
  • MacGillivray averaged 39.7 yards on his 6 punts against Stanford, with 2 pinning the Cardinal within the 20-yard line (the second one stopped at the 2), while Davis hit a 41-yard field goal (he missed a 26-yarder) and his only PAT try.

    STAT NOTES

    USC's 3 losses this year-2 were to Top 12 teams at the time-have been by a total of just 11 points (all 3 of those foes are in the current Top 25).

    USC has allowed just 17 points in the second half this year, on the other hand, Troy has scored just 20 points in the first half this season.

    In 4 games this year, USC already has 9 takeaways after getting only 17 all of last year.

    USC's offense is 7-of-8 this season when in the red zone (4 touchdowns, 3 field goals, 1 missed field goal).

    The Trojans have 4 interceptions this year after getting only 7 all of 2000.

    USC has turned the ball over just 8 times this season after having a nation-leading 36 turnovers in 2000.

    USC has the same amount of total yards (1,394) as its opponents this season.

    USC is allowing opponents to convert just 33.3% of their third downs (19-of-57) in 2001 (and 0-of-6 fourth downs).

    USC has rushed for just 68 yards in its last 2 games.

    So far in 2001, USC has held the ball an average of 4:34 less a game than its opponents.

    USC this week is 20th nationally in pass defense (164.0, second in the Pac-10), tied for 20th nationally in scoring defense (16.3, second in the Pac-10) and 25th in pass offense (265.3, fourth in the Pac-10).

    TB Sultan McCullough has scored 6 of USC's 7 offensive touchdowns in 2001.

    USC is 4-0 when TB Sultan McCullough starts and has 25-plus carries (Troy is 6-2 when McCullough is a starter and gets 20-plus carries), conversely, when McCullough rushes 20 or fewer times when he starts, USC is 0-6.

    In 2 of USC's last 5 games, QB Carson Palmer has led the team in rushing (with 22 yards versus Notre Dame in 2000 and 60 yards against Kansas State in 2001), before that, the last time a quarterback led USC in rushing in a game was when Rodney Peete did so in the 1988 Rose Bowl versus Michigan State.

    ASSISTANT COACHES-
    With the head coaching change this year, there are 7 new assistant coaches on the USC staff: offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Norm Chow (who worked wonders last year at North Carolina State and before that for 27 years at BYU, where he coached such star quarterbacks as Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson, Gifford Nielsen, Ty Detmer and Robbie Bosco), associate head coach/secondary coach DeWayne Walker (he spent the past 3 years with the New England Patriots after stops at Utah State, BYU, Oklahoma State and California), running backs coach Wayne Moses (who has coached Pac-10 runners the last 11 years at Washington, California and UCLA), wide receiver coach Kirby Wilson (he was with the Washington Redskins and New England Patriots following stints at Iowa State, Southern Illinois and Wyoming), offensive line coach Keith Uperesa (he came from Idaho State after a long and successful career at Snow J.C.), linebackers coach Nick Holt (previously at Louisville and Idaho) and tight ends coach Lane Kiffin (the son of longtime NFL and college coach Monte Kiffin). They join holdovers Ed Orgeron (defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator) and Kennedy Pola (special teams coordinator). Two young coaches-offensive assistant Steve Sarkisian (a record-setting quarterback under Chow at BYU) and defensive assistant Rocky Seto (a former USC linebacker)-joined the staff as graduate assistants.

    RANDOM NOTES

    Now that senior CB-S Antuan Simmons-a 4-year starter with 188 tackles, 8 interceptions and 6 blocked kicks in his career-has stepped onto the field in 2001, it should be regarded as the comeback of the year in college football. After all, he has recovered from a life threatening illness. Simmons was set to start for his fourth season in 2000 and was a pre-season All-American who might have been a first round draft choice this past spring. But, while getting an MRI as part of his rehab for a back injury that occurred late in the 1999 season, doctors noticed a benign abdominal tumor. He had surgery in May of 2000 to remove the tumor and was expected to be hospitalized for 4-5 days. Instead, he was hospitalized for 6 weeks, had 2 surgeries and came close to death 3 times. He lost 40 pounds. He redshirted the 2000 season while recuperating and had additional surgery in November for a hernia. He wasn't expected to participate fully in 2001 spring practice, but he was ahead of schedule, so he was allowed to go full-speed from the start and really opened some eyes. At the end of the spring, he was listed as a co-starter at cornerback, but was moved to free safety this fall and has been the starter there.

    Speaking of comebacks, new strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle has beaten cancer. He learned he had Hodgkin's Disease in December of 2000, began radiation treatments in Tennessee (where he was the Volunteers' associate strength and conditioning coach the previous 3 years), was hired by USC in February of 2001, kept his illness a secret except to Trojan head coach Pete Carroll, continued treatments in Tennessee and at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, then doctors told him this summer that the cancer was in remission. He informed the USC players of his ordeal at the start of this fall's camp.

    The 2001 season marks the 40th anniversary of Traveler, USC's white horse mascot.

    This year also is the 20th anniversary of USC's most recent Heisman Trophy, won by TB Marcus Allen in 1981 (USC's fourth).

    Pete Carroll's arrival at USC is extra special, because he gets to see his daughter, Jaime, on a daily basis now. She is a sophomore defensive specialist on USC's highly-ranked women's volleyball team which last fall reached the NCAA Final Four (and is a favorite to win the title in 2001). However, Carroll will miss out on watching his oldest son, Brennan, a senior tight end at Pittsburgh.

    Look for 2 slight retro changes on USC's uniform in 2001: the Trojans have gray facemasks (instead of cardinal) and wear white shoelaces (instead of black). Also, on the back of their helmets are a gold football-shaped decal reading 'McKay' in memory of legendary coach John McKay (4 national championships, 8 Rose Bowl trips, 127 victories), who died this past June 10, and an American flag in honor of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy on the East Coast.

    A new tradition has started at Troy's home games in 2001 as the USC team buses unload the Trojan players amid the tailgaters in front of the Coliseum peristyle about 2 hours-and-20-minutes before kickoff. The players walk through the crowd into the Coliseum before going to dress in the locker room.

    USC's oldest living football letterman is 101-year-old James Pursell. He lettered in 1921-22-23 as a 156-pound guard and was a member of USC's first Rose Bowl team.

    USC's football team can field a pretty imposing track and field squad...and, in fact, Trojan track coach Ron Allice benefits from a number of footballers (many helped Troy win the 2000 Pac-10 meet). TB Sultan McCullough is the fastest Trojan football player ever, having run a 10.17 in the 100 (fifth fastest of any USC trackster in history!). He was the Pac-10 100 champ in 1999. WR Kareem Kelly, who owns the world junior record in the indoor 50, has clocked 10.28 in the 100. CB Darrell Rideaux has gone 10.27, CB Miguel Fletcher has gone 10.31 and Michigan transfer TB Justin Fargas (he's ineligible this season) is a 10.47 guy. Fargas (1997), Rideaux (1998) and Kelly (1999) all won the California state high school 100. WR Marcell Allmond is a 13.54 high hurdler (he was a 2-time California state prep champ) and national Junior Olympic record-setting decathlete. And, get this, 6-4, 235-pound TE Kori Dickerson (he started at linebacker last fall, but starts on offense this year) is a 6-8 high jumper who placed second in this past season's USC-UCLA dual meet (and third the previous 2 years). OT Nate Steinbacher and OG Travis Watkins are shot putters for Troy. And, among the freshmen, WR William Buchanon, TB Darryl Poston and S-CB John Walker are legitimate speed threats.

    OG Faaesea Mailo, a 6-3, 325-pound Hawaiian, participated in the sumo club in high school, where he won the Hawaii state championship. He even went to Japan in 1996 to train with pro sumo wrestlers, who tried unsuccessfully to convince him to take up the sport as a profession. He missed the 1997 and 1998 USC seasons while on a Mormon mission in Sapporo, Japan (imagine opening your door and seeing him!). He is fluent in Japanese. In short yardage situations the past 2 seasons, he lined up at fullback a la Refrigerator Perry and proved to be a devastating blocker.

    LB John Cousins is deaf in his left ear and impaired in the right. He wears a hearing aid in the right ear and reads lips. That handicap could present some unique challenges on the football field. Incidentally, PK John Wall knows sign language and has volunteered with deaf and hearing-impaired youth programs.

    OT Phillip Eaves spent part of 1997 in the Army at Fort Jackson, S.C.

    QB Matt Cassel played on the Northridge (Calif.) team that was a finalist at the 1994 Little League World Series, while LB Bobby Otani was a national champion in judo.

    USC has a 23-year-old freshman in WR Frank Candela. The one-time Boston prep football sensation spent the past 4 seasons playing minor league baseball in the Brewers organization, but wanted to give football another try. Known for his speed and quickness, the 5-8, 175-pounder is nicknamed The Flash. He was born in Boston, but soon after moved with his family to the Italian island of Sicily, where he lived for 7 years before coming back to Boston (his parents returned to live in Sicily when he was 14 and Candela remained in Boston with an older brother).

    Four Trojans have Hollywood connections. As a youngster, USC freshman S-CB John Walker was a television actor who appeared in such shows as 'E.R.' and '7th Heaven' (in fact, he didn't play football until his sophomore year of high school because a clause in his acting contract prevented him from doing anything that could affect his appearance). TB Justin Fargas is the son of actor Antonio Fargas, who has appeared in television (including as Huggy Bear on 'Starsky and Hutch') and film ('Shaft,' 'Pretty Baby,' 'The Gamble' and 'Car Wash,' among others). C-OG Derek Graf's father, Allan, is a stuntman, stunt coordinator and second unit director who has been involved in many noted Hollywood films, 'On Any Given Sunday' and 'The Replacements.' USC linebackers coach Nick Holt is the grandson of Clarence 'Buster' Crabbe, USC's first All-American swimmer (1931) who was a 1931 NCAA freestyle titlist and 1932 Olympic gold medalist before starring in Hollywood as Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.

    Four Trojans have fathers who played on national championship USC football squads: C-OG Derek Graf (father, Allan, was on the 1972 team), LB Austin Jackson (father, Melvin, was on the 1974 squad), LB-S Kyle Matthews (father, 1977 All-American Clay, was on the 1974 team) and CB Justin Tolliver (father, Kevin Williams, was on the 1978 team). Matthews' uncle, Bruce, was a 1982 All-American offensive guard at USC. Several other Trojans have relatives with USC football connections. CB-S Kevin Arbet is the stepson of ex-Trojan (1980-82) Jeff Simmons. Two Trojans had cousins who played at USC-WR Kareem Kelly (Rashard Cook, 1995-98) and TE-SNP Joe Boskovich (Martin Boskovich, 1993)-and two had uncles who were Trojan footballers: S Troy Polamalu (Kennedy Pola, 1982-85, now USC's special teams coordinator) and OT-C Norm Katnik (John Katnik, 1986-87).

    Speaking of genes: CB-S Kevin Arbet's cousin, Lamarr Arbet, is a sophomore defensive lineman at San Jose State and his uncle, Darren Arbet, is the head coach of the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League. WR William Buchanon is the son of ex-NFL star Willie Buchanon, a 1971 All-American cornerback at San Diego State who was a 3-time Pro Bowler during his 11-year (1972-82) NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers. TB Miguel Fletcher's father, Ned, was on the football and track teams at Cal State Northridge. TE Alex Holmes' father, Mike, lettered at defensive end at Michigan in 1974 and 1975. TE Kolomona Kapanui's cousin, Chad Kapanui, plays football at Hawaii. OT-C Norm Katnik's father, Norman, was a 2-year starting center at Arizona (1978-79). TB-FB David Kirtman's uncle played football at California. FB Charlie Landrigan's father was a quarterback at a small college in North Dakota. TB Sultan McCullough's brother, Saladin, was a tailback at Oregon in 1996 and 1997 who has played in the XFL and NFL, while his late father, Bruce, ran track at San Jose State in the 1960s and his mother, Mabel, played basketball on the 1959 Arkansas high school championship team. OG Faaesea Mailo's father, James, played football at Hawaii, while his brother, Anipati, is a junior linebacker at Hawaii and another brother, Fulutusi, was a linebacker at Montana State. PK David Newbury's father, Gerry, played professional soccer in England. WR Devin Pitts' mother, LaVerne, was on the basketball and track teams at Cal State Dominguez Hills, while his older brother, Chester, is a senior offensive lineman at San Diego State, his cousin is major league slugger Barry Bonds. S Troy Polamalu's uncle, Al Pola, played football at Penn State, a cousin, Nicky Sualua, was a running back with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys who attended Ohio State, another cousin, Leie Sualua, was a defensive lineman at Oregon, and another cousin, Joe Polamalu, played for Oregon State in 1987 and 1988. C A.J. Single's father, Doug, played at Stanford, then was the Cardinal's offensive line coach before serving as athletic director at Northwestern and SMU. OG Travis Watkins' brother, Todd, is a freshman on the Norfolk State football team, while his father, Don, was a lineman at Pasadena City College and his uncle, Tom Watkins, played 8 seasons in the NFL inthe 1960s with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. LB coach Nick Holt's wife, Julie, was the head women's basketball at Nevada Reno, Pacific, Gonzaga and Idaho. TE coach Lane Kiffin's father, Monte, is the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (he is a longtime NFL and collegiate assistant coach who also served as North Carolina State's head coach in the early 1980s).

    How about these names: FB Sunny Byrd. Walk-on WR Forrest Mozart. OG Faaesea Mailo (his first name means 'Someone who does things differently'). 6-3, 295-pound DT-DE Kenechi Udeze (he goes by BKU, as in Big Kenechi Udeze). Walk-on WR D. Hale (it's for Donald, but he goes by D.).

    USC IS THE PLACE TO BE
    Based on several national accolades it has received recently, USC can stake its claim as one of the nation's premier schools. USC was named the 'College of the Year' by the 2000 edition of the Time/Princeton Review College Guide because of the remarkable bonds it has forged with the local community. The editors said USC has one of the most ambitious social-outreach programs of any university in the nation and cited the school's model of service learning (applying academic theory to real-life situations through public service). They also pointed out that USC's undergraduate applications have nearly doubled over the last few years and it is enrolling the most academically accomplished freshman classes in its history. Troy also was selected as one of America's nine 'hottest schools' by the 2001 edition of the Newsweek/Kaplan College Guide because it lives up to its reputation as a top-notch institution of higher education. Students quoted in the guide said that what attracted them to the university was Los Angeles' ethnic diversity, the offer of scholarships, the small classroom sizes and USC's standing in academe. Also in 2001, the Association of American Colleges and Universities picked USC as one of 16 'Leadership Institutions' for providing stimulating educational experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. USC was cited for emphasizing a campus culture featuring new learning techniques, curriculum and organizational structure and for demonstrating a strong commitment to liberal arts education relevant to the contemporary world. The organization said USC not only linked liberal arts and pre-professional study, but offered students the opportunity to learn by doing through off-campus work in community projects and internships. Also, USC was lauded for stressing critical thinking, effective communication and contributing to a diverse society.

    WEIGHTY MATTERS-
    The conditioning of USC's players has markedly improved under new strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle and his staff (Carlisle was hired in February of 2001). For instance, the team average in the bench press at the end of 2000 spring practice was 318 pounds (with only 4 players lifting 400-plus pounds), but it improved to 341 pounds at the end of 2001 spring drills (15 hoisted 400-plus) and entering the 2001 fall season the average was at 369 pounds (with 25 players at 400-plus). In the power clean, the spring 2000 team average was 270 pounds (with just 4 players lifting 300-plus pounds), then the spring 2001 mark improved to 283 pounds (with 18 hitting 300-plus) and going into this fall season the average was at 292 pounds (32 players are at 300-plus). Additionally, every Trojan currently has a body fat lower than 20%.

    ACADEMICS-
    USC's two most recent graduation rates for football are the highest in USC history. The 2001 official NCAA graduation rate for Trojan football players was 82%, an all-time high (topping the previous USC high of 80% in 2000). That rate compared to 73% for the general USC student body...and it was about 30 percentage points higher than the national football average for Division I schools. Among the top scholars on the 2001 Trojan squad are LB Aaron Orndorff (team-high 3.89 GPA in geology), TE Chad Cook (3.22, business), TB Mark Gomez (3.22, political science), QB Matt Cassel (3.14), OG Spencer Torgan (3.03, business), DE Bobby DeMars (2.96, business administration), P Mike MacGillivray (2.95, public policy and management), C-SNP Joe Boskovich (2.92, business), TE-FB Scott Huber (2.91, communication), TE Alex Holmes (2.87, business), P Tommy Huff (2.85, history), CB Matt Lemos (2.81), TE Gregg Guenther (2.76) and DE Jay Bottom (2.75). Huber was a 1999 and 2000 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention choice. In its history, USC football has produced 22 Academic All-American first teamers (tops in the Pac-10 and sixth in the nation), 20 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners, 12 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes, 4 NCAA Today's Top Six winners, 1 Rhodes Scholar and 1 Academic All-American Hall of Famer.

    IN THE NFL-
    USC is always well-represented in the NFL. At the start of training camp this summer, there were 38 ex-Trojans on NFL rosters. Last year, there were 31 Trojans on opening day NFL rosters, including players such as LBs Junior Seau and Chris Claiborne, OLs Tony Boselli and Bruce Matthews, DLs Willie McGinest and Darrell Russell, WRs Keyshawn Johnson and Johnnie Morton, QB Rob Johnson and DBs Jason Sehorn, Sammy Knight and Daylon McCutcheon. Six NFL head coaches have USC ties (either as former players or assistants): New York Giants' Jim Fassel, Tennessee's Jeff Fisher, Seattle's Mike Holmgren, San Francisco's Steve Mariucci, Miami's Dave Wannstedt and San Diego's Mike Riley. Eight current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: WR William Buchanon (father, Willie Buchanon), LB Austin Jackson (father, Melvin Jackson), WR Kareem Kelly (cousin, Rashard Cook), LB-S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr., father, Clay Matthews, uncle, Bruce Matthews), TB Sultan McCullough (brother, Saladin McCullough), S Troy Polamalu (cousin, Nicky Sualua), WR Justin Tolliver (father, Kevin Williams) and OG Travis Watkins (uncle, Tom Watkins). Additionally, head coach Pete Carroll was an NFL head coach and assistant coach, and assistants DeWayne Walker, Kirby Wilson and Lane Kiffin were NFL assistants. Five assistant coaches played professionally: Keith Uperesa in the NFL, Walker, Wilson, Norm Chow and Steve Sarkisian in the CFL and Walker also played in the USFL.

    ON TV-
    USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 288 times, including all 12 games each of the previous 3 seasons (1998, 1999 and 2000). In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997.

    ROSTER UPDATES-
    There are a number of updates from the roster in the 2001 USC football media guide. There are 4 new scholarship players who have transferred this fall from junior colleges or colleges (their complete bios are below): #17 Devin Pitts (WR, 6-4, 190, So*./Jr., Carson, El Camino JC/North Torrance HS), #48 David Davis (PK, 5-11, 160, Jr./Jr., Hawthorne, El Camino JC/Bishop Montgomery HS), #51 Melvin Simmons (LB, 6-1, 210, Jr./Jr., Compton, Washington State/Dominguez HS) and #87 Grant Mattos (WR, 6-2, 220, Jr./Jr., Mountain View, Foothill JC/St. Francis HS, pronounced MAT-toaz). Five other players have joined the squad as freshmen walk-ons: #14 Greig Carlson (WR, 5-10, 190, Fr./Fr., Woodland Hills, Pacific Palisades HS), #15 Zach Sherwood (P, 6-3, 190, Fr./Fr., Irvine, University HS), #27 Andre Woodert (WR, 6-0, 195, Fr./Fr., Los Angeles, Agoura HS), #38 Justin Tolliver (CB, 5-8, 150, Fr./Fr., New Orleans, La., De La Salle HS) and #60 Collin Ashton (LB, 6-1, 205, Fr./Fr., Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo HS). Three returning walk-ons have changed jersey numbers: P Tommy Huff is now #16, TE-SNP Alex Bottom is now #46 and WR Forrest Mozart is now #47. Also, delete LB Henry Wallace and walk-ons PK Anthony Boscarini and CB Brien McMullen, who have quit, walk-on QB Matt Harris, who transferred to UNLV, and LB Marvin Simmons, DE Raymond Tago and DE Daniel Pryor, who each did not qualify for admission. Several players have switched positions: Frank Strong and Matt Grootegoed are now at LB, Antuan Simmons and Kevin Arbet are at CB-S, Eric Reese is a TB, Scott Huber is a TE-FB, Norm Katnik is an OT-C, Joe McGuire is an OT-OG, Kenechi Udeze is a DT-DE, John Walker is a S-CB, David Kirtman is a TB-FB and Kyle Matthews is a LB-S. One player has changed his jersey number and switched positions: Malcolm Wooldridge is now #72 and is an OG.

    BIOS OF NEW SCHOLARSHIP TROJANS

    DEVIN PITTS-
    He was a 2000 J.C. Grid-Wire All-American honorable mention and Super Prep JUCO 100 pick as a redshirt freshman at El Camino Junior College in Torrance (Calif.)...He caught 68 passes for 1,156 yards (17.0 avg.) and 8 TDs in 2000, and was ranked 10th in the California juco ranks in receptions per game (6.3)...He attended El Camino in 1999, but did not play football because of an injury...Current Trojans Sunny Byrd and David Davis also attended El Camino...He won 1998 All-CIF Division X, South Bay Daily Breeze All-South Bay second team and All-Ocean League honors as a senior at North Torrance (Calif.) High...He had 48 receptions for 861 yards (17.9 avg.) and 9 TDs in 1998...He also ran track at North Torrance, with a best of 10.8 in the 100 meters...His mother, LaVerne, was on the basketball and track teams at Cal State Dominguez Hills, while his older brother, Chester, is a senior offensive lineman at San Diego State...His cousin is major league slugger Barry Bonds.

    DAVID DAVIS-
    He was a 2000 J.C. Grid-Wire All-American second team and J.C. Athletic Bureau All-State Region IV first team pick as a sophomore placekicker at El Camino Junior College in Torrance (Calif.)...He hit 11-of-15 field goals and 29-of-31 PATs for 62 points in 2000...As a 1999 redshirt freshman at El Camino, he made 6-of-11 field goals and all 47 of his PATs for 65 points...He also played soccer in 1998 as a freshman at El Camino...Current Trojans Sunny Byrd and Devin Pitts also attended El Camino...He prepped at Bishop Montgomery High in Torrance (Calif.), where he played football (placekicker and wide receiver as a 1997 senior), soccer and baseball...Current Trojan Eric Torres also prepped at Bishop Montgomery...He is a left-footed kicker.

    MELVIN SIMMONS-
    He must sit out the 2001 season after transferring from Washington State (a year was waived from the 2-year in-conference transfer rule, making him eligible in 2002 instead of 2003)...He started 10 games at both middle and weakside linebacker as a 2000 sophomore at Washington State, getting 59 tackles (fourth on WSU), including 7 for losses of 24 yards (with 4 sacks for minus 19 yards), plus a deflection...Posted 9 stops against Stanford, 7 versus Washington and Utah and 6 (with 2 sacks) against Arizona State in 2001...Missed the 2000 California game with a shoulder injury...Saw action in 12 games as a first-year freshman in 1999, as a reserve linebacker and on special teams...Had 6 tackles in 1999...Received Blue Chip All-American, Super Prep All-Far West, All-CIF and All-League MVP honors as a 1998 senior at Dominguez High in Compton (Calif.)...Made 142 tackles with 5 sacks in 1998...As a 1997 junior, he made All-League first team while notching 138 tackles (with 6 sacks)...Was on the All-State Sophomore and All-League second team as a 1996 sophomore as Dominguez won the CIF title...Also was on the track and baseball teams at Dominguez...Is nicknamed 'Champ.'

    GRANT MATTOS-
    He was a 2000 J.C. Athletic Bureau All-American first team, J.C. Grid-Wire All-American honorable mention, Super Prep JUCO 100, J.C. Athletic Bureau All-State Region II Offensive MVP and All-League MVP choice as a sophomore wide receiver at Foothill Junior College in Los Altos Hills (Calif.)...He had 76 receptions for 1,200 yards (15.8 avg.) and 14 TDs in 2000, plus returned 5 punts for 17 yards (3.4 avg.)...He was sixth in the California juco ranks in receptions per game (6.8) and 18th in scoring (7.8)...Foothill went 8-3 and won the Silicon Valley Bowl in 2000...As a 1999 freshman at Foothill, he had 46 catches for 509 yards (11.1 avg.) with 6 TDs...Foothill was 10-1 and won the Silicon Valley Bowl in 1999...He was named a Scholar-Athlete at Foothill...He was a 3-year (1996-98) starter at St. Francis High in Mountain View (Calif.), playing wide receiver, defensive back and defensive line...St. Francis won the CIF Central Coast Section Division I championship in 1996 and 1998 and was the runnerup in 1997...He was injured for most of his 1998 senior season...He caught 56 passes for 826 yards (14.8 avg.) with 4 scores, plus had 8 interceptions, as a 1997 junior while earning All-Area and All-West Coast Athletic League first team honors...He also competed in track at St. Francis...Current Trojans Matt Lemos and Forrest Mozart also prepped at St. Francis...His sister, Adrienne, is a senior All-American freestyler on California's swim team and set several school records.

    SCOUTING WASHINGTON-
    Defending Pac-10 co-champion Washington, under third-year head coach Rick Neuheisel, is riding an 11-game winning streak (and a run of 8 straight league victories) after posting a 31-28 comeback victory at California last Saturday (it trailed 21-7). The Washington offense, which is 18th nationally in scoring offense (35.7, fourth in Pac-10) and 20th in passing efficiency (145.3, fourth in the Pac-10) while starting 6 underclassmen, features QB Cody Pickett (46-of-75, 61.3%, 648 yds, 2 TD, 1 int in 2001) and TB Rich Alexis (53 tcb, 202 yds, 3.8 avg, 3 TD in 2001, plus 5 rec, 6.4 avg), both sophomores, plus freshman SE Reggie Williams (12 rec, 22.8 avg in 2001), who is tied for 19th nationally in receiving yards (91.3, fifth in Pac-10), junior FL Paul Arnold (7 rec, 19.1 avg, 3 TD in 2001) and senior FL Todd Elstrom (7 rec, 9.7 avg in 2001). UW has only turned the ball over twice this season. Defensively, the Huskies are tied for 20th nationally in scoring defense (16.3, tied for second in Pac-10) and tied for 14th in turnover margin (+1.3, tied for third in Pac-10), and are third in the Pac-10 in total defense (330.7). UW has yet to allow a rushing TD in 2001. Top defenders are junior ILB Ben Mahdavi (21 tac, 2 for loss in 2001), junior OLB Kai Ellis (19 tac, 2 for loss in 2001), soph SS Greg Carothers (18 tac, 3 for loss, 1 FR in 2001), senior ILB Jamaun Willis (16 tac, 4 for loss, 1 int in 2001), senior CB Omare Lowe (15 tac, 4 dfl, 1 int, 1 blk in 2001), senior FS Wondame Davis (15 tac in 2001) and senior DT Larry Tripplett (14 tac, 8 for loss, 2 sack, 2 dfl, 1 blk in 2001), a 2000 All-Pac-10 first teamer. This season, UW's special teams have 4 TDs (on a punt return, kickoff return and 2 blocked field goals) and 6 field goals. The Huskies are first nationally in kickoff returns (34.8) and fifth in punt returns (18.4, second in Pac-10), while freshman FL Charles Frederick is third nationally in punt returns (21.6, second in Pac-10). Junior PK John Anderson (6-of-9 FG, 11-of-12 PAT in 2001) is tied for fifth nationally in field goals (2.0, tied for first in Pac-10) and tied for 21st in scoring (9.7, third in Pac-10), while freshman P Derek McLaughlin is 15th in punting (44.7).

    CARROLL SAYS-
    'We started out poorly against Stanford, fell behind and had to rally late. We called on a number of parts of our team to get us back in the game. Our special teams really did a job with a big punt return and a blocked field goal that got us scores. We're disappointed once again. We have to find a way to keep bouncing back until we get things on track...Washington is off to a great start and putting together a good season. Playing up there will be very difficult. We'll have to muster together everything we can to get this one.'

    INJURY UPDATE-OUT:
    LB Lee Webb (foot), C-OG Derek Graf (leg), TB Mark Gomez (foot), TE Gregg Guenther (back), FB Chad Pierson (back), DE Jamaal Williams (leg), WR Marcell Allmond (suspension), OT-OG Joe McGuire (knee). QUESTIONABLE: DT Ryan Nielsen (shoulder), DE Bobby DeMars (neck). POSSIBLE: TB Malaefou MacKenzie (knee), LB Matt Grootegoed (shoulder).

    A LOOK AT USC'S...

    David Davis
    Placekicker
    5-11, 160, Junior
    Torrance, Calif.

    It's hard for a field goal kicker to feel wanted.

    All game long, a kicker waits on the sideline, forgotten. Then, when the offense sputters, he suddenly gets called upon to salvage the drive. Sometimes the game is on the line and the pressure is intense, what former President George Bush used to call 'tension city.' All eyes in the stadium are on him as he trots out onto the field, traces his steps back from the holder and awaits the snap.

    For USC placekicker David Davis, that kind of tension is nothing compared to the work he did as an Emergency Medical Technician with the Inglewood Fire Department. He saw up close what goes into saving lives and what is at stake on a daily basis.

    'I had always wanted to do something in that field,' said Davis, who transferred to USC from El Camino Junior College in Torrance (Calif.). 'I got EMT certified and worked in that field for about two years. There's a program with the Inglewood Fire Department called 'Fire Explorer' where they teach you everything about the firefighter duties, so I did that. Because I was EMT certified, I would usually work with the paramedics and go to the fires with them. Just the fact that I was a part of saving people's lives was great. It felt good to help them. But doing what I did, there's a lot of pressure. All eyes are on you.'

    Not unlike being a field goal kicker. In his first four games at USC, Davis has brought some confidence back to the Trojan kicking game. He has hit four-of-six field goals, with a long of 43. He nailed three clutch field goals in a hostile environment at Oregon to help Troy come back in that game. For the first time in a while, USC has a potential lifesaver at kicker.

    Davis prepped at Bishop Montgomery High in Torrance, where he played football as well as soccer. With no colleges interested in him in either sport, he enrolled at El Camino, a school with an excellent fire studies program. He started out playing soccer for El Camino, but it wasn't long before the football team caught wind of his abilities.

    'When I went on to junior college, I wasn't considering playing football, just soccer,' said Davis. 'After the first year, John Featherstone, the football coach, said they needed a kicker, so I thought I'd give it a shot. He liked what he saw and asked if I wanted to be the kicker.'

    For the next few months, the soccer coach and Featherstone tried to put together a schedule for Davis where he could play both sports, but it turned out to be too strenuous on his leg. Davis made the decision to stick with football.

    'I thought it would give me more opportunities,' he said.

    Davis was a 2000 J.C. Grid-Wire All-American second team pick as a sophomore, when he hit 11-of-15 field goals and 29-of-31 PATs. USC special teams coordinator Kennedy Pola liked what he saw in Davis and a scholarship offer was soon forthcoming.

    'Right off the bat, Coach Pola let me know that USC was struggling and they thought I could help the situation,' said Davis. 'I was just thanking God for the opportunity to be here.'

    Davis, the first left-footed placekicker at USC since Quin Rodriguez in 1990, has a unique style to his kicking. On his approach, he kicks his knee high and takes a long first step.

    'My kicking coach, Joe Furlow, emphasized that the first step on my approach should be a big first step,' explains Davis. 'By getting my knee up high like that, it allows me to get my foot out there. When I'm back there waiting for the kick, I tell myself 'Big first step!' and that gets me into my technique.'

    So far, Davis has taken that big first step as USC's kicker and it's been a successful one. But he still thinks about his days as an EMT and wants to return to that field one day, even though he is majoring in sociology at USC. The events of September 11th in New York, with all the firefighters who fell in the line of duty, really hit home for Davis.

    'I think about what happened a lot,' he said. 'Every time they talk about supporting the firefighters who got hurt or died, I'm always into it. I try to stay aware of everything that's going on with them.'

    Indeed, his work with the fire department has given Davis a new outlook on life.

    'It puts everything in perspective and you see that this is something than can happen to your family,' said Davis. 'You see that life is not just about football and school, it's about God and family.

    'Football and school are important, but there are bigger things.'

  • Categories:
    Now on Pac-12 Network
    8:00 AM PT

    Airing on:

    • Pac-12 Network
    Get Pac-12 Networks
    Unable to get Pac-12 Network?
    Contact your provider ▶
    Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder
    Close