USC Football Hosts Auburn In Monday Night Football
Aug. 26, 2002
USC (0-0 overall) vs. Auburn (0-0), Monday, Sept. 2, 5 p.m. PDT, Los Angeles Coliseum.
Top 20-ranked USC, under second-year coach Pete Carroll, opens its 2002 season at home on Monday Night Football against SEC power Auburn. Troy, which went 6-6 last fall, is looking to continue the momentum from the end of the 2001 regular season when it won 4 in a row to qualify for the Las Vegas Bowl. Auburn was 7-5 in 2001and played in the Peach Bowl, but lost its last 3 games and 4 of its last 5. The Trojans and Tigers have met only once before. Auburn is making a rare visit to California. Troy has never won on Labor Day. USC, which has not beaten an SEC opponent since 1981, is playing one of the nation's most difficult schedules. The Trojans will unveil their new jerseys. Several top Trojans begin their senior campaigns, including All-American S Troy Polamalu, QB Carson Palmer, TBs Justin Fargas and Sultan McCullough and WR Kareem Kelly. Auburn has an All-American, too, in PK Damon Duval (he also punts), who will match kicks with USC PK David Davis, the Pac-10's most accurate kicker in 2001. The Tigers also have exciting TB Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams. The game, featuring a pre-game Navy jet flyover and a post-game fireworks show, will be televised live nationally on ABC-TV.
USC is ranked 19th by USA Today/ESPN and 20th by AP. Auburn is not ranked.
USC and Auburn have played only once before, a 16-7 Tigers win in the 1987 Citrus Bowl (following the 1986 season) in chilly Orlando, Fla. In Ted Tollner's final game as USC's head coach, the Trojan defense held down a high-powered Auburn offense (led by Brent Fullwood, one of the nation's top runners). But Troy's offense was ineffective. Behind defensive tackle Aundray Bruce (the game's MVP; he had 3 sacks), Auburn limited USC to only 10 first downs and 157 total yards while forcing 5 turnovers. Outside linebacker Marcus Cotton provided USC with its only score on a spectacular 24-yard scoring interception return early in the game. Two long second-quarter drives by Auburn, plus a safety late in the game, gave Auburn its only points. USC made it interesting at the end after Louis Brock blocked a Tiger punt, but the Trojans couldn't score on fourth-and-inches at the goal line. Fullwood had 152 yards rushing and one TD for Auburn, which had just 290 total yards on the day (the Tigers coughed up 4 turnovers).
USC is 13-10-1 against teams from the Southeastern Conference, but has not beaten an SEC foe in its last 6 meetings (going 0-5-1). Troy's last victory over an SEC team was in 1981 at home against Tennessee (43-7). The Trojans have not played an SEC opponent since facing Auburn in the 1987 Citrus Bowl (following the 1986 season). Conversely, Auburn is 4-1 against the Pac-10 (2-1 versus Arizona, 1-0 versus both USC and Oregon State), but hasn't met a Pac-10 squad since that 1987 Citrus Bowl with the Trojans.
USC's record in all season openers is 78-23-8 (.752), with 35 shutout victories. USC has won its last 4 season openers (by a combined score of 139-39). In season openers at home, the Trojans are 56-16-7 (.753). USC's record for home openers is 82-18-7 (.799).
USC is 15-11 in games on Monday, including 2-2 in Monday games at night. The Trojans have won their last 2 Monday contests, most recently a 41-32 win over Northwestern in the 1996 Rose Bowl (following the 1995 season). Troy is just 3-8 in regular season Monday games. USC's last regular season Monday game (and its last game on Labor Day) was in 1991, a 24-10 home loss to Memphis State. Troy's last Monday night contest was in 1989 (a 14-13 home loss to Illinois). USC is 0-3 on Labor Day (in addition to the previously-mentioned losses in 1991 to Memphis State and 1989 to Illinois, it fell in 1987 at night at Michigan State, 27-13). In 3 of the seasons that USC played a Monday game (1932, 1972 and 1978), it won a national championship. USC's first Monday game was on Feb. 22, 1892 (part of the 1891 season), a 10-2 home loss to Loyola.
IN THE COLISEUM
USC has a 362-122-27 (.735) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923.
LAST USC RANKING
Before this week, the last time USC was ranked in the AP poll was prior to the Oct. 7, 2000 home game against Arizona, when Troy was No. 18. The Trojans went the next 19 games (including all of last season) without an AP ranking, its longest dry spell since a 20-game span from early 1960 through the 1962 opener (USC won the 1962 national title).
AUBURN IN CALIFORNIA
Auburn has never won a game or scored a point in California. Of course, this will be just its second trip ever to the Golden State...and the first happened 66 years ago. The Tigers lost to Santa Clara in 1936, 12-0 (the game was played in San Francisco). That was Auburn's only loss ever to a California team (it is 4-1 overall), as it has beaten Cal State Fullerton (38-17 in 1990 at Auburn), Pacific (55-0 in 1989 at Auburn), USC (16-7 in the 1987 Citrus Bowl) and Loyola (44-0 in 1936 at Auburn).
TROJANS FROM ALABAMA
In its history, only one Trojan letterman hailed from Alabama (C George Dye, 1929, Birmingham, Ala.). However, two Trojan lettermen-RE Chuck Griffith (1954-55) and C Dick Petty (1952-53)-came from Auburn...Auburn, Calif., that is!
THE OTHER ALABAMA SCHOOL
USC is just 2-5 against Auburn's in-state rival, Alabama (Troy last faced the Crimson Tide in the 1985 Aloha Bowl, a 24-3 loss). But, in 1970, the No. 3 Trojans' 42-21 season-opening win over Alabama was historically significant because it helped to change societal attitudes in the South. The Trojans traveled to Birmingham where they faced an all-white Crimson Tide team coached by Paul 'Bear' Bryant. Thanks to dominating performances for USC by a trio of African-Americans (Sam Cunningham, Clarence Davis and Jimmy Jones), Bryant was convinced that he needed to recruit black players for his program. The rest of the Southeastern Conference soon followed suit and opportunities for black athletes in the South began to improve tremendously. Bryant was so impressed by Cunningham (who had 135 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 12 carries in the game) that he invited the sophomore fullback into the 'Bama locker room after the game. He brought his players to Cunningham one-by-one and introduced him, saying: 'This is what a football player looks like.' Alabama won at least a share of 3 national titles the rest of the 1970s.
USC has no players on its roster from Alabama and Auburn has none from California...USC DE-DT A.J. Single will celebrate his 21st birthday on Saturday...When USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron was on the Miami (Fla.) staff from 1988 to 1992, Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville was a fellow Hurricane defensive coach.
NEW USC JERSEYS
In its first major uniform change in 30 years, USC will wear jerseys in 2002 with a style that harkens back to the heyday era of the 1960s. The new jerseys are similar to those worn by Trojan teams from 1958 to 1969 (when Troy won 2 national titles and played in 5 Rose Bowls under coach John McKay). The jerseys feature a single crescent stripe on each shoulder pad and numbers on the sleeve (all stripes and numbers are sewn in). There also is an interlocking 'SC' logo on the bottom of the neckline. Per tradition, there will be no names on the back of the jersey. The last time USC underwent a uniform change of this magnitude was in 1972, when the jerseys worn up until last season (3 stripes on each sleeve) were first introduced. (In 1970 and 1971, USC's jerseys had no markings except for the front and back numeral.)
S Troy Polamalu (for the second consecutive year) and QB Carson Palmer have been selected by their teammates as season captains. Each game, they will join captains representing the special teams and the service (scout) team.
After USC started slowly at 1-4 in new head coach Pete Carroll's debut season of 2001, he stayed the course and got his troops to rally by winning 5 of their last 7 games (including the final 4 regular season contests) to finish at 6-6 overall. Troy, which won its last 5 Pac-10 games after beginning league play at 0-3, placed fifth in the conference at 5-3 and earned a berth into the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl. Putting an exclamation point on the regular season was a 27-0 blanking of No. 20 UCLA, USC's first shutout in the crosstown rivalry since 1947 and the series' biggest margin of victory since 1979.
USC, as usual, is playing one of the nation's most difficult 12-game schedules. Sports Illustrated lists Troy's slate as the nation's toughest. Seven opponents played in bowls last season and 5 were ranked in the final AP Top 20 (3 were in the Top 10). The Trojans open up 2002 on Labor Day evening against Auburn; the other non-conference games include early road contests at 2001 No. 9 Colorado and Kansas State and the regular season finale at home with Notre Dame. In Pac-10 games, USC hosts No. 19 Washington, Arizona State, Oregon State and California, and goes to No. 2 Oregon, No. 10 Washington State, No. 16 Stanford and UCLA.
Here's a look at where the 2002 Trojans are ranked by various pre-season prognosticators:
Phil Steele's 11th 1st
Athlon 12th 2nd
College Football News 15th 3rd
The Sporting News 18th 3rd
Blue Ribbon 18th 3rd
CBS Sportsline 18th 4th
FOX Sports 25th 6th
Lindy's 26th 4th
Street & Smith's NR 4th
...AND PRE-SEASON HONORS
S Troy Polamalu has been named to several pre-season All-American first teams (Playboy, Athlon, Football News, Lindy's, Street & Smith's) and he was named the top candidate for the Thorpe Award by Street & Smith's. DT-DE Shaun Cody was a pre-season All-American third teamer by Street & Smith's, while QB Carson Palmer, WR Kareem Kelly and PK David Davis made Street & Smith's pre-season All-American honorable mention. Besides Polamalu, Cody and Davis, two other Trojans have been selected to a pre-season All-Pac-10 first team: OG Zach Wilson (Athlon) and OG-C Lenny Vandermade (Street & Smith's).
The following Trojans are on the official 'Watch Lists' for national 2002 post-season awards:
S Troy Polamalu Nagurski Award (top defensive player)
QB Carson Palmer O'Brien Award (top quarterback)
DT-DE Shaun Cody Lombardi Award (top lineman)
DE Kenechi Udeze Lombardi Award (top lineman)
PK David Davis Groza Award (top placekicker)
The 2002 Trojans feature 14 starters (8 on offense and 5 on defense, plus the placekicker) who are back from last year's team. In all, 67 squadmen return, including 48 who saw playing time (42 were lettermen and 28 were on the season-ending 2-deep). Some 28 Trojans have started at least once in their career. Joining them are 3 newcomers who enrolled at USC in the spring of 2002 and participated in spring drills, plus 22 new scholarship players (11 were prep and junior college All-Americans in 2001) who began this fall.
The last time USC began the season with a Katnik starting at center (Norm Katnik is projected to start this season), it went to the Rose Bowl. In 1987, John Katnik (Norm's uncle) was Troy's starting center.
Pete Carroll brought big doses of experience, enthusiasm and leadership in his quest to revive the USC football program when he was named the Trojans' head football coach on Dec. 15, 2000 (he signed a 5-year contract). After Troy started off his opening 2001 season slowly at 1-4, Carroll stayed the course and got his troops to rally by winning 5 of their last 7 games (including the final 4 regular season contests) to finish at 6-6 overall. USC, which won its last 5 Pac-10 games after beginning league play at 0-3, placed fifth in the conference at 5-3 and earned a berth into the Sega Sports Las Vegas Bowl. Putting an exclamation point on the regular season was a 27-0 blanking of No. 20 UCLA, USC's first shutout in the crosstown rivalry since 1947 and the series' biggest margin of victory since 1979. The 50-year-old Carroll has 27 years of NFL and college experience, including 11 on the college level. He is 6-6 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, who played tight end at Pittsburgh (he previously played at Delaware) and is now an assistant at USC, and Nathan, 14, and daughter Jaime, 19, a junior at USC who played on the Women of Troy'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.
Senior Troy Polamalu (118 tackles, 13 for losses, 1 sack, 6 deflections, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery and 3 blocked punts in 2001), a 2-year starting strong safety, is a leading candidate for the Thorpe Award in 2002 after last fall becoming USC's first All-American first team safety since Thorpe recipient Mark Carrier in 1989. A 2002 pre-season All-American, he is on the 'Watch List' for the 2002 Bronko Nagurski Award. Sports Illustrated named him as 1 of 5 'Terminators' in college football in 2002, a player 'boasting an otherworldly combination of speed, strength and athleticism...who can single-handedly kill off drives and wreak havoc on game plans.' His jersey currently is on display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in the 'Race for the Pantheon' exhibit that highlights the nation's 10 leading candidates for post-season individual honors. He will play in the 2003 East-West Shrine Game. Polamalu, who twice won Pac-10 Player of the Week honors in 2001, made big plays in seemingly every game last season. His 118 tackles topped USC and were tied for second in the Pac-10. His tackle totals were game highs 7 times, including a Las Vegas Bowl record 20 against Utah. He returned 2 of his 3 interceptions for touchdowns, blocked 3 punts and recovered a fumble. In his career, he has run back 3 of his 5 picks for scores and blocked 4 punts.
'Troy Polamalu is one of the best players I've ever coached,' said USC head coach Pete Carroll, who has tutored such star defensive backs as Ronnie Lott, Tim McDonald, Aaron Glenn, Merton Hanks, Eric Davis and Lawyer Milloy. 'He is a tremendous football player and it shows in every phase of the game: pass defense, run defense, blitzing and special teams. Pound for pound, he is our strongest player (600 pounds in the squat and 353 pounds in the power clean) and he has been a star in our off-season conditioning program. He is a team player, as shown by his desire and performance on special teams. He is also a humble, dedicated team leader who is respected greatly by his teammates, as evidenced by the rare feat of being voted a team captain as just a junior last year. I can't imagine a better safety in college football in 2002.'
Starters return at 8 positions on offense in 2002: quarterback (Carson Palmer), both wide receivers (Kareem Kelly and Keary Colbert), tailback (co-starters Sultan McCullough and Sunny Byrd; Byrd returns to fullback in 2002), both tackles (Jacob Rogers and Eric Torres), a guard (Zach Wilson) and center (co-starters Lenny Vandermade and Norm Katnik). USC's top 2 rushers, passers and receivers statistically from 2001 are back. In 2002, offensive coordinator Norm Chow's unit must dramatically increase its offensive production from a year ago. The Trojans ranked in the Pac-10's bottom 4 in every offensive category last fall while averaging just 314.5 yards of total offense and 24.8 points a game. Injuries at the tailback spot left USC's running game anemic; its 87.7 rushing average was 109th nationally (out of 115 teams) and Troy's 1,052 total rushing yards was its fewest since records were kept in 1948. However, the Trojans had only 19 turnovers in 2001 (the second fewest in the Pac-10), quite an improvement after having a nation-leading 36 turnovers in 2000. That ball security must continue in 2002.
Senior quarterback Carson Palmer (221-of-377, 58.6%, 2,717 yards, 13 TDs, 12 interceptions in 2001) is one of the nation's marquee signalcallers. He is on the 2002 Davey O'Brien Award 'Watch List.' His 58.6% completion rate in 2001 topped the Pac-10. A 3-year starter, he is third on USC's career passing (618 completions) and total offense (7,801 yards; he is 13th on the Pac-10 chart) lists. By year's end, he should move up to No. 1 in both USC categories (he needs 59 completions to break Rob Johnson's mark and 840 yards of total offense to eclipse Rodney Peete's standard) and he is on pace to also break Johnson's school career mark for passing yards (he has 7,876 and needs 597; he is 12th on the Pac-10 chart). His first pass attempt of 2002 will be the 1,082nd of his career, equaling Peete's USC mark. Last fall, his 419 yards of total offense at Oregon was a USC record. He will play in the 2003 East-West Shrine Game.
USC CAREER PASSING LEADERS(Based on Number of Completions - Includes bowl games)
PA PC INT NYG Pct. TD 1. Rob Johnson 1046 676 28 8472 .646 58
2. Rodney Peete 1081 630 42 8225 .583 54
3. Carson Palmer 1080 618 39 7876 .572 39
USC CAREER TOTAL OFFENSE LEADERS(Includes bowl games)
PLAYS RUSH PASS TOTAL 1. Rodney Peete 1371 415 8225 8640
2. Rob Johnson 1305 -576 8472 7896
3. Carson Palmer 1285 -75 7876 7801
SENIOR QUARTERBACKS SHINE IN PAC-10
Eight of the last 10 Pac-10 champions were guided by a senior quarterback (and all 10 had QBs with at least 4 years in the program), which bodes well for USC's fifth-year senior signalcaller Carson Palmer. Here's a look:
2001 Oregon Joey Harrington Senior (5)
2000 Washington Marques Tuiasosopo Senior (5)
1999 Stanford Todd Husak Senior (5)
1998 UCLA Cade McNown Senior (4)
1997 Washington State Ryan Leaf Junior (4)
1996 Arizona State Jake Plummer Senior (4)
1995 USC Kyle Wachholtz Senior (5)
and Brad Otton Junior (4)
1994 Oregon Danny O'Neil Senior (5)
1993 UCLA Wayne Cook Junior (4)
1992 Washington Mark Brunell Senior (5)
Three relatively untested youngsters are behind Carson Palmer at quarterback: sophomore Matt Cassel (1-of-2, 50.0%, 5 yards in 2001), who also played some as a tight end-in-motion (1 catch, 12.0 average in 2001) and on special teams (1 tackle in 2001) last season, and redshirt freshmen Matt Leinart and Billy Hart, who is also a reserve infielder for the Trojan baseball team. Cassel and Leinart are battling for the No. 2 job, although Cassel was slowed in fall camp after suffering a bone chip in his knee. Junior Brandon Hance, who started Purdue's first 9 games of 2001 and completed 136-of-258 passes (52.7%) for 1,529 yards with 8 TDs (he also ran for 242 yards and 4 scores), enrolled this fall, but he must sit out the 2002 season per the NCAA transfer rule.
Last year demonstrated why it is critical to have depth in the tailback corps. Injuries decimated USC's runners in 2001 and by midseason a fullback was starting at tailback. It's no wonder the Trojans averaged just 87.7 rushing yards a game last fall. USC is 5-deep at tailback in 2002, including 3 experienced seniors. Senior Justin Fargas, who was impressive while serving as USC's scout team tailback in 2001 and had an eye-opening performance in 2002 spring drills (139 and 111 rushing yards in 2 intrasquad scrimmages), will look to make a sudden impact this season. He sat out the 2001 campaign after transferring from Michigan, where he had 362 rushing yards in an injury-plagued career. Speedy senior Sultan McCullough (115 carries, 410 yards, 3.6 average, 5 TDs in 2002, plus 6 receptions 16.7 average, 1 TD) returns after starting Troy's first 6 games of 2001. But he was sidelined the rest of that year with a strained abdominal muscle that required surgery. He ran for 1,163 yards in 2000 and is 14th on USC's prestigious career rushing ladder (1,986 yards). He has rushed for 100 yards 9 times in his career. The 1999 Pac-10 100-meter champion, he is the fastest player ever to wear a Trojan football uniform (10.17). Senior Malaefou MacKenzie, who has 765 rushing yards and 37 receptions in his Trojan career (he has started 4 times), gained a sixth year of eligibility in 2002 from the NCAA. He was expected to team with McCullough to give Troy a 1-2 punch at the tailback position in 2001. But he left school at midseason last fall without seeing any action and returned home to Western Samoa (he missed 4 early games with a knee sprain and a fifth to attend his father's funeral). Sophomore Darryl Poston (8 carries, 16 yards, 2.0 average, 1 TD in 2001, plus 1 catch, 10.0 average) showed flashes last fall, but was bothered by a mid-year knee sprain. He, too, looked good in 2002 spring practice. Prep All-American Hershel Dennis (Poly High in Long Beach, Calif.) joined the tailback fray in the fall as a freshman.
USC CAREER RUSHING LEADERS(Includes bowl games)
TCB NYG AVG. 1. Charles White 1147 6245 5.44
2. Marcus Allen 932 4810 5.16
3. Anthony Davis 784 3724 4.75
4. Ricky Bell 710 3689 5.20
5. O.J. Simpson 674 3423 5.08
6. Mike Garrett 612 3221 5.27
7. Fred Crutcher 670 2815 4.20
8. Chad Morton 517 2511 4.86
9. Ricky Ervins 488 2337 4.79
10. Clarence Davis 511 2323 4.54
11. Delon Washington 498 2093 4.20
12. Orv Mohler 359 2025 5.63
13. Shawn Walters 425 2019 4.75
14. Sultan McCullough 432 1986 4.60
SENIOR TAILBACK TRIOFew teams in the country can boast of having a trio of senior tailbacks of USC's quality. The combined career stats of Sultan McCullough, Malaefou MacKenzie and Justin Fargas: 696 carries, 3,113 yards, 4.5 average per carry, 20 TDs, 21 starts, 11 100-yard games...oh, and seven surgeries!
Senior Sunny Byrd (123 carries, 336 yards, 2.7 average, 4 TDs in 2001, plus 11 catches, 7.4 average and 5 tackles) enjoyed folk hero status last fall when he took over for Sultan McCullough at tailback and provided some hard-nosed running. He had never touched the ball at USC before then, but he started USC's last 6 contests and led the Trojans in rushing 5 times (he had at least 20 carries in 6 outings). He is back at fullback in 2002 and is competing with another senior, Chad Pierson (4 carries, 11 yards, 2.8 average in 2001, plus 3 catches, 20.3 average, 1 TD), for the starting job. Pierson, who started once in 2000 and proved to be just as effective a runner and receiver as a blocker, missed the first half of 2001 with a back injury. Also in the mix at fullback to replace Charlie Landrigan, a 3-year starter known for his leadership, rugged blocking and good hands (49 career receptions), are redshirt freshman David Kirtman and freshman Brandon Hancock, who enrolled at USC this past spring after earning prep All-American honors at Clovis West High in Fresno, Calif.
Swift senior Kareem Kelly (49 catches, 16.3 average, 3 TDs in 2001, plus 6 carries, 38 yards, 6.3 average), a starter the past 3 years, is fifth on Troy's career pass catching list (158 receptions; he is tied for 20th on the Pac-10 chart). He is within range of Johnnie Morton's school records for receptions (201) and receiving yards (3,201; he has 2,499, which is 14th on the Pac-10 chart). He has a catch in all 35 games he has played as a Trojan, 2 short of tying John Jackson's USC mark (the Pac-10 record is 42). He has had 100-yard receiving games 9 times in his career. He also sprints and runs relays for the USC track team.
USC CAREER PASS CATCHING LEADERS(Includes bowl games)
NO. YDS AVG. TD 1. Johnnie Morton 201 3201 15.93 23
2. Keyshawn Johnson 168 2796 16.64 16
3. John Jackson 163 2379 14.60 17
4. R. Jay Soward 161 2672 16.60 23
5. Kareem Kelly 158 2499 15.82 11
OTHER WIDE RECEIVERS
Like last year, USC's wide receivers are a deep and talented group with starters returning at both spots. Besides Kareem Kelly, junior Keary Colbert (34 catches, 13.0 average, 2 TDs in 2001, plus 1 carry, 9 yards, 9.0 average) returns at the other wideout spot. The consistent 2-year starter has 67 career grabs. Two other Trojans started a game last fall: senior Grant Mattos (10 catches, 10.4 average in 2001), who missed part of 2001 with a knee sprain, and junior D. Hale (7 catches, 15.1 average in 2001, plus 2 carries, 14 yards, 7.0 average), a one-time walk-on who earned a scholarship this past spring. Also looking to break into the rotation are junior Jason Mitchell, a 2001 junior college All-American at Los Angeles (Calif.) Harbor Junior College who enrolled at USC this past spring, and 2 freshmen who came aboard this fall: prep All-Americans Mike Williams (Plant High in Tampa, Fla.) and Chris McFoy (Chino High in Chino, Calif.).
For the second consecutive year, USC will start a new tight end, this time in place of Kori Dickerson, the one-time linebacker who had 25 catches and 2 scores last fall. Junior Alex Holmes (22 receptions, 7.5 average, 2 TDs in 2001) is the most experienced tight end on the roster, as he has seen significant action the past 2 seasons as the backup. He has 29 career catches with 2 touchdowns. Also available are seniors Doyal Butler and Scott Huber, who played some at fullback in 2001, and sophomore Gregg Guenther Jr., who at 6-8 also was a reserve center on the 2002 Trojan men's basketball team that advanced to the NCAA tourney, but their combined career action is minimal.
USC's offensive line from a year ago-save for 2-year starting guard-tackle Faaesea Mailo-comes back. But this group needs to improve its performance if the Trojan offense is to click. Senior guard Zach Wilson has started the past 3 years on the right side and has been solid. Junior tackles Jacob Rogers (left side) and Eric Torres (right side) started for the first time in 2001 and did commendable jobs. Steady junior Lenny Vandermade has started at center the past 2 years, but was moved to left guard in 2002 spring practice and will start there in 2002 (he started 5 times there in 2000). And junior Norm Katnik, the line's utility man after having started at all 3 positions in 2001 (5 times at guard, 4 at center and once at tackle), will handle the starting center job in 2002. Veterans angling for backup duty are senior Phillip Eaves at tackle, sophomore Travis Watkins at guard and senior Derek Graf at center. None of these players has seen appreciable action yet. Freshmen help arrived this fall with a quartet of prep All-Americans--tackles Winston Justice (Poly High in Long Beach, Calif.) and Kyle Williams (Highland Park High in Dallas, Tex.), guard Fred Matua (Banning High in Wilmington, Calif.), and center-guard Chris Doyle (Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif.)-plus guard Kurt Katnik (Foothill High in Santa Ana, Calif.), Norm's younger brother.
If OG Fred Matua starts against Auburn, he will be the first true freshman at USC to start...
...a game since DT Shaun Cody did so against Utah in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl
...a game on offense since WR Keary Colbert did so against UCLA in 2000
...an opener since TE Antoine Harris did so against Florida State in 1997
...an opener on the offensive line since OG Travis Claridge did so against Penn State in 1996 (the only other true freshman to start a post-World War II opener on the offensive line was OG Brad Budde against Missouri in 1976)
Five defensive starters return from 2001: All-American safety Troy Polamalu, tackle-end Shaun Cody, end Kenechi Udeze and linebackers Mike Pollard and Matt Grootegoed. Seven others who have started games in the past also are back in tackle Bernard Riley, safety DeShaun Hill, cornerbacks Darrell Rideaux, Kevin Arbet and converted wide receiver Marcell Allmond, and linebackers Aaron Graham and Chris Prosser. USC's top 2 tacklers and its co-interception leaders from 2001 return. The Trojans last fall led the Pac-10 in scoring defense (17.3, 11th nationally) and were second in pass defense (179.2, 16th nationally) and total defense (330.8), all significant improvements from 2000. But opponents averaged 155.2 rushing yards a game, nearly 30 more yards an outing than 2000 despite USC's Pac-10 co-high 37 sacks. However, Troy had a stunning reversal in its turnover margin in 2001, tying for fifth nationally at +1.3. USC had 35 takeaways last year after getting only 17 in 2000. The Trojans intercepted 20 passes (they had just 7 in 2000), recovered 15 fumbles and scored 8 touchdowns on defense last fall. That trend needs to remain a focus.
Although half of last year's 4-man defensive front-2-year starting end Lonnie Ford (81 tackles, 30 for a loss, 16 sacks in his career) and 3-year starting tackle Ryan Nielsen (107 career tackles)-is gone, USC is still in good shape here in 2002. Two of the nation's top young defensive linemen return as sophomore starters: tackle-end Shaun Cody (39 tackles, 7 for losses, 5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery in 2001), who was a Freshman All-American first team pick last season, and end Kenechi Udeze (35 tackles, 9 for losses, 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 3 forced fumbles, 1 deflection in 2001), a Freshman All-American second teamer last year. Both are destined for big things at USC; in fact, both are on the 2002 Lombardi Award 'Watch List.' Senior tackle Bernard Riley (26 tackles, 5 for losses, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, 1 deflection, 1 interception in 2001), who started Troy's first 5 games of 2001 before injuring his knee (he also started in 2000), also is back. Senior Anthony Daye, who can also play end, junior Nate Steinbacher, a converted offensive tackle, and sophomore Mike Patterson (9 tackles, 5 for losses, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries in 2001) also are available at tackle. The other end spot could be manned by juniors Omar Nazel (15 tackles, 4 for losses, 3 sacks, 1 deflection, 1 interception in 2001) or Chris Prosser (20 tackles, 4 for losses, 2 sacks, 1 deflection in 2001), who has 5 career starts (including 3 last year) at strongside linebacker...or by a newcomer. Joining USC this fall were a pair of junior college All-Americans-ends Daniel Urquhart of Los Angeles (Calif.) Southwest Junior College, who is a junior, and Van Brown of Pasadena (Calif.) City College, who is a sophomore-plus freshmen ends Dominique Byrd (The Breck School in Minneapolis, Minn.), a prep All-American who was switched in fall camp from tight end, plus LaJuan Ramsey (Dominguez High in Compton, Calif.) and Travis Tofi (Fagaitua High in American Samoa).
The linebacking corps, an area of concern last year because of 3 new starters, has become a position of strength for USC in 2002. Two starters return from 2001: reliable senior Mike Pollard (81 tackles, 8 for losses, 7 deflections, 1 fumble recovery, 2 forced fumbles in 2001) in the middle and versatile sophomore Matt Grootegoed (32 tackles, 8 for losses, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, 2 deflections in 2001) on the strong side. Pollard was second on the Trojans in tackles and first in deflections last fall. Grootegoed broke his leg near the end of last season. Junior Melvin Simmons sat out last season after transferring from Washington State, where he was a starter in 2000, but he has emerged as the likely weakside replacement for Frank Strong, who had 82 tackles and 2 interceptions in his career (he also was a safety, tailback and returner at USC). There is plenty of quality depth behind these linebackers. Senior Aaron Graham (11 tackles, 1 for a loss, 1 sack in 2001) has started 5 times in the middle in his career, but will work on the weak side in 2002. Sophomores Lee Webb (8 tackles, 1 forced fumble in 2001) in the middle and Bobby Otani (1 tackle in 2001) on the weak side saw measurable action last fall, although Otani suffered a midseason knee injury. Two prep All-Americans-Oscar Lua (Indio High in Indio, Calif.) and Dallas Sartz (Granite Bay High in Granite Bay, Calif.)- joined this group this fall as freshmen. Sophomore Lofa Tatupu (from Maine) and redshirt freshman Frostee Rucker (Colorado State) both must sit out the 2002 season after transferring in this fall.
At first glance, the secondary appears to be an area of worry for USC in 2002, considering that 3 top-quality starters have departed. Gone are 4-year starting safety-cornerback Antuan Simmons (208 tackles, 9 interceptions, 6 blocked kicks in his career), who beat a life-threatening illness in 2000 and had an impressive 2001 season (he'll long be remembered for his amazing between-the-legs interception for a TD versus UCLA), and cornerbacks Kris Richard (125 tackles, 8 picks as a 3-year starter) and Chris Cash (86 tackles, 4 interceptions as a 2-year starter), both who were NFL draft picks. But things are not as dire as they appear, especially not when the Trojans return perhaps the nation's best safety in previously-mentioned senior All-American strong safety Troy Polamalu. Add a collection of experienced players alongside Polamalu and, if the cornerback positions are solidified, USC's secondary could be as effective as it was last season (defensive backs accounted for 15 of the Trojans' 20 interceptions and 6 of the defense's 8 touchdowns; USC was 16th nationally in pass defense). The cornerback spot did take a huge hit when senior Kevin Arbet (25 tackles, 3 for losses, 2 sacks, 6 deflections, 3 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery in 2001), a 4-time career starter who won All-Pac-10 first team laurels last year as a special teams player and who returned 1 of his 3 picks for a TD, was lost for the 2002 season after breaking a bone in his foot during fall camp. So, the new cornerbacks will be chosen from senior Darrell Rideaux (8 tackles in 2001), who has 6 career starts, junior Marcell Allmond, a converted wide receiver who redshirted last fall while suspended from USC for a student conduct violation (he has 30 career catches while starting 6 times on offense, but he last played defense as a 1998 high school senior), redshirt freshman William Buchanon, another converted wide receiver, or a newcomer: junior college All-American Ronald Nunn of San Francisco (Calif.) City College, who is a junior, or prep All-American Justin Wyatt (Dominguez High in Compton, Calif.), who is a freshman. Rideaux (sprints, relays) and Allmond (hurdles) also compete for the USC track team. Senior DeShaun Hill (42 tackles, 1 for a loss, 1 deflection, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 1 forced fumble in 2001) has the inside track on the starting free safety job, as he has started 8 games in his career. Other safeties include junior Sandy Fletcher (2 catches, 5.5 average in 2001), a converted wide receiver, sophomore Jason Leach (8 tackles, 1 deflection in 2001), redshirt freshman John Walker (he also might play cornerback), and first-year freshman Mike Ross (St. Petersburg Catholic High in St. Petersburg, Fla.).
If CB Justin Wyatt starts against Auburn, he will be the first true freshman at USC to start...
...a game since DT Shaun Cody did so against Utah in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl
...a game in the secondary since CB Darrell Rideaux did so against Louisiana Tech in 1999
...an opener since TE Antoine Harris did so against Florida State in 1997
...an opener on defense since DT Tim Ryan did so against Illinois in 1986
...an opener in the secondary ever in the post-World War II era
SPECIAL TEAMS OVERVIEW
USC's placekicker (David Davis), short snapper (Joe Boskovich), long snapper (Matt Hayward) and top punt returner (Kevin Arbet) and kickoff returner (Darrell Rideaux) from 2001 are back. But the punter, holder and kickoff man will be new in 2002. Last year, USC's special teams were markedly improved over 2000. The Trojans were particularly effective in field goal accuracy (83.3%, tops in the Pac-10), blocking kicks and punts (5) and kickoff return coverage (20.2-yard average). But they were average in other areas (8.4-yard average on punt returns and 18.9-yard average on kickoff returns, with no scoring runbacks) and inadequate in others, including punting (39.0-yard average) and kicking off (only 1 touchback on 62 kickoffs). So, there is room for improvement in the special teams.
Senior David Davis (15-of-18 field goals, 31-of-34 PATs in 2001) had an impressive showing in 2001 after transferring from a junior college. The lefty was the Pac-10's most accurate field goal kicker last fall (83.3%) and was tied for 18th nationally in field goals (1.3). He hit 12 field goals in a row at one point. He even ran for a short TD on a fake field goal. He is on the 2002 Lou Groza Award 'Watch List.' However, a new kickoff man must be found for David Newbury, who compensated for a lack of leg strength by pooching his kickoffs (which resulted in 14 fair catches). Those short kickoffs accounted for USC's creditable kickoff coverage average of 20.2 yards in 2001 (second best in the Pac-10), although only 1 of Newbury's 62 kickoffs was a touchback and just 7 pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line. Sophomore Ryan Killeen, a fall transfer from Mt. San Antonio Junior College in Walnut, Calif., should get the job. USC's punter the past 4 seasons-Mike MacGillivray, who set school career records for punts (298) and punt yardage (11,700) while owning a 39.3-yard average-has graduated. The Trojans are hoping his replacement will be more consistent: freshman Tom Malone, who enrolled at USC this past spring after earning prep All-American honors at Temescal Canyon High in Lake Elsinore, Calif. He showed a strong leg in 2002 spring practice. Both of USC's snappers-junior center Joe Boskovich, who hikes on placekicks, and junior linebacker Matt Hayward, who snaps on punts-are back after doing flawless work last fall. A new holder must be found now that MacGillivray, who handled the job last year, is gone. Among the untested candidates are Malone and redshirt freshman walk-on punter Zach Sherwood. USC's top punt returner-senior cornerback Kevin Arbet (25 punt returns, 9.0 average in 2001, plus 3 kickoff returns, 17.7 average)-is sidelined in 2002 with a foot injury, but last year's top kickoff returner-senior cornerback Darrell Rideaux (19 kickoff returns, 19.1 average in 2001)-is back. Others who might figure in the return game are senior wide receiver Kareem Kelly (8 punt returns, 6.4 average in 2001), senior tailback Sultan McCullough, junior wide receivers D. Hale and Jason Mitchell, sophomore tailback Darryl Poston, redshirt freshman walk-on wide receiver Greig Carlson and a pair of first-year freshmen in tailback Hershel Dennis and cornerback Justin Wyatt.
GONE FROM 2001
USC's offensive losses include 3-year starting fullback Charlie Landrigan, a good blocker and receiver, linebacker-turned-tight end Kori Dickerson and 2-year starting guard-tackle Faaesea Mailo. The defensive starters gone are 4-year starting safety-cornerback Antuan Simmons, who overcame a life-threatening illness in 2000 to star in 2001, NFL drafted cornerbacks Kris Richard (a 3-year starter) and Chris Cash (a 2-year starter), 2-year starting end Lonnie Ford, 3-year starting tackle Ryan Nielsen and linebacker Frank Strong, who also was used at safety, tailback and as a returner at Troy. And 4-year starting punter Mike MacGillivray, who owns USC records for career punts and punt yardage, must be replaced.
NEW ASSISTANT COACHES
There are two new full-time assistant coaches in 2002: Greg Burns, who handles the secondary, and Tim Davis, who is in charge of the offensive line (guards and centers). Burns, a one-time Washington State defensive back spent the past 4 years at Louisville after a year at Idaho. Davis was at Wisconsin the last 5 years after a 7-year stint at Utah. Also, Brennan Carroll (head coach Pete Carroll's son who was a tight end at Pittsburgh the last 3 years), joins the staff as a graduate assistant working with the offense and special teams. Several returning assistant coaches have different responsibilities in 2002. Steve Sarkisian, who was the offensive graduate assistant in 2001, now works fulltime as the quarterbacks coach. Kennedy Pola, last year's special teams coordinator, adds the duty of running backs coach. Lane Kiffin switches from tight ends to wide receivers coach. Keith Uperesa, last year's offensive line coach, now is in charge of offensive tackles and tight ends. And offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who also was USC's quarterbacks coach in 2001, will just handle the coordinator duties in 2002.
2001 STATS OF NOTE, THE GOOD...
***After suffering 5 close losses in 2001 (by a combined 29 points), perhaps the tide turned for USC. Its next 2 game were nailbiter wins, as Troy beat Arizona, 41-34, when CB Kris Richard returned an interception 58-yards for a TD with 1:50 to play and then defeated Oregon State in overtime, 16-13, on QB Carson Palmer's 4-yard run.
***USC had 35 takeaways in 2001 (tied for 10th most nationally) after getting only 17 all of 2000.
***The Trojans had 20 interceptions in 2001 (second most in the Pac-10 and tied for seventh nationally) after getting only 7 all of 2000.
***USC's 15 fumble recoveries in 2001 tied for the Pac-10 lead (and tied for 16th nationally), while Troy's 7 lost fumbles was second fewest in the league (tied for 19th fewest in the nation).
***USC turned the ball over just 19 times in 2001 (second fewest in the Pac-10) after having a nation-leading 36 turnovers in 2000.
***USC tied for fifth nationally in turnover margin in 2001 (+1.3, tied for first in Pac-10).
***After being penalized 113 times for 977 yards in 2000, USC was flagged only 80 times for 674 yards in 2001 (its 57.0-yard average was second fewest in the Pac-10).
***In USC's 4-game winning streak to end the 2001 regular season, the Trojans outscored their opponents 139-61 (an average of 35-15); Troy's defense scored 5 TDs, intercepted 11 passes and posted 23 sacks in that span.
***USC outpointed opponents in the second quarter by nearly double in 2001, 103-54.
***The 207 points allowed by USC in 2001 was its fewest since the 1989 team gave up 132.
***USC allowed opponents to convert just 1-of-11 fourth downs in 2001 (fewest allowed in the Pac-10), while Troy's fourth down conversion rate of 69.2% (9-of-13) topped in the Pac-10.
***USC's defense had 37 sacks in 2001 (tied for first in the Pac-10 and tied for ninth in the nation)
***USC allowed opponents just 20.2 yards on kickoff returns in 2001 (second in the Pac-10).
***USC topped the Pac-10 in scoring defense (17.3, 11th nationally) and field goal percentage (83.3%), was second in pass defense (175.6, 16th nationally) and was third in pass efficiency defense (106.0, 22nd nationally) in 2001.
***USC was second in the Pac-10 in total defense (330.8) in 2001.
***USC allowed the fewest total touchdowns (24, tied for eighth fewest nationally), TD passes (11, tied for 15th fewest nationally), rushing TDs (11, tied for 13th fewest nationally) and plays (821, 18th fewest nationally) in the Pac-10 in 2001.
***USC's passing offense led the Pac-10 in completion percentage (58.6%) in 2001.
2001 STATS OF NOTE, THE BAD...
***USC might have been the unluckiest team in America in 2001, as its 6 losses were by a combined 29 points (4.8 average). Five of the defeats were by 5 points or less (2, 3, 4, 4 and 5 points) and the sixth was by 11 points. Troy never had a season in which it lost 4 or more games by 5 points or less. Two of the losses came when foes kicked field goals in the final 12 seconds, including once at the gun, the first time the Trojans lost twice in a season in the final 12 seconds. Three of the losses were to teams ranked in the Top 12 at the time of the game and 5 of the teams that beat USC were ranked in the AP Top 25 at some point this season.
***Opponents scored first in 9 games in 2001 (all but San Jose State, Oregon State and UCLA).
***USC's 185 first downs in 2001 were the fewest in the Pac-10.
***USC held the ball an average of 2:29 less a game than its opponents in 2001 (the Oregon, Arizona State, California and UCLA games were the only ones in which Troy held the ball for at least 30 minutes).
***QB Carson Palmer was sacked 36 times in 2001 (only 1 Pac-10 team allowed more).
***USC was last in the Pac-10 in total offense (314.5) in 2001.
***USC had less than 300 yards in total offense in 7 games in 2001 (Kansas State, Stanford, Washington, Notre Dame, Oregon State, UCLA and Utah), including 6 of the last 9.
***USC rushed for 100 yards or less 8 times in 2001 (Kansas State, Oregon, Stanford, Notre Dame, Arizona, Oregon State, UCLA and Utah), including 5 of the last 6 games.
***USC averaged just 87.7 rushing yards per game in 2001 (last in the Pac-10 and 109th out of 115 teams nationally) and its 1,052 rushing yards were its fewest ever since records were kept in 1948.
***QB Carson Palmer's 54-yard run against California was the longest of 2001 by a Trojan (it was the first time since Rodney Peete in 1986 that a quarterback had Troy's longest rush), however he fumbled away the ball at the end of the run.
***TB Sultan McCullough's 410 rushing yards was the lowest total to lead USC since Hal Tobin's 318 yards in 1960.
***S Troy Polamalu's jersey currently is on display at the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., in the 'Race for the Pantheon' exhibit that highlights the nation's 10 leading candidates for post-season individual honors.
***USC head coach Pete Carroll vacationed in Italy this past July, which means in the span of several months he will have walked the floor of Rome's Colosseum and Los Angeles' Coliseum, perhaps the world's two most historic stadiums.
***USC has 3 players who graduated a semester early from high school and enrolled at USC in the spring. Starting OT Jacob Rogers did so in the spring of 1999, while P Tom Malone (expected to be the starter) and FB Brandon Hancock came to USC this past spring.
***Former USC All-American back Jon Arnett was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., this past Aug. 9-10, while ex-USC All-American safety Ronnie Lott will be inducted into the Hall at a Dec. 10 dinner in New York (he'll be enshrined in August of 2003). Arnett was a 1955 All-American who rushed for 1,898 career yards at Troy and then played 10 years in the NFL with the Rams and Bears. Lott, a 1980 All-American, had 250 tackles and 14 interceptions at USC before a 15-year NFL career that saw him land in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
***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 still the Volunteers' associate strength and conditioning coach), 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 in the summer of 2001 that the cancer was in remission. He informed the USC players of his ordeal at the start of fall 2001 camp.
***A new tradition at Troy's home games (started in 2001) sees 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 102-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. Then there's 100-year old Hobbs Adams, a 1923-24-25 letterman as a 170-pound end (he captained the 1925 squad, also played baseball and track, then was a Trojan assistant from 1935 to 1939; his granddaughter, Tracy Lindquist, is a senior setter on the 2001 USC women's volleyball 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 and anchored USC's sprint relay squad which finished fifth at this year's NCAA meet. CB Darrell Rideaux has gone 10.27 and ran leadoff on the 2002 sprint relay team. CB Marcell Allmond is a 13.54 high hurdler (he was a 2-time California state prep champ) and national Junior Olympic record-setting decathlete. TB Justin Fargas has run the 100 in 10.47. Fargas (1997), Rideaux (1998) and Kelly (1999) all won the California state high school 100.
***Two Trojans-TE Gregg Guenther Jr. and S Sandy Fletcher-have played on the USC basketball team. Guenther saw action in 9 games (starting 3) as a center in 2002 and Fletcher played in 4 games as a point guard in 2000. And, as a youngster, LB Collin Ashton was a ballboy for several years for the USC men's basketball team.
***LB-DE Chris Prosser is allergic to grass, which causes his skin to get rashes when he plays football.
***OT Phillip Eaves spent part of 1997 in the Army at Fort Jackson, S.C.
***PK David Davis wants to be a firefighter and paramedic. In fact, while in junior college, he became certified as an emergency medical technician when he worked 2 years as a fire explorer at an Inglewood fire station and with a Los Angeles ambulance company.
***Four Trojans have Hollywood connections. As a youngster, USC 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 Gambler' and 'Car Wash,' among others). C 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.
***Three Trojans have fathers who played on national championship USC football squads: C Derek Graf (father, Allan, was on the 1972 team), S Kyle Matthews (father, 1977 All-American Clay, was on the 1974 team) and LB Lofa Tatupu (father, Mosi, was on the 1974 team). Matthews' uncle, Bruce, was a 1982 All-American offensive guard at USC. Several other Trojans have relatives with USC football connections. CB Kevin Arbet is the stepson of ex-Trojan (1980-82) Jeff Simmons. Two Trojans have cousins who played at USC-WR Kareem Kelly (Rashard Cook, 1995-98) and TE-SNP Joe Boskovich (Martin Boskovich, 1993)-and four have uncles who were Trojan footballers: S Troy Polamalu (Kennedy Pola, 1982-85, now USC's running backs coach and special teams coordinator), C Norm Katnik/OG Kurt Katnik (John Katnik, 1986-87) and OG-DT Fred Matua (Titus Tuiasosopo, 1990-92).
***Speaking of genes: CB 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. DE Van Brown's brother, Chad, is an All-Pro linebacker who has played with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1993-96) and Seattle Seahawks (1997-2001) after starting 4 seasons at Colorado (1989-92). CB-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. QB Matt Cassel's older brother, Jack, is a pitcher in the San Diego Padres organization. WR Keary Colbert's cousin is ex-Arizona State DT Tommie Townsend (1999-2001). TB Hershel Dennis' father, Hershel Sr., played tailback at North Carolina A&T. LB Matt Grootegoed's brother, John, was an offensive guard at San Jose State in 1994 and 1995. WR D. Hale's brother, Damon Boddie, played tailback at Montana in the mid-1990s. TE Alex Holmes' father, Mike, lettered at defensive end at Michigan in 1974 and 1975. C Norm Katnik's and OG Kurt Katnik's father, Norman, was a 2-year starting center at Arizona (1978-79). FB David Kirtman's father, Louis, ran track at California and his uncle, Nate Kirtman, played football at Stanford in 1967. WR Grant Mattos' sister, Adrienne, was an All-American swimmer at California. OG-DT Fred Matua's uncle, Navy Tuiasosopo, played offensive line at Utah State and later with the Los Angeles Rams and a distant cousin, Manu Tuiasasosopo, was a 3-time All-Conference defensive lineman at UCLA (1976-78) who then played with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. 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. WR Jason Mitchell's cousin, Christian Radley, is a junior coxswain on the USC women's rowing team. QB Carson Palmer's brother, Jordan, is a freshman quarterback at UTEP. S Troy Polamalu's brother, Kaio Aumua, played football at UTEP; an 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. DT Bernard Riley's father, Bernard Sr., was a starting offensive guard at Oregon in 1975. DE-DT 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. DE Travis Tofi's cousin, Suaese 'Pooch' Taase, played football at Louisiana Tech. OG Travis Watkins' brother, Todd, is a redshirt freshman wide receiver 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 in the 1960s with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. OT Kyle Williams' father, Scott, played college basketball, while an uncle, Eric Williams, was a defensive lineman with the Detroit Lions (1984-89) and Washington Redskins (1990-93, including on the 1991 Super Bowl champs) after earning 1983 All-Pac-10 first team honors in his 3 years (1981-83) at Washington State; his grandfather, Roy Williams, played for the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, another uncle played professional basketball in Europe, while his other grandfather played 3 sports at Lehigh in the 1960s. DB coach Greg Burns' brother, Dexter, was a defensive back at San Jose State in the mid-1990s. LB coach Nick Holt's wife, Julie, was the head women's basketball at Nevada Reno, Pacific, Gonzaga and Idaho (she currently is the head coach at Los Angeles Harbor Junior College). WR 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). OT/TE coach Keith Uperesa's brother, Kevin, played football at California in 1977 and 1978, while his nephew Dane, is a freshman offensive lineman at Hawaii. OFF/SPT coach Brennan Carroll is the son of USC head coach Pete Carroll.
***How about these names: FB Sunny Byrd. LB Frostee Rucker. Walk-on CB Forrest Mozart. DE Kenechi Udeze (he goes by BKU, as in Big Kenechi Udeze; he's 6-4 and 280). LB Lofa Tatupu. DE Travis Tofi. WR D. Hale (it's for Donald, but he goes by D.; he says only his mother calls him Donald).
IN THE NFL
USC is always well-represented in the NFL. At the start of training camp this summer, there were 39 ex-Trojans on NFL rosters. Last year, there were 26 Trojans on opening day NFL rosters, including players such as LBs Junior Seau and Chris Claiborne, OL Tony Boselli, DL Willie McGinest, WRs Keyshawn Johnson, Johnnie Morton and Curtis Conway, QB Rob Johnson and DBs Jason Sehorn, Sammy Knight, Rashard Cook and Daylon McCutcheon. Five 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 and Miami's Dave Wannstedt. Ten current USC players have relatives with NFL playing backgrounds: DE Van Brown (brother, Chad Brown), CB-WR William Buchanon (father, Willie Buchanon), WR Kareem Kelly (cousin, Rashard Cook), OG-DT Fred Matua (cousin, Manu Tuiasosopo), S Kyle Matthews (grandfather, Clay Sr.; father, Clay Matthews; uncle, Bruce Matthews), TB Sultan McCullough (brother, Saladin McCullough), S Troy Polamalu (cousin, Nicky Sualua), LB Lofa Tatupu (father, Mosi Tatupu), OG Travis Watkins (uncle, Tom Watkins) and OT Kyle Williams (uncle, Eric Williams; grandfather, Roy Williams). Additionally, head coach Pete Carroll was an NFL head coach and assistant coach, and assistant Lane Kiffin was an NFL assistant. Four assistant coaches played professionally: Keith Uperesa in the NFL, Norm Chow, Steve Sarkisian and Tim Davis in the CFL (Davis also played in the USFL).
USC is one of America's most televised teams. The Trojans have appeared on live national, regional or local telecasts 295 times, including 161 of the past 163 games. In fact, USC had an amazing streak of 111 consecutive games on some form of live television from 1988 to 1997 (snapped against Oregon State) and another streak of 48 in a row from 1997 to 2001 (broken against California).
PAC-10 25TH ANNIVERSARY
The 2002 season marks the 25th year of the Pacific-10 Conference as Arizona and Arizona State joined the league prior to the 1978 football season. USC became a member in 1922 when the league was called the Pacific Coast Conference (it later was called the Athletic Association of Western Universities, the Pacific-8 Conference and now the Pac-10).
There are a number of updates from the roster in the 2002 USC football media guide: ***There are 3 new scholarship players (their complete bios are below): #58 Lofa Tatupu (LB, 5-11, 215, So./So., Plainville, MA, King Philip Regional HS/Maine), #90 Frostee Rucker (LB, 6-4, 240, Fr.*/So., Tustin, Tustin HS/Colorado State) and #98 Travis Tofi (DE, 6-4, 235, Fr./Fr., Aoa, American Samoa, Fagaitua HS).
***Eleven other players have joined the team as walk-ons: #5 Morgan Craig (QB, 6-2, 190, Fr./Fr., Newport Beach, Newport Harbor HS), #9 Chase McBride (S, 6-2, 195, Fr./Fr., Solana Beach, Santa Fe Christian HS), #13 Mike Brittingham (S, 6-1, 195, Fr./Fr., Santa Ana, Foothill HS), #17 Nick Vanderboom (QB, 6-4, 215, Fr./Fr., Medina, MN, Breck HS), #19 Matt Newhouse (LB, 6-4, 205, Fr./Fr., Diamond Bar, Diamond Bar HS), #26 Greg Farr (S, 6-0, 195, Jr./Jr., Carlsbad, Carlsbad HS/Palomar JC), #27 John Zilka (WR, 6-4, 185, Fr./Fr., Lake Forest, IL, Lake Forest HS), #29 Matt Haugen (WR, 6-0, 290, Fr./Fr., Irvine, Mater Dei HS), #38 Kirk Shepherd (CB, 5-10, 160, Fr./Fr., Rancho Palos Verdes, Peninsula HS), #60 Jonathan Lanza (OT, 6-3, 265, Fr./Fr., San Diego, Horizon HS) and #80 Steve Levario Jr. (WR 5-9, 170, So.*/Jr., West Covina, Wilson HS/Mt. San Antonio JC).
***Also, delete DE Austin Jackson, WR Frank Candela, CB Miguel Fletcher, CB Justin Tolliver and CB Marcus Johnson, who all quit the team, plus S Darnell Bing and DT Manuel Wright, who both did not qualify for admission.
BIOS OF NEW SCHOLARSHIP TROJANS
LOFA TATUPU-He will have to sit out the 2002 season because of NCAA transfer rules...He started at linebacker as a first-year freshman in 2001 at Maine...He was second on the Black Bears in tackles with 67, including 13 for losses (with 3.5 sacks), tied for the team lead in interceptions with 3 (returned for a 16.7 average), and had 2 deflections, 1 forced fumble and 4 kickoff returns (for a 14.8 average)...He was named the team's Defensive Rookie of the Year...Maine went 9-3 in 2001, winning a share of the Atlantic 10 title and its first post-season game en route to advancing to the NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals...As a 2000 senior at King Philip Regional High in Wrentham, Mass., he recorded 110 tackles at linebacker and threw for 800 yards and 10 TDs as a quarterback while also rushing for 450 yards and 5 TDs...He was a 2000 All-State pick, as well as a 2-time (1999-2000) Sun Chronicle All-Star and All-League linebacker (earning All-League Defensive MVP honors as a senior)...King Philip Regional's head coach was his father, former USC fullback Mosi Tatupu (1974-77), who was a member of Troy's 1974 national championship team (he ran for 1,277 yards on 223 carries in his Trojan career and was USC's Offensive Player of the Year and Most Inspirational Player in 1977) and then played 14 years in the NFL with the New England Patriots (1978-90) and Los Angeles Rams (1991)....His name is pronounced 'LOW-fah ta-TOO-poo.'
FROSTEE RUCKER-He will have to sit out the 2002 season because of NCAA transfer rules...He redshirted as a first-year freshman outside linebacker at Colorado State in 2001...He was named to the 2000 All-CIF Division VI first team (as a running back), Orange County Register All-Orange County second team (as a linebacker) and All-Golden West League MVP as a senior at Tustin (Calif.) High.
TRAVIS TOFI-He was a 2-time (2000-01) All-Star (winning Defensive Line MVP in 2001) as a senior defensive end at Fagaitua (American Samoa) High...He had 49 tackles and 9 sacks in 2001...He also won a Samoa International Sports Award in 2001, which recognizes the achievements of Samoan athletes...His real first name is Tupula...His cousin, Suaese 'Pooch' Taase, played football at Louisiana Tech...Tofi's last name is pronounced 'TOE-fee.'
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.
Two of USC's most recent graduation rates for football were 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 2002 Trojan squad are: FB Brandon Hancock (team-high 3.81 GPA, business), S Andre Woodert (3.43), QB Billy Hart (3.35, business), LB-SNP Matt Hayward (3.29, business), QB Matt Cassel (3.23, communication), P Tom Malone (3.2, kineseology), DT Spencer Torgan (3.04, business), LB Melvin Simmons (3.01, social sciences/history), TE Scott Huber (2.97, communication), FB David Kirtman (2.92, business), C-SNP Joe Boskovich (2.87, business), OT Justin Brown (2.82, business) and DE Jay Bottom (2.78). 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.
Auburn returns 14 starters (including 8 on defense) from a 2001 squad that went 7-5 overall and was the SEC's Western Division co-champ at 5-3. The Tigers started off 6-1 last season, but then lost their last 3 games (and 4 of their last 5), including 16-10 to North Carolina in the Peach Bowl. Coach Tommy Tuberville is beginning his fourth season at Auburn. The Tigers' offense is led by exciting sophomore TB Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams (120 tcb, 614 yds, 5.1 avg, 6 TD in 2001, plus 13 rec, 10.8 avg and 8 KOR, 23.8 avg). There are 2 experienced quarterbacks in sixth-year senior Daniel Cobb (89-of-158, 56.3%, 1165 yds, 7 TD, 7 int in 2001), the starter, and soph Jason Campbell (89-of-142, 62.7%, 1117 yds, 4 TD, 4 int in 2001). Junior Dontarrious Thomas (122 tac, 9 for loss in 2001) led the Tigers in tackles in 2001. Six of Auburn's next seven top tacklers from last fall return, including junior SLB Karlos Dansby (59 tac, 8 for loss, team-best 5 int in 2001), sophomore WCB Carlos Rogers (58 tac, 12 dfl in 2001) and senior MLB Mark Brown (55 tac in 2001). Senior Damon Duval (16-of-26 FG, 28-of-28 PAT in 2001, plus 44.0 P avg) won 2001 All-American first team honors as a placekicker and also was All-SEC as a punter.
It's Trojan Schedule Poster Day, with free USC schedule posters-featuring All-American Troy Polamalu-given free to all fans...There will be a pre-game moment of silence for Marv Goux, the legendary USC assistant football coach (1957-82) and star Trojan player (1952, 54-55) who died July 27 at age 69, and John Argue, the person responsible for bringing the Olympics to Los Angeles in 1984 and a one-time USC Board of Trustees chairman who died Aug. 10 at age 70...Four Navy F-18 jets, based out of Lemoore Naval Air Station, will fly over the Coliseum (from east to west) at the conclusion of the national anthem (one of the pilots will be Marc Preston, who punted for USC in 1988 and 1989)...The USC men's tennis team, which won the 2002 NCAA team championship under retiring head coach Dick Leach, will be recognized during the Team Trojan Spotlight... Junior Ruben Torres of Colombia, a member of USC's 2002 NCAA championship men's tennis team and a business major with a 3.21 GPA, will be saluted during the Verizon Academic Salute...At halftime, USC's 2002 NCAA champions-sprinters Angela Williams (100m, 60m indoor) and Natasha Mayers (200m), diver Blythe Hartley (1m springboard, platform), swimmers Erik Vendt (1650y free, 400y IM, Klete Keller (500y free, 800y free relay), Rodrigo Castro (800y free relay), Tamas Kerekjarto (800y free relay) and Jeff Lee (800y free relay), plus the men's tennis team-will be honored...Video board presentations will include 1976-77 All-American safety Dennis Thurman (FOX Sports Greatest Trojan), 2001 national Player of the Year and current Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior (Trojans in the News) and USC's 27-0 football shutout over UCLA in 2001 (Trojan Greatest Moments)...There will be a post-game fireworks show.
OUT: CB Kevin Arbet (foot), WR D. Hale (ankle), OG-OT Joe McGuire (shoulder), DE-DT A.J. Single (shoulder), QB Nick Vanderboom (knee)POSSIBLE: OG Zach Wilson (foot), QB Matt Cassel (knee), CB Marcell Allmond (knee), LB Aaron Graham (hip), TB Justin Fargas (hamstring), LB-DE Chris Prosser (concussion), WR D. Hale (ankle), CB Ronald Nunn (hamstring)
SE 2 Kareem Kelly (6-0, 190, Sr.) 1 Mike Williams (6-5, 210, Fr.)LT 77 Jacob Rogers (6-6, 305, Jr.*) 74 Winston Justice (6-6, 305, Fr.)LG 78 Lenny Vandermade (6-3, 275, Jr.*) 68 Chris Doyle (6-1, 285, Fr.)C 62 Norm Katnik (6-4, 280, Jr.*) 73 Derek Graf (6-4, 280, Sr.*)RG 57 Fred Matua (6-3, 305, Fr.)63 Travis Watkins (6-3, 300, So.*) 69 Zach Wilson (6-5, 300, Sr.*)RT 66 Eric Torres (6-5, 300, Jr.*)67 Phillip Eaves (6-7, 310, Sr.*) OR 75 Kyle Williams (6-6, 280, Fr.)TE 44 Gregg Guenther Jr. (6-8, 245, So.*) OR 81 Alex Holmes (6-3, 265, Jr.) 88 Doyal Butler (6-3, 245, Sr.*)QB 3 Carson Palmer (6-6, 230, Sr.*) 11 Matt Leinart (6-5, 215, Fr.*) 13 Billy Hart (6-2, 205, Fr.*)FB 34 Chad Pierson (6-1, 240, Sr.*) 39 Sunny Byrd (6-0, 215, Sr.*) OR 28 Brandon Hancock (6-1, 235, Fr.)TB 4 Sultan McCullough (6-0, 190, Sr.*) OR 21 Malaefou MacKenzie (5-11, 225, Sr.*) 9 Darryl Poston (5-11, 190, So.) OR26 Hershel Dennis (5-11, 175, Fr.)25 Justin Fargas (6-1, 210, Sr.*)FL 83 Keary Colbert (6-1, 205, Jr.)87 Grant Mattos (6-3, 225, Sr.) 15 Jason Mitchell (6-0, 195, Jr.)
DE 94 Kenechi Udeze (6-4, 280, So.*) 91 Van Brown (6-5, 255, So.*)NT 99 Mike Patterson (6-0, 285, So.) 93 Bernard Riley (6-3, 320, Sr.)DT 84 Shaun Cody (6-4, 275, So.) 54 Anthony Daye (6-1, 260, Sr.*)DE 56 Omar Nazel (6-5, 240, Jr.*)86 Dominique Byrd (6-3, 250, Fr.) 59 Chris Prosser (6-2, 225, Jr.*)SLB 6 Matt Grootegoed (5-11, 205, So.*) 42 Dallas Sartz (6-5, 210, Fr.)MLB 45 Mike Pollard (6-0, 225, Sr.*) 35 Lee Webb (5-11, 240, So.*) OR 46 Oscar Lua (6-1, 245, Fr.)WLB 51 Melvin Simmons (6-1, 215, Jr.*) 36 Aaron Graham (6-1, 225, Sr.) 41 Bobby Otani (6-0, 210, So.)CB 24 Justin Wyatt (5-10, 175, Fr.)31 William Buchanon (6-4, 175, Fr.*) OR 18 John Walker (6-1, 195, Fr.*)FS 5 DeShaun Hill (5-11, 200, Sr.*) 7 Sandy Fletcher (6-1, 200, Jr.*) OR 26 Greg Farr (6-0, 195, Jr.)SS 43 Troy Polamalu (5-10, 215, Sr.) 27 Jason Leach (5-11, 210, So.*) 29 Mike Ross (6-0, 185, Fr.)CB 22 Darrell Rideaux (5-8, 170, Sr.) 23 Ronald Nunn (5-10, 170, Jr.) OR 8 Marcell Allmond (6-0, 200, Jr.*)
P 14 Tom Malone (6-0, 185, Fr.) 16 Tommy Huff (6-1, 220, Jr.*)PK 48 David Davis (5-11, 160, Sr.*) 16 Ryan Killeen (5-11, 210, So.)SNP 50 Matt Hayward (6-1, 215, Jr.)-P 64 Joe Boskovich (6-4, 240, Jr.*)-PAT, FGHLD 14 Tom Malone (6-0, 185, Fr.) 15 Zach Sherwood (6-3, 190, Fr.*)KOR 4 Sultan McCullough (6-0, 190, Sr.*) 26 Hershel Dennis (5-11, 175, Fr.)PR 2 Kareem Kelly (6-0, 190, Sr.)24 Justin Wyatt (5-10, 175, Fr.) 19 Greig Carlson (5-10, 185, Fr.*)
WR 2 Ben Obamanu (6-1, 184, Fr.)
19 Montavis Pitts (6-1, 194, Fr.)
LT 69 Mark Pera (6-6, 309, Jr.)
74 Steven Ross (6-6, 282, RFr.)
LG 68 Danny Lindsey (6-2, 294, So.)
66 Troy Reddick (6-5, 297, Fr.)
C 55 Ben Nowland (6-3, 294, Sr.)
67 Jeremy Ingle (6-1, 264, So.)
RG 76 Ryan Hockett (6-3, 290, Sr.)
73 Marcus McNeill (6-9, 347, Fr.)
RT 65 Monreko Crittenden (6-5, 338, Jr.)
60 Ryan Broome (6-6, 300, So.)
TE 49 Lorenzo Diamond (6-3, 258, Sr.)
87 Robert Johnson (6-6, 270, Jr.)
8 Cooper Wallace (6-4, 249, RFr.)
QB 16 Daniel Cobb (6-4, 224, Sr.)
17 Jason Campbell (6-4, 220, So.)
FB 45 Brandon Johnson (6-1, 234, Jr.)
44 Jake Slaughter (6-2, 234, RFr.)
TB 24 Carnell Williams (5-11, 202, So.)
38 Chris Butler (5-11, 216, Jr.)
23 Ronnie Brown (6-1, 217, So.)
22 Tre Smith (5-10, 190, Fr.)
WR 85 Silas Daniels (6-0, 187, So.)
80 Marcel Willis (6-1, 180, Sr.)
WR 81 Jeris McIntyre (6-0, 204, Jr.)
89 Anthony Mix (6-5, 234, Fr.)
LE 83 Jay Ratliff (6-5, 253, So.)
94 Bret Eddins (6-5, 261, So.)
DT 92 DeMarco McNeil (6-2, 297, Jr.)
96 Wayne Dickens (6-2, 290, RFr.)
DT 53 Spencer Johnson (6-3, 283, Jr.)
97 Dante Booker (6-4, 277, Sr.)
RE 82 Reggie Torbor (6-3, 242, Jr.)
91 Dexter Murphy (6-2, 272, Jr.)
LB 11 Karlos Dansby (6-5, 221, Jr.)
51 Travis Williams (6-1, 208, RFr.)
LB 52 Mark Brown (6-2, 240, Sr.)
56 Lemarcus Rowell (6-3, 229, Fr.)
LB 54 Dontarrious Thomas (6-4, 233, Jr.)
31 Antarrious Williams (5-11, 205, RFr.)
LC 36 Roderick Hood (5-11, 196, Sr.)
37 Rashaud Walker (5-10, 202, Sr.)
SS 4 Junior Rosegreen (6-0, 185, So.)
3 Roshard Gilyard (5-10, 202, Jr.)
FS 5 Travaris Robinson (5-10, 193, Sr.)
10 Donnay Young (6-0, 198, So.)
RC 14 Carlos Rogers (6-1, 191, So.)
26 Lamel Ages (5-9, 187, So.)
P 20 Damon Duval (6-1, 192, Sr.)
41 Michael Gibson (6-1, 200, Fr.)
PK 20 Damon Duval (6-1, 192, Sr.)
18 Philip Yost (6-2, 187, So.)
SNP 50 Michael Lindsey (6-4, 237, Sr.)--P
59 Jeremy Wells (6-1, 242, Jr.)-FG
HLD 28 Justin Festko (5-8, 160, Jr.)
KOR 36 Roderick Hood (5-11, 196, Sr.)
24 Carnell Williams (5-11, 202, So.)
PR 36 Roderick Hood (5-11, 196, Sr.)
19 Joe Walkins (5-8, 280, So.)
JUSTIN FARGASTailback6-1, 210, SeniorEncino, Calif.
As Justin Fargas prepares to go to another football practice, he walks through USC's Heritage Hall. Despite spending countless hours in the legendary building, he stops for a moment and once again looks at the four Heisman Trophies sitting in the lobby - staring at each one like a visitor seeing them for the first time.
'It motivates me,' said Fargas, the fifth-year senior who is preparing to play in his first and only season at USC. 'Just to be here and play at Tailback U. with the great tradition of tailbacks that have played here and the great things that they've done before, and to see those four Heisman trophies and the retired jerseys, that's all the motivation in the world for a tailback.'
The first time Fargas walked through Heritage Hall was in 1997, when he was one of the most coveted tailbacks in the country, breaking records at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. At the time, Fargas dreamed of wearing the Cardinal and Gold and breaking records at the Coliseum.
'I always wanted to be a Trojan,' said Fargas, who ran for a school-record 6,357 yards and 82 touchdowns in his three-year high school career. 'I had a good relationship with Coach (John) Robinson and I had committed to him early before my senior year. When they had a coaching change, I had to look at my other options and I pretty much narrowed it down to the two L.A. schools and Michigan. When it was all said and done, I didn't see myself being a Bruin, and Michigan seemed to be the best option after the USC coaching change.'
Although Fargas surprised many of his friends and family by deciding to leave his warm-weather home for chilly Ann Arbor, he was intent on showing people that he could be a premier tailback wherever he went. It looked like he was on his way to making his dreams come true as a freshman, rushing for 277 yards and one touchdown on 77 carries, including a 120-yard breakout performance in the rain at Northwestern. But instead of breaking records, Fargas ended up breaking his right leg against Wisconsin towards the end of his 1998 freshman season.
The injury would not be just a minor setback in Fargas' career; it would come to epitomize it.
Following an initial surgery that saw two titanium rods and 12 screws implanted in his leg, Fargas was forced to go back to the hospital four months later when his leg wasn't healing properly. Doctors were forced to re-break his leg and insert two metal plates. The surgeries forced Fargas to redshirt in 1999 and, while he was out, Fargas also found time for a third operation to fix tendons in his right big toe.
'It hurt because I wanted to play so bad,' said Fargas, who nearly lost his foot after the initial surgery when doctors briefly considered amputating it. 'I guess in retrospect, I should be glad that I can even walk, but at the time I just wanted to play football.'
By the time Fargas was healthy enough to play football again, he had fallen so far down the Michigan depth chart at tailback he moved to safety just so he could get on the field.
'When I finally came off my injuries, I wasn't quite certain where I fit in, so I moved to defense,' said Fargas, who played safety in high school.
'Had I stayed at Michigan, I could still be playing defense and maybe had a shot at playing in the NFL at that position, but in my heart and in my dreams, I wanted more. I'm a natural tailback. I figured that by me making a move from Michigan to USC, I could have a chance at being a top tailback.'
At the same time that Fargas was attempting to transfer to USC, the Trojans made another coaching change, this time bringing in Pete Carroll to replace Paul Hackett.
'Fargas was really big out here, but I didn't know who he was. I had never heard of him before,' Carroll said. 'Michigan had given him his release and eventually it got to the point where he called us and we arranged for him to come to campus.
'When they opened the door and I met his father, I was floored. I had no idea that Antonio Fargas was going to be walking in here.'
While Carroll was surprised to see 'Huggy Bear' from TV's Starsky and Hutch walking into his office (Antonio has also appeared in such films as 'Shaft,' 'Pretty Baby,' 'The Gambler' and 'Car Wash'), he wasn't as shocked when he saw what Fargas was doing on the practice field every day, as he served as the Trojans' scout team tailback last season, forced to sit out following his transfer.
'He left no doubt from the first day that he would be going a thousand miles an hour every chance he got,' Carroll said. 'He's very tough, very aggressive and very physical. Those are characteristics you don't necessarily place on a running back.'
Fargas' aggressiveness helped him go from the scout team to the first team this past spring as he ran for 139 and 111 yards during USC's spring scrimmages, some of the better spring perfromances by a Trojan tailback in recent memory.
Now Fargas is waiting to put up those kind of numbers on game days.
'I can't wait to put on that helmet and play at the Coliseum,' said Fargas, who was slowed in this fall's camp with a hamstring strain. 'It's been a long journey and a long wait, but I'm finally ready to make my dreams come true.'
By Arash Markazi
2002 USC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE (0-0)
DATE OPPONENT TIME
Sept. 2 Auburn 5 p.m. (ABC)
Sept. 14 at Colorado 1:30 p.m. (ABC)
Sept. 21 at Kansas State TBA
Sept. 28 Oregon State TBA
Oct. 5 at Washington State TBA
Oct. 12 California TBA
Oct. 19 Washington TBA
Oct. 26 at Oregon TBA
Nov. 9 at Stanford 4 p.m. (ABC)
Nov. 16 Arizona State TBA
Nov. 23 at UCLA TBA
Nov. 30 Notre Dame 5 p.m. (ABC)
TICKETS-Tickets for the USC-Auburn game, priced at $40, are available at the USC Ticket Office (213-740-GO SC), www.usctrojans.com, the L.A. Sports Arena box office and all Ticketmaster agencies. For group discounts (25 or more), call (213) 740-4170.
RADIO-TV-Live national TV: 5 p.m. (PDT), ABC-TV, Keith Jackson, Dan Fouts, Todd Harris. Live local radio: 4 p.m. (PDT), KMPC-AM (1540), Pete Arbogast, Paul McDonald, Petros Papadakis, Jeff Kopp and Mark Carrier (includes 1-hour pre-game and 2-hour post-game shows). Five other stations are included on the USC radio network: KPLS-AM 830 in Orange, XEMM-AM 800 in San Diego, KXPS-AM 1010 in Palm Springs, KGEO-AM 1230 in Bakersfield and KVEN-AM 1540 in Ventura. Fans also can hear the live KMPC broadcast on the Internet as a 'cybercast' on www.usctrojans.com or can pay to listen to it live by dialing 1-800-846-4675 ext. 5933. (NOTE: Armed Forces Radio will broadcast this game overseas to military personnel.)
Live local Spanish-language radio: 5 p.m. (PDT), XPRS-AM (1090), Jorge Villanueva, Efren Dominguez, Victor Duarte.
USC Insider Show: 7 p.m. (PDT), Tuesdays during football season, KMPC-AM (1540) and KPLS-AM (830), Pete Arbogast, Petros Papadakis.
USC Trojan Talk: 7 p.m. (PDT), Sundays during football season, KDWN-AM (720), Harvey Hyde, Chuck Hayes. Fans also can hear the live KDWN broadcast on the Internet as a cybercast' (type http://www.usctrojans.com).
USC ONLINE--The USC athletic department has an official 'home page' on the World Wide Web, featuring current and historical information about Trojan sports. For access, type http://www.usctrojans.com.
IT'S NOT SOUTHERN CAL--Note to the media: In editorial references to athletic teams of the University of Southern California, the following are preferred: USC, Southern California, So. California, Troy, Trojans and (for women's teams) Women of Troy. PLEASE do not use Southern Cal.
PAC-10 ONLINE--Pac-10 information, press releases, statistics and links to all league schools are available online at http://www.pac-10.org.
PAC-10 SATELLITE FEED-The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed featuring interviews with coaches and selected players regarding upcoming games along with highlight footage. The half-hour feed airs every Wednesday (Sept. 4 through Nov. 20, plus Tuesday, Nov. 26) at 11:30 a.m. (PDT). Coordinates are GE 2, Transponder 11 (C-band). Trouble numbers: 310-543-1835 or 310-231-3229 (or pager 888-423-0095) or 925-932-4411.
PAC-10 COACHES TELECONFERENCE-Pac-10 football coaches are available for 10 minutes each on a media teleconference beginning at 10 a.m. (PDT) every Tuesday (Sept. 17 through Nov. 19) during the season. USC coach Pete Carroll comes on at 10:40 a.m. (PDT). Beginning at 3 p.m. (PDT) each of those Tuesdays, a taped replay of the teleconference is available until the next call. Call the Pac-10 office (925-932-4411) or USC sports information office (213-740-8480) to obtain the media-only phone numbers for the Pac-10 Coaches Teleconference.
W L W L
ARIZ 0 0 0 0
CAL 0 0 0 0
ORE 0 0 0 0
OSU 0 0 0 0
STAN 0 0 0 0
UCLA 0 0 0 0
USC 0 0 0 0
WASH 0 0 0 0
WSU 0 0 0 0
ASU 0 0 0 1
1. Miami (Fla.)
3. Florida State
11. Washington State
13. Ohio State
16. Virginia Tech
18. Michigan State
22. South Carolina
23. Texas A&M
24. Penn State
USA TODAY/ESPN POLL
1. Miami (Fla.)
4. Florida State
12. Ohio State
14. Washington State
16. Virginia Tech
18. Michigan State
22. South Carolina
24. Penn State
25. North Carolina State
USC VS. AUBURN (0-1-0)
1986* L 7-16 N1
N1-Orlando Stadium, Orlando, Florida
*1987 Citrus Bowl
TODAY | 12:00pm PTLive