USC Football Looking To Snap 2-game Losing Skid
Sept. 23, 2001
TICKETS-Tickets for the USC-Stanford game, priced at $29, are available at the USC Ticket Office (213-740-GO SC), L.A. Sports Arena box office and all Ticketmaster agencies. For group discounts (25 or more), call (213) 740-4170.
RADIO-TV-Live local cable TV: 3:30 p.m. (PDT), FOX Sports Net 2, Tom Kelly, Craig Fertig, Barry LeBrock.
Local cable TV replay: 7 p.m. (PDT), Sunday (Sept. 30), FOX Sports Net 2, Tom Kelly, Craig Fertig, Barry LeBrock.
Live local radio: 2:30 p.m. (PDT), KMPC-AM (1540), Pete Arbogast, Paul McDonald, Tim Ryan, Petros Papadakis(includes 1-hour USC pre- and post-game shows). Nine other stations are included on the USC radio network: KPLS-AM 830 in Orange, KFMB-AM 760 in San Diego, KMXN-AM 1510 in Rancho Cucamonga, KXPS-AM 1010 in Palm Springs, KGEO-AM 1230 in Bakersfield, KCBL-AM 1340 in Fresno, KVBL-AM 1400 in Visalia, KRLV-AM 1340 in Las Vegas, Nev., and KAOI-AM 1110 in Wailuku, Hi. 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.
Live local Spanish-language radio: 3:30 p.m. (PDT), XPRS-AM (1090), Jorge Villanueva, Efren Dominguez, Victor Duarte.
USC Sports Magazine Show: 1 a.m. (PDT), Friday, (Sept. 28), and 2 p.m. (PDT), Friday (Sept. 28), and 11 p.m. (PDT), Friday (Sept. 28), FOX Sports Net 2, Tom Kelly.
USC Insider Show: 7 p.m. (PDT), Tuesdays during football season, KMPC-AM (1540) and KPLS-AM (830), Pete Arbogast, Rory Markas.
USC Trojan Talk: 7 p.m. (PDT), Sundays during football season, KDWN-AM (720), Harvey Hyde, Chuck Hayes.
USC HOTLINE--Dial (213) 743-2989 for a brief taped interview with USC coach Pete Carroll.
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. 5 through Nov. 21) at 11:30 a.m. (PDT). Coordinates are Telstar 6, Transponder 9 (C-band). Trouble numbers: 310-543-1835 (or pager 888-423-0095), 310-282-2611 (or pager 888-451-5861) or 925-932-4411.
PAC-10 COACHES TELECONFERENCES-Pac-10 football coaches are available for 10 minutes each on a media teleconference beginning at 10 a.m. (PDT) every Tuesday (Sept. 11 through Nov. 6) during the season. USC coach Pete Carroll comes on at 10:30 a.m. (PDT). Beginning at 2:30 p.m. (PDT) each of those Tuesdays, a taped replay of the teleconference is available anytime. 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.
THE FACTS-USC (1-2 overall, 0-1 in Pac-10 for eighth place tie) vs. Stanford (2-0, 1-0 for first place tie), Saturday, Sept. 29, 3:30 p.m. PDT, Los Angeles Coliseum.
THEMES-USC is coming off a heartbreaking last-second defeat at Oregon and is trying to snap a 2-game losing streak, with the losses by a total of just 6 points. Troy is playing its third home game in its first 4 outings this year. Stanford, a big winner over Arizona State last Saturday, is looking for its first 3-0 start since 1986. The Trojans have dropped their past 2 meetings to the Cardinal (by a total of 6 points), including last year's stunning last-second loss. It's the 80th meeting between the schools. The Cardinal-playing its first road outing of 2001-is USC's oldest current opponent. The game will be shown live locally on FOX Sports Net 2.
RANKINGS-USC and Stanford are not ranked in either the AP or USA Today/ESPN polls.
SERIES-Stanford is USC's oldest rival, with the series dating back to 1905. USC holds a 53-23-3 lead over Stanford, but Troy has lost the last 2 meetings and 3 of the last 5. In its last 25 meetings with the Cardinal, USC has gone 19-5-1 (and Troy is 34-8-1 in the past 43 games). In games in the Los Angeles area (including a 1918 game in Pasadena), USC leads 24-14-1 (16-4-1 since 1959). USC has outscored the Cardinal 291-167 in the past 9 meetings in the Coliseum.
Last year in Palo Alto, backup QB Chris Lewis threw a 20-yard TD pass to FL Jamien McCullum on fourth-and-goal as time expired to give Stanford a stunning 32-30 win over USC as the Trojans couldn't hold a 10-point lead with less than 5:30 to play. Lewis came in for the Cardinal's final 6 plays when starting QB Randy Fasani was injured on a run to the Trojan 25-yard line with less than a minute to go. Although Stanford held the ball nearly twice as long as USC (39:29-20:31), ran off 37 more plays (96-59), had 9 more first downs (26-17) and converted 13-of-23 third downs (and 3-of-4 fourth downs), the Cardinal managed only 1 more yard of total offense (421-420). Stanford opened up a 14-0 lead late in the first half behind a pair of short TD runs by RB Kerry Carter. But Troy pulled back to within 14-8 at halftime on a 2-yard TD run by TB Petros Papadakis and a safety when P Mike Biselli was tackled in the end zone. Carter score on another short run on the opening series of the second half, but USC then scored 22 unanswered points to go up by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter. First, TB Sultan McCullough burst 39 yards for a TD on USC's first drive of the second half. Then, Papadakis had another 2-yard scoring run a minute later, just 3 plays after CB Chris Cash intercepted a Fasani pass. PK John Wall hit a 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, then QB Carson Palmer ran 1-yard on a naked bootleg on USC's next possession to go up 30-20 with 8:16 to play. But Stanford came back, driving 78 yards in 11 plays, capped by Carter's 20-yard fourth down scoring run with 5:22 to go. When USC went 3-and-out on its ensuing possession, the Cardinal took 13 plays to drive 50 yards in the final 3:42 for the victory. Carter--who had a career-high 123 yards on 20 carries--tied a USC opponent record with his 4 TDs and WR DeRonnie Pitts's career-best 13 catches (for 176 yards) tied another Trojan opponent mark. Fasani, who had missed the previous 3 games with a knee injury, was 18-of-36 for 196 yards in his return. McCullough had a game-high 130 yards on just 11 rushes (his fourth 100-yard outing of the season), while Palmer was 15-of-30 for 190 yards. LB Zeke Moreno posted a game-best 12 tackles and S Troy Polamalu added 11 stops.
In 1999 in the last meeting in Los Angeles, USC surrendered a 21-point lead and lost to Stanford, 35-31. Troy held a 21-0 first quarter lead on a 1-yard run by TB Chad Morton, an 8-yard pass from QB Mike Van Raaphorst to WR Windrell Hayes and a 64-yard Van Raaphorst bomb to WR Marcell Allmond. Stanford finally scored on a 2-yard run by RB Coy Wire. Then things started to unravel for USC (a lost fumble on the Stanford 6), 3 interceptions (1 returned for a TD), a pair of TD bombs dropped, 3 missed field goals and some untimely penalties. After PK David Newbury's 31-yard field goal gave USC a 24-7 lead late in the first half, the Cardinal responded with 21 unanswered points in less than 3 minutes to move ahead 28-24. USC struck back midway through the third quarter on another 64-yard Van Raaphorst pass, this one to WR R. Jay Soward. But Stanford scored on its next possession (a 1-yard run by QB Todd Husak) and held on. The Trojans generated 587 total yards (its most since 1996) and ran off 90 plays (its most since 1990). Van Raaphorst threw for a USC game record 415 yards and his completions (25), attempts (51) and TDs (3) were career bests. Stanford improved to 5-0 in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1970.
IN THE COLISEUM-USC has a 359-121-27 (.735) all-time record in the Coliseum since the stadium opened in 1923.
CONNECTIONS-USC has 4 players who previously attended a Bay Area school: WR Grant Mattos (St. Francis HS in Mountain View and Foothill JC in Los Altos Hills), DE Omar Nazel (Skyline HS in Oakland), CB Matt Lemos (St. Francis HS in Mountain View) and WR Forrest Mozart (St. Francis HS in Mountain View)... USC head coach Pete Carroll has Bay Area roots: he was born in San Francisco, played football at Redwood High in Larkspur, Marin Junior College and Pacific, then was an assistant coach at Pacific (1974-76, 1983) and with the San Francisco 49ers (1995-96)...Two Trojan assistant coaches played pro football in the Bay Area: offensive line coach Keith Uperesa was with the Oakland Raiders in 1979 and secondary coach DeWayne Walker was with the USFL's Oakland Invaders in 1984...USC linebackers coach Nick Holt played football at Bellarmine Prep in San Jose...USC C A.J. Single's father, Doug, lettered in football at Stanford in 1971 and 1972 (the 1971 team won the Rose Bowl), then was Stanford's offensive line coach for 3 years (1976-78)...Stanford CB Garry Cobb is the son of former USC OLB Garry Cobb (1976-78)...One of the personal punting coaches of USC P Mike MacGillivray is Paul Stonehouse, who punted at Stanford (1989-92)...Tracey Harris, Stanford's football promotions, events and travel manager, is a former intern in the USC sports information office.
LAST GAME-Freshman Jared Siegel hit a 32-yard field goal with 12 seconds to play to give No. 7 Oregon a dramatic 24-22 win on a warm evening before a sold-out crowd of 45,765 fans in noisy Autzen Stadium and a national FOX Sports Net cable audience. The loss was USC's second straight heartbreaker of 2001 (both to Top 12 teams) and was reminiscent of Troy's previous visit to Eugene, a 33-30 triple overtime loss to the Ducks in 1999 that also was decided by a field goal despite a furious Trojan comeback. It was USC's fourth consecutive loss to UO and it extended Oregon's school-record home winning streak to 23 games. It was the Pac-10 opener for both squads, as well as the Trojans' first road contest of the year. USC trailed 21-6 midway through the third quarter before QB Carson Palmer threw a swing pass to TB Sultan McCullough, who raced 75 yards with it for a score (the longest reception of his career). Next, on the opening play of the fourth quarter with the Trojans pinned at their 7-yard line by a Duck punt, Palmer hit wide-open WR Kareem Kelly for a 93-yard score to pull within 21-19 (Palmer tripped to the ground on the unsuccessful 2-point conversion attempt). Kelly's catch was the longest of his career (and the longest in Autzen Stadium history), while Palmer's 2 TD tosses were the longest aerials in his career. Then, on USC's next possession, PK David Davis nailed a 39-yard field goal to give Troy a 22-21 lead with 10:20 to go. It was Davis' third 3-pointer of the evening (and they were the first of his career). USC held Oregon on its next 2 possessions, with DE Bobby DeMars blocking PK David Rosenberg's 43-yard field goal try with 1:30 to go. But the Ducks stopped USC and got the ball back at their 24-yard line with 56 seconds to play, long enough to march 61 yards in 7 plays to the winning kick. Oregon had a 14-6 halftime lead on a 35-yard trick pass from TB Onterrio Smith to TE Justin Peelle in the first quarter and a 38-yard scoring interception return by CB Steve Smith (he had 3 picks in the game, tying a stadium record) late in the second quarter. Davis provided USC with its early points on field goals of 32 yards late in the first quarter and a 43-yarder late in the second quarter. Oregon added a TD on its first possession of the second half (3 plays after Smith's third interception) when QB Joey Harrington hit Peelle for 21 yards. Palmer-operating often out of a no-huddle attack-set the USC single game total offense record with 419 yards and was 4 yards shy of tying the school passing yardage mark as he threw for a career-high 411 yards while hitting 25-of-40 tosses, but he had 3 interceptions and was sacked 5 times. WR Keary Colbert had a game-best 6 grabs for 67 yards, while Kelly (with a game-high 165 yards) and TE Kori Dickerson (32 yards) each had 4 receptions. The Trojans had the edge in total yards (451-303), plays (72-62) and possession time (32:08-27:52). USC averaged 6.3 yards per play, but managed only 40 rushing yards and was penalized 10 times. For Oregon, Harrington was 22-of-35 for 188 yards (including 5-of-6 for 61 yards on the game-winning drive), Peelle had 6 catches for 95 yards, TB Maurice Morris ran for a game-high 86 yards on 15 carries and TB Allan Amundson returned 4 kickoffs for 181 yards (overall, Oregon returned 6 kickoffs for 228 yards). LB Mike Pollard had a game-best 11 tackles for Troy. It was the highest-ranked Oregon squad USC had ever faced. And, despite both teams coming off of byes, there was a reflective mood to the game as it was college football's first weekend of games since the tragic Sept. 11 hijackings on the East Coast.
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 eighth toughest schedule. 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-This is the second earliest date that USC has ever played Stanford, behind only 1988's Sept. 10 meeting in Palo Alto (which Troy won, 24-20). The 78 other match-ups were played in either October or November.
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 1-2 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.
PALMER-USC has one of the nation's best signalcallers in 2001 in junior Carson Palmer (62-of-104, 59.6%, 821 yds, 2 TD, 4 int in 2001). He is on the 'Watch List' for the 2001 Davey O'Brien Award. He is 10th nationally in total offense at 295.0 (third in Pac-10). He already ranks third on Troy's career passing list (459 completions). He is also fourth on USC's all-time total offense chart (5,935 yards). 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. His 5,159 career passing yards through the 2000 season were the most by a Trojan at the end of his sophomore year. 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 23 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 14 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). Look for him to thrive now in Norm Chow's offense.
--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 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.
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/MacKENZIE-Troy returned a 1,000-yard runner in 2001 and he's a good one who should only get better: speedy junior tailback Sultan McCullough (63 tcb, 238 yds, 3.8 avg, 4 TD in 2001, plus 3 rec, 28.0 avg, 1 TD). He currently is tied for 24th nationally in scoring (10.0, fourth in Pac-10). He is listed as a candidate for the 2001 Doak Walker Award. He is 17th on USC's prestigious career rushing chart with 1,814 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). Giving the Trojans a 1-2 punch at tailback is 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. He missed USC's first 2 games of 2001 with a knee sprain and the third while attending his father's funeral. 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.
--McCullough 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 McCullough's eighth 100-yard outing in his career and his first multi-TD game), MacKenzie sat out with a knee sprain.
--McCullough scored USC's only touchdown (a 7-yard run) versus Kansas State and ran for 40 yards on 18 carries, MacKenzie missed the game with a knee sprain.
--At Oregon, McCullough 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).
OTHER RUNNING BACKS-Besides Sultan McCullough and Malaefou MacKenzie, Troy's other tailbacks have carried the ball only 3 times in their careers. Redshirt freshman Chris Howard, 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, 1 yds, 0.3 avg in 2001, plus 11 rec, 11.d avg), an outstanding blocker, returned as the starter. Behind him are senior Sunny Byrd, 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.
KELLY-Kareem Kelly (team-best 14 rec, 18.4 avg in 2001, plus 1 tcb, 3 yds, 3.0 avg and 5 PR, 3.8 avg), an acrobatic, fleet junior, headlines USC's receiving corps. He is on the 'Watch List' for the 2001 Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's top receiver. He already is tied for sixth on Troy's all-time pass catching chart with 123 grabs. He is within sight of Johnnie Morton's school record for receptions (201) and receiving yardage (3,201). He has a reception in all 26 games he has played as a Trojan. Last fall, he topped the Trojans in receptions (55) and receiving yardage (796), in 1999, he set Pac-10 freshman records for most catches (54) and receiving yards (902). He also sprints for USC's track squad (his 5.67 clocking in the 50-meter dash is an American collegiate and world junior record).
--He had 3 catches for 18 yards in the San Jose State opener and returned a punt 10 yards.
--He had 7 catches for 75 yards (both game bests) against Kansas State.
--He had 4 catches for a game-high 165 yards at Oregon, including a 93-yard TD (the longest catch of his career).
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 (7 rec, 10.6 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-has missed 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 (8 rec, 10.5 avg in 2001), a junior, and sophomore Devin Pitts (4 rec, 7.5 avg in 2001)-and freshman William Buchanon, a 2000 prep All-American who is the son of ex-NFL star cornerback Willie Buchanon.
--In the San Jose State opener, Mattos had a team-best 5 catches for a game-high 75 yards in his USC debut, Pittsadded 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.
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 (9 rec, 13.8 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.
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 2-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 (although Mailo did play). 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. 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 in 2001 is not as dire as it might appear. Although starters are 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 has plenty of quality bodies to fill in. Last year, senior Ryan Nielsen (11 tac, 1 dfl in 2001) and junior Bernard Riley (18 tac, 1 for loss, 1 FR, 1 int in 2001) shared a tackle spot. This season, Nielsen-a 2-year starter-and Riley are side by side at tackle. One end spot is a pseudo-linebacker, giving USC's 4-3 look a 3-4 feel. Senior Lonnie Ford (14 tac, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 dfl, 1 FF in 2001), who has 19 tackles for losses and 16 starts in his career, is the ideal man for that job, with soph Omar Nazel (3 tac, 1 for loss, 1 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 for loss, 1 dfl, 1 blk FG in 2001), who had seen limited action entering the 2001 season, redshirt freshman Kenechi Udeze (11 tac, 2 for loss, 1 sack in 2001) and 2000 prep All-American freshman Shaun Cody (1 tac in 2001), who was USA Today's national Defensive Player of the Year. Udeze started the San Jose State and Kansas State games and DeMars started at Oregon (Cody moved to a backup tackle spot after the second contest).
--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.
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 (22 tac, 2 for loss, 1 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. 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 (6 tac, 2 dfl, 1 FR 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 game 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. Also in the mix is sophomore Chris Prosser (3 tac, 1 for loss in 2001), who missed USC's first 2 games of 2001 while ineligible.
--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.
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 27 tac, 4 for loss, 2 dfl, 1 FF in 2001) was the team's No. 2 tackler last fall (83) while starting all season at strong safety. He currently is fourth in the Pac-10 in tackles (9.0). Senior Antuan Simmons (11 tac, 1 int, 1 dfl in 2001), a 3-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 186 tackles, 8 interceptions and 6 blocked kicks in his career. Behind Simmons is junior DeShaun Hill (5 tac, 1 dfl, 1 FR in 2001), who shared the starting free safety duty last season with Frank Strong. The corners are equally stacked. Senior Chris Cash (14 tac, 2 for loss, 1 int in 2001) starts on one side and is backed by the player he shared the spot with in 2000, junior Darrell Rideaux (4 tac in 2001, plus 7 KOR, 22.6 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 2-year starter Kris Richard (14 tac, 3 dfl 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 (4 tac, 1 for loss, 1 sack, 1 dfl in 2001, plus 2 PR, 5.0 avg and 1 KOR, 13.0 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.
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 (83) of his career punts have pinned opponents within the 20-yard line and 27 have traveled 50-plus yards. With 239 punts for 9,412 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 (4-of-5 PAT, 3-of-4 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 12 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, whileMacGillivray averaged 39.2 yards on his 6 punts.
STAT NOTES-USC's 2 losses-both to Top 12 teams-have been by a total of 6 points...In three games this year, USC already has 6 takeaways after getting only 17 all of last year...The Trojans have 3 interceptions this year and had only 7 all of 2000...On the other hand, USC has turned the ball over just 5 times this season after having a nation-leading 36 turnovers in 2000...USC this week is 24th nationally in pass defense (154.0, tops in the Pac-10) and 25th nationally in scoring defense (14.7, third in the Pac-10)...In 2 of USC's last 4 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...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).
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.
***Now that senior CB-S Antuan Simmons-a 3-year starter with 186 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 is 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.
***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 287 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 STANFORD-At 2-0, Stanford is off to its best start since seventh-year head coach Tyrone Willingham's debut season of 1995. The Cardinal is looking for its first 3-0 start since 1986. Stanford is also riding a 4-game wining streak dating back to last year, its longest since a 6-game streak in 1996 and 1997. The Stanford offense, with 9 returning starters, is sixth nationally in scoring offense (44.5, tops in the Pac-10) and passing efficiency (176.1), 11th in total offense (470.0), 21st in passing offense (278.5) and 24th in rushing offense (191.5, best in the Pac-10). It is guided by senior QB Randy Fasani (32-of-55, 58.2%, 527 yds, 8 TD in 2001), who is 7-3 as a starter and currently is fourth nationally in passing efficiency (186.7, tops in the Pac-10) and tied for 20th in total offense (270.0). Additional firepower comes from senior RB Brian Allen (27 tcb, 186 yds, 6.9 avg, 1 TD in 2001) and junior RB Kerry Carter (27 tcb, 118 yds, 4.4 avg, 2 TD in 2001)-who both have 1,000-plus career rushing yards-as well as senior WR Ryan Wells (9 rec, 18.2 avg, 3 TD in 2001, plus 22.8 KOR). Allen is seventh nationally in kickoff returns (31.3), while sophomore FL Luke Powell (8 rec, 18.9 avg in 2001) is second in the country in punt returns (33.3). There is a trio of senior 3-year starters on the offensive line: OGs Eric Heitmann and Greg Schindler and C Zack Quaccia. On defense (all the starters are listed as seniors), look for ILB Coy Wire (19 tac in 2001) and FS Tank Williams (14 tac, 1 int, 3 dfl in 2001). Wire is the Pac-10's No. 3 tackler (9.5). The Cardinal is tied for fifth in the nation in turnover margin (+2.0, best in the Pac-10). Senior PK Mike Biselli (2-of-2 FG, 11-of-12 PAT in 2001) was an All-Pac-10 first teamer in 1999.
CARROLL SAYS-'The Oregon loss was very hard for us to deal with because we had such a great chance to win. That's now two games in a row where we played a nationally-ranked team and could have knocked them off. We had this one in our hands, but we didn't get it done. We couldn't stop them when it mattered. We had a number of ways to win and that's what is so frustrating. But, on the other side of it, we went on the road into what is billed as one of the most difficult situations in the Pac-10, and maybe in the country, and I thought we handled it and had a chance to win. So, we'll build on that...Stanford is a veteran team and has great confidence after opening up with two great wins over good teams. They'll come down here loaded up for us. We'll have to do a good job. We'll have to bounce back from these two losses and put forth a great effort if we want to get our first Pac-10 win.'
GAME PROMOTIONS-It's USC Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day, as well as Teacher Appreciation Day...In association with the Verizon Reads With The Trojans program, before the game KCBS-TV's Jim Hill will be presented with a certificate in appreciation of his work with the community. In addition to providing athletes as speakers and mentors for area schools, the Verizon Reads With The Trojans program provides free athletic event tickets to teachers and libraries across the Southland to give to students as incentives to read...Senior sociology major Leila Chartrand, an All-Pac-10 second teamer on the USC women's golf team which finished seventh at the 2001 NCAA tourney, will be recognized during the Verizon Academic Salute...The Trojan baseball team, which made its second consecutive College World Series trip last spring, will be saluted during the Team Trojan Spotlight.
INJURY UPDATE-OUT: 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). POSSIBLE: TB Malaefou MacKenzie (knee). PROBABLE: S Matt Grootegoed (shoulder).
A LOOK AT USC'S...
6-2, 220, Junior
Mountain View, Calif.
For most wide receivers, to be called a 'possession guy' is usually a back-handed compliment. It generally means that you don't have a lot of speed. Truth be told, that is often the case. But it also can mean another thing, like being able to make the tough catch over the middle on third down.
This season, USC has such a player in wide receiver Grant Mattos. The sticky-fingered junior, who came to Troy from Foothill Junior College, has already made some big catches for the Trojans.
He caught five catches for 75 yards (both game highs) in his Trojan debut against San Jose State. Most of his receptions were difficult grabs that kept drives alive and helped USC to a 21-10 win.
Not bad for a country boy from Mountain View, Calif., who nobody wanted. No one, that is, except for USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
Chow traveled to Foothill this past spring to check out a quarterback and came away impressed with Mattos' abilities. As a sophomore at Foothill, Mattos caught 76 balls for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns and was named to the JC Athletic Bureau's 2000 All-American first team. Yet no scholarship offers were forthcoming.
'I was amazed that people didn't go for him,' said Chow, who loved Mattos' penchant for the tough catch and his knack for finding seams in defenses.
Not long after that, Mattos readily accepted a scholarship offer to play for the Trojans. Tentative plans to walk on at California were quickly scrapped. After so many years of hard work, he had finally arrived.
'I've always wanted to play receiver since I was a little kid,' said Mattos. 'In my mind, that was always my position. I've always worked hard at whatever I need to do to become a great receiver and I'm still working hard to improve.'
Being from Northern California, the 6-2, 220-pound Mattos didn't always keep an eye on the Trojans growing up. In fact, the receiver he models himself after played for the Stanford Cardinal.
'I really like Ed McCaffrey,' said Mattos. 'He's the kind of receiver that I try to emulate.
'I always knew USC had great receivers and skill athletes. I just didn't follow them that much growing up.'
Mattos has experienced a bit of a culture shock since coming to USC.
'I'm definitely a Northern California kind of guy,' said Mattos. 'The atmosphere is different down here. We live right down in the city at USC. I've always been used to non-city life, but I am liking this a lot.'
Mattos likes to golf and fish whenever he gets a chance and even tries his hand at surfing once in a while.
'The beaches are much cleaner down here in Southern California,' notes Mattos. 'I'm only an okay surfer. I just like to try to stay active.'
The usually laid-back Mattos admits to getting excited when playing in front of the Coliseum crowd.
'Coming out in the Coliseum against San Jose State was awesome,' he said. 'It's weird to prepare throughout the week and then go out there in front of all those people. It just gets you pumped up.'
Indeed, Mattos sometimes sounds as if he still can't believe he's in the big time.
'It's just a great feeling,' he said. 'Being rejected by everyone makes me work all that much harder to try to establish myself.'
He's already become one of Carson Palmer's favorite targets. So far this season, Mattos has eight catches for 84 yards.
'My goal is to do my best while I'm here and to hopefully keep playing after,' he said. 'If not, I'm majoring in business so we'll see where that takes me.'
In the meantime, USC is in good hands with Grant Mattos.
By Chris Huston
Assistant Sports Information Director
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