Trojan notes

It has been quite a week of activity surrounding the Trojan football team even though we had a bye last weekend.

The Trojans took the week off last Saturday and watched as several of their competitors for the national championship game slot went by the wayside with untimely losses. To see Miami lose to Tennessee was not a shock, nor was it a major surprise to see Virginia Tech fall to Pittsburgh, but when Florida State lost to Clemson that was unexpected. At this point the Ohio State Buckeyes pose the biggest challenge to the #2 BCS spot but, assuming the Trojans can win out in their remaining three games, the road to New Orleans was cleared a little last Saturday.

USC faces Arizona this week and the Wildcats have a bounce in their step after beating Washington. It's important to note that the Huskies are a down team right now but for Arizona any victory is big with all the turmoil their program has seen in recent years. Logic would dictate that the Trojans should be able to simply overpower the boys from Tucson, especially if the offense can continue on a torrid pace. There is concern on the defensive side of the ball, however, as lingering injuries to Matt Grootegoed and Melvin Simmons have left the linebacking corps a little more vulnerable than we would like. We've seen Dallas Sartz make a nice impact in place of Groots but with Melvin also down we may need to dig deeper into the reserves and that's when things start to get interesting. We'll need one player from the trio of Otani, Ashton and Faraimo to step up and so far Salo Faraimo has shown good things when given the opportunity.

Speaking of Arizona, the Wildcats will be in the market for a new head coach after the season and rumors have circulated that Trojan offensive coordinator Norm Chow would be a candidate for the job. Chow's name will continue to come up for vacancies as long as the Trojans put up big offensive numbers but the good news for USC fans is that Chow and his wife went house hunting in the Los Angeles area during the bye week. Chow understands what is possible here at USC in the next few years and he is looking forward to the opportunity to work with quarterbacks such as Matt Leinart and John David Booty. Chow also has two sons who would like to attend USC, the youngest is 17 right now, and that could be further incentive for Norm to stay and work his magic for the Cardinal and Gold.

The Trojans also received two commitments last week from players who could make an immediate impact. Ryan Powdrell is a big, fast linebacker from Saddleback College who was ranked as one of the top JC players in the country. Ryan played in high school for the high profile Mission Viejo program and is friends with current Trojans such as Billy Hart. Ryan has been coming to USC games and attending post game tailgate parties for years and it was his longtime goal to be a Trojan. He was forced to go the JC route after not qualifying in high school but everything is looking good on the academic end for him to finish JC in the spring and be at SC in the fall. Powdrell has tremendous 4.6 speed to go with his 250 pound frame and he could see playing time next year either inside or outside. His natural position is middle linebacker but the Trojans may have more of a need on the outside with the graduation of Simmons. Dale Thompson is a terrific blocking tight end from Santiago HS who can also catch the ball. Dale was an all-league offensive lineman last season after suffering an injury early in the season at TE and he has returned this year to put up solid numbers as a receiver. He is just an excellent athlete and with his size he could step into the rotation right away as a freshman.

A pair of Trojan recruits will be shown on the Fox Sports Net 2 high school game of the week this Thursday. Jimmy Miller and Michael Stuart will lead the Westlake Warriors (9-0, #5 in the state) against the Moorpark Musketeers (7-2) with the game being shown live at 7:00pm. Top Stories