It's good to be home

It's been a normal routine for the USC Trojans during the preparations for the Rose Bowl and, even this week as the official game activities get started, the distractions for the Trojans will be at a minimum considering the familiar surroundings.

It's been a normal routine for the USC Trojans during the preparations for the Rose Bowl and, even this week as the official game activities get started, the distractions for the Trojans will be at a minimum considering the familiar surroundings.

While the Michigan Wolverines had to fly halfway across the country and have been staying in hotel beds for over a week now the Trojans for the most part have been sleeping in their own beds and conducting practices on-campus at Howard Jones and Brian Kennedy Field. It wasn't until Friday that the USC team moved into the Century City hotel which will serve as their home through the Rose Bowl but even with that move they have still been shuttling back and forth between campus for practice as well as meetings and workouts in Heritage Hall. It remains to be seen how much this slight benefit will help the Trojans, if at all, but it's nice to know that the players notice the difference.

"By being at home, it's just one less thing for us to worry about," said Keary Colbert. "We're treating it like a home game. We didn't have the hassle of traveling and that's a big positive because jumping on a plane and flying isn't always the best thing. Being able to be on our own practice field and meeting rooms is great. It's a long time to be away with the bowl games and you have to be mentally tough but I'm sure the Michigan coaches are handling it well and preparing their team to deal with that."

When the Trojans went to the Orange Bowl last season they practiced at Nova Southeast University, a complex which also includes the headquarters for the Miami Dolphins but the facilities available to USC were somewhat less than expected. The weight room, for example, was much smaller than needed to properly train a sizable group of athletes but the Trojans adjusted and made it through the week in fine fashion. On top of that, it seemed as if the team spent much of the week on a bus traveling to and from various events scheduled by the Orange Bowl committee. There will certainly be a sizable amount of appearances this week, the team has already visited Disney's California Adventure and Lawry's before taking in a Laker game tonight, so that makes it all the more important to have the sense of comfort that comes with practing on your own campus.

"It's nice," said Jacob Rogers. "We've had the experience the last couple of years with being on the road for bowl games and now we have a little more comfortable surroundings being at home. We don't have to go into somebody else's meeting rooms or somebody else's weight room, we've got everything we need right here. We don't have to worry about that because we're used to everything here and now it's just a matter of flat out playing football."


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