Trojan News update

We're still a month away from spring ball practices but there is plenty going on these days in the world of Trojan football. Click below for a recap.

Pete Carroll finalized his staff this week with the addition of graduate assistant Dave Watson to help with the offensive line. Watson joins Sam Anno (special teams) as GA's for the 2005 season. There was a lot of turnover on the staff following the Orange Bowl and Carroll has brought in a mix of veteran coaches with a lot of NFL experience among them. No coach on the staff seems to be generating as much buzz as Steve Sarkisian as many in the Trojan program think Sark is a rising star in the coaching ranks. It will help the Sark/Kiffin play calling combo to make their adjustment by having the presence of such a veteran OL coach as Pat Ruel. The connection between Carroll and Ruel goes back to 1977 when both were on the staff at Arkansas and Carroll wasted little time in bringing in his old friend once Tim Davis announced he was headed to the Miami Dolphins. Ruel, who coached at the college level for 26 years before moving to the NFL five years ago, is known as a vocal coach and that is a trait he will share with several other coaches on the new staff. Newcomers Jethro Franklin, Co-LB coach Ken Norton (in a full-time role) and Anno are all known for being highly motivated coaches and these are just the kind of leaders Carroll wants for his team as he firmly believes the energy level of practice is set each day by the mood of his coaches.

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The 2005 schedule is now set with the news that the opener against Hawaii will stay on Saturday, September 3rd. There had been recent efforts by ESPN to move the game to Friday the 2nd but neither school was enthusiastic about making the switch and the game will be played on Saturday. The Trojans had recently filled the final spot on the schedule by adding a late season game against Fresno State. Bulldog coach Pat Hill has made a lot of noise in recent years about wanting a shot at the Trojans and come November he will get his chance. Before he starts to talk much more it would be wise for Coach Hill to take note of the fact that USC has yet to lose in the month of November under Coach Carroll and chances are the 2005 Trojan train should really be rolling by the time the two teams meet at the Coliseum.

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Several important spring dates have been set on the Trojan calendar:

Tuesday, March 22 - Spring ball begins
Wednesday, March 23 - USC NFL Pro Day
Friday, April 1 - USC Coaches Clinic
Sunday, April 3 - Junior Day (tentative)
Sunday, April 10 - Trojan Huddle (Coliseum)
Monday, April 11 - Pete Carroll golf tournament
Saturday, April 16 - Spring ball ends
Sunday, April 17 - Nike Camp (USC)

* There has not been a date set yet for the White House visit.

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The NFL Testing Combine is being held this weekend in Indianapolis and several former Trojan players will participate. Mike Williams has impressed scouts with his physique but he is not expected to run the 40 yard dash, a critical test for wide receivers, until his private workout in Tampa on March 10th. Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson continue to show that they will both be early round picks.

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The current Trojan players are keeping themselves busy with off-season conditioning efforts led by strength coach Chris Carlisle. There was a new addition to Carlisle's staff as well this winter with Brian Bailey, a master strength coach who comes from Nebraska with a strong reputation for his work in movement training and rehab. WeAreSC will be conducting an interview with Carlisle in the coming weeks to get a complete update on the progress of the strength and conditioning efforts heading into spring ball.

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A few of the players who are doing well in workouts, based upon what we've heard, are John David Booty, Winston Justice, Sed Ellis, Thomas Williams and Scott Ware. There has also been a lot of praise for the work ethic shown so far by early entrants Kevin Ellison and Michael Coleman. Of course, Coleman drew even more attention in recent days with comments to a local newspaper which generated a lot of conversation on the message boards. Coleman showed the bravado and competitive spirit Carrol wants for the team when he spoke candidly about going against other players at his spot, particularly LenDale White, although Coleman will likely get a reminder in spring that the current players have earned their championship rings for a reason. There's little doubt that Michael has a bright future on this team but for now it's probably best to let his play on the field do the talking for him.


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