O/NSO - Quotable Edition #2

For your basic USC Trojan football fan, the end of spring ball presents the type of hibernation equal to your basic polar bear. Oh sure, if you are a hard core Men of Troy fan, there are always the various high school all-star games, prep passing leagues, college instructional team camps, and the "long" wait till late June when the parade of college football magazines hit the newsstands.

The Obvious – For your basic USC Trojan football fan, the end of spring ball presents the type of hibernation equal to your basic polar bear. Oh sure, if you are a hard core Men of Troy fan, there are always the various high school all-star games, prep passing leagues, college instructional team camps, and the "long" wait till late June when the parade of college football magazines hit the newsstands.

The Not So Obvious – Then there's the beauty of WeAreSC.com, where there's never a lack of Trojan football being talked about in one form or another. Speaking of Trojan talk, by readers' demand, we succumb to the wishes of the cardinal and gold public and present the O/NSO Quotable Edition 2. Let's recognize and interpret those humanitarians of the Trojan football world, near and far, for their verbal contributions to the quotation marks of pigskin priority.

The Obvious – "Those guys were great linebackers who made the step to safety and played well there. I think I'm the same caliber and can make that move as well. There's a history there." – Trojan All-American linebacker Matt Grootegoed before the recent NFL draft on his talents compared to other converted linebackers to the secondary.

The No So Obvious – So how many All-American linebackers and Butkus Award finalists do you know that go undrafted? Is there a Trojan fan among you that really believes that Groots won't be on an NFL roster next season? Say what you will about Pete Carroll's close coaching relationship with Tampa Bay's Monte Kiffin, but it appears that Carroll and Kiffin may have given the gifted free agent Grootegoed the opportunity that some less fortunate college players might never get. You can be sure that Groots will be given every opportunity and then some to be a Buccaneer.

The Obvious – "At one point, it didn't look very promising for my football career, but I'm a believer in working hard. This is an unbelievable payout." – Reserve Trojan quarterback Matt Cassel after being drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round.

The Not So Obvious – Quick, how long will it take for Matt Cassel to be the trivia question of this or any other NFL draft? Where's Alex Trebek when we need him? Say it Alex, "Who was the backup quarterback to two Heisman Trophy winners that was drafted ahead of a Hesiman Trophy winner?" How big a deal is it? This week's Sports Illustrated's Who's Hot has a mug of Cassel and lists his accomplishments, which includes 33 pass attempts in his Trojan career.

The Obvious – "It's something I've been waiting for three years now." – Newly named Maimi quarterback Kyle Wright, who was once a prize Trojan recruit many moons ago.

The Not So Obvious – Remember all the Trojan tears over losing Wright? Every year a new "super" appears on the recruiting charts. Trojan fans, so who would you rather have, Wright or Leinart? Wright or Booty? Wright or Sanchez? Don't you just love rhetorical questions?

The Obvious – "We were totally shocked that he did not get drafted. He started four years at Tennessee. Knowing as many people in the NFL as I do, there was no inkling that was going to happen." – Former Trojan legendary tackle Anthony Munoz after his son, Michael, went undrafted.

The Not So Obvious – Although Munoz's son says he does not consider himself a football player for life, it should be noted the kid played through some really difficult injuries during his career at Tennessee, ironically like his father did at Troy. Considering the way Pete Carroll presents his program, one can be melancholy and wonder if Michael Munoz was a senior in high school today at Cincinnati Moeller, would he have selected the Trojans and thus entered the NFL with ambition instead of obvious repudiation?

The Obvious – "Spurrier out to clean up USC." – Headline in the Atlanta Constitution referring to coach Steve Spurrier's systematic attempt to clean up the image of fighting and university embarrassments at the Columbia campus.

The Not So Obvious – Is there anybody outside of the Carolinas in the past three years that thinks of South Carolina as thee USC of the country? You know the Trojans are back when fans know which USC is USC.

The Obvious - "I am familiar with these two people. People are making a bigger deal. There's a sense of urgency with this coaching staff. It's going to be a new style. Coach Chow was more reserved and didn't say a whole lot. These guys are young and fiery. We're going to have to get used to different coaches." – Trojan QB Matt Leinart on the changing of the offensive coordinator guard.

The Not So Obvious – Well, if Matt Leinart is happy with the current offensive arrangement, then Trojans fans should be as well……at least for now.

The Obvious – "Chauncey made a huge impression and showed good burst." – Trojan coach Pete Carroll's take on tailback Chauncey Washington's first week of spring practice.

The Not So Obvious – There are more than a few insiders that believe that Washington made enough of an impression during spring ball that LenDale White would be wise to tighten his chinstrap and come to fall camp with renewed fire to compete.

The Obvious – "People want to be involved. They want to maintain seats and add seats, so it's been pretty overwhelming." - Ron Orr, USC associate athletic director who works with the Trojan ticket office.

The Not So Obvious – Even the most cynical Trojan optimist would have to agree that there is a reasonable chance that every Trojan home game could be a sellout or at least 90,000-plus. Of course it all depends on that upper case letter "W" each and every week. The "W" not only stands for wins but also for bandWagon.

The Obvious – ""Like I need a reason." - Sporting News columnist Matt Hayes' "no-duh" response to why he would liked to have seen the Trojans spring game.

The Not So Obvious – Other spring games he would like to have seen were Ohio St., Boise St., and South Carolina. Note he does not refer to the Gamecocks as USC. The O/NSO, however, would like to have seen the Oregon Ducks spring game. With veteran QB Kellen Clemens returning, the new "spread" offensive coordinator with new OC Gary Crowton, a set of fleet receivers, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, next season's USC-UO game being played in Eugene in just the third game of the season, and, whew, Oregon picked by many as the Trojans' closest Pac-10 competitor, inquiring minds want to know. Somebody stop the hyperventilation and pass the oxygen mask.

The Obvious – "Pete Carroll." – New Trojan offensive line coach Pat Ruel on why he came to coach the offensive line for USC.

The Not So Obvious – From all insider accounts, Ruel was not immediately on board to be a Trojan until after he came out to Los Angeles for a visit. "Golden" has apparently made a nice bonding with his Trojan linemen. Late during spring ball, offensive tackle Sam Baker commented, " I'm really learning a lot about technique. I really like his (Ruel) way of teaching." Baker's comments were certainly not a knock on departed coach Tim Davis, now with the Miami Dolphins, but more a comment on the difference in teaching style. Davis was more fire and brimstone and Ruel more calculating in emotional delivery.

The Obvious – "Personally enjoy the best of USC football with Pete Carroll, his coaching staff, and a field full of former Trojan greats. There is a level of fun that fits you perfectly." - Literature from the Trojan Flashback Football Camp for adults.

The Not So Obvious – If you have enough stash to participate and wish to live a dream, it would make a perfect setting to meet Pete Carroll's new staff, rub elbows with some Trojan Hall of Famers, and what's wrong with a game of catch in the Coliseum with members of the band playing "Fight On"?

The Obvious – " But none of them have been hit by a USC linebacker." - Former legendary Arkansas coach and athletic director Frank Broyles on the prospect of some heralded incoming freshmen running backs being on the Coliseum turf next September against the defending national champs.

The Not So Obvious – Following spring ball, Pete Carroll has said that while all three middle linebacker candidates did not separate themselves, leaving an opening for freshmen Luther Brown and Rey Maualuga. He didn't say any of the future Lofa Tatupu replacements didn't hit like a ton of bricks.

The Obvious – "We're using the same terminology for the most part. They changed some things up. They're young guys, so they have new ideas. Coach Sark, he was in the NFL last year, so he's got some stuff from the Raiders." – Trojan QB John David Booty on his two new offensive coaches Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin.

The Not So Obvious – So the Matt Leinart security blanket is giving high marks to the offensive playbook under the "Sarkiffin" approach. Sometimes change is good and sometimes change is not so good. In the end, it will be the "on the fly" play selections during the course of the game that will have the biggest Trojan impact. Third-and-goal at the two will tell you all you need to know about the direction of the "refined" era. Do we have to wait till September?

The Obvious – "We have so much talent and depth, and everybody should be playing, but only 11 guys can play at a time." - Trojan linebacker Thomas Williams, who competed during the spring with Oscar Lua and Ryan Powdrell for Lofa Tatupu's vacated middle linebacker position.

The Not So Obvious – And that's the type of quote that gives Pete Carroll goosebumps and gridiron hot flashes.

The Obvious – "He's going to be working on his schoolwork." - Coach Pete Carroll on the early spring absence of tailback Desmond Reed.

The Not So Obvious – And don't think for a minute that Carroll enjoyed holding his players out of spring practice. Never met or worked with a coach that does. Much of the Trojans negative publicity this spring should be interpreted on an individual basis and not as an 80 player indictment. Although it didn't play well in the papers, the Dom Byrd broken jaw issue was really a non-issue. No rationalization here, but two roommates get into an argument and throw some blows? Please, siblings fight all the time; it's just not reported as national headlines. As for academics, the Trojan brain thrust is dealing with it and when they do the right thing with heralded players, it never looks good. Keep telling yourself "big picture."

The Obvious – "This is one of those things that makes us different. It adds to the idea that Carroll makes things fun." – Center Ryan Kalil's team meeting announcement as an April Fools Day joke that he was leaving the team to peruse a singing career.

The Not So Obvious – As we head into May, the word of future recruits is that, indeed, they see the Trojans as a different style compared to other Junior Day visits and spring practices. There is nothing wrong with fun AND discipline holding hands and going steady. If there was an amazing thing about the visitors to Trojan spring practices, it was the constant comments about practices and player attitudes as being "different." And these comments were coming from your 2005 bluest of chippers like Rodney……shut yo mouth O/NSO before Scout.com's newest recruiting guru, Scott Schrader, calls the recruiting police for a "stepping on toes" violation.

The Obvious – "We're going to demand 100 miles an hour out of our defense, spill our guts on the field, play as hard as we can, and live with the results." – Jerry Glanville, former NFL head mentor recently hired as defensive coordinator for the University of Hawaii, the Trojans first opponent in 2005.

The Not So Obvious – At the current rate of past and current NFL coaches returning to college football, Trojan coach Pete Carroll wont have to consider the NFL since the NFL is coming to him. Suddenly the 2005 opener in Honolulu has a nice "edge" to it. Common Jerry, tell us how you really feel about playing the Trojans. Pretty please?

The Obvious – "I need to ask for John McKay's forgiveness when I say this is the greatest time in the 40 years I've been covering SC football." – Loel Schrader, legendary Southern California columnist comparing the past and present of Trojan football in a recent edition of We Are SC the magazine.

The Not So Obvious – Would 22 wins in a row, 33 out of 34 wins, two national championships, three Pac-10 championships, and three straight BCS bowl games win have anything to do with Palm Desert Loel weighing the evidence? BTW, so why is it all legendary people move out to that area of SoCal? Well, given the criteria, we won't ever need to worry about moving out to thermometer country.

The Obvious – "Rocky missed a couple of chances to run." – Pete Carroll on redshirt freshman quarterback Rocky Hinds after the Trojans first spring scrimmage on Howard Jones Field.

The Not So Obvious – Looking back on spring, how many coaches WANT to see their quarterbacks run for fear of injury? Perhaps the Trojan brainpower wanted to see a "Texas" slant to the offense. At least in the spring, maybe Rocky didn't want to run and risk what most head mentors fear. Who can blame the kid with safety Scott Ware lurking in the secondary in search of a quarterback feeding frenzy?

The Obvious – "They didn't sign on Letter of Intent Day." – A Trojan football player answering unsigned Palisades senior tight end Erik Lorig's question during one pause in spring practice on why some of the Cardinal and Gold were doing punishment "rollers" after afternoon's action had been completed.

The Not So Obvious – No chiding of Lorig's recruiting indecision from this press box view. While some fans have elected to knock the kid because of his long indecision, those have had a child trying to make a selection on which college to pick under any circumstances, the whole process can become unbearable. Those that have gone through the process know it is "torture" for all concerned, kid and parents. Take it from one who has gone down the college admissions' road and will do so again shortly, the big envelope is good and the business envelope is bad. Erik, we feel your pain.

The Obvious – "The reason I didn't think Matt would go is that I knew he had this elbow surgery coming up. If he was going to perform in the combines, he was going to have to be at his best. Plus, I know he enjoys being around here and being with his teammates." - John David Booty as told to OC Register columnist Mark Whicker on why JD was not surprised that Leinart spurned the NFL and returned for a final season.

The Not So Obvious – It seemed to be somewhat overlooked and ignored, but Booty's quote on Lefty's elbow surgery certainly adds to a reasonable assumption that Matt Leinart returned to Troy for reasons as much physical as well as emotional.

The Obvious – "I tore my labrum during the UCLA game and had surgery after the Orange Bowl, and the doctors cleared me, but now they won't clear me." - Left guard Jeff Byers, who was unable to perform during the spring.

The Not So Obvious – So reports of Byers hip injury also turned out to be a couple of feet south of the revealing shoulder issue. One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity and for Drew Radovich, it has become an opportunity. Pete Carroll's carnival of competition will definitely be setting up a booth at left guard in August. As a connoisseur of Trojan offensive line history and appreciation dating back the political days of JFK, this is a position chapter that we look forward to reading come August, so help me Bill Fisk.

The Obvious – "Now what are we supposed to do since spring ball is over and the 2005 season seems as far away as Jupiter?" – Trojan fans everywhere.

The Not So Obvious – Hey, dry up those tears. Good reader, isn't that why you visit this site? Any good wife or girlfriend worth her salt will tell her husband or boyfriend to "boot up" and visit the cyberbar known as WeAreSC.com. Just tell the little women you are going to visit your buddies Garry P, MJD, Gouxgate, Mr. Young, Erik, and, of course, the O/NSO. We'll continue leave the light on for ya.

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