O/NSO - Protocol edition

Coliseum prohibition, game times, a highly anticipated DVD, personnel movement, and another Hall of Fame induction highlight the USC Trojans transition into June, a Southern California month that brings the roar of the surf, the aroma of barbecues, and the continued pumping of national championship iron in the depths of Heritage Hall.

The Obvious – Coliseum prohibition, game times, a highly anticipated DVD, personnel movement, and another Hall of Fame induction highlight the USC Trojans transition into June, a Southern California month that brings the roar of the surf, the aroma of barbecues, and the continued pumping of national championship iron in the depths of Heritage Hall.

The Not So Obvious - When you combine the banning of beer at the Coliseum for Trojan 2005 home games, the departure of DB Eric Wright and the unexpected addition of JC DB Mozique McCurtis, the on-hold status of JC DT Gabe Long, and the release of Undisputed, the 2005 DVD of the glorious 2004 season, it was anything but a routine week in Trojan football La La Land.

The Obvious – Steven B. Sample, 10th president of the University of Southern California, has sent out a memo advising the public of a beer ban and new of a Code of Conduct policy for 2005 Trojan home games at the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious - The O/NSO says let's take it a step further and include the concession stands in the moratorium. Let's start from scratch by maintaining the popular Kettle Korn and the roasted corn on the cob. From there, perhaps Chef Sample and the Coliseum Commission can bring in Outback Steakhouse, Tony Romas, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, Benihana, and why not a concession stand with some Panda Express?

The Obvious – The Trojans are the last team in the Pac-10 to implement the "no beer" policy.

The Not So Obvious – With a whole new young generation of Trojan fans helping fill the Coliseum, Dr. Sample, appropriately in our view, took a big picture view of his "No. 1" product and we applaud his bold action. We remember back in 1994 when we took Junior O/NSO to a number of Trojan home games, and we were almost F-bombed out of our seats by a group of drunken young fans that truthfully distracted Junior from what should have been a glorious Trojan experience. When you have the Trojans on top of the college football world, now is the time to take advantage of USC football at its finest and provide the best possible experience for Trojan fans, young and old.

The Obvious – The Coliseum security will be challenged by these new rules of behavior.

The Not So Obvious – With more record crowds for Trojan home games expected in the fall, those security lines figure to be a tad slower than usual as containers will be closely checked. Of course, there will be those fans of ingenuity that figure to test the system. Most fans that have attended stadiums with no beer have found the environment to be no less entertaining.

The Obvious –Fox Sports Net has selected Trojans home games against Arkansas on Sept. 17 and Fresno State Nov. 19, opting for night games and 7:15 p.m. kickoffs.

The Not So Obvious – While there is every reason to believe the ban on beer won't effect the night game experience, the fact that Arkansas and Fresno State are evening games may have a greater effect with attendance. For many Trojan fans accompanied by young cardinal and gold fans, those 7:15 p.m. games are killers, especially when the game ends around 10:45 or later. If played in the afternoon, these two non-conference games may have been no-brainer sellouts.

The Obvious – The long awaited 2005 Trojans seasonal high light DVD, "Undisputed" finally made its appearance in Trojan stores throughout Southern California.

The No So Obvious – Undisputed, which sells for $24.95, has drawn mostly positive reviews. Expectations of a DVD for a national championship team like the Trojans should be at the highest level, especially when a school like USC sits in the middle of the entertainment capital of the world. The locker room footage and the air tape from game broadcasts is wonderfully entertaining although some of the editing and audio at the beginning and the abrupt end could have been more professional. Also missing was digital sound quality, which greatly enhances the product in this day of home entertainment centers. Former Trojan All-America defensive tackle and broadcaster Tim Ryan did a fine of narration and the Pete Arbogast play-calling segments were a nice touch. We give the DVD a "B+" grade and that will be enough to satisfy most Trojan fans through the summer

The Obvious – The Undisputed DVD reminded fans just how precarious the margin of Trojan victories were at various points of the season and how just dominating the Cardinal and Gold were as well.

The Not So Obvious – Undisputed revealed some interesting hidden features such as the "I am In" sign that was placed above the Trojans locker room for away games. There were also scenes of less prominent members of the team showing leadership roles. Defensive end Frostee Rucker led a spirited vocal rally in the end zone right before the second half kickoff of the Stanford comeback. Emotional offensive guard Fred Matua was at his creative best when addressing his Trojan teammates in a variety of spirit chants, and reserve tailback Andre Woodert is shown giving impassioned pleas to keep the energy level high. However, there is no question that the scenes of coach Pete Carroll before, during, and after games sets the energy tone of the Trojan program and the DVD.

The Obvious – Undisputed was originally set for release on May 31.

The Not So Obvious – Perhaps sensing fan anticipation, Undisputed was released a day earlier than announced at the USC Collectibles in the South Coast Plaza. At 10:00 a.m. on Memorial Day, the store's telephone began ringing off the hook as word spread on the Internet that the DVD was available. Cashier Caroline might as well as put her repeated responses on an answering machine. "Yes, it's now in stock, we ‘re open till 6:00 p.m., and we have plenty in stock." Caroline said that copies were flying off the shelf when the Orange County store opened.

The Obvious – One of Troy's most honored linebackers, Adrian Young, will be inducted into the Al Malaikah Shrine Football Hall of Fame in a couple of weeks.

The Not So Obvious – Young, captain of the 1967 national champions and consensus All-American, was instrumental in that championship season, capping it with a four interception day in South Bend for a 24-7 victory over The Irish. Young, who was born in Dublin, Ireland is one of a long line of prep stars coming to Troy from Bishop Amat HS in La Puente. Induction ceremonies for old No. 50 will take place at the Shrine Auditorium Expo Hall on June 23rd.

The Obvious – Former Trojan offensive coordinator Norm Chow is a keynote speaker at a Hawaii High School Hall of Honor banquet in Honolulu and was the focal point of some recent articles in the Honolulu Advertiser.

The Not So Obvious – There still continues to be mild speculation about Chow's departure from the Trojans. Norm seemed to confirm some of the speculation in a Q&A interview with the Advertiser. On his departure with the Trojans, Chow said, " I could still have been there if we had chosen to do so. Not in a reduced role but different (one)…maybe as assistant head coach in charge of a lot of different things. He (Pete Carroll) wanted a little more say in the offense, if you will, and it was his (choice) to do so."

The Obvious – Credibility is always a major issue in the world of sports reporting.

The Not So Obvious – A number of Trojan fans assumed that WR Mike Bolio of Harbor JC was a "done deal." It is hoped that fans of WeAreSC.com will appreciate the philosophy at this site that it's better to get it right than get it first. A number of news agencies gave the impression that Bolio's admission was a mere formality. Time has shown us it was not. It only becomes official when USC's admissions says it is. We hope subscribers appreciate our desire to take the high road in Trojan football credibility. Our publisher, Mr. Paskwietz, is a real stickler when it comes to credibility, and he, as usual, tracked down the accurate information. Case in point is also the status of the current verbal confirmation of JC DB Mozique "Zeke" McCurtis of Grossmont JC, who is awaiting the "go" from Admissions. Include Gabe Long of Fullerton JC who told WeAreSC.com exclusively as well that he needs summer school before he can be considered for admission to Troy.

The Obvious – The NFL continues to play musical chairs with stadium sites in Southern California, still giving the impression the Coliseum is still not a firm No. 1 in their minds.

The Not So Obvious – While we're indifferent here about Paul Tagliabue's NFL coming back to Los Angeles, the negative thoughts about the historic Coliseum and the "area" are laughable at best, considering the Trojans are drawing record crowds in the upper 80,000 range with an assortment of kickoff times. Most Trojan recruits are fascinated with the Coliseum, décor, ambiance, and history. It sure hasn't stopped the tailgating on a Saturday in Exposition Park. Winning is everything in Los Angeles, luxury boxes included.

The Obvious – When it comes to the cradle of high school quarterback, national experts like to point to Western Pennsylvania as a starting point.

The Not So Obvious – When Orange County Register prep columnist Steve Fryer presented Mission Viejo quarterback Mark Sanchez with the co-Orange County Player of the Year last week, Fryer said, " I've have seen the last two Heisman Trophy winners from our area (Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart), and I believe me I am presenting this award to another that will win the Heisman."

The Obvious – Everybody loves a game of Trojan trivia, especially when it comes to high profile positions such as quarterback.

The Not So Obvious – So when was the last time a starting Trojan quarterback didn't hail from Orange County? Did you say Brad Otten back in the mid-90's? Yeah, but who followed Otton before Carson Palmer? By the way, before Otten, El Toro High's Rob Johnson, another from inside the Orange Curtain, was at the helm. Move over Western, Pa.

The Obvious – If the Trojans can withstand the pressure and obstacles of being numero uno in the land through October, each away game ticket for Trojan fans will get tougher and tougher to obtain through normal channels.

The Not So Obvious – One of those tough away game tickets figures to be the Cal game on Nov. 12 up in Berkeley. On the first day of season ticket sales for the upcoming home schedule, Cal sold 5,000 seats, twice the number sold in 2004. The base price of a ticket for the Trojans game in the Bay Area is $45. Great minds think ahead. Buy, buy, buy if you want to stay within a budget.

The Obvious – First defensive tackle Manuel Wright and now defensive back Eric Wright leaves the Trojan program for alleged off-the-field indiscretions.

The Not So Obvious –Say, with both Manuel and Eric Wright gone, it reminds us of the old proverb "two wrongs don't make a Wright."

The Obvious – It seems that every 2006 high profile recruit appears to be listing the Trojans as one of their top five choices.

The Not So Obvious – So how much credence should you put in such information? Hall of Fame and Scout.com basketball writer Frank Burlison told the O/NSO, " My rule of thumb is to never list a recruit's choices unless I confirm with the college that they are recruiting that player." In other words, it's fun to see who likes the Trojans, but only take a recruit's intentions seriously if you know recruiting coordinator Lane Kiffin and the Trojan staff are actively involved.

The Obvious – The Trojans receive a verbal from tight end Gerald Washington of Chaffey JC, who will enroll in January.

The Not So Obvious – So Washington spent four years in the Navy before he began his football career. The Trojans have some history in taking service players out of community college. In 1969, a very physical linebacker named Greg Slough (6-3, 230) transferred to Troy after spending two years at San Diego City College. Slough was a former Marine who brought a unique sense of violence, intensity, and discipline to the field. Another former serviceman who comes to mind was linebacker Errick Herrin (1994-95) by way of San Jacinto CC.

The Obvious – The Sporting News College Yearbook has appeared on various newsstands this week.

The Not So Obvious – Unfortunately, it is the Southeast Conference edition. Yep, for some reason known only to the gurus of TSN, the Pac-10 gets to read about the good old boys in the South. However, we are advised the national yearbook of TSN and the Pac-10 region is due June 14th. Despite TSN's SEC edition, they do have their national rankings and guess who is number one? Here's a hint: The top team is not from the SEC.

The Obvious – The Athlon National College Football Magazine, whose cover presents Matt Leinart and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, is being delivered to those Trojan fans who purchased a sneak preview order.

The Not So Obvious – Naturally Athlon has the Trojans No. 1 and its All-America team includes quarterback Matt Leinart, receiver Dwayne Jarrett, and all-purpose back Reggie Bush on the first team. Defensive back Darnell Bing made the second unit and running back LenDale White made the third unit. Athlon also ranked the various position units nationally and ranked the Trojan quarterbacks No. 1, running backs No. 2, receivers No. 1, offensive line No. 3, and defensive line No. 6.

The Obvious – Like all publications, Athlon has picked the Trojans to win the Pac-10 Conference.

The Not So Obvious – Following the Trojans in the Pac-10, according to Athlon, are ASU, UCLA, Cal, Oregon , Washington State, Oregon St., Arizona, Stanford, and Washington.

The Obvious – The Trojans open the season at Hawaii on Sept. 3.

The No So Obvious – Athlon predicts Hawaii to finish No. 5 in the WAC.

The Obvious - Word out of Honolulu is that the fans on Oahu are already gearing up for a visit from the nation's top-ranked team.

The Not So Obvious – Islanders confidently point out that the Warriors are 4-3 against BCS-Conference opponents in games played in Hawaii since 1999. Of course, mahalo memories are short when it comes to 1999 when the Trojans dismantled the Warriors 62-7 in front of 50,000 hushed spectators in Aloha Stadium.

The Obvious –Hawaii part of the nine team WAC, and so is Trojan opponent Fresno State.

The Not So Obvious – Fresno State is picked second in the WAC, according to Athlon. The Bulldogs are behind predicted favorite Boise State.

The Obvious – A number of preseason mags will attempt to add a little T&A with some "honey shots" of various cheerleader/song girls throughout the country.

The Not So Obvious – Always a leader in this department, Athlon presents a full color page of junior USC song girl Natalie Fujii. Fujii has a page of photos and an interesting Q&A bio. When asked who was the person she admired the most, Natalie said John Wooden because he is "the ultimate coach and teacher." Who says Trojans and Bruins don't respect each other?

The Obvious – One of the most highly recruited players in the country is Colton's two-way star Allen Bradford.

The Not So Obvious – Bradford (6-1, 225) is just plain explosive at linebacker and his hitting" skills reminds us of Troy Polamalu, the former Trojan All-American and Pro Bowl selection. The Trojans love Bradford as a hitter but are intrigued at his potential as a running back. If Pete Carroll likes Bradford's potential as a running back option, and of course the coach can't talk on the record about it, it may be because "A-Train Allen" runs similar to LenDale White. And why not? They both wear No. 21.

The Obvious – The way freshmen are playing right away in programs such as USC, it is getting tougher for local prep all-star games to get their area stars to participate.

The Not So Obvious – The 605 All-Star Game this year is an exception as Trojan Parade All-America linebacker recruit Luthur Brown of Lakewood will participate. The game is Saturday night at Whittier Pioneer High at 6 p.m. In the old days, the 605 game was played at Cerritos College. Where have the years gone?

The Obvious – June marks the approach of the college football season, at least in the words and pictures of the college football magazines.

The Not So Obvious – This Saturday at 11:00 a.m., the "annual" WeAreSC softball game, lunch, and roundtable discussion commences at Big League Dreams Sportspark in Chino Hills. So why wait for a magazine when Garry P., John Jackson, Sam Cunningham, and a host of other "experts" discuss the upcoming season? Last one to "Fenway Park" and the Green Monster is a George Steinbrenner!


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