The Not So Obvious – While Dr. Sample and coach Pete Carroll got a mid-week mid-term of their football team, complete with an offensive line change and continued middle linebacker uncertainty, the wheels of corporate transition were turning and so was the increase of the Trojans under the national media microscope.
The Obvious – Scout.com, the parent network of WeAreSC.com, was recently purchased by FoxSports.
The Not So Obvious – If the word on the Rupert K. Murdoch block is correct, WeAreSC.com subscribers may very well be in for a Trojan bonanza. While the wheels of new hierarchy have just been put in place, it would appear that the word "enhanced video" figures to mean Trojan interviews, highlights, and programming pertaining to Pete Carroll's club. Aside from enhanced statistics, we are intrigued with the additional press release term "enhanced resources of FoxSports." Something tells the O/NSO that not too far down the road this could be a really sweet cardinal and gold boon for our loyal subscribers.
The Obvious – While the Trojans were busy trying to find out more about themselves during this past week, to the surprise of nobody, Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News came out with their college football editions and the Trojans were ranked as the nation's finest.
The Not So Obvious – Sports Illustrated, with Reggie Bush on the regional cover, had an insightful article on the USC tailback entitled Danger Is His Game. According to his mother, Denise Griffin, in his first Pop Warner game, Reggie ran for seven touchdowns and 287 yards followed in his third game with eight touchdowns and 544 yards. Yeah, but whom did they play (yuck, yuck)?
The Obvious – Junior running back LenDale White has been held out this week due to a toe injury and did not participate in Wednesday's scrimmage.
The Not So Obvious – In this week's Sporting News college football edition, which had a Matt Leinart national cover, TSN brought up LenDale as the other half of Thunder and Lightening. " But please, let's not forget burly, bruising tailback LenDale White. Yeah, he has trouble getting in shape. He drags sometimes and doesn't go full speed every carry And…he's still one of the top five backs in the nation. Says one Pac-10 defensive coordinator: ‘When he decides there's something in it for him, get out of his way.' "
The Obvious – Word is out that the WeAreSC magazine, featuring a cover of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, should be coming your way, and it's being called a 2005 Trojan Football Yearbook.
The Not So Obvious –The yearbook contains a position breakdown of the Trojans, plenty of photos, opponent and travel information, an educational APR national story, and the impossible, the all-time Trojan team, which should be plenty controversial at certain positions. It should make for interesting reading in the final weeks leading up to the Hawaii opener.
The Obvious – The Trojans open the season at Hawaii on Sept.3
The Not So Obvious – At the recent WAC Media day in Reno, Nevada, the Rainbow Warriors were picked third behind Boise St. and Fresno State.
The Obvious – Senior offensive lineman Deuce Lutui has been rumored to be a possible replacement for either left guard Drew Radovich or even a possible prod for veteran right guard Fred Matua.
The Not So Obvious – Offensive line coach Pat Ruel is on record as saying if a senior and underclassman are equal, he will always go with the senior. The long standing rumor that Big Duece would be a serious threat to starting sophomore left guard Drew Radovich came to fruition on Wednesday. In the first three series on offense, Lutui started at left guard and down near the goal line he helped clear the way for a 1-yard Reggie Bush touchdown. At least in this scrimmage, there was every indication that the Trojans' staff sees Lutui has a viable replacement for the departed John Drake, last season's starting left guard. For Radovich it was an especially tough Wednesday afternoon scrimmage, considering he suffered a concussion and will need to be medically evaluated.
The Obvious – The Trojans' defense, and more specifically linebacker coach Ken Norton, is in search of a middle linebacker.
The Not So Obvious – Wednesday scrimmage warm-ups centered early on with Norton's linebackers. Norton yelled, " I can always tell when (Oscar) Lua is ready to rumble, he starts bouncing around!" There seems to be plenty of potential with Keith Rivers and company, but the issue Norton is really looking for is a leader, somebody who is like, well, Lofa Tatupu, a take charge guy who is always "up" to play. If Tatupu was the "soul" of last season's defense, Norton is in search of that illusive quality.
The Obvious – It would appear that the one Trojan defender who has really asserted himself both in practice and in Wednesday's scrimmage is senior defensive end Frostee Rucker.
The Not So Obvious – While coach Ken Norton may be looking for leadership from his linebackers, defensive line coach Jethro Franklin may have the answer in Frostee the Sackman. Rucker has really opened up and began the scrimmage workout by offering encouragement and even gave a dramatic high-five to big hitting safety Scott Ware to set the afternoon's tempo.
The Obvious – On Wednesday's scrimmage, All-America quarterback Matt Leinart was, well, Matt Leinart by throwing 8-of-11 for 135 yards and one 17-yard scoring strike.
The Not So Obvious – It has gotten to the point of Leinart's celebrity status that he is now accompanied off the field by security. At the end of the scrimmage, Leinart went over to a folding chair without his pads and tried to relax as the spectators filed out of practice. Naturally, the "normal" amount of autograph and photo seeking fans were waiting. Give Lefty credit, he was very gracious to the youngsters who made their way to the south side of the field for a little hero worship.
The Obvious – There are many observers who are beginning to call New Jersey freshman linebacker Brian Cushing a bigger version of former Trojan All-America linebacker Matt Grootegoed, who is battling to make the NFL roster of Tampa Bay.
The Not So Obvious – Cushing was the center of a very emotional recruiting struggle before finally going with his heart and heading out west. Brian, whose father attended Seton Hall University in New Jersey, had another interception on Wednesday, and those who keep track of such things say it was his fourth of the early practice sessions.
The Obvious – One of the keys to the Trojans' defense this season will be the play of sophomore nose tackle Sedrick Ellis, who is expected to fill the shoes of Mike Patterson, who now earns his money with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Not So Obvious – Big Sed showed some good instincts and athleticism when he dropped Reggie Bush before The Roadrunner could get started during one scrimmage play. When the Trojans get off the bus in enemy territory, Ellis will certainly draw attention to his size and demeanor. The former Chino star passes the "don't mess with me" eyeball test.
The Obvious – Much has been made about the new offensive play calling chain of command.
The Not So Obvious – As you would expect, Pete Carroll, Steve Sarkisian, and Lane Kiffin were trying out their new toys on Wednesday. With Kiffin up atop Dedeaux Field and Sarkisian working the sidelines, it was a solid game day rehearsal. The only flaw in the system was the fact that Carroll, with headset on, stood behind the offensive huddle, something we think won't be allowed to happen during the regular season. However, knowing Carroll, he practices for all possible scenarios.
The Obvious – There is the conception that a large number of players' families are at these scrimmages, such as Wednesday and the first day of pads this past Monday.
The Not So Obvious – One Trojan player's father finally made it for the first time on Wednesday. For Dino Pinkard, he was more than just happy to see his son, Josh, who is going to be a tremendous defensive player for the Trojans down the line. A smiling Dino Pinkard said, " I am at my first practice." You could tell the afternoon was going to be something special for the elder Pinkard.
The Obvious – There is nothing like the first scrimmage to get the juices flowing amongst the Trojan players, many of whom were vocalizing their excitement.
The Not So Obvious – It didn't take long for the tempers to exhibit that excitement as during the early linemen drills, intense junior offense guard Fred Matua and senior defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey got into some extra-circular activities and had to be separated.
The Obvious – The Trojan Marching Band always adds to the enjoyment of a game or even a scrimmage.
The Not So Obvious – A limited number of Art Bartner's TMB were on the concourse of Dedeaux Field on Wednesday helping fan the intensity with Fanfare. The members also were entertaining some donors that came to take in the scrimmage. In fact the scrimmage brought out all the high rollers, who took their places atop Dedeaux Field.
The Obvious – There may not be a quicker player on the Trojan team that running back Desmond Reed and a more impressive freshman, considering his position, than defensive end Kyle Moore.
The Not So Obvious – On one play during the scrimmage, Reed carried off the left side and was confronted by the imposing 6-7 Moore. Without skipping a beat, Reed gave Moore the old "Temple City" move and the youngster from Kathleen, Georgia, was left grabbing nothing but air. Call it a good learning experience for the talented Moore. Stay low, Kyle, stay low, stay low.
The Obvious – There was no greater attacking tailback near the goal line than 1979 Trojan Heisman Trophy winner Charles White, who spoke to the team after Thursday morning's practice.
The Not So Obvious – On an early opening scrimmage drive, Bush, who some would be held out due to a slight groin injury, made like Charles White and propelled himself over the top for the score. Don't know if the extra pounds helped since he was stopped on the previous play, but he sure made a statement about his intentions of getting to paydirt.
The Obvious – Nobody on last year's team spent any more time in Pete Carroll's doghouse than sophomore tight end Fred Davis, the Toledo, Ohio, product.
The Not So Obvious – Give the kid some well deserved props as he really showcased his skills in the scrimmage, including a nice 21-yard scoring reception from Mr. Booty. If the kid continues to make maturity strides, he could be a really big asset as the season unfolds, especially with his improved blocking.
The Obvious – Tight ends Dominique Byrd and Nick Vanderboom both attended Breck School in Minnesota.
The Not So Obvious – Vanderboom was once Bryd's quarterback in high school and who have thunk they would both be Trojan tight ends? Certainly Bryd's credentials are quite glowing at this point, but don't be shocked if Vanderboom gets some playing time, especially in two tight end sets. Nick has done a nice job of advancing his game.
The Obvious – It has been quite apparent that despite his limited amount of playing time due to a heel injury, freshman receiver Patrick Turner has made enough plays to warrant all the publicity.
The Not So Obvious – So how do you tackle a receiver like Turner, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs around 225 pounds? Well, you do what redshirt freshman corner Jim Abbott did. Abbott, who is 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, gave the old rolling body block at the ankles to take away Turner's wheels. Certainly this was a case of discretion being the better part of valor.
The Obvious – Trojans' heralded freshman quarterback Mark Sanchez provided some reaffirmation of his skills as he connected twice to William Buchanon for scoring strikes of 69 and 79 yards, the second which flagged back.
The Not So Obvious – While Sanchez's scoring tosses were indeed impressive, the quick strikes took away from the number of reps the talented Mission Viejo freshman was able to execute. In this case, while two of his throws went for scores, he only had eight attempts because of his deep successes. Of course, he did have one interception by fellow freshman linebacker Brian Cushing, which halted a drive.
The Obvious – As he enters his senior year, this is the last chance dance for wide receiver William Buchanon, and Wednesday's performance of one medium and two long touchdown receptions certainly helped his cause for playing time.
The Not So Obvious – When Buchanon was on the end of one of those deep scoring strikes, the former Oceanside prep star flashed his 4.26 speed. Fellow wide receiver Greig Carlson turned to the defense and yelled, "He's too fast. He's too fast!" For whatever reason, Buchanon, the son of former Green Bay Packers and San Diego Charger star Willie Buchanon, has had a Trojan career of unrealized potential. The senior could certainly enhance the speed dimension of an already swift Trojan attack.
The Obvious – It figures with an expected majority of home sellouts, parking will become a main issue as fans will need to arrive at the Coliseum at least three hours in advance to get a decent parking space.
The Not So Obvious – For those that use the Trojan facilities, it will cost you $20 to allow your car to take a "nap" in one of the USC stalls.
The Obvious – Trojan fans are cautiously awaiting for a verbal announcement by Seattle O'Dea senior safety Taylor Mays, called the No. 1 prospect in the West in The Sporting News High School Football magazine.
The Not So Obvious –There is a double-page feature on the highly recruited Northwest area star. The 6-3, 220-pound phenom is finishing his evaluation process with a visit today (Friday) to Ty Willingham's Washington with his parents. One school that is out of the picture is Notre Dame, an interesting tidbit considering the nickname of his high school is The Irish. For the latest on Mays, check out the most recent update from our Allen Wallace. If you read between the lines, USC, Michigan, or Washington, you can come to your own conclusions.
The Obvious - The Sporting News publication for high school football ranks the top 25 players on the West Coast.
The Not So Obvious – The top eight players ranked in order include Mays, Sylmar RB C.J. Gable, Dorsey RB Stafon Johnson, Bellevue (WA) tackle Steve Schilling, Colton linebacker Allen Bradford, Oakland McClymonds LB Josh Tatum, and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman RB Demarco Murray, Trojan recruits all.
The Obvious – Pete Carroll is on record as saying he does not like the use of instant replay.
The Not So Obvious – And the coach stuck by his word when given the opportunity to use it at Notre Dame on Oct. 15. Carroll declined the Irish offer and there will be no instant replay in South Bend. While the O/NSO much prefers instant replay, you have to give Carroll credit for standing by his convictions, especially with an historic national championship possibly at stake.
The Obvious – Freshman tight end Charles Brown now cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse was in uniform on Thursday, and now only the uncertain fate of defensive tackle Ashley Lee Walker remains as part of the final piece of the freshman class.
The Not So Obvious – There was much talk during the recruiting process that Brown's eventual position will be on the offensive line. With this in mind, it will be very interesting, considering he has missed the early sessions of practice because of NCAA paperwork. We will see just how much of an immediate impact Brown can make at his favorite position, tight end. A probable redshirt, Brown will be given the time and every opportunity to prove he is the next great Trojan tight end.
The Obvious – Former Trojan quarterback Rocky Hinds officially transfered to UNLV.
The Not So Obvious – Okay, so you think the Trojans are the only ones that lose football players? That little Catholic school in South Bend just announced the departure of another Domer, which now brings the total to six players since the offseason.
The Obvious – Nobody is prouder of his football playing Trojan son than radio analyst Paul McDonald, whose son Mike, 3-of-5 in Wednesday's scrimmage, recently was put on scholarship by Pete Carroll.
The Not So Obvious – So what makes McDonald prouder, the fact his son now has the full benefits of a scholarship player or the fact his son wears his daddy's uniform No. 16? As an analyst, Paul would probably say the money he has saved in education, but as the commercial says, " One No. 16 uniform, priceless."
The Obvious – Yep, that was Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson checking out some of this week's festivities along with some of his respected staff.
The Not So Obvious – Also in attendance this week was Notre Dame High's very successful Kevin Rooney, who was checking out his former star CB Cary Harris, who could see some early playing time on special teams and has impressed the Trojan coaching staff.
The Obvious – And finally, next Friday commences with the rollicking 2005 team introductory party known as the Salute to Troy followed on Sunday by the much ballyhooed "free" Trojan scrimmage and Fan Appreciation Day in the Coliseum at 1:00 p.m.
The Not So Obvious – Both events may be the easiest and cheapest way to see this year's defending national champions in person. In the Sporting News college football special this week, of the ten best games involving Pac-10 teams, the Trojans are in four of them, including the top three against Cal, UCLA, and Oregon. The fourth? It's the boys from Fresno St. and reports are the Bulldogs game could be as tough a ticket as any. Anybody have the number for Barry's Tickets?