Ask JJ

"As a member of the media, do you find it difficult to be objective about the Trojans?"

John Jackson was a two-sport star for the Trojans, excelling in football and baseball as well as being named an Academic All-American. He is currently a college football reporter for Fox Sports Net and color commentator for High School football games on Fox Sports Net 2. In this column we invite readers to submit questions to John that will be answered on a periodic basis. To submit a question send an e-mail to and all of J.J.'s answers will be posted on this site.

"As a member of the media, do you find it difficult to be objective about the Trojans? With so many biased commentators and journalists out there, it's refreshing to see and hear you call things like they are, but at the same time, bleed the cardinal and gold." - Mel Quan

"At times I find it hard to be objective because of my love for SC but at the same time I'm also one of the schools hardest critics off the air. Since I went to SC I know people are analyzing every comment I say concerning the school so it's a concious effort to stay unbiased. Most importantly I think the fans deserve to hear unbiased commentary. Thanks for asking JJ."

"Are there any surprises at Cornerback awaiting those who haven't had a
chance to see practices this Spring? I'm curious about John Walker, Marcell
Allmond and perhaps Nunn or Wyatt coming in the fall?

Thanks for you time and fight on,



First of all, it is no mystery that defensive back is probably our biggest
area of concern going into 2002. We lost three very good players out of the
secondary (Richard, Cash and Simmons) with two of them getting drafted. The
good news is the best of the bunch is coming back (Polamalu). There has
been a couple of pleasant surprises at cornerback so far this spring. Kevin
Arbet will start at one corner and will be a key to shutting down the
opponents top receiver. Darrell Rideaux was the biggest surprise on the
entire team. He had a great spring and at this point has earned the other
starting spot. Pete Carroll loves his attitude, speed and play making
ability. I honestly think he was surprised at how well Darrell played, but
it is what I expected of him coming out of high school. As you know Marcell
Almond has also moved to corner. This is the position I thought he should
have played coming out of high school. I had a chance to broadcast a couple
of his games in high school and he completely dominated the defensive side
of the ball. He is no doubt the best two-way player I have seen at the high
school level in my five years of broadcasting. He has great size and speed,
but what sets him apart is how physical he is. He also had a good spring
and will get significant playing time. As of right now he is behind Rideaux
on the depth chart, but will have a chance to compete for the starting job
in the spring. You can look for him to show the greatest amount of
improvement amongst all the corners as he becomes more familiar with the
corner position after having only playing receiver so far at USC. As far
as Justin Wyatt, I don't expect him to make any big contributions in the
fall mainly because of the learning curve at defensive back from high school
to college. In my opinion, it will be very difficult for Coach Carroll to
put true freshman on the field to play corner unless he really has to due to
injury. I think Wyatt has great potential in the future, but in the Pac 10
teams will expose and take advantage of inexperienced corners. Ronald Nunn
will get more of an opportunity to play in the fall because he is a JC
transfer and they want to find out if he can contribute. Remember that
prior to spring practice Pete Carroll didn't know where he would get his
starting corners from much less the back ups. I don't know how the good
springs by Rideaux and Allmond will affect his chances, but I think he will
get a shot. Finally, John Walker missed part of spring practice and with
the heavy competition that will affect his chances.

Hi JJ,

I took the same MBA class with you a few years ago at SC, just wanted to say
hi and see how you are doing. It's great to see you on the sidelines at
games, and it's great to see your report. Hope all's going well, and you
are enjoying what you are doing.

My question to you is: how do you think Carson will do this year, given that
we apparently will have an improved running game (with Fargas and Fou coming
back), but a still suspectful OLine, and that KK is still not 100% what we
thought he could be on the WR side?




I think Carson will be the biggest benificiary from a strong running game.
I think that has been the biggest reason for him not being recognized as one
of the top quarterbacks in the country. As you mentioned the offensive line
is the key. They aren't deep at O-Line and could have two freshman seeing
significant playing time in the fall. The coaches realized this position
was when they took over so it will take some time to get quality players
across the board and become dominant again. This position has suffered the
most in terms of depth and quality from the Paul Hackett days. It will take
some time to turn around. Coach Carroll's approach to recruiting the
position this year was he only wanted quality players that will contribute
and wasn't going to take players to just have numbers. He did that, but the
depth is still a concern. As far as KK, Coach Carroll announce that Keary
Colbert has emerged as the primary target. He also had a great spring and
has refined his game. I always thought he was the most complete receiver
that SC has had since Keyshawn Johnson once he matured. It seems like he
has made that development and is ready to be the "go-to guy". I think that
players like Colbert and Palmer careers have been a little slow to develop
because they didn't redshirt when they came into the program. I can't
explain how much better I was with that year off to watch and learn. Coach
Carroll realizes that and knows that once we start playing true freshman as
an exception instead of the norm the program will be back on top.

Thanks for "Asking JJ"

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