The Not So Obvious - Last year's surprise was the emergence of the little known Alex Parsons of Woodbridge, who came out of nowhere and dazzled the coaching staff with his speed, strength, and high intensity. The rest is history as the Trojans offered and Parsons soon accepted. Parsons was matched against offensive lineman Zack Heberer, who also impressed the Trojans for a ride, and you just know there are some prepsters coming to Howard Jones and Brian Kennedy Fields this weekend that know more than a lot is on the line, like playing four years in the Coliseum in a cardinal and gold uniform for free. Now that's pressure.
The Obvious - Saturday and Sunday's skills and linemen camps will provide the Trojan coaching staff with some added knowledge by players that have been "encouraged" to showcase their skills, if they envision themselves running out of the fabled Coliseum tunnel.
The Not So Obvious = The O/NSO has specific curiosity on Saturday's skills camp focusing our eyes on multi-purpose running back Malachi Lewis (6-4, 215) of Oxnard Rio Mesa, Norco LB Jordan Campbell, Jordan CB Antwoine Baker, and Dominguez CB David Ross. For those that like to see Marv Goux's big man-on-big man theory, expected Sunday participants include Trojan OL verbal Martin Coleman of Huntington Beach Edison, No. 32 on the Scout.com Top 100 selection, Orange Lutheran DE Michael Reardon (photo), who is being looked at as an offensive lineman, Bakersfield OL Justin Cheadle, and Notre Dame's OL Sam DeMartinis, considered by some to be a UCLA lean.
The Obvious - Attending Sunday's linemen camp is San Francisco St. Ignatius High offensive guard Matt Summer-Gavin, considered by some to be a hidden nugget at the camp.
The Not So Obvious - As a little sugar high for our AARP subscribers, Summer-Gavin comes from the same school that sent Troy Mike Ryan, a starting guard for the legendary 1972 national champs. In Mike Ryan (6-2, 250) and Allan Graf (6-2, 243), John McKay's offensive line had two of the premier guards in the country. Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah, they would be too small to play today's game, blah, blah, blah, blah. Oh, and new ABC play-by-play college football voice and Hall of Famer Dan Fouts attended St. Ignatius and so did politician Jerry Brown, a favorite of our conservative Trojans (lol).
The Obvious - The Trojans game at Arkansas has been officially announced as a 7:45 p.m. kickoff in Fayetteville, compliments of ESPN, the cable powerhouse.
The Not So Obvious - The fact that ESPN is televising the Cal/Tennessee game at 4:30 CST (2:30 PDT) and ABC is doing the Notre Dame at Georgia Tech game at 7:00 CST (5:00 PDT), it didn't take Edward R. Murrow to figure the Trojans/Arkansas game was going to be the nightcap of an ESPN doubleheader. For Trojan fans on the West Coast, set your alarm clocks and recorders for a 5:45 p.m. kickoff, and for those lucky stiffs that get to be there in person, the heat and humidity should be tolerable with the sun setting in the West. In a previous O/NSO, we printed an Arkansas report that erroneously said the game would start at 6:00 p.m. CST. We apologize for any inconvenienced, so what the heck, we were only 105 minutes off.
The Obvious - Needless to say, tickets for the Trojans opener at Arkansas are going to be a toughie to secure under any circumstances, and seating assignments don't figure to be prime locations for Cardinal and Gold fans.
The Not So Obvious - However, even if you need two pairs of binoculars to see the field, you can always turn your attention to the famed Arkansas video board, which is a 30x107-foot SMARTVISION LED. Yeah, who needs the real thing down on the field when you can relax in hog heaven and watch the game on one of the world?s biggest screens?
The Obvious - The Galen Center is expected to host a number of events besides basketball and volleyball.
The Not So Obvious - Here's another O/NSO idea for those in the Trojan Athletic Department that read this little dribble when they can't get to sleep. Why not use the Galen Center to show Trojan football away games on a big screen. Bring in the students, the public, Art Bartner's Trojan Marching Band, and make it an event? Way back in 1969, the Athletic Department used the Sports Arena to show a closed circuit telecast of John McKay's 31-21 victory at Nebraska. The environment was electric, especially when fullback Charlie Evans of Gardena High ripped off a big run, bringing Sports Arena fans to their feet and the Trojan Marching Band into a rousing rendition of Fight On.
The Obvious - It will be a 7:15 p.m. Coliseum kickoff for the Trojans Homecoming Game against Mike Bellotti's Oregon Ducks on Nov. 11.
The Not So Obvious - All right, who pulled the plug on any true Coliseum day games? Thanks earlier to ABC and now FSN, the only chance now for a true day home day game now rests with the yet-to-be-announced contest against the Washington Huskies on Oct. 7th. In the immortal words of former Detroit Tiger baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell, long gone are the days when Coliseum kickoffs for Trojan games were 1:30 p.m. Okay, there's always UCLA at the Rose Bowl at 1:30 and maybe a surprise with both teams wearing their home uniforms - please, pretty please with Kettle Korn on top?
The Obvious - Finding a ticket for Trojan games on the road is becoming increasingly difficult.
The Not So Obvious - Shhhh. Those cardinal and gold fans that want to travel to watch their heroes at Oregon State on Oct. 28th can purchase them at $60 per ticket on the official OSU web site. As of this week, the Beavers ticket department was still taking orders.
The Obvious - Freshman quarterback Mark Sanchez began workouts this week after Los Angeles County prosecutors declined to file charges for an alleged sexual assault.
The Not So Obvious - This is certainly good news for the Sanchez, his family, and the Trojan football program, a program that has had its share of uncomfortable headlines this off season. With the Daily News reporting Friday that Sanchez will not fact any further punishment from student affairs, it appears the long nightmare for the Sanchez family has come to an end. The fact that No. 6 is now throwing again is certainly a joy for all Trojan fans and not a bad Father's Day present for the Nick Sanchez household.
The Obvious - Many have said that Mark Sanchez's reputation has taken a big hit on the alleged sexual assault charge.
The Not So Obvious - No question the whole episode was a nightmare for the Sanchez family, and certainly the money spent on bail is overwhelming for most families. However, Mark has had such a pristine reputation during his short time at Troy and has been a role model's role model, we tend to think that public reputation will heal quickly, although the lesson learned will never and should never dissipate. Knowing Mark from O/NSO interaction on Howard Jones and Brian Kennedy Fields, we think the kid will handle it just fine with the help of solid family support, his teammates, and coaching staff, and, of course, loyal Trojan fans.
The Obvious - The NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) has approved a proposed video-replay system for games starting this fall. PROP approved a revised proposal by the Football Rules Committee that calls for one challenge per team per game, provided the squad requesting the challenge has a timeout available.
The Not So Obvious - If the challenge is successful, the team will keep its timeout, but that will be the only challenge allowed in the game for the squad. If the challenge fails, a timeout will be charged. So when is it best express a challenge? Do you do it early against a top-ranked opponent to keep or break momentum or do you hold on to the single challenge against an inferior team in a game that figures to be a blowout? It will be intriguing to hear Pete Carroll's philosophy on the new rule.
The Obvious - Oaks Christian running back Marc Tyler, down to the Trojans and Notre Dame, has told Scout.com that he is ready to announce next week and says, "The USC coaches, their style of play over there and the intensity, It reminds me of my Pop Warner days when everybody is excited and ready to go. You get better at practice every single day. All the coaches are pretty excited about football, and they have fun at their job. They're going to play the best player, and it's all about competing. I like that.it's also close to home. Being a California boy, and my dad playing in California, I like California."
The Not So Obvious - Whew, that's a lot of info. Okay, put a blindfold me and place a cigarette in my mouth if Tyler doesn't become a Trojan. If the son of Wendell stays true to his word and announces next week, it would be a bigger shock if South Bend suddenly becomes the surf capital of the world. Something about being a California boy that screams Fight On and Conquest. Of course it ain't over till the fat man sings in February, but suddenly the O/NSO is hearing a poorly sung version of the Notre Dame Victory March emanating out of a certain northern Indiana hamlet.
The Obvious - Scout.com has come out with its Top 100 recruits in the class of 2007.
The Not So Obvious - Unfortunately for Athlon's 2006 national magazine, the use of Scout.com rankings had to be in to the printer before June, and this means that recently released Scout rankings don't look the same as the printer's deadline. For example, Crenshaw's fine running back, Raymond Carter, was the only Californian in the original Scout rankings for the Athlon national preview that is now on newsstands. However, Oak Christians' Marc Tyler, expected to be a Trojan, is Scout's current No. 6 player in the nation and the second best running back to Florida's North Fort Meyers Noel Devine. As for Carter, who has committed to Westwood, this kid has slipped entirely out of the Scout 100.
The Obvious - One of the most heroic Trojans in the past generation is former quarterback John Fox, whose career was a rollercoaster of position change, which finally resulted in a scintillating curtain call as the Trojan quarterback, beating the Bruins, 17-7, back in 1999.
The Not So Obvious - Fox, who has been employed as a primary school teacher in the Inland Empire area, recently became a daddy, the proud father of John Fox VI. According to a family relative, little Fox already looks like a Trojan quarterback in the making.
The Obvious - The Trojans and Colorado State have agreed to call off their 2008 game that was scheduled for Sept. 6 in Denver.
The Not So Obvious - The Trojans plan to replace the game with a home game, meaning seven home games at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the most since the 2000 season. So you want to plan ahead? The 2008 Trojans play Ohio State in the Coliseum on Sept. 13 but don't expect Mike Garrett and Pete Carroll to line up the Texas Longhorns or Florida Gators as the appetizer a week or two before the Buckeyes come to our fair City of Angels.
The Obvious - There are currently no sale of single game tickets for the Trojans upcoming 2006 home football schedule at the Coliseum.
The Not So Obvious - However, our friends in Westwood have begun their process with some Ticketmaster postings of available per-game ducats, beginning with their home opener against the Utes of Utah on Sept. 2. Included in the Ticketmaster information is a photo of some Bruin fans holding up a sign that reads Conquer the Trojans. After 7 wins in a row over their rivals, Trojan fans respond to the sign with that old Everly Brothers hit, All I Have To Do Is Dream.
The Obvious - For the hard core Trojan fan, there is always great interest in the assigning of numbers for the incoming freshmen class.
The Not So Obvious - So, in case you missed the latest roster numbers from the official athletic site, (deep breath) introducing your freshman class: No. 6 S Antwine Perez, No. 7 WR Vidal Hazelton, No. 13 TB Stafon Johnson, No. 14 QB Garrett Green, No. 18 WR Jamere Holland, No. 19 WR David Ausberry, No. 21 S Allen Bradford, No. 23 CB Vincent Joseph, No. 25 TB C.J. Gable, No. 29 S Taylor Mays (photo), No. 31 FB Stanley Havili, No. 38 TB Emmanuel Moody, No. 44 TB Kenny Ashley, No. 46 LB Michael Morgan, No. 51 LB Joshua Tatum, No. 56 DT Alex Parsons, No. 68 DT Butch Lewis, No.74 OG Zack Heberer, No. 80 WR Travon Patterson, No. 90 DE Derek Simmons, and No. 98 S Alfred Rowe.
The Obvious - The Trojans gain another kicker in sophomore-to-be David Buehler (6-2, 225) from Santa Ana JC.
The Not So Obvious - The former Anaheim Canyon High performer claims that at last month's Chris Sailor's kicking camp, he won the kickoff competition with a 75-yard average and a 4.32 hangtime. The big message is clear, Troy Van Blarcom, last season's Trojan kickoff specialist, now has a front row seat in Pete Carroll's carousel of competition. Last season Van Blarcom produced 31 touchbacks and 51 of his 110 kicks kept opponents within the 20-yard line. There are some who are pooh-poohing the fact that David Buehler was also a contributing safety at SAC, but considering last season's Trojans thinning in the secondary forcing the move of safety Josh Pinkard to corner, it certainly doesn't hurt to have some reserve in the tank.
The Obvious - Dan Fouts appears to be the new play-by-play voice for ABC's coverage of Pac-10 football.
The Not So Obvious - In a recent interview on ESPNU's College Football Insider, Fouts said that this year's Trojans are vulnerable. Fouts felt the Trojans have big problems at quarterback and questioned how Pete Carroll is going to replace the likes of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. He did say the Trojans defense has a great leader in senior linebacker Dallas Sartz and that Sartz is the type of player USC always has. Fouts warned that a real darkhorse in the conference is Arizona, a team the Trojans must face in their Pac-10 opener in Tucson on Sept. 23.
The Obvious - The Trojans play at Washington State this season on Sept. 30.
The Not So Obvious - ESPNU also had an interview with WSU coach Bill Doba and the Cougar mentor said, We could be pretty good. Unfortunately according to Doba, outstanding linebacker Will Derting has decided to retire. Derting was a real stud and one of the Pac-10?s best defenders when he was healthy. Doba said the key for his team will be the development of his offensive line because skill wise, we have weapons.
The Obvious - Athlon's 2006 national preview is on the stands and the Trojans are ranked third behind Oklahoma and Notre Dame.
The Not So Obvious - Don't feel too sorry for the Trojans, especially the units consisting of the offensive line, wide receivers, and linebackers. Each of Pete Carroll's units is ranked as best in the country, and you just know that the players in those units are stoked, especially with a picture spread of all the players from each of those units. Ah, nothing like a little pub to get the boys ready for the season.
The Obvious - The NCAA has a new rule concerning eligibility, which reads that a player that completes his undergrad degree in three years can transfer to another college and play immediately as long as he is going for post-graduate work.
The Not So Obvious - In other words, Cal has already gotten a respected lineman out of the ACC to fill a needed gap. Don't fret Trojan fans, you just know that Pete Carroll will adjust to the rule in due time. Consider it NFL free agency, NCAA style. Here's hoping that the undergrad transfer rule of redshirting a year after a transfer stays in place. The undergrad chaos would be unimaginable if players could transfer without having to stay out a year. All those months of prep recruiting down the drain. You could just see some of these players shopping themselves. That's all that NCAA football needs, baseball free agency. Yuck and no thank you.
The Obvious - Talented offensive lineman Thomas Herring has been the subject of going and coming rumors.
The Not So Obvious - Much has been expected of the one-time Monrovia High basketball players who transferred to LA Fremont. Academics, injury, and adjustment have been the short roadmap for a career that is still on hold. Don't completely the blame the player, for Herring has had to deal with a number of issues going way back to his recruitment at Fremont to his questioned intensity button. Pete Carroll's program speaks for itself, and Herring will need to rise to the occasion quickly or a new hotshot, like Edison's Martin Coleman, comes with Herring-type fanfare. Potential in coach-talk means unproven talent. Here's wishing No. 77 can devoid himself of the potential tag.
The Obvious - And finally, a number of Trojan fans have turned to the dreaded StubHub.com for potential ticket acquisitions.
The Not So Obvious - Here's what StubHub says about the Trojans game at Stanford: Stanford Stadium has been rebuilt and is ready to host some of the most exciting offensive games in the Pac-10. Led by versatile QB Trent Edwards, the Cardinal faithful are excited to be close to the action.Will Coach Teevens have his Cardinal ready to battle with some of the nation's most prolific offenses? Well, the O/NSO doesn?t know if Teevens will be ready since he was canned a year ago, but second-year coach Walt Harris might be ready for the Trojans. Oh that StubHub.