O/NSO: Ticket edition

While rabid Trojan fans are now in full pursuit of away game tickets, the USC Trojan football staff is currently ticketing themselves across the nation's fertile recruiting ground, campaigning the Cardinal and Gold virtues and hoping to persuade blue chippers from east to west to attend those critical June Trojan evaluation camps in their summer plans.

The Obvious – While rabid Trojan fans are now in full pursuit of away game tickets, the USC Trojan football staff is currently ticketing themselves across the nation's fertile recruiting ground, campaigning the Cardinal and Gold virtues and hoping to persuade blue chippers from east to west to attend those critical June Trojan evaluation camps in their summer plans.

The Not So Obvious – The Skills and Linemen Camp and the Rising Seniors Camp will provide the coaching staff a hands-on evaluation opportunity and a chance for the high-priced talent to also get a feel for the Trojans. Two years ago, Trojan sophomore defensive tackle Alex Parsons came out of nowhere and clearly established himself as worthy of a scholarship. During last Monday's WeAreSC chat, incoming tailback Joe McKnight, the co-Parade Magazine Player of the Year out of River Ridge, Louisiana, revealed the importance of Trojan camping and the timing of his decision to come to Troy by telling subscribers, "I decided last summer when I went to the (USC) skills camp."

The Obvious – The Skills and Linemen Camp and the Rising Seniors Camp also provide players not only a chance to show Pete Carroll and staff their abilities but also a chance impress the staff with their resolve to be a Trojan.

The Not So Obvious – Incoming fullback Jordan Campbell from Norco High showed up at every possible Trojan camp and greetings opportunity to openly promote himself for a treasured spot on the 2007 class list. Ain't nothing wrong with that, good readers. If Jordan wasn't good enough, not even the President and the Pope could have gotten him a ride. The point being, the competition at the various camps gives all concerned, depending on motivation and desire, to establish a pecking order in the minds of the Trojan coaching staff.

The Obvious – With road game times set and Trojan fans getting those air and hotel plans settled, now comes the difficult part… getting tickets.

The Not So Obvious – If you want the bad news first, let's start with Nebraska. Don't plan on any public sales through their ticket office. However, the good news is, according to the Nebraska's official athletic website, " The discounted cost of a (Nebraska) season ticket this year for faculty/staff is $348.00." Okay, anybody putting in a teaching application to Lincoln?

The Obvious – Three-time Trojan linebacker Richard Wood, the Batman out of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame this week, meaning a Trojan has been elected into the Hall in seven of the past eight years.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans first three-time All-American first team, Richard helped define the Cardinal and Gold defenses during 1972-74. The O/NSO remembers the first time we saw him play in the old Troybabes vs Brubabes freshman game on a Friday afternoon in the Coliseum in front of 95,000 empty seats. As he was egged on by a heralded freshman quarterback by the name of Pat Haden out of La Puente Bishop Amat, Richard entertained his teammates during warm-ups by calling out the number of sit-ups in a super high falsetto voice. If ever a player from the great Trojan past could play linebacker for Pete Carroll, it was the ultra-swift and hard-hitting Richard Wood. Richard becomes the 35th Trojan, including 28 players, in the College Football Hall of Fame. Congratulations No. 83 and we'll see your plaque this fall in South Bend.

The Obvious – The Trojans play at Washington on Sept. 29 at 5:00 p.m.

The Not So Obvious – Trojan fans wishing tickets through Washington, single game tickets go on sale on July 30 at 8:30 a.m. FYI, a ticket costs $65 for reserved and $33 for east end seating. Oh, you want the number? Of course, my liege, 206-543-2200 or www.gohuskies.com.

The Obvious – The Trojans are heavily recruiting wide receiver Brice Butler (6-2, 180) from Norcross, Georgia.

The Not So Obvious – In the latest edition of Blue and Gold, the newspaper devoted to Notre Dame football, writer Jason Sapp wrote, "Butler had originally planned on making a summer decision, but stated after his visit to South Bend that he'd be deciding between the Irish and USC shortly. He claims it'll be a ‘business decision' in terms of which school can best prepare him for the NFL, since he's only planning on a three-year college career." FYI, Brice is the son of former Florida State and Atlanta Falcons defensive back Bobby Butler.

The Obvious – The Trojans play at Oregon on Oct. 27 with kickoff time yet to be announced.

The Not So Obvious – Hmmm, looking for some tickets, my friend? Single game tickets go on sale at 12 a.m., July 20, on www.goducks.com, or you can call the Ducks ticket department at 9 a.m. on the same date. A ticket will go for $60 and standing room only at $22.

The Obvious – Former Trojan All-America and Heisman winning quarterback Matt Leinart is holding his own camp for youth at UC Santa Barbara July 8-12.

The Not So Obvious – Featured guests include Reggie Bush, Nick Barnett, Edgerrin James, Dwayne Jarrett, and Brian Urlacher. For information, call 714-444-0215 or click on www.mattleinartqb.com. The camp is open to boys and girls ages 7-14, and, no, Paris Hilton isn't expected to make a guest appearance; she will be busy.

The Obvious – Rightly or wrongly, Matt Leinart has been under the microscope on his approach to lending his time to autographs, although the O/NSO has never seen him personally turn down his signature for children.

The Not So Obvious – The autograph philosophy is always a touchy subject when a player "graduates" to the professional level. FYI, there is Leinart camp information in his brochure that says, "Celebrities that are coming to camp have not committed to sign autographs or take pictures, however, Matt will make sure that the guests use their time at camp to maximize their experience for all the campers." Can you just see Lefty telling Brian Urlacher to "sign the kid's football before I rip you apart"?

The Obvious - The Trojans play at Cal on Nov. 10 at 5:00 p.m.

The Not So Obvious – Yes, we have more ticket info. For those making the trip to Berkeley, single game tickets go on sale July 15. If you want to go online for tickets, it's www.calbears.com. Single game prices were unavailable, but if you want to pull a Nebraska, you can get season tickets for $320 per order.

The Obvious – Friday, May 11, is the deadline for Trojan students to renew their football season tickets, which cost $135 per ducat.

The Not So Obvious – A reminder to our Trojan WeAreSC student subscribers, there will no longer be game-day entry thanks to an "electronic entry" into the Coliseum. Speaking of student tickets, the Cal Student Section at Memorial Stadium for 2007 Bear football is 2/3 sold out. We are told that this year's sales are three times what they were at this time last year.

The Obvious – Former Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart, safety Mark Carrier, tight end Charles Young, and wide receiver Earl McCullough were among eight members recently inducted into the Trojan Hall of Fame at the Galen Center.

The Not So Obvious – The accomplishments of Leinart, Carrier, and Young speak for itself, but for those not around for McCullough, not only was Long Beach Poly Earl a speedster football player but an accomplished three-year track performer. Earl will always be remembered by the O/NSO for his dazzling 52-yard reverse around the left side, which put a crack in a tough UCLA defense in route to the historic 1967, 21-20, Trojan victory over the Westwooders.

The Obvious – Former legendary Long Beach Press-Telegram columnist and author Loel Schrader was also inducted into the Trojan Hall of Fame.

The Not So Obvious - According to son Scott, the renowned scribe has spoken in front of numerous gatherings without a hint of nervousness, but the thought entering the Trojan Hall of Fame and giving an acceptance speech in front of the gathering of 300 folks, including head coach Pete Carroll, brought on a rash of pre-game nerves that were completely out of character. Loel's acceptance speech very touching and he thanked all the players, coaches, and administers who made this honor possible. He even proclaimed that if Pete Carroll stays another ten years, he will surpass the late John McKay as best Trojan coach ever and will place himself amongst the likes of Bear Bryant, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and Bud Wilkenson.

The Obvious – The Trojans play at Arizona State on Nov. 22 at 6:00 p.m.

The Not So Obvious – Ah, tickets, yes, that's the ticket. Single game tickets for this collegiate version of the Turkey Tussle (no offense Pasadena and Muir High grads), go on sale August 16 with the top price seat listed as $50. Go to www.thesundevils.com or phone 480-727-0000.

The Obvious – Much was made last recruiting season over former Oaks Christian stars Jimmy Clausen, Marc Tyler, and Marshal Jones heading for Notre Dame and Trojanville, respectively.

The Not So Obvious – It appears that will also be the case at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame as quarterback Dayne Crist and linebacker Anthony McDonald will head for South Bend while defensive end Wes Horton is solid for the Trojans. In a bit of irony, Notre Dame-bound Anthony McDonald's father, Mike, played for John Robinson's Trojans and USC-bound Wes Horton's father, Myke, played for Dick Vermeil's Bruins. Reminds us of the ultimate fork in the road when brothers Rod and Fred McNeil, stellar performers out of Baldwin Park High, went to USC and UCLA, respectively.

The Obvious – With the departure of running back Michael Coleman, the fullback position gains even added interest.

The Not So Obvious – It's safe to say that while sophomore Stanley Havili has given every indication that he will be a special player and an important cog to the offense, don't think for a minute that Pete Carroll doesn't have a master plan for the Trojans least stocked unit. That plan probably includes El Camino JC big lead blocker Patrick Hill if he can get accepted, the unlikely return of Jody Adewale, incoming fullback Jordan Campbell, and/or attractive playing time offered to a current tailback. You can bet it will be one of these unsure scenarios or all of the mentioned.

The Obvious – Junior linebacker Brian Cushing recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery but will be ready for the fall.

The Not So Obvious – Don't know about you, but it sure seems that Brian unfortunately spends a little too much time with the old scalpel. It might be a little premature on our part, but Brian might be best served on a number of levels to return for his senior year. We wouldn't be shocked if Brian elected to return for his senior year. Because of his injury prone status, NFL scouts might doubt his durability and a first-round draft pick as a junior probably wouldn't be in the cards. We are told, however, that Brian loves being at Troy, and it isn't out of the question that he could return for a senior campaign. A good junior season and a stellar senior season and you know how that one goes, $o help me Dwayne Jarrett.

The Obvious – The Trojans and the University of Virginia will meet for the first time ever in football when the teams play a home-and-home series in 2008 and 2010.

The Not So Obvious – The Trojans will travel to Charlottesville on Aug. 30, 2008 and don't think being a year away doesn't already impact Cardinal and Gold recruiting in ACC country. Howie Long's kid, Kyle, who attends St. Anne's-Belfield High School right there in Charlottesville, has indicated he is giving serious attention to Pete Carroll's program and considering the family lives in Virginia and Howie lives in our fair City of Angels for NFL Fox telecasts, this could be potentially a real recruiting tool.

The Obvious – The Trojans are actively recruiting Orange Lutheran tight end Blake Ayles, a 2007 pre-season prep All-America

The Not So Obvious – Ayles told the local Orange County Register last weekend that the Trojans and Miami are in the lead for his services.

The Obvious – Quarterback Chris Leak helped lead Florida to last season's national championship

The Not So Obvious – For those that may have forgotten, Leak was once intensely recruited by the Trojans, even sending former Trojan offensive coordinator Norm Chow to North Carolina in a private jet in an attempt to sway Leak west. In case you missed it, Leak was not one of the 11 quarterbacks taken in the recent NFL draft.

The Obvious – One of the early arguments against Lane Kiffin when Pete Caroll promoted him to Trojans' offensive coordinator was that he had no previous experience in calling plays.

The Not So Obvious – According to the weblog of ESPN's Joe Schad, new Trojan offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is following in the steps of the new Oakland Raiders' coach. Schad wrote, "Sarkisian takes over as offensive coordinator with Lane Kiffin's departure to the NFL. When I asked the last time Sarkisian called plays was, he said, ‘Well, technically, never.' Sarkisian did call plays as a quarterback in the Canadian Football League and had final say on plays submitted by Kiffin last season. ‘Play-calling is really where I think the personality of a coach shows up,' Sarkisian said. ‘I know that as a quarterback I wanted to throw for a touchdown on every play. I am very prepared for this. I'll be energetic. I'll be tactful. I'll exploit defenses. It's not about having fun calling the game. It's about attacking.'"

The Obvious – Former Trojan All-America guard Brad Budde is the Trojans lone winner of the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top college lineman who also "best exemplifies the discipline of Vince Lombardi."

The Not So Obvious – Brad will be the guest speaker at the Orange County All-Star Game banquet on Thursday, May 24, at the Brea Recreation Center. If you haven't heard Brad speak in person, you are really missing something special. He is as dynamite a speaker as he was a player.

The Obvious – The immortal game show Jeopardy, hosted by Alex Trebek, is being taped this week at the Galen Center.

The Not So Obvious – You don't think behind the Daily Double you will see "The 2007 BCS National Champions," do you? Please, your answer n the form of a question.

The Obvious – The Trojans are hoping that many of the walking wounded and surgically repaired will be ready in the summer for a championship run in the fall.

The Not So Obvious – Speaking of being repaired and ready to go, the O/NSO sends along our best wishes for a speedy recovery to knowledgeable and loyal WeAreSC subscriber Mahatmakanjeeves, who getting his Achilles repaired for those long walks and short jogs around the Pac-10 and all points east.

The Obvious – And finally, one of the clever columnists in SoCal is Orange County Register wordsmith Mark Whicker.

The Not So Obvious – On occasion, Whicker writes a column, which uses an Action and Reaction premise. Recently he wrote "Action: Queen Elizabeth 11 visits Jamestown on the 400th anniversary of colonization. Reaction: That's kind of like Pete Carroll going to Vince Young's 50th birthday party, isn't it?"

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