O/NSO: Celebration edition

While esteemed television journalist Ted Koppel was giving last Friday's USC celebratory commencement address to a smiled-filled audience of graduates, it was also a time to celebrate, reflect, and mourn the lives of three fallen Trojans, each, in his own way, leaving a legacy on the steps of Heritage Hall.

The Obvious – While esteemed television journalist Ted Koppel was giving last Friday's USC celebratory commencement address to a smiled-filled audience of graduates, it was also a time to celebrate, reflect, and mourn the lives of three fallen Trojans, each, in his own way, leaving a legacy on the steps of Heritage Hall.

The Not So Obvious – It's doubtful that Charley Ane, Don Clausen, or George Kiseda were ever in the same room before, during, or following a Trojan football victory or post-game celebration, but each contributed to the Trojan family in a way that was both obvious and not so obvious. Ane was a well-known former Cardinal and Gold football star, but Clausen and Kiseda were considered somewhat anonymous in their contributions to the Trojan football lore. Clausen the consummate Trojan fan while Kiseda a hidden headline among Trojan lore.

The Obvious – Former Trojan football player Charley Ane, one of the best football players to ever come out of Hawaii, passed away last week at the age of 76.

The Not So Obvious – Life has its many twists and turns, and Charley's passing came just days after his induction into the Trojan Hall of Fame. Charley, who was a multi-sport Hawaiian star at fabled Punahou School in Honolulu, helped lead the Trojans to a 1953 Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin and later earned All-Pro honors as a center with the Detroit Lions (1953-59). He also opened a minor Punahou pipeline for the Trojans, which eventually brought forth the likes of powerful fullback Mosi Tatupu, you may have also heard of his son Lofa, versatile fullback/receiver John Kamana, and some former Trojan assistant named Norm Chow.

The Obvious – The Trojans have lost a great supporter, fan, and friend as Don Clausen has passed away after a gallant fight with brain cancer.

The Not So Obvious – As WeAreSC historian George Young so eloquently stated, Don was last seen after the Trojans final spring practice, having lunch at an on-campus eatery along with WeAreSC staffers Young, publisher Garry Paskwietz, and the O/NSO. The real camaraderie in attendance, however, belonged to Don's caretaker and very loyal friend Ron Fletcher, whose companionship was unique. While fans and supporters were outside being entertained by the swimming competition between Pete Carroll and actor/comedian Will Ferrell, Don told all of us how much he appreciated what everyone had done for him and recalled the time he was at the podium down in San Diego during a Trojan function and as he started to fall off the stage, he was caught by Pete Carroll who gave him the type of encouragement that has long become a Carroll trademark. Don will be missed, but Trojans that knew him would like to think that John McKay and Marv Goux will welcome Don with open arms.

The Obvious – George Kiseda, a Los Angeles Times sports copy editor passed away last Sunday at the age of 80.

The Not So Obvious – In 1972, Anthony Davis had one of college football's biggest days by scoring six touchdowns against the Fighting Irish in the Coliseum. The next day in 42-point type, one of the most celebrated Los Angeles Times sports headlines read: DAVIS! DAVIS! DAVIS!, DAVIS!, DAVIS!, DAVIS! Called a "cult figure" in sports journalism but highly respected in his profession, the man who wrote the headline, was George Kiseda. No, he might not have been a true alum but his imprint is certainly there, and raise your hand if you have the original headline.

The Obvious – With an already scheduled seven television appearances, many in prime time, on ABC, NBC ESPN, and possibly ESPN2, its' like the Trojans have their own fall television network conglomerate.

The Not So Obvious – Speaking of networks, the Big Ten is starting its own television network, which will "launch" in August. If it's successful, and there is no reason to think it won't be, will the Pac-10 and/or USC be far behind? Among the Big Ten 24-hour programming will be the greatest games, mostly football and basketball, ever played in the Big Ten. As for live events, according to Mark Silverman, president of the Big Ten Network, "There are going to be more Big Ten football games on this network than any other network. We'll have 35-40 football games, which greatly exceeds the number that any other network will have. With basketball, we'll have well over 105 men's basketball games. We'll have over 60 percent of the conference schedule. We'll also have a couple (Big Ten) tournament games as well in the quarterfinal round."

The Obvious – Heralded incoming freshman running Marc Tyler passes his first running test since extensive leg surgery last season.

The Not So Obvious – The Times Eric Sondheimer's update on Marc's condition brought forth both a realistic and surprisingly mature comment from Tyler concerning his future. Marc said, "Obviously, I don't want to rush it. I can use the redshirt year, but I'm so competitive I want to get out there and play. I'm almost 100%, and I've got two months before camp starts. I'm hoping and believing I'll be ready." The revealing comment to us is that Marc is even considering a redshirt year. If he isn't ready, the kid shows maturity to at least acknowledge the possibility.

The Obvious – If all goes as planned, Trojan fans expect to see Jeff Byers as Pete Carroll's starting left guard.

The Not So Obvious – Jeff received an honor in a recent edition of The Sporting News, being named to the All-Spring Team. The Sporting News wrote, " Remember him? Everybody's mega-blue-chip stud from a few years ago. Byers re-emerged and reclaimed a starting guard slot after a couple injury-marred seasons. He also showed versatility by working out at center. Byers may end up fulfilling the hype that followed him to Troy."

The Obvious – All eyes will be on kicker David Buehler, who has the difficult task of replacing the late Mario Danelo.

The Not So Obvious – David was also a member of The Sporting News All-Spring team. Although he is still an unproven commodity and had an uneven spring, it certainly doesn't hurt one's confidence to see your name in a major publication before you set sail on the upcoming season. This all coming on the heels of possibility that Pete Carroll is bringing in more kickers for competition.

The Obvious – All-American offensive tackle Sam Baker and linebacker Keith Rivers spent time down in Arizona for the Playboy pre-season issue.

The Not So Obvious – Yeah, we know what some of you are thinking. When the team gathered for the group photo, was everybody asked to stand "abreast"? So what would you expect from a Playboy photography shoot?

The Obvious – Sports Illustrated.com came out recently with it's Top 25 prospects for the 2008 NFL draft and All-America offensive tackle Sam Baker and All-Pac-10 linebacker Keith Rivers were amongst the chosen.

The Not So Obvious – Ranked No. 17, Baker was called "a terrific blind-side protector who plays with a nasty streak," while No. 16 Rivers was "the top weak-side linebacker." Curiously, no mention of All-Pac-10 quarterback John David Booty. The No. 1 prospect was Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.

The Obvious – UCLA receives a quarterback commitment from Huntington Beach Edison standout Nick Crissman.

The Not So Obvious – Well, with Orange Lutheran's Aaron Corp coming to Troy in the summer and Crissman heading to Westwood in a year, we could have a repeat of the 2006 CIF Pac-5 championship game in the future. In that one, O-Lu beat the Chargers to claim the title. Let's also not forget that Trojan freshman offensive tackle Martin Coleman was a chief Edison High protector of Crissman, a perfect example of why the USC/UCL rivalry is so unique.

The Obvious – The seating capacity of Dodger Stadium is generally listed as 56,000.

The Not So Obvious – We mention this in relationship to the anger from Dodger fans in regards to the new parking plan instituted by owner Frank McCourt this season, and discussion that the Trojans may take over Coliseum parking. Why were 56,000 fans in 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, and 2002 able to get and out of the stadium under Walter O'Malley's original parking plan and all of a sudden a new plan was needed? Conversely, the Trojans now "regularly" fill the 92,000 Coliseum and parking strangely seems less of a distraction or problem. It appears that Trojan fans have adjusted to the "event" of Trojan football and come early for the numerous activities, both on campus and the Coliseum area. IMHO, even departing the Coliseum doesn't seem as bad as in the past. Dodger Stadium, on the other hand….

The Obvious – The 2007 Athlon college football magazines are generally the first on the stands with both a national and conference regional issue.

The Not So Obvious – The good news for Trojan fans is that you can pre-order the Pac-10 college magazine for lesser $5.99 with free shipping. The bad news is the fine print that reads, "Your magazine will likely NOT arrive before it is available at newsstands, but it should arrive shortly thereafter." So what's the point of a hardcore fan ordering the magazine when it comes after it has already hit the newsstands? FYI, the Pac-10 Athlon regional cover features Trojan quarterback John David Booty and UCLA defensive end Bruce Davis.

The Obvious – It figures that John David Booty will be this year's Trojan universal cover boy.

The Not So Obvious – Of the five national covers that Athlon will have in print, Booty is on all five with three being of the large action-photo variety.

The Obvious – The O/NSO did not mention in last week's column on has how to get tickets for Nebraska and Notre Dame in Lincoln and South Bend, respectively.

The Not So Obvious – Well, it's really a game of chance, the chance you know somebody or you gather your birthday money from the past 10 years and head to StubHub or Ebay. However, if you know somebody in the opposition camp or athletic department, we won't tell if a friend of your friend knows Nebraska's Bill Callahan or ND's Charlie Weis. In other words, it's every man, woman, and child for themselves.

The Obvious – There has been no mention if there will be a Shrine All-Star Football Game this year.

The Not So Obvious – If this game goes by way of the dinosaur, it will be a real shame. During it's glory years, the Shrine Game was played in the Coliseum and crowds in those days rivaled many that have watched college football in Exposition Park. One major problem of local summer high all-star games is that many of the prep stars are already attending summer classes at their respective universities. It's doubtful you will ever see a local incoming Trojan play a summer prep all-star game since most are in USC summer sessions. With freshmen seeing so much playing time and the demands greater in the fall, it just makes sense to start your academics as soon as possible and get into the summer football program. And we're not counting the early college enrollment that seems to be gaining popularity.

The Obvious – Former Trojan defensive tackle Manuel Wright has been waived by the Buffalo Bills after being released earlier by the Miami Dolphins.

The Not So Obvious – While Manny is certainly an easy target and in many ways a justifiable target of ridicule and lambasting, let's not forget this pattern of performance and behavior has been transpiring for many years. Perhaps there is unjustified compassion by the O/NSO for this lost soul of a football player, but it is public knowledge concerning his sitting out last season after being diagnosed with clinical depression. With no pro football security, no college degree, a supportive family that must be in turmoil, Wright's mental well-being should be a concern to all. Does he get what he appears to deserve on the athletic front? Absolutely, but things aren't so cut and dry as they appear, and there's more to life just fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line.

The Obvious – It appears that Virginia defensive line recruit Kyle Long, son of former NFL star and TV host Howie Long, has elected to concentrate on baseball and has given a verbal to Florida State.

The Not So Obvious – Long is currently a combo pitcher/first baseman with pro potential. The loss of Long could be taken as bad news on the Trojan recruiting front but not really. Long wants to stick to baseball and any college that entertained thoughts of this legacy playing football has to be grateful that he didn't waste their time. Hats off to you kid for not stringing out the process with a surprise ending.

The Obvious – Disneyland is called the Happiest Place on Earth.

The Not So Obvious – The O/NSO was looking for a table at Pizza Port last weekend in Tomorrow land and bumped into WeAreSC contributor, Fox analyst, and former starting center from the 1996 Rose Bowl, Jeremy Hogue. In our brief exchange, Jeremy said he was with his family as part of a birthday party and was looking forward to the coming season. The former El Toro star is big enough, but sitting at a table with what appeared to be four-year-olds made him look almost Paul Bunyan in size. About the only thing missing at the birthday table was Babe the Blue Ox and Pecos Bill.

The Obvious – Most Trojan fans can't wait for August 6, the first day of "fall" practice.

The Not So Obvious – For media members like WeAreSC, the magic day things get serious is July 26, the official date of Pac-10 Media Day at the LAX Gateway Hotel. The gathering, which brings the head coaches and selected player to the podium, figures to be reminiscent of 2005, when the Trojans opened the season at No. 1 and were heavily favored to win the national title. While this Trojan team doesn't quite boast the star power of a Matt Leinart or Reggie Bush, by the time the media morning is over, it figures that quarterback John David Booty will get a good Heisman publicity boost.

The Obvious – The Trojans open the season on Sept 1 against the Idaho Vandals.

The Not So Obvious – Although the Trojans will be heavy favorites, Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear told Vandal Venue.com, "We have to use it (USC) as an opportunity. I view one of my roles as an athletic director is that I need to provide a great student athlete experience. Part of that experience is allowing our student athletes, or providing the opportunity for that student athlete, to go play against a premier opponent. Last year we played Michigan State. Those kids will talk about that experience for a long time, just like they will talk about the experience of going down to Los Angeles and playing USC. USC is a game where we need to take advantage of every opportunity to engage the alumni in that area. That's another goal that we have. When we play games in a certain location we need to make sure that we are reaching out to those alums. This gives us a great opportunity."

The Obvious – And finally, the Idaho Vandals are the first Cardinal and Gold opponent in 2007, and their quarterback competition in spring was somewhat as intense as the crowded Trojan tailback competition.

The Not So Obvious –Vandals' redshirt freshman Nathan Enderle, a 6-5, 221-pound quarterback out of Nebraska, will be the starter heading into fall camp. As a high school senior, Enderle was once ranked as the 57th quarterback prospect in the nation by Scout.com. Geez, does Scout even award stars for No. 57? Thought so.

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