Obvious/Not So Obvious - Trojan notes

So for the first time in a long time, it is the other Pac-10 schools that must worry and think of ways to contain the Trojans. There is a new welcome lull between the past 2002 Trojan season and the upcoming 2003 spring practice. No coaching changes of any sort, no visible administration agitation, no player complaints. Just hit the weight room and prepare. Just like the "old days" when there were two seasons - Trojan football season and getting ready for Trojan football season.

The Obvious - The dramatic resurgence of the Southern California Trojan football program apparently affected the hiring practices of Bob De Carolis, Oregon State Beaver athletic director, who signed former Trojan coach and everybody's candidate Mike Riley, hoping to counteract the budding Pete Carroll era from evolving into a tsunami of John McKay proportions.

The Not So Obvious - Of the Riley hiring, De Carolis said, " I think the crux came to me while thinking about our game on the 6th of December this year against the Trojans at the Coliseum that hopefully will launch us into the Rose Bowl. I look across the field, I see Pete Carroll, who's supposed to be the guru of college football defense, and up in the box, Norm Chow is supposed to be the guru on offense, and I say, 'Who do I have on our side?' " Apparently De Carolis believes his best answer is Mike Riley.

The Obvious - The awakening of the cardinal and gold sleeping giant apparently has come to the head of the conference table for athletic directors across the Pac-10 landscape. Dan Guerrero, UCLA's new athletic director, made no bones about it when it came to coaching and stopping Pete Carroll and staff when he hired former Bruin receiver Karl Dorrell, who was part of the successful Terry Donahue era. "Beat your crosstown rivals," said Guerrero.

The Not So Obvious - Pete Carroll loves to see his Trojans and his assistant coaches get deserved recognition and respect from around the Pac-10, so it was interesting to note how De Carolis of Oregon State linked Pete Carroll and Norm Chow into a sort of a two-headed monster. Perhaps De Carolis inadvertedly overlooked the tremendous impact in Southern California of defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, who is turning the Trojans defensive line into a re-born Wild Bunch. No question that Trojan football is on Pac-10 conference minds.

The Obvious - Due to the tremendous success of the 2002 USC football team, the Trojans' ticket department smartly started an early February selling campaign with the announcement of season ticket renewels and the selling of both new season and individual home and away games.

The Not So Obvious - The 2002 successful football season not only translated into a whopper of a recruiting class, but a healthy but expected increase in season ticket costs. Where the cost for last season's season tickets for six games was $215.00, the 2003 season will see a jump to $235.00 ( 6 games) for your "Fight On" enjoyment.

The Obvious - Season parking on campus for next Trojan football season will be priced at $136.00 for six games for an average of $22.66 per game.

The Not So Obvious - The cost of parking on campus per game will be more than it will cost to attend next season's football game at Arizona, which will be $20.00 per ducat in Tucson on November 15th.

The Obvious - While the Trojans are increasing ticket costs after a stellar season, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have elected to reduce the cost per ticket by an average of $1.75, which the Cornhuskers' athletic department says is not a reaction to a seven loss 2002 season.

The Not So Obvious - Before Trojan fans raise too big of an eyebrow over the rise of ticket costs, note that Nebraska season tickets will go for $294.00 for an average of $42.00 per game compared to the Trojans $35.00 per contest, with the exception of the UCLA game, which will be $60.00 per ticket.

The Obvious - Holding to last season's charge, the 2003 USC Football Media Guide will again cost $20.00 according to the official Trojan web site.

The Not So Obvious - Let's hope again that with the tremendous recruiting class, the good folks in the Sports Information Department will include pictures of next year's freshmen class along side the always interesting bios. A senior high school graduation shouldn't be too hard to acquire.

The Obvious - One of last season's most physically imposing freshmen was fullback Brandon Hancock of Clovis West, who was featured in a Sports Illustrated article about his first spring practice experience after graduating from Clovis West in mid-year.

The Not So Obvious - While Hancock received national acclaim over the SI article, Big Brandon was not happy with it. In the Fresno Bee Hancock said, "Sports Illustrated was really deceitful. They didn't tell me it was going to be a journal, and I was upset the way it portrayed me. I gave honest answers. But it's one thing to have someone else say positive things about you, but when you say something about yourself, all of a sudden you become an egocentric, conceited person. And that's totally not the way I am."

The Obvious - One incoming freshman already getting the media eye is La Mesa Helix tailback Reggie Bush, who some say is the best running back in the nation and showed his blazing speed at a recent LA Sports Arena Indoor Track Meet.

The Not So Obvious - In the San Diego Union, Reggie's mother says the family won't allow her son to sign autographs saying she doesn't want another LeBron James, the noted senior basketball star out of Ohio. Mother Denise said, " We remind him (Reggie) who he is and where he came from. We tell him, 'You have to remember where your blessing came from. Don't let anybody pump your head with a lot of foolishness.' He's not a superstar. He's still a kid. I don't want all that glamour and fame for him. I don't think it's good for him mentally. It's just like one big smoke screen."

The Obvious - Former Trojan coach, player, and broadcaster Craig Fertig has been named the new head fooball coach at Costa Mesa Estancia High School in Orange County.

The Not So Obvious - Fertig, 60, has not coached football since 1979 when his head coaching days were at Oregon State. Estancia has not been a furtile prep football power lately having gone 1-19 the past two years. The last and only Estancia Eagle to play for the Trojans was center Brad Green in 1979, ironically Fertig's last year in Corvallis.

The Obvious - USC tailback legend Anthony Davis still has visions of bringing back pro football to the Orange County area of Southern California.

The Not So Obvious - Tailback Davis was recently seen at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center to promote his pro football vision during halftime of the KDOC televised Big West Game of the Week between UC Riverside and the UCI Anteaters. Interviewed by TV man Randy Rosenbloom along with former Laker Don Ford, Davis discussed his desire to build a stadium and bring back pro football to "The County".

The Obvious - Spring practice dates for the Trojans will be March 4th thru April 5th. SC will be off March 15 - 24th.

The Not So Obvious - The Huddle, known to most as the Spring Game, will be held at the Coliseum on Saturday, April 5th. April 5th is also the national semi-finals of the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans. However, The Huddle is usually played in the late morning, and this year's Bayou Final Four will tip-off around 4:30 PST, so not to worry.

The Obvious - Coach Pete Carroll has awarded scholarships to walk-ons Greig Carlson of Pacific Palisades and Joe Boskovich of Westlake, both valuable contributers as punt returner and snapper, respectively.

The Not So Obvious - Trojan walk-ons normally don't get pub in the media guide, so Carlson and Boskovich will have an added "thrill" when they see their bios in next season's guide. One nice touch to last year's guide was the pictures of the "non-scholarship players on page 98, a nice touch. A couple of other walk-ons contributed to last season's winning campaign, namely punt blocker Forrest Mozart of Los Altos Hills Mountain View St. Francis and defensive end Jay Bottom of Corona Del Mar.

The Obvious -The Orlando Sentinel, under the guidance of recruiting "guru" and journalist Bill Buchalter, gave the the Trojans the nod as the nation's number one recruiting class, a feather in the cap of Pete Carroll and staff considering we're talking Deep South recognition.

The Not So Obvious - Buchalter ranked USC's offensive line group the nation's second best behind Texas A&M and said of the Trojans, "Southern California's Drew Radovich (Mission Viejo) and Sam Baker (Tustin) head up USC's class, which is clearly the best in the West." The scribe had SC's defensive line ranked No. 4 headed by Inglewood's Lawrence Jackson and Chino's Sedrick Ellis and the running back corp No. 1 in the country commenting, "USC cleaned up."

The Obvious - There were very few recruits USC did not get in California, ad it was really no contest against UCLA due to the late Bruin coaching change and record.

The Not So Obvious - The Orlando Sentinel's Buchalter gave an East Coast view of the Trojan and Bruin recruiting battle by commenting, "The new (UCLA) staff was overwhelmed by USC's recruiting effort."

The Obvious - The Notre Dame Weekender is always a highlight when the team travels to South Bend, and it's especially exciting for those lucky enough to get to Chicago and the big game in Domerville.

The Not So Obvious - Always tough to get a hotel room in Chicago for a decent price, the Chicago Hyatt Regency is offering a special from the Trojan Alumni Association for $139.00 per night for a October 16-19 pact. The former Chicago Trojan headquarters, the Marriott Downtown, goes for $179 - if you belong to the Automobile Club (AAA). The Trojan band is also scheduled to stay at the Hyatt for those of you who might like "Conquest" with your morning muffin.

The Obvious - The Daily News Scott "Sherlock" Wolf says there could be a battle for Trojan uniform No. 4 amongest quarterback Brandon Hance, St. Bonaventure wide receiver Whitney Lewis, Corona defensive end Jonathon Turner, and Rancho Cucamonga defensive back Terrell Thomas.

The Not So Obvious - The uniform numbers problem probably won't apply to running back Reggie Bush of Helix, who figures to get his No. 5 due to the graduation of Deshaun Hill.

The Obvious - Recruiting stories are always good reading and there was one about former Trojan All-American defensive tackle Gary Jeter, who was once considered the best defensive tackle out of the no-longer Cathedral Latin High of Ohio in 1972.

The Not So Obvious - In the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jeter described his USC recruiting experience with the legendary John McKay and Jeter said, " He (McKay) told me I'd 'probably make the team'." Yep, that's how McKay challenged his star recruits. The Silver Fox challenged their manhood and basically asked them if they were good enough to play at USC. McKay would say, "You can get a college education anywhere, but you can only play Trojan football at USC."

The Obvious - The Trojans lost Michigan prep star linebacker LaMarr Woodley when the kid decided to go to Michigan after the Trojans thought they had a good shot of "sneaking" the prodigy out of Saginaw.

The Not So Obvious - Perhaps the Trojans were lucky not to "sneak" the kid out of Saginaw. According to Saginaw Trojans' coach Don Durrett in the Detroit Free-Press, "Woodley likes to play games and keeps everyone thinking on where he's going. Charles Rogers did the same thing, but he cut people off when he knew where he was going. Woodley doesn't understand this is a business. He think, "Whoopee-do'."

The Obvious - Oregon State's Dennis Ericksen leaves Corvallis for the San Francisco 49'ers just days after Letter of Intent Day.

The Not So Obvious - Imagine if the Trojans would have hired Ericksen as their coach two years ago instead of Pete Carroll, and the Dennis-meister had departed this year after the Trojans' successful season. For the record, Ericksen's 49'ers will have a Trojan flavor as former USC offensive line coach and player Pat Morris has been retained as offensive line coach and former Trojan coach Ted Tollner appears solid in the 49'ers offensive mix.

The Obvious - You wouldn't get any takers now for a Mike Riley for Pete Carroll trade, and it's not often when you see a coach like Riley become both the predecessor and successor for a departed coach, as the was the case with Dennis Ericksen.

The Not So Obvious - So for the first time in a long time, it is the other Pac-10 schools that must worry and think of ways to contain Pete Carroll's Trojans. For the USC program, there is a new welcome lull between the past 2002 Trojan season and the upcoming 2003 spring practice. No coaching changes of any sort, no visible administration agitation, no player complaints. Just hit the weight room and prepare. Just like the "old days" when there were two seasons - Trojan football season and Getting ready for Trojan football season.


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