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Is this year’s defense the best I’ve seen since on the USC beat? Frankly, I am partial to the 2004 defense (Mike Patterson, Shaun Cody, Lofa Tatupu) right now. Who is better than those 3 players? Throw in Matt Grootegoed, who actually made plays instead of hearing about his potential all off-season and I’ve just decided I’ll take that defense. The 2007 version is better at safety (Taylor Mays, Kevin Ellison, Josh Pinkard). More important to me is how it plays than how much it hype it receives.

Someone asked if I cheer for USC to win or if I am indifferent? Reporters are not supposed to cheer for any teams they cover. That’s something that you learn early and usually sticks, unless you are unprofessional. And of course, some people are unprofessional in this business.

From my initial understanding, student seating will not be decreased next year. It will all just be on the lower level. Seats that were available down in the corners of the floor level will now be given to students and the genersl public seats moved upstairs.

There was no official moment of silence or anything for former players Darrell Russell or Mike Bastianelli. But that’s not surprising, since no one from the athletic dept. went to Bastianelli’s memorial service.

Rodrick Stewart transferred because he did not like the way Henry Bibby treated him (hardly a select club). His brother nearly joined him but decided to stay and Bibby was fired soon after.

If you ask the coaches, LenDale White was a handful for three years. He never was really in the shape they wanted him at. Even this week, a coach remarked that White would probably never want to practice in Tennesse without competition to push him. So maybe the best thing for him at USC was Reggie Bush.

There is a chance the Bush investigation could conclude by the end of the summer but no one promises anything right now. How it turns out depends on who you ask.

I would not assume the defense will not be involved in any shootouts and USC will impose its will with the run. It’s hard to not give up points in the Pac-10, USC prefers a balanced offense and the Trojans need to prove they can run effectively.

I don’t know if Mitch Mustain’s transfer is the highest-profile ever. It certainly generates the most comments on this blog. With the Internet, it’s safe to say a lot of things are getting more coverage than in the past.

I’m not sure what to think of Johnnie Morton’s mixed-martial arts debut on Saturday. Actually, I prefer not to think about it. But his opponent got changed so maybe they were afraid Royce Gracie would kick his butt. Does anyone know if Morton can fight?

I haven’t asked if all season seats at Galen Center will eventually require personal seat licenses. But if the athletic dept. can make a buck, it will. So don’t be surprised if it happens (if they think they can pull it off).

Looking the schedule, I always ask a simple question: Who is the team that will beat (or almost beat) USC that no one expects them to lose to? Oregon State (2006), Stanford (2004), Cal (2003) are three examples. I think the Washington game fits that category. Otherwise, Oregon and Cal look tough and the UCLA game gets more interesting as the rivalry heats up every week between the coaches.

Chris Galippo is a prime candidate for 55 and is waiting in the wings as No. 54 next season. If linebacker Arthur Brown commits, he might be a candidate if it’s not Galippo.

Brown might be the top prospect out there right now the Trojans are recruiting.
If offensive lineman Matt Meyer had not committed already, he would have been one of the Trojans most-coveted prospects right now.

Tim Floyd and Pete Carroll enjoy a close relationship, although they don’t see each other as often since Floyd’s office moved to the Galen Center. Floyd marvels at Carroll’s ability to recruit so many players at the same position while Carroll admires Floyd’s ability to rebuild the basketball program that’s always been in the shadow of football.

I’ve seen renderings of the new football facility. Sometimes, the actual building is nowhere near what the rendering looks like, but it seems impressive with a courtyard and plenty of room to display trophies. The building looks like it will have brick exterior like so many buildings on the USC campus and be two stories.

When picking a preseason No. 1, I try to think who has the best chance of being No. 1 in mid-December. That’s where schedule comes into play.

Frostee Rucker didn’t have many problems at USC (that doesn’t mean none). And his volatile relationship with his then-girl friend was well known. But overall, he was not considered a problem player at USC.

USC scheduled Idaho because Nick Holt was the head coach at Idaho at the time. And it’s also hard for USC to schedule home games against teams without having to play home-and-home. So in that sense there was some logic to this game. But otherwise, it’s a lousy game. At least the Trojans play Nebraska next. I don’t hold the game against USC because the Trojans also play Nebraska and Notre Dame in their other two nonconference games.

Haven’t heard about a 2006 DVD. But since USC did not win the national title, a lame copy and paste version sounds about right.

As a reader posted, Scout.com lists who USC offered scholarships.

Chris Barrett is ineligible because he did not pass six units last semester. That is an NCAA rule. Not a USC rule. Think of students who take one class a semester and progress toward their degree.
An athlete must have a 2.0 GPA (after three semesters) to remain eligible at USC.

Linemen
Top offensive reserves

Tiny Malu
Charles Brown
Butch Lewis
Nick Howell
Zach Heberer
Thomas Herring

Top reserve defensive tackles

Averill Spicer
Lawrence Jackson (moving inside with Kyle Moore and Everson Griffen at end)
Alex Parsons

Broderick Green seems like a good fit at fullback (if he can block). But his power back abilities are what Pete Carroll wants, like short-yard situations. Carroll loves big backs. Allen Bradford prefers tailback but I never underestimate Pete Carroll’s powers of persuasion, especially if Bradford doesn’t play much in the first few games.
The coaches want Jody Adewale back because he adds depth and they are desperate. He also is a good influence on the team and works hard.

Recruiting linemen is tricky business. Remember Jeff Byers was the Gatorade Player of the Year and injuries have prevented him from playing much the past two years. John Drake was an unheralded addition and ended up a starter. Thomas Herring has been a non-factor but the coaching staff insists he is ready to play this year.
Walker Lee Ashley was pretty much given a gentle nudge from the program. He didn’t seem to impress the right people. It will be interesting to see if someone like Derek Simmons develops this year or becomes another player destined for little playing time. Some mistakes have been made in recruiting, which is why I think the Trojans are being selective this season.
I would use the shotgun more than I believe Pete Carroll will use it.

USC keeps talking to the Coliseum about taking over operation of the venerable old stadium. This is something that could be resolved this summer.

If no one cooperates, it will be hard to prove Reggie Bush or USC did something wrong.

If last season is any indicator, the men’s basketball schedule will be released at the last minute.

I don’t anticipate any changes in unprofessional announcers or embarassing bloggers for next season (This blogger included).

One player who works hard and gets little credit is linebacker Clay Matthews. He practices as hard as anyone on the team, takes all the reps when players like Brian Cushing and Dallas Sartz get hurt, and then watches film up in the offices at night.

Taylor Mays and C.J. Gable each will wear No. 2 next season. Players can wear the same number if one plays offense and one defense. John David Booty and Brian Cushing wore No. 10 last season.

I know of at least four potential danger spots with the incoming recruiting class and the NCAA Clearinghouse. This will be an August issue. The local recruit is still completing his senior year so we’re waiting to hear about that grade.

If Norm Chow stayed, USC would have at least one more national title (and probably two). Steve Sarkisian was not promised the head-coaching job to stay at USC. As I wrote in January, he was not on the list of potential replacements for Pete Carroll.

Pete Carroll’s goal since Day 1 has been to turn USC into Cornerback U. One problem is that it’s hard to find five-star corners. Remember Cary Harris and Kevin Thomas were rated as the two top corners in the state their senior years, so Carroll did pretty well then. He also did a nice job converting Marcell Allmond from wide receiver. Eric Wright could have been that guy, but he was kicked out of school.
Here’s the other issue. Let’s say the best corners are in Florida one year, it would be difficult for USC to beat out the local schools except in rare circumstances (Mike Williams, Keith Rivers) and that was with Florida down.

I’m not sure of the coaches know it is legal to run the fullback. Or run a sweep. But sometimes it doesn’t seem legal to throw to the tight end either.

I don’t think Matt Leinart tried to hurl the ball out of bounds. I think he was trying to score and the ball luckily popped loose out of bounds.

Last I heard, Kyle Williams was still with the Ravens.

Carmen Trutanich’s daughter has not been accepted by USC. University sources say administrator Michael Jackson is unhappy with Trutanich.

I hope I didn’t forget any questions, but I can’t remember.

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