There are only seven USC players left who played for former coach Pete Carroll and they play their final game at the Coliseum today when the Trojans host crosstown rival UCLA.
Several already thought about walking up the Coliseum tunnel for the final time in their college career.
“I told myself I would try not to cry,” linebacker Marquis Simmons said. “It’s a hard thing to do.”
Simmons’ older brother, Melvin, also played linebacker at USC and played his final game at the Coliseum in 2003.
“He’s just proud of me,” Marquis Simmons said. “You understand (after this game) that you’re going to a new situation and a new life.”
Although Simmons and six other seniors spent a year with Carroll, they did not experience the same loose, upbeat feelings about football under Ed Orgeron replaced Lane Kiffin in September.
“Of course the atmosphere has changed,” Simmons said.
Offensive tackle Kevin Graf, who has been attending USC practices on a regular basis since the late 1990’s, is also making his final appearance. Like Simmons, Graf followed an older brother to USC. Offensive lineman Derek Graf played his final Coliseum game in 2002.
“It’s been very enjoyable because Coach O has really made it that way,” Graf said. “He’s brought back the fun and the enjoyment that ‘SC football is all about.”
The other seniors that played for Carroll are defensive end Devon Kennard, wide receiver De’Von Flournoy, defensive end Kevin Greene, cornerback Torin Harris and offensive guard John Martinez.