USC Morning Buzz: Christmas Bulb Helmet Update

HELMET

Several players tell me USC’s new helmets look even more reflective in person than in this picture. “Like a red mirror,” one player said.

The grey face masks are like a chrome car bumper, the players said. The new helmets will not be used in training camp and worn first for the season-opener against Fresno State. Below is an example of a chrome face mask.

CHROME.FACE

Aca’Cedric Ware Commits To USC, Now About That Recruiting Ranking

Tailback Aca’Cedric Ware of Cedar Hill, Texas, committed to USC on Monday night, selecting the Trojans over Iowa, Notre Dame and Ohio State. So far, so good. But Ware is only a three-star prospect and rated the No. 35 prospect in the nation by Rivals.com.

And why didn’t Texas offer a tailback from just outside Dallas? Or LSU and Alabama? It just demonstrates there can still be a difference of opinion these days despite the tedency of everyone to follow each other recruiting the same  prospects.

Player Spotlight: Luther Hayes

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USC defensive end Luther Hayes played from 1958-60 and was all-conference in 1959. He also was the NCAA triple jump champion in 1960 and 1961. A defensive end winning the NCAA triple jump would be unheard of today. But Hayes (6-3, 202) excelled at both sports.

Money Talks

USC announced today invited guests could attend Tuesday/Wednesday practices at Howard Jones Field. That will undoubtedly mean donors. For the right price, you can experience almost anything now. Running out of the tunnel. Getting Steve Sarkisian’s autograph before the game. Choice seats. Field-level suites. Soon, alcohol is expected to be available at the Coliseum. And donors will no doubt get that first.

There is nothing wrong with maximizing income opportunities. The problem is when you create a perception that the regular fan is shut out. It’s not there yet for USC but it definitely is something that requires keeping an eye on.

Coach Spotlight: Mel Hein

If Mel Hein coached at USC today, chances are he would far overshadow Coach O, Steve Sarkisian, Lane Kiffin or anyone else that figured prominently as an assistant coach. Hein was an assistant coach at USC from 1951-65. And no coach around USC boasted his background.

He played for the New York Giants from 1931-45 and was the NFL’s MVP in 1938 despite playing center. Hein was a member of the NFL’s 50th and 75th anniversary all-time teams. He was an all-pro five times and led Washington State to an undefeated regular season and Rose Bowl berth in 1931. Hein coached the defensive line, linebacker and offensive line at USC.

CLARK.STAFF

Mel Hein (third from left) was part of an all-star coaching staff in 1959 that featured USC coach John McKay (second from right), legendary USC assistant Marv Goux (third from right), Raiders owner Al Davis (second from left), Texas A&M coach and former USC player Ray George (far left) and former USC and NFL player Jim Sears (far right). The least prominent figure is the head coach, Don Clark.

USC Allows Public To Watch Some Training Camp Football Practices

USC will allow the public to watch football practice from the East sideline of Howard Jones Field on August 4-8. It’s the first time since NCAA sanctions the public will be allowed on the field.

The public will be allowed to watch other training camp practices from the Dedeaux Field viewing deck. Regular-season practices are closed to the public unless you are a guest of the athletic dept. and donate a lot of money. I added the last part.

After the jump is a schedule of training camp practices open to the public:

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Former USC Baseball Player Jason Lane Pitching For Padres 7 Years Later

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Former USC baseball player Jason Lane is the talk of baseball this morning as he started today’s game for the Padres against the Braves . . . as a pitcher. Lane’s last MLB start was August 20, 2007 as a center fielder.

Lane singled in his first at-bat for his first hit since 2007. And he is the 9th-oldest major-league pitcher since 1914 to make his first career start as a pitcher at 37 years and 219 days old.

Antonio Blakeney Keeps USC In Mind

It’s been a fairly quiet July for USC basketball during the evaluation period but five-star shooting guard Antonio Blakeney said this morning he narrowed his list to seven schools: Florida State, Louisville, Missouri, Kentucky, Oregon, LSU and USC.

USC Morning Buzz: Camp Approaching

HULL

USC players return for conditioning workouts today after a week off before training camp starts next week. In the meantime, here’s a picture of USC fullback Mike Hull against Stanford in 1966. In the background is offensive lineman Ron Yary, the only Outland Trophy winner in USC history.

Baseball Legends Babe Ruth And Lou Gehrig In Picture Of The Day

GEHRIG

In 1927, USC played Notre Dame before 120,000 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The night before the game, an event was held to hype the game and it featured baseball legends Babe Ruth (in a Notre Dame jersey) and Lou Gehrig (in a USC jersey).

Lou Gehrig in a USC jersey!

The event also promoted the Stanford-Yale game, which is why Stanford coach Glenn “Pop” Warner (far left) is in the picture along with Irish coach Knute Rockne (center next to Ruth) and USC coach Howard Jones (second from the right). Yale coach Tad Jones (far right, younger brother of Howard) and baseball agent Christy Walsh (center, left of Gehrig), who organized the event.