USC Football News and Notes 11/6

Apologies for a lack of posting yesterday, today looks to be busy as well.

Quickly...

Frankie Telfort wants to play football again!

Not surprising that he has the itch to play so he is going to consult some cardiologists about getting back on the field...

Frankie Telfort, a USC freshman linebacker barred from playing because of a heart condition, said he will see cardiologists in December with the hopes of convincing the Trojans' medical staff he can resume his football career.

Telfort was diagnosed last summer with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that hardens the heart muscle and forces the heart to work harder to pump blood. He said his doctors did not prevent him from playing football but USC's medical staff restricted him because there is a 33 percent chance he could die playing the sport.

"I'll get examined in December and ask the doctors all kinds of questions and get information to relay to USC to try and play and bring the risk (of sudden death) down," Telfort said. "I always want to get back on the field."

Telfort, who played football since age 7, said his parents are "all for it" when asked if they would allow him to resume his career.

"I would have played this year (if allowed by USC)," Telfort said. "I've been a ballplayer my whole life."

If Telfort was cleared medically, he might be starting because weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith is doubtful this week with a shoulder injury. USC coach Pete Carroll said Telfort learned the defensive schemes faster than any recruit in the past nine years.

I have a hard time believing that Telfort will ever make it back on the field. USC is not going to sign off Telfort playing no matter how many cardiac docs clear him. The public an private liability is just too great...remember Hank Geathers??

- - -

While a lot of attention was focused on the defense after last weekends loss to Oregon some of the issues on offnece were overlooked...

I was impressed with Matt Barkley's poise but he did not look as crisp as we saw weeks before. That was not all on him though, PC and Jeremy Bates didn't exactly put him in the best position...(emphasis added)

Given the USC defense’s recent struggles, you might assume the offense would alter its game plan to emphasize time of possession.

When the reverse was true a year ago and the defense was consistently dominant, the coaches went to a more conservative offensive approach, knowing the Trojans likely would win if they simply didn’t turn the ball over.

But first-year play-caller Jeremy Bates (pictured) doesn’t plan to take his foot off the accelerator.
"It’s definitely a team sport, but as an offense, we’re always going to go into a game attacking," Bates said. "Our mission is to score seven on every drive. We’re not going to change our philosophy."

That being said, Bates thought he might have taken it too far once USC fell behind at Oregon.

"We got too aggressive too early," he said. "We were just trying to make a big play and change the momentum."

Not sure I completely agree with this...I guess it depends on what you consider "attacking". Yes, you can put up an all out assault but it better put up points (it didn't against Oregon) or you can attack using the death of a thousand paper cuts method, read run the ball down their throats.

Bates expounds on the above...

"In the second half we just got off schedule," play-caller Jeremy Bates said. "And they made us one-dimensional."

Bates blamed himself for "pressing too early."

"We just have to fight the urge and that's on me," he said. "We tried to open it up a little bit more in the third quarter, where if we would have just stuck with the first-half game plan. . . . I think we would have been better off."

That  is because they wanted to get into a shootout with the Ducks offense instead of just playing their game and keeping the Ducks offense off the field. Look, it happens...sometimes the coaching staff has brain freeze. When coupled with Pete Carroll's comments about the defensive game plan it just shows me that SC completely miscalculated that game. I consider it an outlier while on the message boards will use it to continue to hammer PC for the various ills they want to blame him for. It doesn't matter what excuses some will use because it doesn't change a thing. The Oregon game is a teachable event, not the norm. It was the perfect storm of events that I hope we don't see again for a very long time. The team has moved on...so should others.

- - -

A number of us wondered why we didn't run the ball more (not that it probably would have made a big difference) but the offense last Saturday really looked disjointed. But this weekend SC looks to get back to basics with the running game, but it won't be easy ...

"We want to run the ball on these guys and our challenge this week is to be able to run the ball and run the ball effectively, and they're going to give us a great game and that's what we want," Trojans center Jeff Byers said.

ASU is allowing just 80.1 yards on the ground, a 26.5-yard improvement over 2008. The difference is not so much schematic as it is a change of attitude.

"They've really just focused on attacking the line of scrimmage and hitting the running game with really great energy," Carroll said. "They've just been very physical.

"They haven't changed their scheme much but they just hit the line of scrimmage and they keep attacking and attacking and causing things to happen and it's helped them in a lot of ways."

Well, its the old adage...establish the run to set up the pass.

And the offense gets to show just how much they have moved on. They will need to focus because former USC recruit Vontaze Burfict leads ASU's feisty defense...

USC's offense will go against an aggressive Sun Devil front seven that has helped make Arizona State the Pacific 10 Conference's top-ranked defense.

Freshman Vontaze Burfict, who originally committed to USC, starts at middle linebacker for a unit that gives up only 296 yards a game.

The Sun Devils, however, also lead the conference in penalties and penalty yardage. They average 9.2 infractions and 89.2 penalty yards a game.

"They're trying to set an attitude and they do a good job at it," USC center Jeff Byers said Thursday. "They're feisty, they're mean, they're nasty -- that's a good thing to have on defense."

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Burfict starred at Corona Centennial High.

He is the Sun Devils' second-leading tackler and has two sacks. Burfict also has forced a fumble, recovered two fumbles and broken up four passes for a unit that has a conference-best 13 interceptions.

"He's a young guy that is really trying to make an impression," USC Coach Pete Carroll said this week. "It looks like he's effected a very aggressive attitude."

There is no question that Burfict is a stud but he comes with some baggage both on and off the field. On the field he is big hitter who picked up 3 personal fouls in one game so SC needs to keep an eye on him. He will make some plays but SC needs to minimize the damage he can cause.

This is not a great ASU team, they have good defense but the offense is inconsistent. Of course, SC has its own issues but they should be ready to take it to ASU to wash out the taste of last weeks loss to Oregon.

- - -

One guy looking to make some noise is Devon Kennard...

Freshman USC defensive end Devon Kennard, who is from Phoenix, could get his first start Saturday in nearby Tempe against Arizona State.

Regular starter Everson Griffen (turf toe) hasn't practice all week but could play in the game.

"After missing last year with a knee injury and all the odds that were against me, it will be a humbling experience (to play in Sun Devil Stadium)," Kennard said. "I went to every home game my junior and senior years and live 10 minutes away.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of hostile ASU fans but there will be a lot of supporters and family, too."

Kennard said Arizona State was only his fourth college choice as a senior at Desert Vista High in Phoenix.

"A lot of people said stay in town and represent ASU," Kennard said. "But I wanted to go to the best place for me for academics and football."

Kennard is going to be a beast!

He has all the right tools and he has a great attitude!!

- - -

Here are some links...

Preview | No. 12 USC at Arizona State " The Trojan Empire

Arizona State Preview - College Football - Rivals.com

Renderings of an LA Coliseum Upgrade - TrojanWire
In our wildest dreams!!

USC football: Everson Griffen will play. Or won’t he? - USC - OCRegister.com

Cautionary tales of social media stardom -- latimes.com
An interesting take...

USC trying to not overanalyze lopsided loss at Oregon - LA Daily News

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