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USC 2006 Pre-Season Notes

USC released their pre-season notes for the 2006 season.  This is a very comprehensive overview. It shows where USC has been and where they are going in 2006.

Here are some quotes from Pete Carroll on the USC Website.

The Overall Outlook

"There's no denying we lost a lot of outstanding players from the 2005 team, especially on offense, but this is not an unfamiliar situation for us.  It has the feel of the 2003 season, when we lost Carson Palmer and Troy Polamalu and all those running backs (Justin Fargas, Sultan
McCullough, Malaefou MacKenzie).  We regrouped and had a real nice season. That's the challenge each year in college football, how well you can replace good players.  We've shown that we're very capable of doing that.  I don't see it being any different this season.

"It's important that we re-establish the high level of competitiveness, intensity and
work ethic that have been the hallmark of our program.  Everything starts with those attributes."

Coach Carroll plays it cool. Yes, it was a real nice season; culminating with a win at the Rose Bowl. I don't think that there were a lot of people that saw the impending incredible run on the horizon.  Everything just seemed to click and history was in the making. While it was clear that Coach Carroll has recruited some incredible talent I don't think may people imagined just how dominant that talent would be.

On The Offense

"No doubt, we'll come into 2006 a little unsure of our offense.  But we have great confidence in the players and coaches on this side of the ball.  We set some high standards last year and it will be fun to go after them this season.  Again, I think back to 2003 and the uncertainty we had about our offense and, after some hard work and focus, how it all worked out perfectly".

As I have said here, the offense has its work cut out for them. There is no question about the talent we have and Pete Carroll is one of the best at getting that talent to perform. The question is; is it too much to overcome? Chemistry is important. USC will also have to deal with the Miami factor of dropping off after an incredible run. Larry Coker is no Pete Carroll and he is one of the best at keeping it light but also focusing on the task at hand.  He will have access to some great talent this year and his philosophy of playing freshman that are good enough to play has proven to get results. How he puts it all together will be fun to watch.

On The Defense

"We have a chance to be very good on defense this year.  We definitely are looking to improve on last year's showing. This is a young, fast group.  We want the front 7 to play well against the run and to develop a strong pass rush.  We need to the young secondary to come together with so many new starters."

This will be our strength this year. As offense starts to gel the defense should keep it close or under control.  The Linebacking corps will be one of the best in the country next year. The defensive line will need to come together quick and keep the pressure on the opposing QB in order to take some pressure off the new and young secondary.

On Special Teams

"We need to get back to the point where our special teams are special.  We had some breakdowns in some areas last season.  We have a solid kicker in Mario Danelo.  Troy Van Blarcom showed us at the end of the year that he's capable of booming his kickoffs.  But there are some big shoes to be filled at punter and in the return game."

This is one area that SC really needs to get focused. Replacing a punter that barely punted last year and replacing one of the best return men ever to put on the uniform will be key to SC being productive in the 2006 season.

Some interesting random notes

-The 2006 season marks the 75th anniversary of USC's 1931 national championship team, which posted a 10-1 record (including a victory over Tulane in the Rose Bowl) under head coach Howard Jones, and the 25th anniversary of tailback Marcus Allen's 1981 Heisman Trophy campaign, when he became college football's first 2,000-yard runner (2,427 rushing yards).

-QB John David Booty, who enrolled at USC in the fall of 2003, is believed to be the first football player to graduate a full year early from high school and enroll at a major Division I-A university.

-C Ryan Kalil might be the Trojans' most musically-inclined player. He likes to sing, particularly Frank Sinatra tunes.

-Three Trojans have received their bachelor's degrees from USC in the spring of 2006 and are currently working on another degree. FB Brandon Hancock received his bachelor's in communication (business administration minor) and is now working on his master's degree in communication management, WR Chris McFoy received his bachelor's in economics and is now working on another bachelor's degree in political science and TE Nick Vanderboom received his bachelor's in business administration and is now working on his master's degree in real estate development.

-USC set a Pac-10 record as it had 544,872 fans attend home games in 2005.

-USC averaged 79,813 fans for all games, above last year's school record average overall attendance record of 73,857.

-USC went over the million mark in overall attendance for the first time in 2005 (1,037,565), which broke the school mark of 960,138 set in 2004.

-Nine of the 10 losses in the Pete Carroll era at USC have been by a touchdown or less (the other was by 11 points).

This is going to be an interesting for Trojan Football. Will they be able to attain the same level of success that they have acheived in the past?  How much, if at all, will they drop off?  It's a new era (no pun intended) for SC will they answer the bell?