This is what the LA newspapers are saying today about USC's first day of practice.
BY SCOTT WOLF, Staff Writer
...Wide receivers Vidal Hazelton, Jamere Holland (Taft High of Woodland Hills) and David Ausberry are the only freshmen needing NCAA approval. All are expected to be cleared, which means only freshman tailback Kenny Ashley would not make it academically.
The Trojans will hold an early workout for the freshmen this morning at Howard Jones Field before the veterans practice in the afternoon. Among those expected to practice today is wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who is currently ineligible while waiting for the NCAA to determine his status.
Jarrett was ruled ineligible after the NCAA investigated his living arrangement with former quarterback Matt Leinart. USC officials, including coach Pete Carroll, say they expect the NCAA to reinstate Jarrett without making him sit out any games...
Not bad, the only ineligible player is tailback Kenny Ashley. We have some good depth there so that won't hurt us too bad. It would have been nice to have everyone cleared by the NCAA but that's how it goes. We really need to make sure that all of our recruits are academically eliglible and leave no one behind.
Departure of the Tings is the latest of several incidents that have made off-season one to forget.
By David Wharton and Gary Klein, Times Staff Writers
As the USC football team arrived for the start of training camp Wednesday morning, about a dozen players were told to report for drug testing at noon, their names selected at random.
"Everyone knows we're getting tested at the end of the summer," offensive tackle Kyle Williams said. "They say [the selection] is done by computer, that they just press a button."
But the annual rite might have seemed less routine this time, coming hours after most players learned that defensive back Brandon Ting, who unexpectedly quit the team last week, had tested positive for steroids.
The reaction was mixed, most players expressing support for the testing regimen, others simply shocked by the news.
Preseason polls have the Trojans in the top 10 but they are not the juggernaut they have been in recent seasons, needing to replace quarterback Matt Leinart and tailbacks Reggie Bush and LenDale White, all now in the NFL. Just as important, the program cannot seem to shake a series of off-season troubles...
Obviously the off-season was a trying time for anyone who roots for USC. The Ting situation is just one of the issues that put the spotlight on USC this year. Some of these issues involve Trojans that have moved on to the NFL so the outcome of those situations may or may not have any affect on the future of the team.
Yes, the loyal Opposition will continue to make hay out of it, but if the shoe were on the other foot USC fans would probably do the same thing. No matter how uncomfortable it is we need to suck it up and deal with it as it comes. In a perfect world I would prefer that these sorts of issues wouldn't come up. But this isn't a perfect world and you have to take the good with the bad.
And all that's left for the USC team that opens training camp today is a squad that is picked to win the Pac-10 again and threaten for another national championship.
"Yeah, we lost a lot, but remember what happened last time we lost so many guys?" Carroll asked this week. "Things worked out pretty well for us."
USC's surge to prominence in Carroll's second season ended with a victory in the Orange Bowl and was followed by uncertainty over whether the Trojans could remain successful. After all, they were losing Heisman-winning quarterback Carson Palmer and All-America safety Troy Polamalu to the NFL.
The Trojans won back-to-back national championships and came within seconds of a third that would have cemented USC's place among the elite programs in history. That run included a 34-game winning streak, a stay of 33 consecutive weeks atop the national polls and Heismans for quarterback Matt Leinart in 2004 and tailback Reggie Bush in 2005.
All of that is gone...
Well, that's pretty optimistic. But if anyone can pull it off Pete Carroll can. Say what you want about him but he always finds a way to win. Coach Carroll has had a lot of critics thrown his way in regards to the off field issues that SC had to deal with this year. He kept his team focused in the face of a tremendous amount of hype and was only inches from a Third National Championship. While the off field issues are disappointing, I've been pretty tough in my criticism of those issues, SC continues to draw top talent.
While they have had some tremendous losses to the NFL, Coach Carroll continues to show why he is a masterful recruiter. Players want to play for Pete Carroll.