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News and Notes

Well, it's my last day of vacation before heading out on the road for quick business trip. A big thank you to DC Trojan for keeping things moving along while I was briefly away. So lets get to it.

Moody Reaffirming His Presence

Emmanuel Moody had a decent season last year but injuries have kept him out of the spotlight not mention the glut of tailbacks SC has so he is focused on being noticed.

By most measures, tailback Emmanuel Moody enjoyed a productive first season at USC.

The sophomore from Texas started four games, averaged nearly six yards per carry and finished second on the team in rushing in 2006.

But after missing the last four games because of an ankle sprain and sitting out nearly all of spring practice because of a hamstring injury, Moody sensed that he was overlooked going into training camp.

[...]Moody hopes to carve out a major role despite the abundance of talent. There is a spirited sense of competition and camaraderie among the tailback corps, but only so many carries can be doled out in games.

Its going to be interesting to see who gets the call on September 1st. there are going to be some disappointed players but I also know that Pete Carroll will press whomever he to into service aa moments notice to get the job done.

Griffen a bit of a Target

Everson Griffen is special no doubt and he intends to back up what he says on the field but while he may be special he is still new and he has to earn his teammates respect. It seems that some veteran Trojans just want to make sure that he knows his place.

Whether it was all the hype or something he said, USC freshman defensive end Everson Griffen is a target at practice this week.

Several Trojans offensive linemen are doing their best to humble Griffen, who was described by USC coach Pete Carroll as "the most unique prospect." also saying, "I've never seen a guy that impressive for that spot."

Several sources said Griffen also made some comments that irritated some linemen. In any event, offensive tackle Butch Lewis flattened Griffen twice Tuesday in a less-than-cordial welcome.

"He's a good player. I'm just trying to get him introduced to being a Trojan," Lewis said. "It happened to all of us in that situation."

Well, with talent comes a certain level of brashness. There is no question that Griffen will be special and that he will see some playing time in the upcoming season. The upperclassmen just want to ensure that he earns their respect on the field, jaw-boning is fine but you have make the plays in the end.

Its all about Communication

A lot is going to be asked of Patrick Turner this season. Being the #1 receiver this season has put a tremendous amount of responsibility on hi shoulders. So to ensure that SC gets the most out of him they have rooming with QB John David Booty this season.

USC coaches didn't ask Patrick Turner and John David Booty to be roommates because they both appreciate good old-fashioned Southern cooking.

Turner is from Tennessee; Booty from Louisiana.

"Fried chicken and gumbo," Turner said.

The coaches are trying to develop a rapport between Booty and Turner, the only experienced receiver on the Trojans roster. A year ago, Booty roomed with Dwayne Jarrett.

Booty said he and Turner have been friends for a couple of years, but that rooming together has helped their communication in camp.

After team meetings, the players have an hour to play video games, then it's bed-check time. The lights go out at 11 p.m. That's when Booty said they start talking football.

Not surprising as a strong rapport off the field usually leads to a strong one on the field. I see big things for Turner this season; this will be his chance to make his mark and to chart his own path.

Academics Matter

For all of the attention SC gets on the field it is nice to see a story about how some of our players are doing in the classroom. SC has made strides over the years to improve its academic standing and we continually see our players reap the rewards for their hard work.

[...]But for the top-ranked USC football team, unlike in the past several seasons, there's a large veteran corps of upperclassmen who turned their backs on the NFL when they could have said good-bye to school.

All-American candidates Sam Baker, Lawrence Jackson and Terrell Thomas have already graduated but are taking full academic loads this semester.

Baker, an almost certain top NFL pick, is doing a research project looking at the effects of money on people, as he prepares for what he hopes is a 10-year NFL career before becoming a high school football coach. Thomas is looking at real estate development.

Heisman Trophy candidate John David Booty, All-American nose tackle Sedrick Ellis, linebacker Keith Rivers, tight end Fred Davis and offensive tackle Drew Radovich have their paths clearly mapped out to graduation this year.

Matt Spanos, the fifth-year senior from Corona who has stepped into the starting spot at center after missing last season because he was academically ineligible, has also stepped up his classroom pace and is on pace to graduate this year.

You need a back-up plan in life and while football is important to these guys they are also ensuring that they make the most out of their academics to secure their future.

Baseball or Football

Mike Stanton from Notre Dame High has until Wednesday to sign with Florida Marlins. If he doesn't he will attend USC and play both football and baseball.

Mike Stanton, a standout football and baseball player at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks, must decide by Wednesday if he will sign with Florida Marlins, who selected him in the second round of the baseball amateur draft.

If he does not sign with the Marlins, Stanton will attend USC on financial aid, which means he could play football and baseball under NCAA rules.

Although baseball is his primary sport, the football staff would like to convince him to play both sports this year and recruited him as a wide receiver-outside linebacker last season.

Fine with me, extra bodies are always needed on the football team and Chad Krueter could use the help on the diamond.

There are few other interesting tidbits out there that I will try to touch on later today.

Enjoy your Saturday!