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Catching Up – Football

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Things get underway in just about a month and there are a lot of high expectations for the upcoming season but I want to look at last months Rising Stars Camp.

This is the camp to go to as even players that don’t commit to USC always show up. Garry Paskwietz from WeAreSC has a great write up on the RSC.

The 2008 edition of the USC Rising Stars Camp was attended by one of the best crop of recruits I can remember seeing in one spot at one time. Everywhere you looked it seemed there were top prospects locked in battle as they competed for the ever elusive Trojan scholarship offer.

Pete Carroll always pulls a rabbit out his hat at these camps. This year it was Byron Moore switching his commitment from ucla over USC. Now this wasn't really surprising as Moore always wanted to play for SC but I also won't deny that I loved the fact that ucla still has a way to go before they can close these players before they can catch up to USC and Pete Carroll.

SC Playbook has a little more on Moore:

As it has been well documented, Moore has loved USC since he was seven years old. The 2009 Trojan commit and his family has been attending Trojan Football games for years. Getting to know the family has been an extreme joy. For the last two years, the Moore family has been attending USC Football camps, practices and everything football.

Strangely there has been very little discussion about this on some bruin sites except for BRO. I still agree with Wolf's observation that Slick Rick isn't exactly tearing it up in the inner city but I also realize that there is a long way to go...

Off the field Pete Carroll continues to show how anything can be achieved if you have the right attitude.

3. Think Positively. According to those who are close to the legendary coach, Carroll is an eternal optimist and has even been quoted as saying, "I always think something good is just about to happen." With numerous national championships under his belt, it seems as though that strategy of positive thinking is working.

A positive attitude is always the key to success.

With training camp just about a month away, all eyes will be on Mark Sanchez as he takes the helm. USCFootball.com profiles Sanchez as they start to look at all the positions for the upcoming season.

Sanchez has embraced the role in summer workouts, oozing leadership at every opportunity.

And, it's nothing new.

"I wouldn't say there's a difference in him. Mark's always been a leader, especially last year," sophomore receiver Damian Williams said. "He'd take the underclassmen under his wing and show us what we need to know."

In three starts and five other appearances last season, Sanchez completed 60 percent of his throws 695 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions.

In summer workouts, the Sanchez-led offense has struggled some against the Trojan defense. However, he's shown good accuracy on the deep ball and good arm strength on sideline routes.

We all know Sanchez came to USC with a lot of accolades and now he gets to show us all what he is made of without all the distractions of being the back-up or the speculations of how he would perform in a tough QB competition. He is going to be tested right out of the gate on the road against UVA and two weeks later against a pretty tough Ohio State team at the Coliseum. Sanchez has a ton of weapons at his disposal and the only thing that will prevent him from taking advantage of them will the if the offensive line has trouble, with all the new faces lining up this year, protecting him. I think that Pat Ruel will have them ready to play.

Another player that is getting a lot of attention is Fili Moala. Even though Moala had a minor hiccup earlier this year in a bar altercation that resulted in nothing. Moala is already projected to be a top 10 pick in next years NFL draft but before we can focus on that he needs to take of business as its his time to shine this season.

[B]ut with the spotlight comes higher expectations, and Moala hopes to be held to that higher standard.

"I apply it as motivation," he said. "I like having the pressure on me."

The humble fifth-year senior isn't out gathering his press clippings, and he knows the preseason accolades hold little weight.

"Honestly, I wasn't really aware of too much of it. My family members and my coaches mention it," Moala said. "It's flattering to be mentioned as one of the best in the nation. You can only take that so far because it's preseason.

"It doesn't really mean anything."

Moala along with Maualuga and Cushing are going to have to really step up and be the vocal leaders of the team on defense this year. Rivals also has a great interview with Moala on video that you should check out here. He definitely has the right attitude (by the way I love the Blue Sky in the background much better than the humidity in NYC...oh well).

CFN has their Pac-10 unit rankings out and as expected USC leads most of the categories including tops in overall defense and overall offense. Even before the recent loss of Sean Sheller I have a hard time seeing how CFN could have ranked #5 in the conference in regards to the offensive line, thats just nuts there are not 5 worse O lines in the conference.

One thing that does stand out is the wide receiver position. We are clearly past the days of Smith and Jarrett. Patrick Turner was a disappoint met last season and Hazelton still hasn't quite lived up to his billing. David Ausberry had a decent year as redshirt freshman and he hope to improve on his results from last season.

He heard the talk that the wide receivers were the weak link on last year's Rose Bowl champion team. He heard the grumbles and the mumbles about his unit.

And, he's paying no mind it.

"Oh well," he said.

Ausberry and the rest of the receivers aren't losing any sleep over the criticism, but the crew is using the lack of respect as a littler extra motivation.

"We do (play with a little chip on our shoulders). All those people who are going to talk about us, whatever, they're not in out receiver room," he said. "They're not out here doing anything.

"We take it personally, but we know they're not the ones out here putting in work —so whatever."

OK, I can see where the receivers are a little ticked but the only way that goes away is with production and the receivers need to bring their A game this season. Ausberry will be an important cog in the offense this season. We saw some flashes of his ability last season and he will be here for a few more seasons so there is a lot riding on his success. Damien WIlliams brings some real talent and experience and opposing defenses will have their hands full with him. Ronald Johnson will be an important component as well, we saw what he could do last season including a key third down catch in the Rose Bowl. Johnson will be a legitimate deep threat this season. its all there they just need to step up and make the plays.

They will be fun to watch.