USC: Anthony McCoy

RENTON, Wash. -- There are reminders of USC littered throughout the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, the Seattle Seahawks’ practice facility. Much like during Pete Carroll’s time at the school, there are “I’m In!” signs that players and coaches tap before entering the weight room and practice field. An “Always Compete” sign hangs below the scoreboard on the practice field, and a copy of Carroll’s new book, “Win Forever,” is in the lobby.

Before "Competition Wednesday," a practice theme holdover from Carroll’s USC days, he was reminded of an aspect of his time at USC he’d just as soon forget. On Tuesday, Reggie Bush forfeited the Heisman Trophy he won five years ago and on Wednesday the Heisman Trust announced the 2005 award would remain vacated.

“Reggie’s got to do what he’s got to do on this stuff and make his determination,” Carroll said. “I support whatever he’s doing. I’m sure he’s figured it out and he’s living it. I’m not really focused on it. There’s nothing I can really do about that. All of our attention is on Denver and getting ready for the game. I wish him the best and hope they figure it all out.”

In the Seahawks’ locker room before practice, the three former USC players on the active roster -- linebacker Lofa Tatupu, wide receiver Mike Williams and tight end Anthony McCoy -- said they were disappointed by the news and still considered Bush the best player in the country in 2005 when he won the Heisman Trophy by a landslide.

“It’s sad that it’s come to this,” Tatupu said. “In my opinion he was the best football player that year and that will last in everyone’s memories. I don’t think he really needs a trophy to validate that. He doesn’t need the hardware to know that he was the nation’s best player. It’s unfortunate but that’s the way it is.”

Bush became the first player in the 75-year history of the Heisman Trophy to return the award. Williams believes Bush’s gesture should win him back some supporters.

“It takes good values of a person to give something like that back,” Williams said. “Hopefully the public and the media and everybody will let this guy get on and live his life.

“I respect him for giving it back and doing what he felt was right. I feel sorry for him that he had to deal with this situation. He’s a good dude. I don’t take anything away from him as a person. I hope people take this as a gesture of him trying to right the ship.”

USC has distanced itself from Bush, removing all pictures and mentions of him on campus and at the Coliseum.

“He made a mistake but I still think he’s a Trojan and he’s done so much great for that school and can still make a positive impact there,” Williams said. “I know people in their anger are sweeping him and everything he did under the rug but hopefully this is the first step toward one day rebuilding that relationship.”

Three Trojans selected Saturday

April, 24, 2010
4/24/10
6:56
PM PT
Three USC players rounded out the Trojans' seven-man draft class Saturday.

Defensive end Everson Griffen came off the board first, as the second pick in the fourth round to the Minnesota Vikings, and the New York Jets soon selected running back Joe McKnight after trading up in the fourth round. Former USC coach Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks selected tight end Anthony McCoy in the sixth round.

Griffen enters into an interesting situation in Minnesota, where he'll be able to learn behind one of the game's best defensive ends in Jared Allen. Former USC defensive end Kenechi Udeze was a first-round pick of the Vikings in 2003. McKnight will have a tougher time cracking the rotation in New York, where the Jets already have running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. The Seahawks already have John Carlson and Chris Baker at tight end.

Undrafted Trojans included running back Stafon Johnson, offensive lineman Jeff Byers and Alex Parsons, defensive tackle Averell Spicer and defensive backs Will Harris and Josh Pinkard. After the draft, Johnson signed with the Titans; Byers, Harris and Pinkard reportedly signed with Carroll and the Seahawks and Parsons signed with the Raiders. Spicer is still unsigned.

Some final statistics on the draft: USC didn't have a player selected in the first round for the second time in the last four years, UCLA had a player selected (defensive tackle Brian Price) before USC for the first time since 2002, and the seven Trojans selected were USC's fewest since 2007, when five ex-Trojans were picked.

More analysis here.

No Trojans selected in first round

April, 22, 2010
4/22/10
11:21
PM PT
The first 32 picks of the 2010 NFL Draft came and went Thursday, and no USC players were picked.

NFL teams passed on the likes of safety Taylor Mays, defensive end Everson Griffen and offensive tackle Charles Brown — all of whom had been projected by some experts to be first-round material. Instead, the Trojans are sitting and waiting for the second round to begin Friday at 3 p.m..

Tweeted outgoing USC receiver Damian Williams, commony projected as a second-rounder: "Not gonna lie pretty upset right now but it's all good. Me and T Mays got 31 reasons to ball this year. Whoever gets us we starving!!! Night."

USC was also held out of the first round in 2007. In that draft, receiver Dwayne Jarrett was the first Trojan picked, at No. 45 by the Panthers. But the consensus this year seemed to be that at least two of the Mays-Griffen-Brown triumvirate would go among the top 32 — and if not two, then at least one.

But NFL teams had other plans. Still, the Trojans have plenty of hope. Brown, Griffen, Mays and Williams are all likely to be selected early in the second round Friday. And running back Joe McKnight, cornerback Kevin Thomas and tight end Anthony McCoy have solid chances to go in the second or third round. Rounds 4-7 — where ex-Trojans like Jeff Byers and Stafon Johnson are likely to be picked — starts up Saturday at 7 a.m.

"I think we're gonna do pretty good," current USC receiver Ronald Johnson said earlier Thursday of the Trojans' collective draft hopes. "We have a lot people that could go first round and a lot of people that could go late first round or early second round."

Tuesday practice report

April, 20, 2010
4/20/10
10:59
PM PT
Notes, quotes and video from Tuesday's electrifying 2 1/2-hour practice, starting with video from coach Lane Kiffin's post-practice meeting with the media and with more video interviews to follow later:

  • The end of Tuesday's practice featured a lively, rambunctious goal-line drill, in which the offense and defense went mano a mano for 13 snaps to the tune of hip-hop music blaring from the Howard Jones Field speakers. The defense won the drill 8-5, allowing the offensive Trojans to reach the end zone only five times.
  • The top performer of the new end-zone exercise was likely running back Allen Bradford, who managed to score both running up the middle and taking it outside. On one play, Bradford dragged safety Jawanza Starling a good three steps while Starling tugged as hard as he could on Bradford's jersey. On another play, Bradford also ran over linebacker Malcolm Smith as Smith stood as his only obstacle to the end zone. "It was our first shot at short yardage and goal line, so we tried to create an energetic environment," Kiffin said of the goal-line drill, which concluded after eight plays but was extended after the players called for more. "We wanted to make it like a game, to make it realistic."
  • Speaking of Bradford, the redshirt senior did fumble once during team drills but recovered it with relative ease. A pile-up of epic proportions also occurred earlier on in practice when an unidentified player lost control of the ball in the middle of the field. After a minute-plus recovery process involving at least 10 Trojans, offensive tackle Tyron Smith ended up with the ball.
  • Injury update: receivers Ronald Johnson (elbow) and Kyle Prater (back) missed most of practice, participating only in individual drills. Kiffin indicated Johnson would likely sit out of Thursday's practice, while he said the coaching staff is attempting to coax Prater into playing despite pain. Prater, an early enrollee true freshman, suffered the injury when he was heavily hit by linebacker Chris Galippo during Saturday's practice. Redshirt junior defensive tackle Hebron 'Loni' Fangupo returned to practice with flying colors, yelling loudly during the goal-line drill.
  • Kiffin, on whether he used the news of former Trojan tight end Anthony McCoy's positive test for marijuana as a lesson with his team: "That's been addressed with our players. We don't need that as a teaching moment."
  • Plenty of eyes were fixed on defensive-end-turned-quarterback James Boyd, who took his first real snaps since switching to quarterback Tuesday. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Boyd threw errantly on one pass attempt, missing his intended target by at least five yards. He reacted negatively to the throw, but Kiffin stressed afterward that the learning curve for the redshirt freshman Boyd is remarkably steep. Kiffin also said the weight issue — Boyd said last week he is currently at 250 pounds — is secondary compared to the importance of simply learning the position.
  • A trio of receivers stood out in Johnson's absence. Redshirt sophomore Brice Butler made a number of catches during both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 play, senior Travon Patterson was targeted often by quarterbacks Matt Barkley and Mitch Mustain. Redshirt junior Brandon Carswell also impressed in Johnson's stead, catching a touchdown pass from Mustain on a go route.

Pro Day preview

March, 31, 2010
3/31/10
7:38
AM PT
We'll have full reports later on in the day, but in the meantime, here's what to watch for in today's USC Pro Day, which is scheduled to start at around 11 a.m. on Cromwell Field — rain or shine:
  • Thirteen Trojans from last year's squad with NFL Draft hopes will participate. If past years are any indication, we'll also see a number of former players come out of the woodwork to appear in minor roles. Last March, former tight end Dominique Byrd appeared at Pro Day and caught passes from Mark Sanchez in workouts and signed with the Arizona Cardinals two months later. As for 2009 Trojans, well:
  • Safeties Taylor Mays and Will Harris will gather a lot of interest — for different reasons. Mays was a polarizing figure at the NFL Combine last month with his 40-yard dash time and impressive performances in the bench press, vertical jump and broad jump, but somewhat disappointing showing in individual workouts. His NFL.com scouting report reads: "He can be inconsistent with his angles and technique but relies on his great athleticism to recover and make the play." A good performance in safety-specific workouts would help him. Mays said Tuesday he would not run the 40 at today's event. Harris started all of last season and some of 2008 but didn't get an invitation to the combine. He could impress scouts in a workout setting.
  • Offensive linemen Charles Brown, Jeff Byers, Nick Howell and Alex Parsons will all work out. Brown has a reasonable shot at going in the first round of the NFL Draft, but is perceived by some as being somewhat soft. He could help himself by displaying a mean streak in workouts and in the weight room today. Any boosts in athleticism and/or agility Byers shows will benefit his reputation as a slower, older prospect. Parsons didn't shine in any workout areas at the combine. If he could show excellence in any specific activity or workout, it would help his draft prospects significantly. Howell was not invited to the Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine Game but did play in the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game. He will need a marquee performance to get drafted in April.
  • Cornerbacks Josh Pinkard and Kevin Thomas face similar questions. Pinkard has great size but likely needs a sub 4.6 40-yard dash time to be thought of as a corner at the next level rather than a safety. At 6-foot and 192 pounds, Thomas has fine size but would do well to display improved footwork in workouts.
  • Receiver Damian Williams has nothing to prove when it comes to route-running — scouts know him as a premier receiver in that aspect. Where he could help himself out would be in the 40. At just 197 pounds, Williams could go a long way toward soothing scouts' thoughts that he is a little too slow for his small frame to succeed in the NFL if he were to run under 4.50 in the 40-yard dash.
  • Running backs Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson are in different spots. Johnson is fully recovered from the tragic throat injury that derailed his 2009 season and performed decently at the combine. His size and speed combination is projectable to the next level, but right now he stands as a mid-round pick. McKnight ran a 4.47 at the combine, so the speed is there. He put up solid numbers receiving in his time at USC, and will likely display that pass-catching ability today, which could entice scouts.
  • The story with tight end Anthony McCoy is that he will always put up great numbers and measurables — but not great production. He had just 46 catches in his four-year USC career. Reads his NFL.com scouting report: "McCoy is a good looking tight end that does not quite play up to his numbers." His initial quickness on routes is also a question mark.
  • Defensive end Everson Griffen doesn't have much to prove. He's a known workout warrior; what scouts worry about is his game film. While his NFL.com scouting report terms him "not an impact player" as a pass rusher, he needs to show today that he is in fact just that as a defensive end. If he does so, a first-round selection could be in his future.

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