USC: Marc Tyler

Barkley: The wrong target for fans' wrath

November, 7, 2012
11/07/12
10:13
AM PT
Early in the first half of Saturday's game, former USC tailback Marc Tyler tweeted, "Barkley is not that good, sorry SC fans."

Apparently, that created a Twitter-storm because Tyler later tweeted, "Get mad if you want, I speak the truth."

He does? Imagine Tyler's take if, during an eventual 62-51 loss, Matt Barkley hadn't completed 65 percent of his passes and thrown for 484 yards and five touchdowns. It's amazing how nobody ever singles out the nose tackle or the free safety, even when a team is in the midst of the worst defensive performance in its history.

If you're searching for a litany of reasons why USC is off to a frustrating 6-3 start, you would have to dissect the entire 75-man roster -- stopping just short of Marqise Lee -- to find someone less worthy of blame than Barkley.

In the Trojans' last two losses, Barkley has thrown for 977 combined yards and eight touchdowns.

Oh yeah, but what about the interceptions, two in each of USC's three losses? Making better decisions is something he's working on, but it's not as if Barkley's flinging the ball recklessly. On the first one Saturday, the defender practically mauled Lee before making an athletic catch at the back of the end zone. On the second one, Barkley was trying to avoid a sack.

Of his 10 interceptions this season, seven were Barkley's fault, by the estimation of coach Lane Kiffin.

Barkley's two main infractions in his four seasons at USC were playing at a time the program got pummeled by the NCAA and having to be compared to Andrew Luck. It's not exactly a fair backdrop. He's not perfect, but he's an elite quarterback who has lived up to everything other than the recruiting hype. How many high school phenoms do?

He'll probably be a good quarterback in the NFL, too, and if he is, every USC fan will claim they loved him in college. He might even end up the top quarterback drafted next spring. It'll be close between him and Geno Smith of West Virginia. Had he come out a year ago, he would have had to contend with Luck and Robert Griffin III.

A leaky USC defense and one truly awful team-wide performance against Stanford has skewed everyone's perceptions.

"If we were winning these games, the storyline would be about Matt’s play and how he’s even playing better than a year ago," Kiffin said. "People would think that would be hard to do, to duplicate or do better than what arguably was the best season in the history of the conference for a quarterback."

Hyperbole aside, he's got a point. Other than an uptick in interceptions, Barkley is having his best season yet. He has thrown for more yards, more touchdowns and with a better passer efficiency rating than he did in 2011. Sure, his receivers make him look good, but he makes them look good, too.

(Read full post)

Film study: Notre Dame

August, 15, 2012
8/15/12
4:54
PM PT
Here’s the seventh post in our "film study" series.

Every other day from now until Aug. 25, we’re watching one of the games USC played last season and putting up a set of pertinent-to-this-year notes, going of course in chronological order from the Minnesota season opener to the UCLA season finale. At the end, we’ll have one last post with our overall takeaways from the re-watching. By then, it’ll be the week of this year’s opener.

We’ve already done USC’s 19-17 win over Minnesota, 23-14 win over Utah, 38-17 win over Syracuse, 44-23 loss to Arizona State, 48-41 win over Arizona and 30-9 win over Cal. Here, now, are our five notes -- four big things and a bunch of little ones -- from USC’s 31-17 win over Notre Dame on Oct. 22, 2011.

Matt Barkley, NFL quarterback

It might not look all that spectacular in the statistics file, but this was a masterful performance from one Matt Barkley.

The Trojans' signal-caller faced unusual (read: nighttime, loud music, gold helmets) conditions in South Bend and came through with arguably his best game to date. With Marqise Lee playing at less than 100 percent due to an injured shoulder, Barkley targeted Robert Woods again and again and kept finding him open -- or open enough to sneak a throw into him and gain five or six yards.

Barkley also did something he hadn't done all year: He gained legitimate yards on the ground. Four times against the Irish -- and twice on the same play call -- Barkley took off running when he found nobody open and advanced the Trojans' offense. Two of those four rushes went for first downs; the other two came on first downs and resulted in two more firsts later on.

There were certain levels of command and creativity Barkley put on display in this game we hadn't seen from him at the college level. USC's profile began to rise after this win, and so did Barkley's, as it should have.

(Read full post)

Film study: Cal

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
2:09
PM PT
Here’s the sixth post in our ‘film study’ series.

Every other day from now until Aug. 25, we’re watching one of the games USC played last season and putting up a set of pertinent-to-this-year notes, going of course in chronological order from the Minnesota season opener to the UCLA season finale. At the end, we’ll have one last post with our overall takeaways from the re-watching. By then, it’ll be the week of this year’s opener.

We’ve already done USC’s 19-17 win over Minnesota, 23-14 win over Utah, 38-17 win over Syracuse, 44-23 loss to Arizona State and 48-41 win over Arizona. Here, now, are our five notes — four big things and a bunch of little ones — from USC’s 30-9 win over Cal on October 13, 2011, which marked the halfway point of last season.

Bailey's best

He got a little lucky, but Dion Bailey played smart ball in creating three turnovers in this game. He forced a fumble from Keenan Allen on Cal's fourth play of the game to get the Trojans good field position, then prevented a Bear touchdown at the end of the second quarter with a leaping end-zone interception.

In the fourth, when Zach Maynard was leading a little Cal run, Bailey calmly stayed the course in his zone coverage and seized on the opportunity when the ball headed toward him.

Two things of note: We've wondered why Bailey got so many offseason honors compared to his teammate Hayes Pullard when it appeared as if Pullard was better than Bailey in each of the first five games of the Trojans' 2011 season. This game serves as an answer in its own right -- there aren't many collegiate defenders capable of creating three takeaways in a single game.

And the other thing: Bailey showed how aware he is when he came up with the pick in the end zone. Instead of trying to make a break for it, he calmly kneeled to give the Trojans a touchback.

Part of Bailey's effectiveness also had to do with the fact that there was an actual pass rush from USC in this game. That wasn't the case very often for the Trojans before this point.

(Read full post)

Film study: Arizona State

August, 8, 2012
8/08/12
4:12
PM PT
Here’s the fourth post in our new ‘film study’ series started last week.

Every other day from now until Aug. 23, we’ll be putting up a set of pertinent-to-this-year notes from each game, going of course in chronological order from the Minnesota season opener to the UCLA season finale. At the end, on Aug. 25, we’ll have one last post with our overall takeaways from the re-watching. By then, it’ll be the week of this year’s opener.

We've already done USC’s 19-17 win over Minnesota, 23-14 win over Utah and 38-17 win over Syracuse. Here, now, are our five notes — four big things and a bunch of little ones — from USC’s 43-22 loss to Arizona State on Sept. 24, 2011.

Barkley and USC's red zone turnovers

USC's offense was effective against a good Arizona State defense -- very effective, in fact. The Trojans just kept hurting themselves with ill-advised turnovers near the end of their drives, and the Sun Devils kept capitalizing.

After the game, coach Lane Kiffin deflected a lot of the blame away from quarterback Matt Barkley from the two picks he threw that led directly to ASU touchdowns. But a re-watching of the tape shows at least one of them was a clear mistake by Barkley.

With the Trojans on the ASU 12-yard line after a big punt return by Nickell Robey midway through the second quarter, Barkley looked to throw a short pass to Robert Woods just to the right of the original line of scrimmage. And so he tossed it over while failing to realize that Vontaze Burfict was in an underneath zone and only had to take two quick steps to his left to pick out the ball easily.

Then, in the fourth quarter, USC right tackle Kevin Graf messed up big-time in blocking for Barkley. When his man beat him rushing around the edge, Graf held him, drawing a flag, but didn't hold him well enough, so the Sun Devil still got to Barkley and pressured his throw, which was picked off by Shelly Lyons and returned for a touchdown.

You can make a good case that the second one wasn't Barkley's fault, especially considering the Trojans were already down by two TDs at the point. But the first one was. And that's not to say anything about USC's quarterback's other turnover, when he fumbled in the red zone on third down and wasted a nice chance at a field goal.

Marc Tyler also lost a fumble when he was running really well and looking poised to the score late in the third quarter.

(Read full post)

Film study: Utah

August, 3, 2012
8/03/12
5:47
PM PT
Here's the second post in our new 'film study' series started earlier this week.

Every other day from now until Aug. 23, we’ll be putting up a set of pertinent-to-this-year notes from each game, going of course in chronological order from the Minnesota season opener to the UCLA season finale. At the end, on Aug. 25, we’ll have one last post with our overall takeaways from the re-watching. By then, it’ll be the week of this year's opener.

We did USC's 19-17 win over Minnesota on Wednesday. Here, now, are our five notes — four big things and a bunch of little ones — from USC’s 23-14 win over Utah on Sept. 10, 2011.

Barkley's mistakes

This was either Matt Barkley's second- or third-worst performance of the 2011 season. We'll be able to more accurately place it after a re-watching of the October win over Cal, but he just doesn't look sharp in this contest.

Notable mistakes included a clear overthrow of Robert Woods on a screen play in the first quarter and two miscommunications with Rhett Ellison -- the latter of which resulted in an interception. At first, it looked as if it were an Ellison mistake, but the two players' reactions seem to indicate otherwise. And, after the first one, you can clearly see coach Lane Kiffin's mouth, "Come on, Matt" from the sideline on the TV broadcast.

A displeased Barkley told the sideline reporter after the game that the Trojans had "a lot of work to do on offense, that's for sure."

That seems like so long ago, doesn't it?

(Read full post)

USC's undrafted players pick teams

April, 29, 2012
4/29/12
11:42
AM PT
Six 2011 USC Trojans have latched on to NFL teams via the undrafted free-agent wire as of Sunday morning.

Those include defensive tackle DaJohn Harris, who signed with the Tennessee Titans, and linebacker Chris Galippo, who agreed to terms with the Indianapolis Colts. Harris had been projected as a potential mid-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft but slipped because of health concerns, and Galippo had an outside shot of being selected entering the weekend.

The four others: receiver Brandon Carswell, who signed with the Oakland Raiders, long snapper Chris Pousson (Tampa Bay), defensive tackle Christian Tupou (San Diego) and running back Marc Tyler (Green Bay).

Nine players from the 2011 USC squad will have the opportunity to play in the NFL next season, with the six undrafted signees plus first-round draft selections Matt Kalil and Nick Perry and fourth-round pick Nick Perry.

The Trojans could have close to that many drafted next season, led by potential first-round selections Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and Robert Woods.

USC-centric NFL draft preview

April, 25, 2012
4/25/12
6:35
AM PT

The 2012 NFL draft begins tomorrow, Thursday.

USC has two players expected to be taken in the first round, two more players who should definitely be picked at some point over the draft's three days and three other prospects who stand a chance of being selected.

We break down those seven players' draft stock here, in order of their projected selection:

LT Matt Kalil

The two-year USC starter was looked at as a virtual lock to go No. 3 overall to the Minnesota Vikings for quite some time, but there has been recent speculation that his stock is dropping. Still, an absolute worst-case scenario would have Kalil going sixth to St. Louis or seventh to Jacksonville. There's no way he falls out of the top eight, which would make him the highest USC selection since Mark Sanchez went fifth to the Jets in 2009.

DE Nick Perry

Scouts' and experts' opinions on Perry appear varied. Some have him scratching the top half of the first round and some have him falling near the end of the bottom half. The physical specimen still seems like a great bet to be picked at some point among the top 32 picks. One of the factors that will decide how he goes is whether teams will select him as a 4-3 end or 3-4 outside linebacker, which are both possibilities considering his skill set.

DT DaJohn Harris

Harris has some work-ethic issues and medical concerns with sleep apnea and a patent foramen ovale, but he also has the potential to be a starting defensive tackle at the next level, and that should get him picked somewhere in the fourth or fifth rounds, which means he'll probably have to wait until Saturday to be selected with the draft's format. Harris never had a truly consistent long stretch with the Trojans, but he showed flashes on a number of occasions.

(Read full post)

The running back situation

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
9:48
PM PT


What did Kennedy Polamalu, USC's second-year running backs coach, think about how his players performed Thursday, the second day of 2012 spring practice?

"Hey, we got through another practice," Polamalu said. "I'm happy about that. We got through another practice and we didn't have to throw anyone back there that didn't know what they were doing, so I'm happy."

It's not that Polamalu's expectations are lowered. He just has to be very, very careful about keeping his guys healthy. Polamalu has only three scholarship tailbacks with whom to work this spring and few reinforcements are coming in the fall.

It'll be Curtis McNeal, D.J. Morgan and Buck Allen carrying the ball for the Trojans. That's it. Soma Vainuku might get a few carries, but he's a fullback, not a tailback, and incoming recruit Jahleel Pinner's much of the same. Nelson Agholor might get some time there in the fall, but no one else is even a possibility.

"Yeah, that's very scary for us," Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said this week. "We have so little experience and numbers there in general and really nothing coming to help that very much."

The good thing: Talent isn't an issue. Morgan started USC's season opener last year over McNeal, Marc Tyler, Dillon Baxter and Amir Carlisle. McNeal himself ended up surpassing 1,000 yards on the season and has inherited the starting spot. Allen's an unknown but has shown serious potential.

"I believe we have the talent," Polamalu said.

(Read full post)

Combine wrap-up

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
8:14
PM PT
USC had seven players participate in the NFL combine, which officially concluded Tuesday in Indianapolis. Some of those players helped their stock significantly and some hurt it sizably. In order of projected draft selection, let's break down the performances:

LT Matt Kalil

Kalil did absolutely nothing to hurt his status as arguably the top non-quarterback in the draft and did a good amount to help it. Scouts were impressed with the 306 pounds on his 6-foot-7 frame, and his official 4.99 40-yard dash time was among the best for offensive linemen.

Reports from Indianapolis had him as the top performer in position-specific drills, too.

DE Nick Perry

We wrote a month ago that Perry could stand to benefit more from the combine than any other player in the country. That turned out to not be too far-fetched.

The defensive end bulked up to 270 pounds on his 6-3 frame for the event and managed to keep his 40-yard dash time under 4.6 seconds, according to multiple reports. An official time of 4.64 is still darn fast, especially when considering his 38.5-inch vertical leap.

Compare those numbers to what DeMarcus Ware, a college defensive end who now plays 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, put up in the 2005 combine: He measured in at 6-4 and 256 pounds, ran a 4.56 40 and jumped 38.5 inches.

Those are very similar. Ware beat Perry in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill, but Perry comfortably beat Ware in the bench press.

Ware went 11th overall to the Cowboys in 2005. Perry's going to go in the first round too.

DT DaJohn Harris

Harris didn't do the 40 or bench press or any of the other drills because of an unspecified injury, but he did measure in at 6-3 and 306 pounds, meaning he likely lost a good five or 10 pounds from his 2011 playing weight.

Still a potential third-rounder, USC's March 7 pro day is now an absolutely crucial event for Harris.

(Read full post)

More NFL combine invites for ex-Trojans

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
10:30
AM PT
Last we wrote, running back Marc Tyler and defensive tackle DaJohn Harris were the only two 2011 Trojans to receive official invitations to the NFL Combine later this month.

Now, we know, there have been three other former USC players invited to participate in the Feb. 22-Feb. 28 event: defensive tackle Christian Tupou, linebacker Chris Galippo and tight end/fullback Rhett Ellison. The three were asked later in the process than Tyler and Harris.

Left tackle Matt Kalil, a sure top-10 pick in April's NFL draft, has not yet been officially invited but is just about a guarantee to end up in Indianapolis for the festivities. Defensive end Nick Perry's situation is the same way.

Last month in Florida, Tyler and Harris played in the East-West Shrine Game, considered the second best college All-Star game played each offseason after the Senior Bowl. No Trojans were invited to that game, although Galippo and receiver Brandon Carswell did play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Game in Carson last month as well.

The 2012 NFL draft begins April 26.

Where USC's draft-eligible prospects stand

January, 24, 2012
1/24/12
4:18
PM PT
USC has seven players who stand at least a decent chance of being selected in April's NFL draft. With none of them participating in this week's Senior Bowl and the four who played in all-star games already done with their commitments, we figured it's time to delve into where they could be selected and what kind of players they could be at the next level -- starting with the clear-cut top prospect.

LT Matt Kalil

Kalil is going to be a top-10 pick, no doubt about it. The only question with him is how high he'll go. Some draft prognosticators have him firmly entrenched in the No. 2 overall spot of the St. Louis Rams, where new coach and USC alum Jeff Fisher would use him to protect quarterback Sam Bradford, who is said to be the reason he picked the Rams job over other options.

He could also go third, sixth, ninth or 10th -- the teams picking in those spots all need offensive tackles. And potential pick trades could leave him going at any of the other slots, too.

DE Nick Perry

All season long, Perry was projected as a second- or third-round selection. Now that draft analysts are seeing his film, though, Perry has moved right up into the thick of the first-round mix. It's gotten to the point now where it'd be a surprise if he wasn't selected in the first round -- especially after next month's NFL Combine.

Is there anyone who stands to benefit more from next month's festivities than Perry? It's doubtful. He could run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, based on what he's run in college testing. And he'll put up superb bench-press and weight-room numbers for his 6-3, 250-pound frame.

There are only two questions, then: (1) Can he play defensive end in the NFL or is he better suited to a 3-4 outside linebacker spot? (2) How come he didn't produce a bit more with the Trojans? He never had the monster year he and others predicted he would have.

DT DaJohn Harris

It looks like Harris is going to be taken fairly high, which is interesting, because the 6-4, 310-pounder never produced on a consistent basis until his senior season at USC -- and, even then, he wasn't all that consistent in 2011.

But he is exactly the type of player who could emerge into a starting-caliber defensive tackle in the league. And, based on what he did over the weekend in the East-West Shrine Game, it appears likely he'll be a third- or fourth-round selection in April's draft.

(Read full post)

Catching up with Chris Galippo, Brandon Carswell

January, 22, 2012
1/22/12
3:27
PM PT
CARSON -- On the same day former USC Trojans Marc Tyler and DaJohn Harris competed in the East-West Shrine Game in Orlando to mostly-positive reviews, two ex-teammates played in a similar but less-heralded game in Southern California.

Linebacker Chris Galippo and receiver Brandon Carswell were both members of the winning National team at the first NFL Players' Association Collegiate Bowl in L.A. on Saturday, held at the Home Depot Center in Carson.

Known as the Texas vs. the Nation game until 2011, the NFLPA game allowed select underclassmen to participate and NFL scouts were not allowed to attend because of a rule preventing them from scouting such players at college All-Star games. But all teams are getting copies of the game film from the game, and, in past years, a number of the players who took part in this game ended up being late-round selections in the NFL draft.

Galippo, projected as a late-round selection, played much of the game at middle linebacker for the 20-14 winners. He talked after the game about his life since his USC football career ended in November and how he's been preparing for the draft, among other topics.



Carswell, considered unlikely to be selected in April's draft, recorded one reception for 22 yards and also showcased some of his trademark blocking. During the week of practices, he made noise with his willingness to go deep down the field to block for his teammates, and he did the same thing in Saturday's game.

Here he is on the field after the game, talking over his pre-draft regimen, the one class he has to finish in the spring semester to get his college degree and what he thought of the bowl-game experience.

Report: Carlisle to transfer to ND

January, 7, 2012
1/07/12
4:19
PM PT
USC running back Amir Carlisle is transferring to Notre Dame, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.

Carlisle, who battled injuries as a 2011 freshman but earned plenty of praise from Trojans coach Lane Kiffin for his efforts, will enroll in school in South Bend beginning Jan. 17 and sit out the 2012 season before retaining three years of eligibility.

“It’ll be good,” Duane Carlisle said, according to the report. “He’s got a real clear picture with how he’ll be used, and he’s excited about getting on the field.”

Carlisle was a Stanford commit during the 2011 recruiting season but changed his mind and committed to USC fairly late in the process, after his father was let go as the San Francisco 49ers strength and conditioning coach. His father was then hired to a similar position at Purdue in March.

Notre Dame and Purdue are just over 100 miles apart.

“It was our intention to stay (in California), but circumstances changed,” Duane Carlisle said. “We’re a close-knit family.”

Carlisle's departure leaves USC fairly thin at the running back position. Starter Curtis McNeal returns and D.J. Morgan will also be back, but three of the top five backs from the start of last season are now gone, in Carlisle, Marc Tyler and Dillon Baxter.

Redshirt freshman Javorious 'Buck' Allen is the only other scholarship player at the position and USC doesn't have any highly-recruited players at the position committed in the 2012 class.

The evolution of the Trojans

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
2:19
PM PT
Remember what the feeling was like around this USC team in late September and early October, when the Trojans lost by 21 points to Arizona State and then followed it up by barely beating lowly Arizona at home?

Suffice to say, it was nothing like the feeling around the same team following Saturday's 50-0 win over UCLA. By season's end, Lane Kiffin and his staff molded USC from a middling Pac-12 squad into a top-10 team in a matter of weeks and, in the process, instilled a ton of hope for the future of the program.

So, what did they do? What changed so drastically?

It starts on defense. The biggest problems USC had in the early part of the season -- against the Arizona schools and against Utah earlier on as well -- all traced back to defense. Even then, Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee were working just fine together. They got better, sure, as part of an expected progression.

The defense went from terrible to quite good, all in about eight weeks. Monte Kiffin's unit gave up 43 points to Arizona State and 0 to UCLA. It gave up 41 to Arizona and, later in the year, a combined 34 to two legitimate teams in Notre Dame and Washington.

Three smaller developments this season helped that process.

USC's defensive line started to produce pressure in the passing game as the year went on, Nick Perry finishing with 9.5 sacks and Wes Horton and Devon Kennard adding six more.

The Trojans also made the right adjustment at middle linebacker when they moved Lamar Dawson into the starting lineup and pushed Chris Galippo to the bench, motivating Galippo to come in as a super-sub of sorts in the final few games and play some of his best football.

And cornerbacks Nickell Robey and Isiah Wiley -- the latter being probably the team's biggest in-season surprise -- evolved into players who could take on receivers one-on-one in a pinch, giving the Trojans so many more options than in the past in trying to defend high-octane offenses.

And that's just on defense. Offensively, USC benefited handsomely from Curtis McNeal finally getting serious chances to carry the ball. He rushed for at least 74 yards in the eight games he got seven carries or more. And McNeal and fellow runner Marc Tyler were arguably USC's best 1-2 punch out of the backfield since Reggie Bush and LenDale White.

John Baxter's special teams unit was a difference-maker throughout the year, but even moreso later when teams realized how likely they were to get their field goals blocked by the Trojans. Game tapes show how many kickers purposely avoided the outstretched arms of Matt Kalil and subsequently missed because of it. When Woods was healthy enough to return kicks, he did so well. When he wasn't, McNeal and Lee handled the duties just fine.

But enough about the unit-by-unit breakdowns. Those matter, but the single biggest reason why USC finished its regular season 10-2 and ranked ninth in the Associated Press poll is this: The players played hard throughout the year, whether because of Lane Kiffin's many motivating techniques or because they did it for themselves.

There were no letdown games, and now USC looks ahead at a 2012 season where it will face an relatively easy schedule and a potential preseason top-10 ranking.

Kiffin has clearly gained the fans' trust -- and his players' trust, too, if that was ever in doubt. Now the question is: Can he complete the evolution from middle-tier Pac-12 team to serious national-championship contender?

It's possible.

Players 'disrespected' by Neuheisel quote

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
1:54
AM PT
LOS ANGELES -- USC coach Lane Kiffin said his Trojans "felt disrespected" by UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel's comments this week that the Bruins had closed the gap between the two schools in Los Angeles.

The Trojans agreed, saying they used the quote -- posted on the doors at Heritage Hall earlier in the week -- as motivation in their 50-0 win over UCLA on Saturday at the Coliseum.

“I was just waiting until after the game so I could speak on the quote. Now I can speak on it: They haven’t closed the gap on us,” Tyler said. “I don’t know what their coach was talking about. 50-0, that doesn’t look like much of a gap closed.”

"That quote really got to me."

Neuheisel didn't outright say that the gap had been entirely closed. He said the Bruins were getting it closer based on the fact that they were eligible for the Pac-12 championship game heading into the last regular-season game of the season.

"We get to line up against them again, so we'll see where the gap is after the ball game, but the gap has closed," he said in his Monday press conference. "We're much closer to them then we were when I first got here. I don't know that it's all the way done, we'll talk after the ball game."

Afterward, he said the Trojans were "clearly superior" to his Bruins during Saturday's game but said he didn't believe "that's the case at all times."

"I believe we can close the gap and believe we will," he said.

But the quote that USC's players saw was significantly different. Someone within the athletic department modified the quote significantly to say that "USC is not who they used to be," which Neuheisel did not say. But that made no difference to the Trojans, who were clearly offended by the comment -- or what they thought the comment was.

Said Tyler: “I wish their next coach much success.”

A number of USC's players said the Trojans similarly used the new jerseys UCLA broke out for the game as motivation. Cornerback Nickell Robey said Kiffin gave them a full report on what the Bruins would be wearing so they weren't surprised when they saw them in warmups.

“I felt like that was a desperation (move) for them,” Tyler said. “I guess they thought the white jerseys were going to be special for them.

"They’ll probably never wear those again.”

SPONSORED HEADLINES

2014 TEAM LEADERS

PASSINGATTCOMPYDSTD
C. Kessler452315382639
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
J. Allen27614895.411
J. Davis1295954.64
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
N. Agholor104131312.612
J. Smith5472413.45
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense158.2294.6452.8
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring35.123.811.3