USC: Mitch Mustain

2013 QB Max Browne picks USC

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
8:48
PM PT
Now this throws a little wrinkle into the USC Trojans' plan for their quarterback of the future.

One of the top-ranked signal-callers in the class of 2013, Sammamish (Wa.) Skyline's Max Browne, committed to USC on Wednesday night in a ceremony at his high school in the suburbs east of Seattle, according to multiple Internet reports.

Browne, a 6-foot-5 gunslinger, is expected to enroll early at USC next January, putting him into position to immediately challenge Cody Kessler and Max Wittek in the race to replace Matt Barkley.

He'll be in a similar situation as Barkley was in January 2009, when Barkley enrolled early out of Santa Ana Mater Dei High and then beat out Aaron Corp and Mitch Mustain to replace Mark Sanchez, who now plays for the New York Jets.

Browne chose the Trojans over the likes of Oklahoma, Alabama, and hometown Washington.

Browne is ranked No. 1 at his position in his class, according to Rivals.com and Scout.com. ESPN has not yet released rankings for players in the class of 2013, but Browne is an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect.

Top QB recruit to announce college decision

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
4:31
PM PT
Sammamish (Wa.) quarterback Max Browne will announce his college decision at a ceremony at Skyline High School at 8 p.m. PT Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

Browne, one of the top-ranked prospects in the Class of 2013 by all recruiting services, is believed to be seriously considering USC as his next destination. He visited the Trojans for three days last week and also attended the school's Junior Day in February. He has an older brother, Mitch, in the L.A. area.

Washington, his local school, is an option, but most expect the 6-foot-5 Browne to commit to either Oklahoma or USC.

An interesting wrinkle to the story: Browne has the potential to enroll early for his class and begin taking college courses in January 2013. The Trojans have three empty slots for such early-enrollees.

If he does enroll early, it's conceivable he could challenge then-redshirt sophomores Cody Kessler and Max Wittek for the starting job vacated by the graduation of Matt Barkley.

In fact, the situation could eerily mirror Barkley's, who arrived on campus January 2009 and beat out redshirt sophomore Aaron Corp and junior Mitch Mustain to earn the right to replace top NFL draft pick Mark Sanchez.

Mustain talks his next venture

February, 18, 2012
2/18/12
4:23
PM PT
Forgive yourself if you don't understand Mitch Mustain's career trajectory -- it doesn't make much sense.

In 2006, the former USC quarterback was once the country's top football recruit, following his prep head coach to his hometown Arkansas Razorbacks, where he went 8-0 as a starter after making a storybook debut in a blowout loss to USC.

Then things quickly grew sour and he transferred cross-country to USC, where he sat out the 2007 season while redshirting, the 2008 season behind Mark Sanchez and the 2009 season after placing third in a three-way competition for the starting quarterback spot.

He finally got his chance when Matt Barkley got hurt in November 2010 and almost led the Trojans to a home win over Notre Dame before Ronald Johnson dropped a potential winning touchdown in the rain. In the midst of the pre-draft process the next February, Mustain was arrested on a felony narcotics charge for allegedly attempting to sell Adderall to an undercover officer.

That charge was reduced to a misdemeanor when it was determined the drug was not actually Adderall but Vyvanse, a common knock-off. He said he was using it to treat his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

But Mustain wasn't drafted in April and couldn't stick with a Canadian Football League team he signed with in the summer. He proceeded to sign with an Arena League team in October with plans to join them in training camp right around now, then was featured in the news again for a bizarre trailer to a documentary about him.

In the two-minute teaser, Mustain is shown making his collegiate debut against USC, going gun-shooting in a forest and broadly discussing his life.

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First look: Notre Dame

October, 18, 2011
10/18/11
8:04
AM PT
USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin says it right away, like you're actually supposed to believe him when he says it.

"This has nothing to do with last year," he says of his team's opportunity to revenge last year's last-minute loss to Notre Dame at the Coliseum this weekend in South Bend, Indiana.

NDThen, a short time later, he contradicts himself. This really is about last year, it becomes clear.

"This isn't about me, this is about the players, us getting them ready and going out and playing," Kiffin said as he continued on with his initial charade and then broke away from it. "Sure, we felt at the time that we handed one away -- the ball was in our hands to walk into the end zone and finish the game. But unfortunately we didn't finish it off and even after that play had another chance to go down there after making the fourth down.

"Obviously it was heartbreaking, the worst loss that I've been a part of (as a head coach) ever probably, because of what was going on with the streak, but it's over now, this is a new team and going in this is a huge game."

Let's get it straight: This isn't about last year -- yet, when asked about this year's game, he goes off on a tangent about how close his Trojans were to winning last year's game and extending their streak of victories over Notre Dame to nine?

It sure sounds like USC's head coach still has that 20-16 loss on his mind -- not that there's anything wrong with that, necessarily. It's on a lot of fans' minds. It's on a lot of players' minds. It's on a lot of people's minds, in general.

"That one was different," Kiffin says, as he defends his terming it as his worst-ever loss while in charge of a team. "Because of the feeling of letting so many people down. Because so many coaches and players have been involved to take that streak over the years and then for it to be right there with so many opportunities for us to win that game, even with the backup quarterback and the backup right tackle, it was right there.

"It was tough."

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Pro Day tidbits plus some video

March, 30, 2011
3/30/11
9:49
PM PT


As our coverage of Pro Day continues, we've already went over Tyron Smith and Jurrell Casey's workouts on USC's campus on Wednesday and Mitch Mustain's rebound from his February arrest.

Other things of note from the festivities: 31 of the 32 NFL teams were represented, including three general managers and two head coaches, Oakland's Hue Jackson and Dallas' Jason Garrett. Former Trojans who aren't exiting college this year weren't allowed to participate because of the NFL lockout, putting guys like Keary Colbert out of commission, but former USC receiver Travon Patterson did return to campus after transferring to Colorado last summer. Discus thrower Aaron Dan, a graduating member of the Trojan track and field team, also participated.

And two last tidbits: most USC assistants were there for at least part of the day, but head coach Lane Kiffin was nowhere to be found. The 40-yard dash and bench-press leaders on the day were both players with very small chances to be drafted, receiver David Ausberry (4.46 40) and offensive guard Zack Heberer (38 reps of 225 pounds).

Now here's the key info on the other former Trojans who participated Wednesday who have legitimate shots to be drafted, player-by-player in alphabetical order:

- Running back Allen Bradford

Bradford was timed as fast as 4.54 seconds on some stopwatches but the general consensus had him somewhere in the 4.6 range, not a positive development for the back, who needed a better time to convince NFL teams of his viability as a feature back. He did prove himself, though, as a capable pass-catcher in drills with Mustain and seemed to be proud of that afterward.

"I think that was kinda my downside -- a lot of people didn't think I could catch the ball out of the backfield because I didn't get it thrown to me, but I didn't drop the ball and I finished well on my runs," he said Wednesday.

- Tight end Jordan Cameron

Cameron looked very good, if not great, in position drills, catching most everything thrown his way by Mustain. He chose not to participate in the 40-yard dash or the bench press because of his positive numbers in the combine in those.

We'll have more on Cameron tomorrow.

- Receiver Ronald Johnson

Johnson's 40 time wasn't great -- only 4.49 -- but he was solid in position drills and looked very agile in shuttle and three-cone drills.

"I didn't feel good about it, but it is what it is and I can't do it over," he said of the 40 time. "They can see my speed out on the field in my routes and in my breaks, so that should make up for the 40 I ran."

We'll have more on Johnson's performance tomorrow.

- Offensive guard Butch Lewis

Lewis did 31 repetitions of 225 pounds and was timed in the 40 as fast as 5.09 seconds, but he didn't look too crisp in offensive line drills.

- Linebacker Michael Morgan

Morgan didn't look good in position drills or shuttle drills, but he did run a solid 40-time in the low 4.4's, ranging from 4.47-4.49. He tripped up on the three-cone drill.

- Center Kristofer O'Dowd

O'Dowd has been perhaps the most surprising workout warrior of the former Trojans, a guy who many expected to be more of a gamer type who would struggle in workouts. He looked good at the NFL Combine last month and he looked good again Wednesday in the limited drills he did do -- specifically offensive line-specific blocking drills.

"Coming into the combine, I had the focus and drive to show who I am, to show what school I’m from and to show who we are as offensive linemen," O'Dowd said. "I’m very happy. I exceeded what my goals were at the combine. So I wanted to come out here, do a little workout and kind of show in my last interview who Kris O’Dowd is."

- Linebacker Malcolm Smith

Smith may have helped himself the most of anybody Wednesday, beating the speedster Johnson with a 40-yard dash timed as fast as 4.45 seconds and also pushing out 28 repetitions in the bench press. His other numbers were reported at 39 inches in the vertical jump and 10 feet, 5 inches in the broad jump, solid figures both.

He tripped up in the shuttle drill but rebounded to finish strong.

- Cornerback Shareece Wright

Wright pulled up during defensive back drills near the end of the workout and didn't get up for a while, but the school announced his injury wasn't believed to be more serious than a pulled hamstring.

He didn't run a 40 after running it in 4.46 seconds at the combine.

NFL Combine recap

March, 3, 2011
3/03/11
5:29
PM PT
The annual athletic workout headquarters that is the NFL Combine finished Tuesday in Indianapolis. Here's a recap of what the eight former Trojans participating in the festivities did over the five days of competition:

Allen Bradford, RB, 5-11, 242 pounds

Bradford weighed in at a fairly remarkable 242 pounds, which made him the 4th-heaviest running back out of 39 participants at the position, and the three guys in front of him -- Georgia's Shaun Chapas, Pittsburgh's Henry Hynoski and Stanford's Owen Marecic -- were all college fullbacks. His 40-yard dash time of 4.58 wasn't spectacular, but it was a respectable 15th out of the 39 prospects. His 28 bench-press repetitions at 225 pounds were third-best among all offensive players at the combine, and reports had him looking better than expected in the passing drills.

What'll he probably try to do is lower his 40-time a few hundredths of a second for USC's Pro Day later this month. If he can't do that, he runs the risk of being pigeonholed into the fullback spot at the next level.

Jordan Cameron, TE, 6-5, 254 pounds

There were high expectations for Cameron in some circles, but the converted receiver came out and exceeded them over the weekend in Indy. He ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash time of any tight end (4.59) and recorded the second-highest vertical jump (37.5 inches) too. He won the 3-cone drill and also finished in the top five in the bench press and the broad jump and reportedly caught nearly everything thrown his way in pass-catching drills.

Cameron could have just played his way into a mid-round selection. At the very least, he'll be listed as a top sleeper pick on a ton of internet mock drafts over the next couple months.

Jurrell Casey, DT, 6-1, 300 pounds

Casey's 40 times had a wide variance, running as fast as 4.93 and as slow as 5.17. His overall time of 5.06 wasn't good enough to put him in the Top 15 in that category among defensive linemen, and none of his drill times were even close, either. For that, Casey probably goes down as someone who hurt himself a tad at the combine, although he wasn't really expected to wow anybody in the weight room to begin with. His stock is on the low end now, though, with most mock drafts sticking him around the second or third round.

Stanley Havili, FB, 6-0, 227 pounds

Havili did not work out at the combine, for reasons that are not currently clear. He did undergo shoulder surgery shortly after the end of the 2010 season and was sporting a sling on it in January, so he could be waiting until Pro Day to work out for NFL scouts. He did weigh in at 227 pounds, slightly more than the weight he played at while at USC but probably not enough to ease teams' doubts that he's too small to play fullback in the NFL.

Ronald Johnson, WR, 5-11, 199 pounds

Johnson finished with an official 40-time of 4.46, which tied for ninth-best among all receivers at the combine. He didn't participate in most of the other drills, but he did bench a respectable 16 repetitions. Johnson probably helped himself some with his measurements, though, as some scouts probably expected him to measure in smaller and lighter than those numbers.

He played at 185 in college, so the weight increase represents a significant improvement.

Kristofer O'Dowd, C, 6-4, 304 pounds

O’Dowd, a four-year starter who some scouts think has already reached his peak, finished tied for first among offensive linemen in the vertical jump (32.5) and tied for seventh in the 20-yard shuttle (4.59). He also ranked fifth in the bench press (31) and seventh in the 40-yard dash (5.16) and also finished in the top 10 in the broad jump.

So, yes, O'Dowd clearly helped himself.

Tyron Smith, RT, 6-5, 307 pounds

Smith didn't do anything besides the bench press -- and weigh in. But those two activities were plenty enough to create some buzz around him for Pro Day, as Smith weighed in at a hefty 307 pounds, 22 more than his listed playing weight during the 2010 season. He also did 29 bench-press reps.

Shareece Wright, CB, 5-11, 185 pounds

Wright ran a solid 4.46 40-yard dash time, which tied for seventh-best among cornerbacks, and recorded a 34.5 inch vertical jump and 9'5" broad jump. Reports had him looking polished during defensive back drills, which is a good sign for Wright, as one major criticism of him during his senior season was that he simply wasn't enough of a ballhawk for the next level.

USC's Pro Day is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on March 30, four weeks from today. A number of Trojans who didn't get combine invites are expected to work out for NFL scouts at USC's pro day, including linebackers Malcolm Smith and Michael Morgan, quarterback Mitch Mustain, running back C.J. Gable and receiver David Ausberry. Kicker Joe Houston, punter Jacob Harfman and offensive guards Butch Lewis and Zach Heberer are also possibilities.

NFL combine preview

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
5:12
PM PT
The NFL combine begins Thursday in Indianapolis. Eight USC prospects have earned invites to the festivities and will attempt to showcase their talents to the bevy of coaches and scouts in attendance.



Let's take a look at each prospect, with an eye on draft position and potential workouts where they could excel during this next week. They're sorted in alphabetical order, with listed height and weights from their USC biographies. Keep in mind that these measurements will probably be heavily adjusted in the next week after players are officially measured by the NFL:

Allen Bradford, RB, 6-0, 235 pounds

Bradford has the body type NFL teams like to see in a big, bruising runner, but his speed is questionable at best. His goal in Indianapolis, then, is simple: run a 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds or faster to show scouts and coaches he can be more than just an occasional ball carrier.

Another necessary task to prove that: perform well in catching drills. Bradford caught only eight passes in four years at USC and has serious questions attached to his pass-play skills.

Jordan Cameron, TE, 6-5, 245 pounds

Cameron screams workout warrior in every sense of the phrase. He never produced much of anything while at USC -- he totaled 16 catches for 126 yards and 1 TD in two seasons, plus a redshirt year -- but always possessed the potential to start, the potential to be a great pass-catching weapon.

He still has that potential. Teams know he's quicker, more agile and in possession of better hands than the average tight end prospect. Where he needs to prove himself is in blocking, so he'll need to let loose on the weights and display that he has all of the necessary footwork down pat.

Jurrell Casey, DT, 6-1, 300 pounds

Casey has been criticized by scouts recently for not having an ideal body type. He's short and squatty, they say, and not a premiere athlete.

What's wrong with that? Casey is, regardless of natural athletic ability, one of the best run-stopping tackles in this draft, without a doubt. He won't be a 10-sack guy at the next level, but he's quick and smart enough to warrant selection as an early second-rounder. To do that, he's got to make a team fall in love with his motor and line-specific skills, so the defensive line drills will be big for him this week.

Showing up with a more chiseled upper body wouldn't hurt, either.

(Read full post)

Tuesday practice report: Breakdown

November, 30, 2010
11/30/10
10:10
PM PT
Notes, quotes and video from Tuesday's practice:
  • Quarterback Matt Barkley appears a whole lot more likely to play this week than last week, with the sophomore taking a good portion of snaps in scout-team play Tuesday and walking around without any real complications. Said USC Coach Lane Kiffin of Barkley's status, four days before the final game of the season: "I hope he’s going to play and I think he’s going to play, but I don’t know for sure he’ll play.” Backup Mitch Mustain, who started the Notre Dame game, is once again preparing as if he will start against UCLA. We'll have more on Barkley, including a video interview with the signal-caller, further down in this post:
  • Injury report: safety T.J. McDonald (shoulder), right tackle Tyron Smith (knee) and cornerbacks Brian Baucham (neck) and Torin Harris (shoulder) did not practice. Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris, safety Jawanza Starling (hamstring) and Barkley (ankle) were limited. McDonald, who hurt his shoulder on the first series of Saturday's game against Notre Dame, said there was no chance he'll play against UCLA, although Kiffin didn't rule it out. Smith, who missed the Notre Dame game because of a knee injury, said he would begin practicing Wednesday and planned to play against the Bruins. Both Baucham and Harris look like longshots to play at this point.
  • With those two likely out and McDonald out as well, it's fair to say that the secondary is in a shambles. Asked Tuesday if there were enough pieces back there to form a serviceable unit, Kiffin flatly said: "No. It’s just the way it is. If you lose that many like we have, and now our most consistent guy, T.J., being out as of now, and already the injuries that we have suffered there, there just aren’t many people to go to. It is what it is and we need whoever is in there to play well.” Behind the starting cornerbacks, Shareece Wright and Nickell Robey, USC will likely have only walk-ons Saturday, with junior Daniel Harper the best of those options. If Jawanza Starling returns -- he said Tuesday he was 100 percent -- and starts at one safety spot alongside Marshall Jones, walk-on Tony Burnett could also feasibly play some corner when extra defensive backs are needed. We'll have more on Burnett and his story on Wednesday.

(Read full post)

Monday rewind: An emotional low

November, 29, 2010
11/29/10
8:00
AM PT

Chris Williams/Icon SMI
USC coach Lane Kiffin says playing Notre Dame is for fans and alumni, but UCLA is the players' game.

What are they playing for?

How many times have you heard that one? It’s the recurring question through this USC season, popping into interviews, conversations, sports-radio banter and blog posts. People have wondered about the Trojans’ motivation since the NCAA came down with a two-year bowl ban way back in June.

They wondered again after Washington ended USC's unbeaten streak before it was really worth mentioning, just 4-0. After they couldn’t take down Pac-10 heavyweights Stanford or Oregon, it came up again.


All along the way, it proved surprisingly moot. Though nobody else could see much reason to fight on, the players bounced back from week to week. Maybe they were playing for themselves or maybe they were playing for one other, but it didn’t look as if they were quitting.

After losing to Washington, they nearly beat Stanford on the road. They pummeled Cal and made it respectable against Oregon.

Then the schedule maker did them a favor. Even after their worst game of the year, a 36-7 spanking at Oregon State, it looked as if there would be plenty to keep their attention over the final two weeks. They were playing against their traditional rivals, Notre Dame and UCLA. Maybe the question could be buried, at least until next spring.

Now, after Saturday night’s loss in a cold drizzle to Notre Dame, the state of the Trojans’ psychology is more in question than ever before. You could see the desperation in receiver Ronald Johnson’s very being after he dropped what would have been the winning touchdown in that game. A day later, coach Lane Kiffin said Johnson’s angst was still lingering.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a player ever take a game or play harder than Ronald did,” Kiffin said.

(Read full post)

Postgame thoughts: Notre Dame

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
9:25
AM PT
Notes, quotes and video from USC's 20-16 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night at the Coliseum:
  • One Ronald Johnson catch and the Trojans are 8-4, Notre Dame is 6-6 and we're talking about USC rebounding from a tough loss to Oregon State to tough one out against a big rival. But Johnson didn't catch the ball in the open from Mitch Mustain -- then Mustain forced a second-down throw from the Notre Dame 23-yard line with 36 seconds left and was intercepted by Irish safety Harrison Smith. Now Notre Dame is 7-5, USC is 7-5 -- worse than last year -- and the Trojans have another losing streak on the books.
  • A couple of solid-insight quotes, one from each side: USC middle linebacker Chris Galippo, who had six tackles, an interception and a fumble forced in one of his best games for USC, on the loss: "As a competitor, you want to win every game. We all want to win every game. It is tough to fight that hard and come out on the losing end, but sometimes you learn more when you lose than when you win." And Smith, a senior leader for Notre Dame who has played linebacker and safety in his career, about his game-sealing pick: "When I saw it I knew I was in good position. I just thought to myself: 'I've got to come down with this and the game is over.'"
  • The Trojans' offense has failed them twice in a row now, a week ago putting up only seven points at Oregon State and this week putting up 16. You could argue, too, that none of the 16 points were of the offense's doing -- all came directly off turnovers produced by the defense. USC had a plus-three turnover differential on Saturday, a margin that rarely leads to a loss. Said Coach Lane Kiffin postgame: "If you had told me before we would be [plus-three] on turnovers, I would have expected a different result."
  • Making his starting debut for USC, Mustain (20-of-37, 177 yards, no touchdowns) wasn't great. But it wasn't like he was consistently failing at executing what he was asked to do; it was more like USC didn't try to do much because of his presence in the game and the failure of the run game. Said Kiffin: "We didn't ask him to do much today, but we didn't support him with the running game at all."

(Read full post)

Mustain, Johnson miss out on history

November, 27, 2010
11/27/10
11:48
PM PT

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Mitch Mustain started for USC on Saturday in place of injured Matt Barkley.

LOS ANGELES – It was the pass, the catch and the play that would have defined the careers of Mitch Mustain and Ronald Johnson at USC. Despite playing out the stretch of a season most chalked up as meaningless before it ever began, Mustain and Johnson nearly etched their names into the history of a storied rivalry that pays no attention to meaningless games and down years.

For all the acrobatic catches Johnson had made during his career at USC, this would have been his easiest. With no defender within 10 yards of him, thanks to a beautiful double move that left Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith on the ground, and the end zone just 15 yards in front of him, Johnson looked at the ball fall between his numbers and then bounce off his body.

Johnson stayed on the turf longer than usual after the dropped pass as the rain poured down on his helmet. He looked at his hands, almost in disbelief that the ball wasn’t in them, before he got up and looked at the end zone he should have been standing in.

For all the errant and off-the-mark passes Mustain has thrown in practice and in relief duty during his career at USC, this was the best pass he’d ever thrown. With perfect protection, he dropped back, moved up in the pocket and followed through on a perfect 30-yard pass to Johnson in stride.

Instead of celebrating a potential winning touchdown with 1:17 left, both players walked off the field in a daze after Mustain threw an interception to Smith five plays later.

Johnson looked as if he were somewhere else as he slowly walked off the field at the Coliseum. As reporters asked him about the play, he stared into the distance and didn’t say a word. After being consoled by former USC receiver and tight ends coach Keary Colbert in the tunnel, he took a seat on a golf cart parked outside the locker room and sat there for a few minutes with his head down.

An hour later he was escorted out of the locker room by USC sports information director Tim Tessalone, who said Johnson, with a glazed look still on his face, would answer only two questions.

(Read full post)

USC-Notre Dame grades

November, 27, 2010
11/27/10
8:22
PM PT
CPASSING ATTACK

In his first start in four years, Mitch Mustain was asked only to manage the game for the Trojans. He did that fairly effectively, missing badly only once or twice but throwing the game-clinching interception in the final minute. USC's big-play potential was clearly affected with Mustain under center.

DRUSHING ATTACK

Marc Tyler was either still limited by the ankle sprain that has been bothering him for most of this month or just ineffective, averaging around three yards a carry. C.J. Gable got a brief chance in the second half but the run game was mostly nonexistent.

BIN THE TRENCHES

Defensive end Nick Perry showed what he's capable of when healthy, almost single-handedly producing a touchdown for USC when he sacked Notre Dame's Tommy Rees, forced a fumble and recovered it, taking the ball down to the two-yard line and setting up Mustain's QB sneak.

ADEFENSE

All of USC's scores all came as a direct result of big defensive plays, so any credit for the Trojans' 16 points has to go to this unit. Chris Galippo's pick set the tone for what was almost the Trojans' best defensive performance this season.

BSPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker Joe Houston made all three of his field-goal attempts, including a career-long 45-yarder in the first quarter. Robert Woods did his best to spark USC with a 37-yard kick return in the second half. Jacob Harfman matched the Irish's Ben Turk kick for kick.

CCOACHING

Lane Kiffin's playcalling decisions were often questionable, and his team was hurt by its six penalties that seemed to come at the worst times. Walk-on cornerback Tony Burnett was oddly used as an extra defensive back over players like Demetrius Wright and Jawanza Starling.

Game-time updates: Notre Dame

November, 27, 2010
11/27/10
4:53
PM PT
We're just about set to go at the Coliseum for USC-Notre Dame.

Here are a couple of last-minute things worthy of an update before the Trojans attempt to top Notre Dame and extend their series winning streak to nine games:
  • Sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley, who suffered a left high-ankle sprain last week against Oregon State, will not start today's game, according to the pregame starting lineups announced on the Coliseum video board. In his place will be backup Mitch Mustain, who hasn't started a game since Nov. 4, 2006. That day, he started for Arkansas against South Carolina but lasted only one series, throwing an interception
  • More injury updates: Safety Jawanza Starling (hamstring) is dressed for the first time since the Arizona State game earlier this month, but he's still not starting. Redshirt junior Marshall Jones will join T.J. McDonald in the secondary for the third straight week. Torin Harris (shoulder) is not dressed and will not play, meaning the Trojans will either stick to nickel formations or play a walk-on as their fourth-courner in dime packages. Chris Galippo, who missed most of the Oregon State game because of a first-quarter concussion, is in the starting lineup at middle linebacker despite not practicing fully all week.
  • Right tackle Tyron Smith will not start at right tackle, with senior guard/tackle Butch Lewis announced in his place in the pregame starting lineups. Lewis lost his job as the starter at left guard two-plus weeks ago to Michael Reardon and hasn't started a game since but practiced a lot this week at right tackle. He started five games at the spot in 2008.

Be sure to follow Trojans Live! on ESPNLA.com as Arash Markazi, Mark Saxon and I keep you updated throughout the game.

Friday night video extras: Robert Woods, John Manoogian talk Notre Dame

November, 26, 2010
11/26/10
7:10
PM PT
With two videos that didn't make it into this week's regularly scheduled blogging, we present Friday night video extras -- two video interviews from the past week that are worth your time.

Receiver Robert Woods has been quiet in recent weeks, with three straight games of fewer than 50 yards receiving after averaging more than 130 yards in the previous three games. But Saturday's game against Notre Dame presents a solid opportunity for the freshman to have one last big game to cap off his debut year for the Trojans.

See what Woods had to say about the Irish after practice this week, with further comments on his scout-team portrayals of quarterback Jesse Scroggins and his health since hurting his back last month against Oregon:



Walk-on quarterback John Manoogian has been listed as the third-stringer at his spot all season long, but his chance to play seems a little bit closer this week, with Matt Barkley questionable because of a high-ankle sprain.

Coach Lane Kiffin has hinted that freshman Dillon Baxter would be the guy if a signal-caller was needed behind likely starter Mitch Mustain, but Manoogian took some first-team snaps in practice this week and -- with an unlucky injury or two -- could end up the guy shouting out the calls in Saturday's game against Notre Dame.

See what Manoogian, a redshirt sophomore, had to say about that possibility earlier this week:

Thursday practice report: Breakdown

November, 25, 2010
11/25/10
4:31
PM PT
Notes, quotes and video from Thursday's practice:
  • Coach Lane Kiffin was again happy with his team's performance in a shorter morning session Thursday -- "another good day, three in a row," he said. He mentioned to his players, he said, how much USC fans care about the rivalry with Notre Dame and the importance in extending what is now an eight-game winning streak against the Irish. He reminded them of "all the hard work those players did before, over these last eight years in the offseason and everything to keep this streak alive, and now it's their turn."
  • Matt Barkley took another step in his recovery from the sprained left ankle he suffered last week against Oregon State on Thursday, taking some snaps and making throws, Kiffin said, but backup Mitch Mustain continues to prepare as the starter. Said Mustain, who said he has not yet been told "explicitly" that he'll be the starter against the Irish: "There's always that wish for a little bit more time to practice, but that's just the progression of it. I'm ready to go now." Barkley, who wore a jersey top and sweatpants at practice, said he plans to suit up Saturday.

(Read full post)

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RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
J. Allen25013375.39
J. Davis1255504.44
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
N. Agholor97122312.611
J. Smith5165812.95
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense158.2294.6452.8
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring35.123.811.3