USC: National Signing Day

Tuesday links and notes

February, 2, 2010
National Signing Day watch continues, with less than 24 hours left until the faxes will begin to roll into USC's Heritage Hall offices. The latest updates on recruiting and other USC-related news in Tuesday's notes-heavy edition of links and notes:
  • After practice Monday, USC coach Kevin O'Neill spoke candidly about the aftermath of the Stan Holt situation, expressing bewilderment at how the firing had exploded over the weekend. "It’s just incomprehensible that that would happen," O'Neill said. "I’ve never heard of that happening before — anywhere. I was the most stunned guy in the whole building.” Holt, in his third year with the program, went from essential unknown to internet sensation via one outburst.
  • What exactly was said by Holt to official Bobby McRoy? No one knows, exactly, but USC forward Nikola Vucevic added his perspective. "I've been told he said something to the referee, but I don't believe it was something bad," Vucevic said. "I don't know what he said, but Stan is a really good man and I like him a lot. I felt bad when he got a technical and when Coach told him to go to the locker room, and I felt bad that he was fired, but he's still a good friend of mine."
  • O'Neill refused to blame the loss to Oregon on the technical, saying it stemmed from a variety of factors. One of those, he says, is his team is just flat-out tired. “What’s happening with us is we’ve got guys playing large, large, minutes every game, and we appear to get a little bit worn down at times — not just physically, but mentally," O'Neill said. "It takes a toll when you’re playing against fresh guys all the time. It's very difficult.” Save for guard Dwight Lewis, all of the Trojans' starters are playing significantly more minutes this season than they have in the past. Vucevic is averaging 34 minutes per game after recording 11 minutes per contest last season.
  • On the topic of signing day, rumors are swirling about a number of recruits who are still deciding between USC and UCLA. Offensive lineman Giovanni Di Poalo (Ventura, Calif.) told his decision would come down to those two schools; defensive back Dietrich Riley (La Canada, Calif.) visited both schools over the weekend and could choose either. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (Huntington Beach, Calif.) is the same way, although Stanford could play a role in his final decision. We'll have more on their choices and all of National Signing Day as it relates to USC on the blog.

Tuesday links and notes

January, 26, 2010
The world of USC athletics on Tuesday, Jan. 26:
  • Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley underwent surgery on his right (throwing) wrist this morning. The official team release said the purpose of the procedure was to "relieve stiffness and clean up inflammation." Barkley is expected to be back within four weeks.
  • Speaking of Barkley, he and receiver Brice Butler headed up a team Bible study group Monday night, according to posts from the two players on Twitter. Faith has been a much-publicized part of the freshman Barkley's life, dating to a 2008 New York Times article. In it, reporter Thayer Evans quotes Barkley's high school coach Bruce Rollinson on the then 17-year-old's religious beliefs: “He’s not one to talk about it a lot, but his faith is what carries him. He is literally a powerful, powerful Christian young man. He doesn’t get nervous about a whole lot of things because he has the ability to turn it over, pray about it and then move on.”
  • The USCRipsIt blog, created under Pete Carroll's regime, continues under Lane Kiffin. RipsIt has put up an early prognostication of what next season's depth chart might look like. The biggest surprise on that list? Probably at left guard, where the blog projects soon-to-be redshirt sophomore Khaled Holmes to take over at left guard over former starter Zack Heberer. Holmes has never had meaningful snaps on the offensive line. Heberer, who will be a senior, has started five games in his USC career. He earned Pac-10 all-freshman first-team honors after the 2007 season.
  • The USC men's basketball team will practice this evening at the Galen Center and quickly Wednesday afternoon before heading to Oregon for Thursday and Saturday games against the Oregon schools. Oregon State, USC's opponent Thursday, has been struggling. The Beavers have lost their last three games, including a blowout loss at Stanford.
  • The Orange County Register reports that USC defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron sent an e-mail today to alumni and USC boosters asking for a $200 donation to the university's Trojan Club. In the letter, Orgeron writes that USC's recruiting requires a budget of $1 million annually. In related news, National Signing Day is Feb. 3.



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