USC: Tevin McDonald

T.J. McDonald vs. Tevin McDonald

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
4:45
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- USC's offensive coaches have probably spent more total time reviewing it, but no Trojans player or staffer has seen more UCLA defensive tape this season than T.J. McDonald.

Why? Because McDonald, the Trojans' star senior safety, has watched every single snap his brother, Tevin, has played for UCLA this season, and Tevin has been one of the Bruins' mainstays as a sophomore safety.

But USC's McDonald doesn't plan on giving his coaches a scouting report on the other McDonald.

And why's that?

"That's not my position to tell them," T.J. McDonald said Wednesday. "But he's not gonna tell them about me, either. They can kind of figure that out. I'm not gonna say what he does well and what he doesn't."

But doesn't he know some of his younger brother's strengths that he could relay to the offensive coaches? And, perhaps more importantly, some of his weaknesses?

"I do," McDonald said. "But that's not my job. My job, and what I do, is between the lines and my defense."

Both McDonalds have emerged into future-NFL safeties at this level, although T.J. has emerged as the clear leader in head-to-head matchups. Last season, he had 10 tackles and an interception against the Bruins, while Tevin had just two tackles.

This year, the brothers' numbers are more even: T.J. has a team-high 83 tackles, two interceptions and four passes defensed, and Tevin has 62 tackles, one interception and seven passes defensed, plus a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

And the brothers' teams are quite even, at No. 17 and No. 18 in the BCS standings and within five spots in the AP and coaches' polls.

In what may be the last time the two oppose each other on a football field, USC's McDonald said he realizes what 's on the line Saturday.

"There's not more at stake this time, but it is my last go-around. And if we win, I can say he's never beat me," McDonald said. "That is big, and I'll appreciate that further down the road, too."

Their father, Tim, is in his first season as the secondary coach at Fresno State. The Bulldogs have a bye this week, and the elder McDonald plans to be in Pasadena for Saturday's game.

Pac-12 media day notes

July, 24, 2012
7/24/12
9:43
PM PT
UNIVERSAL CITY -- Here are a number of notes and quotes from the USC contingent's appearance at Pac-12 media day on Tuesday. Coach Lane Kiffin, quarterback Matt Barkley and T.J. McDonald all spoke to the media in the Gibson Amphitheatre and took questions at lunch afterward. Other stories from the day, including updates on Nelson Agholor, Silas Redd, Robert Woods and USC-Penn State comparisons, are on the USC Report and ESPNLA.com, but this stuff hasn't been anywhere else on the site yet:

People like Lane now

Kiffin is fully aware that people are starting to like him a lot more in Los Angeles and even across the country.

But he insists that the adjustment in perception has had nothing to do with any modifications he has made to his public perception. Rather, he says, the public has changed the way it looks at him because of the success he had in 2011.

"Winning solves a lot of problems," Kiffin said at lunch. "The change hasn't been me."

He's at least largely correct, but one could argue he has made subtle changes to the way he approaches news conferences that have slowly caught on.

The third-year coach also pointed out that Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado could have changed a lot of this if he had made his kick at the end of USC's game against the Ducks last November.

Kiffin and Tim Tebow

From the this-would-have-never-happened-three-years-ago department: Kiffin said in an aside that he met with New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow recently to discuss how to deal with sky-high preseason expectations.

Of course, Tebow dealt with those for years at Florida. Kiffin said the player reminded him to "have fun" with it and tell his players to do the same.

ESPNLosAngeles.com reported last week that Tebow has worked out at USC several times in the last month.

(Read full post)

One-on-one with T.J. McDonald

June, 12, 2012
6/12/12
1:36
PM PT
USC safety T.J. McDonald is going be to the Trojans' second representative at Pac-12 media day next month at the Gibson Amphitheatre, joining quarterback Matt Barkley -- and his brother, Tevin McDonald, who will be representing UCLA.

We talked to McDonald about that news and several other topics following USC's early-morning throwing session on Tuesday.

Q: It's not a surprise that you'll be there in July. But your brother? That has to be somewhat of a surprise, considering he sat out his first year and then started as a second-stringer last year.

A: It's crazy going back and thinking about him. We had just lost to Stanford last year and I was feeling all down and then I check my phone in the locker room and I see he had three picks against Cal. Three picks? I had two picks against Arizona last year and I was feeling good about myself. It's cool we'll be there together.

Q: Well, Tevin's draft-eligible this year as a redshirt sophomore. But you're definitely going to the draft after this season, which brings us to this: Looking back, did you have the kind of year you hoped in 2011?

A: I mean, I had more tackles my sophomore year, but at the same time, our defense wasn't as good. As far as us as a defense, I feel like I played pretty well and I made impact plays, made plays on special teams. I wish I would've had a few more interceptions, but I feel like a lot of it was kinda overshadowed by me getting in trouble with the hits.

Q: Is it safe to say, then, that if you had done everything you wanted to do last year, you wouldn't be here right now?

A: No. It wasn't a sense of that, wasn't a sense of, 'If I had five picks I'm gone.' Nothing like that.

Q: You mentioned your play being overshadowed by your penalties, and a lot of people speculated before your decision that the flags would play a role in your decision, pushing you out to avoid further issues with Pac-12 referees. Obviously it wasn't that big a part in your decision, but did you consider it?

A: I understand that. But like I've said before, I'm a physical guy, and if you have anything to criticize me on, I'm OK with you criticizing me on that. I'd rather be criticized for that than a bunch of other stuff.

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Postgame thoughts: UCLA

December, 5, 2010
12/05/10
9:22
AM PT
PASADENA -- Notes, quotes and video from USC's 28-14 win over UCLA on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl:
  • This one was interesting -- one of the Trojans' better defensive performances of the year sandwiched between a great running game and a mediocre passing game. Senior Allen Bradford ran the ball 28 times for 212 yards and added a 47-yard touchdown reception too. Remarkably, he averaged almost nine yards for each of his touches Saturday -- this, after earning a total of 20 touches in the six previous games. We'll have more from Bradford later in this post, but teammates had plenty of positives to say about him on his final night as a Trojan. Said fullback and fellow senior Stanley Havili: "He's faced adversity here. How you respond shows the character and the man that you are. Obviously Allen has been through his ups and downs. This is a way for him to go out on an awesome job." And quarterback Matt Barkley: "He was definitely a playmaker tonight." And running back Dillon Baxter: "I'm real excited for A.B. He had a rough year and for him to end it like this, I'm proud of him." Cornerback Nickell Robey simply called him a "beast."
  • As for Barkley, although he wouldn't admit much after the game, he was obviously affected by his sprained left ankle. Considering that, his 15-of-26, two-interception, one-touchdown line looks a lot better than it would had he been healthy. Said Ronald Johnson, Barkley's leading receiver on the night with five catches for 36 yards: "He had a messed-up ankle, but it was great to have him back." Barkley analyzed his performance with an eye toward the future: "I've still got a lot to work on this offseason, I think, especially with timing with the receivers -- which has gotta be one of my big projects this offseason."
  • The fourth-quarter scoring pass from Barkley to Bradford was definitely USC's play of the day -- with Bradford's 73-yard run the only other one coming close. On the swing pass that ended in the touchdown, Barkley said he checked down pre-snap into a new play and found Bradford at a perfect time in his route. Talking about the play postgame, Barkley went as far as comparing it to the glory years for the Trojans: "Plays like that are what USC football used to be and what it needs to be -- playmakers like that making guys miss, making guys fall to the ground."
  • Lane Kiffin made an interesting observation near the end of his postgame press conference when he said that the style in which USC won the game -- old-fashioned, run-run-run -- is more attractive to recruits than other styles, giving USC a leg up on competition for L.A.-area prospects. Robey, a freshman, agreed and said that -- physicality -- was one of his most desired attributes when he was deciding on a school a year ago at this time: "That right there set the tone for the recruits. It set the tone for everybody around the team. It creates more fans. It's a great thing in all phases."
  • Malcolm Smith extended his reputation as a "Bruin killer" -- per linebacker Michael Morgan and cornerback Shareece Wright -- with his 68-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown near the end of the first half. Last year, he scored USC's first touchdown against UCLA with a 62-yard interception return in the Coliseum. This time, he was a little bit emotional on the Rose Bowl field afterward."This is it, right here," Smith said. "Seeing the fans out here after the game -- this is it." And Morgan, quickly looking forward: "We have a great staff and a bunch of great young players. It's gonna be fun, man. I'm excited to watch these guys next year and in the years to come. It's gonna be a fun ride for these guys."
  • Baxter's five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rhett Ellison was Baxter's second college completion and his first scoring pass. It was also only the second touchdown the true freshman has been involved in on the year -- an undoubtedly disappointing one for the 19-year-old, who ended up with 252 yards on the ground after Kiffin called him maybe the most talented player on the team in the preseason. His 4.3 yards per carry were the worst of the team's big four backs and significantly worse than Havili's. Baxter was quite happy about the touchdown after the game: "That was cool, bringing back high school memories," Baxter said. "It was cool to end the year like that, beating the Bruins and throwing a nice touchdown pass."
  • Final notes: Walk-on Tony Burnett started over a healthy Jawanza Starling at safety and had six tackles, although he missed a chance to tackle Johnathan Franklin on the UCLA back's 59-yard run. Across from Burnett, Marshall Jones started and had 10 tackles, including one for loss. He was on the field at the end of the game when his brother, Malcolm Jones, but didn't tackle him. Both of the other set of the brothers on the two rosters, T.J. and Tevin McDonald, did not play. ... Baxter's touchdown pass was USC's first TD pass by a non-quarterback since Reggie Bush completed one to Dwayne Jarrett against Arizona State in 2004.

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