USC: Will Andrew

Andrew: 'It didn't go my way'

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
7:02
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- USC had one scholarship left, and it essentially came down to linebacker Will Andrew and punter Kyle Negrete.

Andrew played last season on scholarship after starting his Trojans career as a walk-on; Negrete punted all of last season as a walk-on.

USC coach Lane Kiffin ended up giving Negrete the scholarship on Sunday, and Andrew is currently without one. But it wasn't a complete surprise to Andrew -- he knew going into the season there was a distinct possibility his 2011 scholarship wouldn't extend into 2012.

"I knew it was for sure a one-year deal, with a possibility of a renewal if something were to happen," Andrew said. "But Coach Kiff was honest with me from the start, so I knew when the time came there was a 50-50 chance and it didn't go my way."

It appears they may still be an opportunity for Andrew to get back on scholarship, if incoming receiver Darreus Rogers is not cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center within the next 16 days. But Andrew, a Huntington Beach native, said Wednesday he doesn't worry about what he can't control.

"That's not up to me," he said. "That's the coaches' decision."

He said the move gave him some needed perspective.

"I was somewhat disappointed, but it made me realize the big picture of things," Andrew said when asked about his initial feelings. "It made me realize that I have a great supporting family and I'm very blessed that my family has worked very hard throughout their life to have the opportunity to pay tuition here at USC."

Andrew, a redshirt junior, is scheduled to graduate in the spring but is interested in coming back for a fifth year in 2013. That could depend on his role with this year's team. It looks like he'll be a potential special-teams contributor and reserve linebacker for the Trojans this season.

"I gotta still continue to work hard on defense and special teams because anything can happen in a game, and I'm just continuing to prepare the way I always have," Andrew said. "Whatever happens, I'll be ready."

Clearing up the scholarship situation

August, 28, 2012
8/28/12
11:25
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Coach Lane Kiffin provided some much-needed clarity Tuesday when he disclosed which of USC's three former walk-ons have had their scholarships reinstated for the 2012 season and which haven't.

Offensive guard Abe Markowitz is on scholarship; linebacker Will Andrew is not. And linebacker Tony Burnett, Kiffin indicated, was never taken off of his scholarship, so he'll be continuing on. All three of those players initially entered USC as walk-ons and then played last season on scholarship, and at least two of them are now doing so again.

With former walk-on punter Kyle Negrete now on scholarship as well, it appears USC has exactly 74 football players on athletic scholarship as of Tuesday.

Of course, the Trojans are limited by the NCAA to 75 scholarships for the next three seasons, so USC has one more to give out. All indications are that it will go to either incoming freshman receiver Darreus Rogers, if he's cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center, or back to Andrew.

Rogers has until Sept. 14, the university's add-drop date, to enroll at USC. It's likely the NCAA will announce a decision before then.

(Read full post)

Tuesday practice quick hits

August, 21, 2012
8/21/12
10:41
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- Here are news and notes from Tuesday's practice that won't make it into our other coverage off the session:

Barkley to Woods improving

The Matt Barkley to Robert Woods connection that looked so polished and perfect last season hasn't looked as good this camp, but that's starting to change.

USC coach Lane Kiffin noted Tuesday -- without being asked about it -- that the pair appeared to be hitting on several cylinders in the day's practice. It was the second straight positive day for the two players after a subpar scrimmage on Sunday

"It seems to be on its way back," Kiffin said of Barkley and Woods' timing.

Of course, the main reason why the connection suffered in the first place was Woods' offseason struggle with his ankle injury, so the fact that he has been back on the field of late is almost assuredly why it has suddenly taken a turn for the better.

It's hard to be sharp when you're not on the field, basically.

(Read full post)

Scrimmage No. 1 stats

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
6:45
PM PT
Here are the key stats from the Trojans' Friday scrimmage at the Coliseum, as tallied by USC's sports information department.

USC ran 73 total plays and committed three turnovers and five penalties.

Passing
Matt Barkley, 7-16-109, 1 touchdown
Max Wittek, 6-10-77
Cody Kessler, 4-8-35, 1 interception

Rushing
D.J. Morgan, 10-69
Silas Redd, 2-45
Buck Allen, 9-30
Soma Vainuku, 8-14

Receiving
Robert Woods, 4-55
De’Von Flournoy, 2-24
Randall Telfer, 1-40, 1 touchdown
Junior Pomee, 1-25

Defense
William Tober, 4 tackles, 1 fumble recovery for a 76-yard touchdown
Drew McAllister, 3 tackles
Jawanza Starling, 3 tackles
Kevon Seymour, 3 tackles
Gerald Bowman, 3 tackles
Will Andrew, 2 tackles, 1 interception
Kevin Greene, 2 tackles (both for loss), 1 sack

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)

Fall camp position preview: Linebackers

August, 4, 2012
8/04/12
3:43
PM PT
Hayes PullardRic Tapia/Icon SMIHayes Pullard has played a bit under the radar, but he could be USC's most valuable linebacker.
To prepare for the start of the 2012 USC campaign, we’re doing position-by-position previews of the Trojans’ roster all this week. We began Monday with quarterbacks and continued Tuesday with running backs, Wednesday with receivers and tight ends, Thursday with offensive linemen and Friday with defensive linemen.

Today, we look at the linebackers.

For each position, we’re starting with a projected current depth chart, going off the end-of-spring depth chart as released by Lane Kiffin, and discussing what needs to be resolved by Sept. 1.

Strongside

1. Dion Bailey, redshirt sophomore
2. Tony Burnett, redshirt senior
3. Marquis Simmons, redshirt junior
4. Jabari Ruffin, freshman

Middle

1. Lamar Dawson, sophomore
2. Scott Starr, freshman
3. Will Andrew, redshirt junior
4. Dallas Kelley, senior

Weakside

1. Hayes Pullard, redshirt sophomore
2. Anthony Sarao, redshirt freshman

(Read full post)

More tidbits from signing day

February, 3, 2012
2/03/12
7:21
PM PT
One of the benefits to getting USC coach Lane Kiffin in a room for 30 minutes where he's obligated to listen to a never-ending stream of questions and answer most of them is it equals an opportunity to get some long-standing questions answered. Here are notes going off of his most interesting answers:

Scholarship count

By now, it's well-known that the Trojans have to be at 75 total scholarships or fewer by the time fall camp comes around in August. Kiffin has said it over and over in recent months as a reminder that his USC team is still very much under sanctions.

But he refuses to reveal where his squad is at right now, after taking on 12 more signees this week and five as January enrollees. The only hint he would give to the team's roster status was telling a reporter who asked about it Wednesday that it's not quite as grim as he might imagine.

Luckily, we can do the math and get a tentative number for where the Trojans stand right now.

With the 17 new players added to the 60 scholarship returners, USC has 77 players on scholarship as of now, as far as we know. That number does not include players like Armond Armstead but does include the former walk-ons who were given scholarships, like linebacker Will Andrew.

We'll get into who else is no longer part of the program further down. But 77 is a manageable number.

Scroggins' future?

It might end up being 76 if Jesse Scroggins can't get his academics together. The redshirt sophomore quarterback from nearby Lakewood High has "fallen behind" in school, per Kiffin, and "has a lot of work to do" to become eligible for the 2012 season.

Of course, the Trojans also put on a huge late recruiting push for Colorado prep quarterback Cyler Miles, a similar signal-caller to Scroggins. So it's obvious that USC isn't exactly counting on Scroggins being a part of the team in the long term.

And, in front of him on the depth chart Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, who are both a year younger too. That could be an issue.

(Read full post)

Updated scholarship math

January, 16, 2012
1/16/12
4:10
PM PT
National Signing Day is in 16 days, on Feb. 1.

On that day, USC plans to sign 15 players, the most it's allowed to sign under NCAA-mandated limitations because of the sanctions. But will that work, considering the NCAA is also mandating the Trojans keep their total number of scholarships handed out at 75?

It's going to take some finagling. Looking at the updated scholarship math after the latest wave of transfers, USC will still have to create some more spots by the time the 2012 season comes around in one way or another.

Position by position, as of Monday, the Trojans have four quarterbacks, three running backs, two fullbacks, five receivers, four tight ends, four offensive tackles, four guards, three centers, four defensive ends, four defensive tackles, eight linebackers, six cornerbacks, five safeties and three special-teamers on scholarship.

That's 59 players, not including Amir Carlisle, Brice Butler, Kyle Prater, Armond Armstead, T.J. Bryant and Patrick Hall, who have all left the program or are very near leaving.

Then add six more players who are expected to begin attending classes at USC by the Jan. 27 spring-semester deadline: Morgan Breslin, Scott Starr, DeVante Wilson, Gerald Bowman, Chad Wheeler and Josh Shaw.

That's 65 players. With a 75-man cap and 15 players presumably coming in the summer in the class of 2012, that means five more players still have to go. Where will those five players come from?

There are a few possibilities -- let's run through some of them.

-- Three former walk-ons who earned scholarships could have them revoked: offensive lineman Abe Markowitz, linebacker Will Andrew and safety Tony Burnett.

-- Bowman may not finish his junior-college requirements in time to enroll for the spring. That would push him back to the summer and lower USC's total.

-- One or two or a few players could still transfer. Prime candidates would appear to be those locked in at their spots behind younger players.

Those are three primary ways USC could get down to the maximum. Other more-creative, less-likely options are the oft-thrown-around ideas that (1) certain players could give up their scholarships for a year or (2) players who participate in other sports could get supported on scholarships from those sports.

But neither makes much sense -- firstly, it's not just the cost of attendance that a scholarship covers, it also provides the chance to eat in the athletic cafeteria and other similar privileges. And, secondly, there aren't too many football players still playing other sports. There are a few Track & Field athletes, but scholarships are at a premium there too.

Of course, USC could also grey-shirt a signee or two who doesn't qualify and have him come in next January, by which time more current players could transfer. There are ways around it.

Five questions for the New Year, No. 4

December, 27, 2011
12/27/11
2:25
PM PT
We've looked at the USC Trojans' top 10 moments from 2011 and the top 10 performers as well. Now, with the final days of the year approaching, we take a look at the five most pressing questions surrounding Lane Kiffin's Trojans in 2012. We'll unveil one each day this week, counting down from No. 5 Monday to No. 1 on Friday.

Question No. 5 covered the Associated Press preseason top 25. Question No. 4, then, is this: How will USC work around the NCAA-sanctioned scholarship limits set to hit in February?

Here's the deal: Signing Day is Feb. 2. Most schools around the country will sign in the range of 25 players to letters of intent that day, setting it up for them to enroll over summer and join the team in fall camp.

USC can only sign 15, by the NCAA's mandate in sanctions placed upon the school in June 2010. And, to make matters worse, the Trojans have to keep their overall scholarships under 75, per another aspect of the sanctions.

That is going to be an issue. By our count, USC has 66 players on its roster who were on scholarship in 2011 and who plan to play football at the college level next year. The Trojans have already signed four players this month to enroll in January and plan to sign two or three more, per coach Lane Kiffin. There are also seven players verbally committed to USC and many, many more who are being recruited by the school. Even with just seven, though, that's already more than 75.

So, what gives? Some players are going to have to be dropped off scholarship or transfer, whether by choice or suggestion. Armond Armstead, Brice Butler and T.J. Bryant seem likely candidates to fall in the transfer category. Three former walk-ons -- Will Andrew, Abe Markowitz and Tony Burnett -- could see their scholarships dropped.

Even then, though, if all six are no longer on scholarship next fall and USC signs 15 players in February and takes on two more early enrollees for January to make six, that equates to 81 players. Six more would have to go.

The problem isn't so much depth -- the last 10 scholarship guys on a college football team are largely insurance policies in case the first 75 get hurt. The problem is that cutting 20-year-olds loose is never easy.

The challenge for Kiffin and the Trojans will be to do it gracefully.

Check back Tuesday for question No. 3, which deals with the new offensive systems taking root in a few Pac-12 schools and how USC will adjust to them.

Game-time updates: Cal

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
5:36
PM PT
SAN FRANCISCO -- We're just about set to go here at AT&T Park (!) for the Trojans' 6 p.m. game against Cal. Here are a couple of last-minute things worthy of an update before kickoff:
  • Two key injury updates: Linebacker Lamar Dawson (ankle) and cornerback Torin Harris (shoulder) did not make the trip to the Bay Area and will not play in Thursday's game. Both players had participated in minor portions of practice over the last week and a half and were considered game-time decisions heading into the game. In Dawson's place as the No. 2 middle linebacker will be Will Andrew and Shane Horton, who should both play as the USC coaches attempt to rest Chris Galippo.
  • At Harris' second starting spot could be either Isiah Wiley or Anthony Brown, who started two weeks ago against Arizona. Regardless, it's likely both players will play and actually allow the Trojans to set up in the occasional nickel set-up, which they didn't do a single time against the Wildcats. Wiley, a junior transfer, has looked very good over the last week of practice.
  • Unlike the Emerald Bowl, the last (and only other) time USC played a game here at AT&T, the teams are not sharing sidelines. USC will be occupying the east sideline; Cal the west. The Bears' side appears a bit more spacious but the Trojans have plenty of room as well.
  • The temperature was hotter than expected during the day in San Francisco, but it's dropped significantly as game time approaches. It's expected to be 75 degrees by kickoff and roughly 68 by the time the game ends. And the entire field at AT&T will be covered in shade by the time the game starts.

Join us here on the USC Report on ESPNLA.com beginning at 6 p.m. PT as Mark Saxon and I keep you updated throughout the game in Trojans Live!, an interactive live chat where we provide updates on game action and answer any and all questions.

Lamar Dawson's return is key

October, 7, 2011
10/07/11
6:29
PM PT
USC middle linebacker Lamar Dawson, a true freshman, got back on the practice field Friday for the first time since he sprained his left ankle late in the Syracuse game nearly three weeks ago, maybe the most important development of Friday's session.

Dawson's a backup, but he's probably the most valuable backup on this Trojan team. Without him, starter Chris Galippo struggled mightily to keep up with opposing offenses for 80 or 90 snaps a game the last two weeks and the USC defense struggled as a whole as a result.

He did only individual activities Friday and sat out of team drills, but it put him on pace to return in six days against Cal, which would give Galippo a break and allow him to play a more manageable amount of snaps. And after he played 91 snaps against Arizona last Saturday and fell completely apart in the fourth quarter, that'd be a welcome addition.

"I'm not making excuses for him, but a guy can't play 91 snaps of football in one day," linebackers coach Joe Barry said of Galippo's poor play. "A guy can't do that.

"If we ever get in that situation again, there's a big difference between a player to play 60 plays a game and getting 91. So if we can just give him a few breaks here and there, it's going to help him in the long run -- especially in the fourth quarter."

It wasn't as bad the previous week against Arizona State, but it was still bad. Galippo played most of the second half fatigued. After that game, head coach Lane Kiffin implied that the Trojans would insert someone else in as his backup for the Arizona game if Dawson wasn't ready to play, but they never did that.

Now, it's an order. If the 6-2, 235-pound Dawson is not ready, someone else is definitely going to play in his place -- whether that's Will Andrew, the former walk-on third-stringer, or an outside 'backer is still to be determined. But it won't be all Galippo again.

"If Lamar's healthy, great," Barry said Friday. "But we also have a bunch of able linebackers besides Lamar Dawson.

"If he's still not ready this week, then we'll get someone in there to give Chris a blow."

What's wrong with this defense?

October, 2, 2011
10/02/11
3:48
PM PT
Monte Kiffin said it quietly Saturday, in passing, almost as if it were an established fact.

The 2011 USC Trojans' defense, Kiffin said, is better than the 2010 USC Trojans' defense -- and sizably better, at that. According to Kiffin, a 71-year-old considered a defensive mastermind, his unit was just in the process of finding its way early in this season and on its way to sustained success.

But is it really? Is this defense really all that much better than last year's?

The coaches say yes. But the evidence, in the fallout of Arizona's 41-point performance on Saturday, says no. In 13 games last season, the Trojans gave up 5,200 total yards to their opponents, an average of exactly 400 yards per game. In five games this season, the Trojans have given up 1,898 total yards, an average of roughly 380. Points figures are similar, too.

Last year, USC opponents averaged 26.7 points. This year, they're averaging 26.4 points.

They're simply not doing much better -- if even better at all. Defensive turnover numbers are down and tackles for losses are down, as is the performance in the run game, where teams are finding the Trojans are susceptible in the red zone. The only area noticeably better is tackling, which is shown in USC opponents' average catch yardage. Last year, teams gained 12.1 yards per completion, but that number is down significantly to 10.4 this year.

That can be mostly attributed to tackling in practice. The other thing the USC coaches keep repeating as evidence that the defense is improved is a lack of big plays from opponents, but the truth is that is only a typical indicator of defensive success -- not an end-all-be-all.

Sure, the Trojans didn't give up a single play that went more than 27 yards on Saturday against Arizona. But they gave up 37 first downs, which easily broke the previous opponent record of 32, and 554 total yards of offense.

And that's evidence enough that Kiffin's style wasn't working.

(Read full post)

Game-time updates: USC-ASU

September, 24, 2011
9/24/11
7:05
PM PT

Pedro Moura/ESPNLA.com
An hour and a half before kickoff at Sun Devil Stadium, Arizona State's student section was already fairly full. The Sun Devils planned a so-called gold-out with fans in attendance at Saturday's game.

We're just about set to go at Sun Devil Stadium for the much-anticipated matchup between the Trojans and Sun Devils. Here are a couple of last-minute things worthy of an update before kickoff:
  • First off, the kickoff time has been pushed back a bit from 7:15 to 7:26 p.m. to accommodate TV scheduling on ESPN. The projected temperature at that time is 100 degrees. Saturday's high in the Phoenix area was 107.
  • It's ASU middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict's 21st birthday, which Arizona State student section signs astutely noted pregame. Burfict, a junior out of Corona Centennial near Los Angeles, has been the topic of much conversation with the Trojans this week and stands to dominate the team's in-game focus Saturday as well.
  • USC middle linebacker Lamar Dawson, a true freshman, did not make the trip to Tempe, meaning the Trojans will have to rely on former walk-on Will Andrew as Chris Galippo's primary backup Saturday. Galippo has typically played all three downs so far this season, so it will be interesting to see if USC shuffles around its nickel packages to incorporate more of Dion Bailey.
  • Arizona State safety Eddie Elder, questionable heading into the game after suffering a concussion, is slated to start for the Sun Devils. Starting running back Cameron Marshall has an ankle injury and is warming up with the team but does not look 100 percent.
  • Jersey updates: USC is wearing white socks for the first time this season after sporting black socks at each of the three home games. Arizona State is in all maroon uniforms.

Join us here on the USC Report on ESPNLA.com at 7 p.m. PT as Arash Markazi and I keep you updated throughout the game in Trojans Live!, a full-blown interactive chat.

What Dawson's absence could mean

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
12:19
PM PT
Freshman middle linebacker Lamar Dawson missed Thursday's practice and continued to wear the walking boot on his sprained left ankle, lessening the possibility that he'll play Saturday against Arizona State in reserve of starter Chris Galippo.

He hasn't practiced since suffering the injury late in last week's win over Syracuse. So what will the Trojans do if Dawson can't go?

There are two ways they could go about it.

The first is relying on redshirt sophomore Will Andrew, a former walk-on who earned a scholarship in fall camp after taking a number of snaps in spring practice while Galippo was out. Andrew, at 6-2, 230 pounds, has the size and has some experience playing middle 'backer in game situations late last season and early on this year. But could he play meaningful snaps -- 12-25 is the range they're looking at -- early and often in Arizona.

The second is moving over Shane Horton from weakside linebacker temporarily. Horton hasn't started this year and is viewed as Hayes Pullard's insurance on the outside, but is versatile enough to take on new duties in an emergency. Kiffin said he's been taking snaps at middle this week in practice. That, of course, would mean Pullard would take more snaps than usual. And backup strongside linebacker Marquis Simmons (neck) is likely out for Saturday's game as well, which could muddle up the mix even more.

There's also a third option, but it's less than ideal. The Trojans could simply keep Galippo on the field throughout the game, which they did in the season opener against Minnesota.

But Tempe temperatures are expected to approach 100 degrees at game time, so that's being looked at as a last-ditch possibility.

Two walk-ons awarded scholarships

August, 21, 2011
8/21/11
5:33
PM PT
USC coach Lane Kiffin handed out scholarships to two walk-ons in team meetings Saturday night: receiver Robbie Boyer and linebacker Will Andrew.

Both players had been in the program for the last two seasons; Boyer joined the team in the fall of 2008, a semester before his cousin, quarterback Matt Barkley, and has logged time in three games since. Andrew made his debut as a reserve middle linebacker last season behind Chris Galippo after impressing with his big-play ability in practice.

"We had an opportunity to do something pretty special, and, so, last night, in a team meeting, we were able to do that," Kiffin said Sunday after the Trojans' scrimmage at the Coliseum. "Those guys were very deserving. There's others, too, that are very deserving, but you can't give them to everybody."

Two other current scholarship players for the Trojans began their careers as walk-ons: cornerback Tony Burnett and guard Abe Markowitz. Both Burnett and Markowitz started at their respective positions Sunday.

Following a similar practice as the presentations for Burnett and Markowitz, Kiffin first scolded his team in an evening meeting, arranged it so only Boyer and Andrew were left standing in the auditorium and then singled them out for solid camp performances.

He closed the interlude by announcing that both had received full scholarships.

"We're proud of those guys, and it's really neat when you see those things happen, when you see the team's reaction," Kiffin said. "These guys work just as hard as the scholarship guys the whole time they've been here and, now, all of the sudden, they get to have the same benefits."

USC now has 81 players on scholarship, which would appear to put it in bad shape for impending scholarship limits next season. It's worth noting, however, that Boyer's and Andrew's awards are both technically on a one-year basis -- as is true with all college scholarships, but especially in situations such as these.

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