USC Legends News



Marcus Allen
Jon Arnett
Collin Ashton
Morris Badgro
Bill Bain
Johnny Baker
Chip Banks
Ricky Bell
Duane Bickett
Darnell Bing
Tony Boselli
Hoby Brenner
Tay Brown
Joey Browner
Brad Budde
Reggie Bush
Dominique Byrd
Mark Carrier
Chris Cash
Matt Cassell
Chris Claiborne
Garry Cobb
Shaun Cody
Keary Colbert
Curtis Conway

Anthony Davis
Clarence Davis
Jack Del Rio
Don Doll
Ricky Ervins
Justin Fargas
Jeff Fisher
Roy Foster
Mike Garrett
Frank Gifford
Matt Grootegoed
Gregg Guenther
Pat Haden
Jesse Hibbs
Alex Holmes
Keyshawn Johnson
Rob Johnson
Winston Justice
Norm Katnik
Brian Kelly
David Kirtman
Sammy Knight
Matt Leinart
Dave Lewis
Ronnie Lott
Taitusi Lutui
Tom Malone
Todd Marinovich
Rod Martin
Clay Matthews
Bruce Matthews
Fred Matua
Daylon McCutcheon
Paul McDonald
Tim McDonald
Willie McGinest
John Michels
Ron Mix
Zeke Moreno
Chad Morton
Johnnie Morton
Don Mosebar
Anthony Muñoz
Ifeanyi Ohalete
Carson Palmer
Mike Patterson
Rodney Peete
Volney Peters
Troy Polamalu
Will Poole
Marvin Powell
LaJuan Ramsey
Steve Riley
C.R. Roberts
Jacob Rogers
Frostee Rucker
Ken Ruettgers
Darrell Russell
Sean Salisbury
Junior Seau
Jason Sehorn
OJ Simpson
Tony Slaton
Dennis Smith
Bob Svihus
Lynn Swann
Lofa Tatupu
Dennis Thurman
Kenechi Udeze
John Vella
John Walker
Scott Ware
John Wayne
Charles White
LenDale White
Mike Williams
Matt Willig
Willie Wood
Manuel Wright
Justin Wyatt
Keith Van Horne
Ron Yary
Charles Young

Future Legends

Vidal Hazelton
Tyler Davis
Steve Smith
Stafon Johnson
Patrick Turner
Mozique McCurtis
Mark Sanchez
Troy Vam Blarcom
Travon Patterson
Taylor Odegard
Kevin Thomas
Michael McDonald
Mario Danelo
Kevin Ellison
John David Booty
Jim Abbott
Jamere Holland
Garrett Green
Dwayne Jarrett
Desmon Dreed
David Buehler
David Ausberry
Chauncey Washington
Cary Harris
Brian Cushing
Antwine Perez
Duron Sylvester

NFL preparation is another motivator for USC players

USC's trip to Arizona Stadium last week gave special-teams coach John Baxter an opportunity to teach his charges a history lesson. Twenty years ago in Tucson, less than a minute into his first game as a full-time Division I assistant, one of Baxter's players blocked a punt.

"Todd Burden," Baxter said, evoking the name of the former Wildcats cornerback who started it all. "Right hash, 19-yard line."
The Trojans might have rolled their eyes at Baxter's reference if they weren't converts. But after six blocked kicks of their own, they're full-fledged members of Baxter's Block Party.

Heading into Saturday's game at Oregon State, USC has blocked as many kicks in Baxter's first season as it did in the previous two seasons combined. How critical have those plays been? Well, consider this: Half of the Trojans' games have been decided by three or fewer points.

"Our style of play on Lane Kiffin's staff is, we are going to challenge for every point," Baxter said. "If there is an attempt at points, whether it's a pass to the end zone or a kick to the poles, we're going to challenge it.

"It worked where I came from. We played a lot of close games."

In Baxter's 13 seasons at Fresno State, the Bulldogs blocked 84 kicks and punts, about one every other game. They blocked 49 from 2002-09, the most in the nation.

It's no coincidence that when Baxter is the special-teams coach, the blocks pile up.

"As a coach, you live by the mantra of, 'You get what you drill,' " Baxter said. "If you drill it, and it's important to the head coach, the assistant coaches and the players, it's going to happen."

That's Baxter's seemingly simple M.O.: The more you practice special-teams fundamentals, the better you become at them.

By Kiffin's estimation, USC spends more time on "teams" than any squad in the country. The Trojans began spring practice doing kick-block drills. They did them throughout training camp. They spend the first 20-30 minutes of every in-season practice working on special teams.

None of that is revolutionary, but many of Baxter's methods are at least innovative, in a wax-on, wax-off sort of way. He uses a triangular mat for punt-block drills to ensure that the would-be blocker uses the proper angle and timing to get his hands on the ball. And he uses offensive linemen on the field-goal block team.

"Look at Jurrell Casey and Tyron Smith," Baxter said. "Who would you use?"

Casey is a 6-foot-1, 305 pound defensive tackle. Smith is a 6-5, 280-pound offensive tackle.

"That's what special teams is – putting together the jigsaw puzzle," Baxter said. "It's the art of finding a set of skills that a player brings to the table, and trying to plug him into a position to be successful."

Smith leads the team with two blocked kicks, including an extra point against Arizona State that USC returned for two points in an eventual one-point victory.

Fellow offensive lineman Michael Reardon, who's also 6-5, got his hand on a field-goal attempt at Arizona, sending it wide right. USC ended up winning by three.

It's about the only way for an offensive lineman to get his name in the box score.

"We're big. We're long. (There's) no reason not to use us," Smith said. "I've enjoyed every moment of it."

Especially the blocked PAT vs. ASU. Smith remembers racing downfield with his teammates as cornerback Torin Harris ran with the ball down the right sideline in front of USC's bench, which was going berserk. So was the crowd at the Coliseum. It might have been the most exciting play of the season.

"It's well above just the outcome of it. It's the emotion of it," Kiffin said. "Whenever you see a blocked kick, you see the stands and the sideline erupt."

And if it happens against you?

"It's the single most deflating play in football," Baxter said. "It's a buzzkill."




USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Defensive line has many questions
USC's defensive line opened training camp in flux with three of the four spots open as everyone tries to figure out who will start the season-opener against Hawaii.

USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Kiffin scales back practice
USC just opened training camp, but there are already some changes from the previous two under coach Lane Kiffin.

USC football: Farmer misses practice, falls behind
Quick hitters from USC's second training camp practice, conducted under Tuesday night: ** Sophomore George Farmer, vying to become the Trojans' No. 3 receiver, did not practice after getting hurt Monday. (

USC Football: How Dynamic Can the Trojans Be on Offense This Season?
It’s been four years since the Southern California Trojans, from an offensive and team standpoint, have been one of the alpha dogs of the college football landscape. Amidst scandal and a couple of down seasons, the Trojans took a backseat as Oklahoma State, Oregon and Alabama became mainstays in the top 10. Last season, despite being disqualified from a Pac-12 title opportunity and bowl season ...

USC Football: New Trojans RB Silas Redd Should Let His Play Do All the Talking
Met by a large group of reporters, the first practice has come and gone for the USC Trojans. They weren't there to see head coach Lane Kiffin or really any other player for that matter; they were there for Penn State transfer Silas Redd. The running back thanked the group for wanting to talk to him, per the Los Angeles Times , and divulged a little information about his first practice as a ...

USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Trojans almost done on the recruiting trail
USC opened practice Monday at Howard Jones Field, but with 18 commitments the Trojans virtually are done recruiting for 2013.

USC Football: Trojans Should Be Pleased with No. 3 Ranking in Coaches Poll
Let Alabama and LSU duke it out, Trojans. Being ranked No. 3 by USA Today is something to be happy about. When USC quarterback Matt Barkley was named the preseason favorite to win the Heisman Trophy for 2012 , many believed the honor would do more harm than good. Call it superstition but fans grew concerned that Barkley would be set up to lose the Heisman, similar to former Stanford quarterback ...

USC Trojans appear to have the horses for a national-title run
USC begins preseason practice Monday ranked No. 3 in USA Today coaches' poll. Here are six potential keys to a season the Trojans hope ends in the BCS title game. Most of the pieces appear to be in place.

USC FOOTBALL: As camp starts, happy days appear to be here again
USC holds its first football practice tonight in a different position than the past two years. The Trojans finally are bowl eligible again and ranked in the top two in most preseason polls.

Top 25 USC Football Players of All Time: Cardinal and Gold Tradition
There have been a lot of great USC football players to come through the program over the years.