USC Trojans: Cameron Marshall

Practice report: Talking defense

November, 7, 2012
11/07/12
1:44
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans were back at practice in full pads on Wednesday morning in preparation for Saturday’s matchup with Arizona State, and it was the defense that dominated conversations following the workout as the unit looks to move past a subpar performance against Oregon.

“I think really I can see our defense is excited to get back out on the field,” USC head coach Lane Kiffin said. “We really obviously don’t feel that we’ve played very well really for five-and-a-half quarters. So any time that you feel like that, much like the offense did after the Stanford game, you get excited to get back out on the field and play again, so Saturday can’t come fast enough.”

Taking the blame
On Wednesday, Kiffin once again fielded question and after question regarding the defense’s inability to stop the vaunted Ducks’ offense, as the Trojans gave up a 62 points and 730 total yards of offense, both school records. And for the second day in a row, the USC head coach took a portion of the blame, stating, “The blame is on all of us.”

It was a common theme after practice as both defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, and in particular, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin shouldered more than their share of the responsibility for the Trojans’ defeat.

“It starts with the coordinator, no doubt about it,” the elder Kiffin said. “And that’s why you can’t start pointing fingers and things like that. You can talk -- it doesn’t matter. We’ve got good position coaches here too, but when it’s all said and done, the coordinator controls it, you know? That’s just the way it works. You’ve got to step up -- you’ve got to go back and you talk to your squad, get them back, and you can’t be talking about last week -- you’ve just got to move on to the next game. You can’t sit around and mope around. You’ve got to go. I think that’s the tough part about coaching. I think that’s when you’ve got to step up as a coach.”

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First look: Arizona State

November, 5, 2012
11/05/12
11:15
AM PT
What: USC Trojans (6-3 overall, 4-3 Pac-12 South) vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (5-4 overall, 3-3 Pac-12 South)

When: Saturday, November 12, 12 p.m. PT

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

[+] EnlargeArizona State's Taylor Kelly
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesDual-threat QB Taylor Kelly will provide another challenge for the USC defense.
TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: ESPNLA 710

Scouting ASU: Arizona State, guided by first-year coach Todd Graham, lost its third consecutive game when it fell at Oregon State, 36-26, last Saturday. The Sun Devils are ranked high in the national statistics on both sides of the ball. ASU is 20th nationally in passing efficiency (153.5, third in Pac-12) and tied for 22nd in scoring offense (37.0, second in Pac-12), while it is second in both sacks per game (4.2, second in Pac-12) and tackles for loss per game (9.1, second in Pac-12), seventh in pass defense (161.6, first in Pac-12), 13th in pass efficiency defense (105.9, first in Pac-12) and 24th in total defense (333.3, second in Pac-12).

Dual-threat sophomore QB Taylor Kelly (169 of 258, 65.5 percent, 2,161 yards, 20 TD, 6 INT in 2012, plus 97 carries for 383 yards) is 19th nationally in passing efficiency (156.8, third in Pac-12). His top receiver is junior H-back Chris Coyle (43 receptions, 501 yards, 11.7 avg, two TD), along with senior WRs Jamal Miles (23 receptions, 245 yards, 10.7 avg, plus 10 kick returns for 211 yards and 18 punt returns for 144 yards) and Rashad Ross (21 receptions, 335 yards, 16.0 avg, one TD in 2012, plus 13 kick returns for 341 yards and one touchdown.

Top runners, who double as effective pass catchers, include freshman RB D.J. Foster (72 carries, 393 yds, 5.5 avg, two TD, plus 31 receptions for 463 yards, 14.9 avg, 4 TD), senior TB Cameron Marshall (96 carries, 391 yards, 4.1 avg, six TD, plus 10 receptions, 72 yards, 7.2 avg, one TD) and junior TB Marion Grice (62 carries, 316 yards, 5.1 avg, six TD, plus 28 receptions, 331 yards, 11.9 avg, seven TD).

Key ASU defenders include senior LB Brandon Magee (70 tackles, 7 for loss, 5.5 sacks, two INT, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble), senior FS Keelan Johnson (61 tackles, one for loss, two INT), junior LB Chris Young (60 tackles, 13.5 for loss, two sacks, four passes defensed, one forced fumble), sophomore LB Carl Bradford (51 tackles, 12 for loss, 7.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, two forced fumbles in 2012) and junior DT Will Sutton (42 tackles, 15 for loss, 9.5 sacks, two forced fumbles). Sutton is the Pac- 12’s leader in sacks per game (1.2, sixth nationally) and tackles for loss (1.9, fourth nationally), while Young is 20th nationally in sacks per game (1.5, fifth in Pac-12) and Bradford is tied for 23rd nationally in tackles for loss per game (0.8, tied for fifth in Pac-12).

Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 1

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
12:00
PM PT
Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2012 concludes today.

Most of this looks back, but, of course, there also is a good dose of projecting forward. A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won't make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.

You can review our 2011 postseason top 25 here.

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC

2011 numbers: Completed 69.1 percent of his throws (308 of 446) for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.

2011 postseason ranking: No. 2

Making the case for Barkley: Drum roll please. ... No? No drum roll? We don't have that sound file? OK, so this isn't exactly a "who shot J.R. moment" for the Pac-12 blog. I think it's safe to say we all saw this coming. And why not? Matt Barkley is by far the most complete quarterback in the country. With A-list wide receivers flanking him on either side, a phenomenal ground attack that includes two 1,000-yard rushers, fantastic tight ends, a solid offensive line and a stellar defense to get him the ball back, Barkley should produce credentials worthy of Heisman consideration and a high first-round NFL draft pick. He put the spotlight on himself when he made his declaration of "unfinished business," but if you know Barkley, you know he's not one to shrivel in the spotlight. And there is a bright one on him and his team this year as they enter the season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll. He earned second-team all-conference last year and is on every major preseason All-America team this year. Assuming all goes to plan, Barkley will be in New York for the Heisman presentation. He can go a long way toward making his case if he can produce similar numbers to last year and keep his team atop the rankings all season.

No. 2: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
No. 3: De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
No. 4: Robert Woods, WR, USC
No. 5: Keith Price, QB, Washington
No. 6: Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
No. 7: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
No. 8: Keenan Allen, WR, California
No. 9: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
No. 10: T.J. McDonald, S, USC
No. 11: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
No. 12: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
No. 13: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
No. 14: Nickell Robey, CB, USC
No. 15: John White IV, RB, Utah
No. 16: John Boyett, S, Oregon
No. 17: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
No. 18: Khaled Holmes, C, USC
No. 19: Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State
No. 20: Dion Bailey, LB, USC
No. 21: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
No. 22: Curtis McNeal, RB, USC
No. 23: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
No. 24: Isi Sofele, RB, California
No. 25: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State

Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 4

August, 28, 2012
8/28/12
12:00
PM PT
Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2012 continues.

Most of this looks back, but, of course, there also is a good dose of projecting forward. A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won't make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.

You can review our 2011 postseason top 25 here.

4. Robert Woods, WR, USC

2011 numbers: Caught 111 balls for 1,292 yards and 15 touchdowns.

2011 postseason ranking: No. 8

Making the case for Woods: No one had more receptions in the Pac-12 last year than Woods. No one had more receiving touchdowns than Woods. And the scary thing is his numbers are probably going to get better. With quarterback Matt Barkley returning for another season, an A-list counterpart across from him in Marqise Lee and two tight ends that are the envy of most teams in the nation, Woods is going to see a lot of single coverage. And if you bracket Woods, you run the risk of getting beat deep by one of the others. And if you still decide to bracket Woods, chances are you are still going to get beat by one of the others. He's that good, and USC's offense is that good. There are maybe two guys in this conference who can run consistently with Woods in man-to-man ... and one of them already plays for the Trojans (see No. 14). And that's why Woods, a first-team All-Pac-12 and AP All-American last year -- headlines a talented group of wide receivers in the conference. At 6-1, 190 pounds, he's one of the truly special players in the Pac-12.

No. 5: Keith Price, QB, Washington
No. 6: Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford
No. 7: Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
No. 8: Keenan Allen, WR, California
No. 9: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
No. 10: T.J. McDonald, S, USC
No. 11: Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
No. 12: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
No. 13: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
No. 14: Nickell Robey, CB, USC
No. 15: John White IV, RB, Utah
No. 16: John Boyett, S, Oregon
No. 17: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
No. 18: Khaled Holmes, C, USC
No. 19: Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State
No. 20: Dion Bailey, LB, USC
No. 21: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
No. 22: Curtis McNeal, RB, USC
No. 23: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
No. 24: Isi Sofele, RB, California
No. 25: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State

Pac-12 top 25 for 2012: No. 14

August, 14, 2012
8/14/12
8:00
AM PT
Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2012 continues.

Most of this looks back, but, of course, there also is a good dose of projecting forward. A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won't make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.

You can review our 2011 postseason top 25 here.

14.Nickell Robey, CB, USC

2011 numbers: Posted 63 tackles, nine deflections and a pair of interceptions, including one for a touchdown. He also returned 12 punts for 132 yards.

2011 postseason ranking: No. 23

Making the case for Robey: What did Robey teach us last year? All together now ... never force the Venus on the backside of spider-3 y banana in a 27-27 game. And why? Because Robey will pick you off and take you to the house. With 24 starts under his belt, Robey is only going to get better -- and this year he seems poised to emerge as the Pac-12's premier lockdown cornerback, if he's not already. His special-teams skills make him a valuable asset as well. But there is more to Robey than just being a cover corner. He also had 5.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks last season -- meaning he's reliable in run defense and USC isn't afraid to unleash him on cornerback blitzes. He's a sure tackler with elite ball instincts. Don't be surprised to see his numbers decline, however, in 2012. And that's a good thing -- the ultimate sign of respect. That means teams aren't throwing his way. And exactly how much do Pac-12 coaches respect him? He was the only cornerback named to the All-Pac-12 first-team last season. The other three defensive backs were safeties.

No. 15: John White IV, RB, Utah
No. 16: John Boyett, S, Oregon
No. 17: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
No. 18: Khaled Holmes, C, USC
No. 19: Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State
No. 20: Dion Bailey, LB, USC
No. 21: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
No. 22: Curtis McNeal, RB, USC
No. 23: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
No. 24: Isi Sofele, RB, California
No. 25: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State
Our countdown of the Pac-12's top 25 players in 2012 continues.

Most of this looks back, but, of course, there also is a good dose of projecting forward. A lot of good players, as it happens every year, won't make the preseason list. It is in their hands to make the postseason list.

You can review our 2011 postseason top 25 here.

18. Khaled Holmes, C, USC

2011 numbers: Holmes was the center for a line that surrendered just eight sacks, with its 0.67 sacks per game ranking second in the nation. The Trojans also averaged 4.98 yards per rush, which ranked third in the conference.

2011 postseason ranking: Unranked

Making the case for Holmes: Holmes, a three-year starter who earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2011, might be the nation's best center. Phil Steele ranked him No. 2 behind Alabama's Barrett Jones, the defending Outland Trophy winner. He could be the first center taken in the 2013 NFL draft, where he could end up a first-round selection. He certainly enters the 2012 preseason as the No. 1 offensive lineman in the Pac-12. A 6-foot-4, 305-pound senior, Holmes moved to center last year after starting at guard in 2010, when he earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors. Recently named to the watch list for the Rimington Award, which is given annually to the nation's top center, he also an Academic All-American candidate -- he was second-team All-Academic Pac-12 in 2011 with a 3.31 GPA. He's already received his bachelor's degree in communications and is working on his master's. Centers, who make most of the calls at the line of scrimmage, tend to be smart and squat. Holmes is smart and physically imposing.

No. 19. Cameron Marshall, RB, ASU
No. 20: Dion Bailey, LB, USC
No. 21: Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford
No. 22: Curtis McNeal, RB, USC
No. 23: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
No. 24: Isi Sofele, RB, California
No. 25: Jeff Tuel, QB, Washington State

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