USC Trojans: Drew McAllister

Robert Woods, Matt Barkley AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillRobert Woods and Matt Barkley put their best foot forward in front of scouts from 31 NFL teams during USC's pro day Wednesday.
The Trojans held their annual NFL Pro Day on Wednesday with plenty of buzz surrounding the workout of quarterback Matt Barkley.

Not only is Barkley a high-profile prospect at the most high-profile position, but pro day marked the first time Barkley had an opportunity to throw for scouts since injuring his shoulder in late November. Since the end of the season Barkley has been spending his time in the South getting treatment on the shoulder and working with former FSU quarterback Chris Weinke at the IMG Academy in Florida.

Before he could get to his throwing work, Barkley ran the 40-yard dash (a hand-timed mark of 4.87) and the shuttle drill, although he slipped in one shuttle rep and came up flexing his right hand. By the time his throwing session started, the hand was fine and all eyes were focused on him.

Barkley threw to a group of five primary players; wide receivers Robert Woods, Brandon Carswell and Travon Patterson, tight end Dominique Byrd and running back Curtis McNeal. It took about three or four throws to realize the shoulder strength was not an issue. There was zip on his passes and he was moving well on a variety of throws. There will always be nitpicking as part of the scouting process for little things that might not have gone as well, but for the most part it was a successful session, with Barkley hitting on 46 of 50 throws.

“It was a great day just to come out and throw the ball around,” Barkley said. “It’s good to be back on SC’s campus for something like this. The shoulder felt fine. The ball slipped on a couple but no worries about that. I’m not worried about anything.”

(Read full post)

Signing day primer: USC 

January, 23, 2013
Team needs: With all-conference cornerback Nickell Robey declaring for the NFL draft and the graduation of safeties T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Drew McAllister, adding depth in the secondary is a pressing need for the Trojans. Given Matt Barkley’s departure, it was imperative that USC sign another quarterback to pair with Max Wittek and Cody Kessler.

WeAreSC Roundtable 

November, 15, 2012
What will be the key matchup for USC offense vs UCLA defense?

[+] EnlargeMatt Barkley
AP Photo/Jae HongAnother virtuoso performance by Matt Barkley against UCLA would go a long way in helping USC to a sixth consecutive win in the series.
Garry Paskwietz: I think it will be the USC receivers against the Bruins' secondary. Right now the Bruins rank No. 103 in the nation against the pass and that’s not where you want to be against Marqise Lee and company. This is a critically important game for Matt Barkley and it would be a great time for him to rise up and help deliver a win under these circumstances. There’s also been a lot of talk about the absence of Robert Woods from the SC passing attack recently, so don’t be surprised if he gets plenty of touches as well.

Greg Katz: The key match-up will be how the vaunted Trojans wide receiver corps produces against a very suspect UCLA secondary. In last season’s 50-0 trouncing of the Bruins, Matt Barkley tossed a school record-tying six touchdowns and threw for 423 yards. Unless the Bruins secondary has made unbelievable strides, the Trojans passing game is certainly capable of schooling the Bruins again.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Kiffin recaps Colorado win

October, 22, 2012
Some selected quotes from Lane Kiffin’s Sunday night conference call following the Trojans’ 50-6 victory over Colorado.

Open: “Overall, a really good day -- a really special day for all Trojans I think, [for] all Trojan fans. It was really exciting, and I just thought there were a lot of really neat things with not just the two anticipated records … but then to have on the side, an all-time completion percentage in the history of the conference in a game, and then the most touchdown passes by a USC team ever, and then the most touchdown catches by a single player ever, is pretty special. And I thought it just kind of went along with the day, from the Stanley Cup being there, to the SC championship team being there, to the great tribute after the records -- a lot of credit to Craig Kelley and Mark Jackson on that -- it was really neat and I think it just spoke volumes about L.A. and SC.”

[+] EnlargeDrew McAllister
Joe Andras/WeAreSC.comDrew McAllister was one of several reserves to have a big performance against Colorado.
On the team’s continuing issue with penalties: “I don’t really have a theory on it. Obviously [it’s] very disappointing. I’ve never spent a halftime like that before, where myself and the coaches -- the entire halftime was on penalties and on composure. Fortunately, we came out in the second half and did a better job, which was good, so hopefully somehow that fixed it.

“What I’m hoping is that we hit rock bottom in the first half. It’s one thing when [we’re] lined up offsides and stuff like that, but when we have the personal fouls … as I said afterwards, to me that’s a disgrace to our university and to all of our great players that have played here before. That’s nothing that we want to be associated with. So I think maybe in this one, somehow we had to hit rock bottom, and that locker room was.”

On the condition of offensive tackle Aundrey Walker: “I don’t think -- as you guys know -- I’m allowed to say very much on that. But I guess I could say that he was back in meetings today and things seem to be very positive.”

(Read full post)

The USC 10: Week 8 rankings 

October, 22, 2012
Whenever a team wins 50-6, as USC did on Saturday, there are always plenty of standouts. Here are the 10 players who made the biggest impact on the Trojans' rout of Colorado.

[+] EnlargeMatt Barkley
Jonathan Moore/Getty ImagesSaturday's 50-6 win over Colorado was all about Matt Barkley and Robert Woods.
1. Matt Barkley: Setting the Pac-12 career touchdown mark -- and a single-game-completion-percentage record as well -- will earn Barkley the top spot once again.

2. Robert Woods: Barkley wasn’t the only record-breaker as Woods got into the action by setting the all-time USC receptions mark while also becoming the first Trojan to catch four touchdowns in one game.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

3 Up, 3 Down: USC 50, Colorado 6 

October, 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES – A look at the positives and negatives from USC’s 50-6 victory over Colorado on Saturday.


[+] EnlargeRobert Woods
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireRobert Woods had eight catches, including four for touchdowns, and became USC's all-time leader in receptions.
1. Matt Barkley

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Inside the Locker Room: Colorado 

October, 20, 2012
Drew McAllisterAP Photo/Mark J. TerrillUSC senior safety Drew McAllister had an interception and a fumble recovery, all in the first quarter, in the Trojans' 50-6 victory over Colorado on Saturday.
Los Angeles -- Notes, quotes, and anecdotes from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum after the Trojans’ (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12) 50-6 victory over Colorado (1-6, 1-3 Pac-12).

USC coach Lane Kiffin’s comments:

On the game: “We did a good job preparing this week. We had the hardest Tuesday (practice) we’ve had, very physical preparing like we’re playing the best team in the world.”

On the no-huddle offense: “We’ve practiced it throughout the year and were waiting for the right time. We didn’t take it lightly. The emphasis was on passing not on who we’re playing, but to come out firing.”

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The USC Trojans came into Saturday's game looking for a spark, something to kickstart the second half of their season. With a 50-6 victory over Colorado, they might have gotten their wish.

It was over when: The teams got off the buses at the stadium. Well, maybe not literally, but close to it. The Trojans scored a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage and had three touchdowns on the board before the game was six minutes old. USC dominated from start to finish against the struggling Buffaloes and gave the home crowd multiple record-breaking offensive performances to enjoy.

Game ball goes to: Matt Barkley. The USC signal caller had a game for the ages by completing 19 of 20 passes (his only miss was a dropped ball) for 298 yards and six touchdowns. His completion percentage (95 percent) set a Pac-12 record, and his touchdowns gave him 102 for his career, which broke the school record held by former USC quarterback Matt Leinart. It was the type of performance which should put Barkley back in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy with several high-profile games left on the schedule to make his case.

Stats of game: First downs and time of possession. The Buffaloes had 25 first downs compared to 22 for the Trojans and held the ball for 37:10 compared to 22:50 for USC. Needless to say, those stats didn't lead to on-field results, as six Colorado turnovers resulted in the Buffs mustering only only six points on two field goals.

Record performance: Barkley wasn’t the only USC player with a record-breaking night. Wide receiver Robert Woods had eight catches for 138 yards and four touchdowns, which gave him 220 receptions in his career to set a new USC mark (formerly held by Dwayne Jarrett). Woods also became the first USC receiver to have four touchdown catches in one game.

Unsung hero: Drew McAllister, the USC senior safety who had an interception and a fumble recovery early in the game. It was the first interception since 2008 for McAllister, a senior who has battled multiple injuries throughout his career.

What we learned -- USC: The Trojans needed a crisp offensive performance to gain some confidence on that side of the ball with a tough stretch of opponents coming up in November, and they got it. If USC can build off this effort, it should be able to compete for not only the Pac-12 title but a potential national title shot as well.

What we learned -- Colorado: The Buffs' transition to the Pac-12 Conference continues to be a tough experience. The last three losses for CU had been by a combined 117 points, and the Trojans added to that with a 44-point margin Saturday.

Crisp day for USC offense

September, 19, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans practiced under beautiful conditions out on Brian Kennedy/Howard Jones field once again on Wednesday, and there was a definite upbeat tone on the day for what turned out to be a sharp practice, particularly on the offensive side of the ball -- a positive sign considering how the Trojans struggled in that department against Stanford.

“It was a really good practice today,” Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said. “I thought the offense came out and was really crisp in both the running game and the passing game, and it was good to see. It’s obviously going to be needed to get back on track, and we fully expect that to happen on Saturday.”

That offensive crispness was immediately evident early on when the quarterbacks were working with the tight ends and wide outs. USC quarterback Matt Barkley was in-synch with his receiving options all day, and it wasn’t just the usual Marqise Lee and Robert Woods show either -- tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer made their share of receptions too.

(Read full post)

Trojans prepare for air attack

September, 4, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- It was another beautiful day on Brian Kennedy/Howard Jones field on Tuesday as the team prepared to take on Syracuse and its explosive quarterback, Ryan Nassib, on Saturday. Right from the get-go, defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders could be heard emphatically explaining to his unit that Syracuse threw the ball more than 60 times in its last game, so the Trojans DBs had better be ready. It was a common theme on the day that Lane Kiffin and the rest of the staff made sure to hammer home to the defense.

“We wanted to make sure that our guys understand that we’re going to play a really good team,” Kiffin said. “We purposely made sure that we attacked them in the passing game. I totally believe that this is a big-time test. I don’t care who you play or where it’s at -- everybody played a football game on Saturday and nobody threw for more yards than they did. This is a really good quarterback and he started really well last year versus us.”

(Read full post)

Kiffin names Wittek No. 2 QB

August, 28, 2012
LOS ANGELES – There certainly was a different feel on Brian Kennedy/Howard Jones Field on Tuesday as the Trojans set their game plan in motion for Saturday’s game with the Hawaii Warriors. The team was in full gear today and it was a more spirited practice than has been seen in quite a while, with defensive line coach Ed Orgeron’s booming voice reverberating throughout the field right from the get-go.

The biggest news of the day came following practice when Lane Kiffin named Max Wittek as the back-up quarterback ahead of Cody Kessler. It was a close battle, but the Trojans head coach felt a decision had to be made -- at least for now.

“Somebody has to be No. 2, and Max is No. 2,” Kiffin said. “It has nothing to do with who will be the starter next season. Both have commanded the offense well, they both made a bunch of plays and had good numbers throughout the fall.”

(Read full post)

Defense shines on goal line 

August, 12, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Sunday afternoon full-pads practice marked the end of the first week of fall camp drills and it featured a spirited goal-line session that was dominated by the defense.

Lane Kiffin said “it’s always exciting” when a goal line drill is held and this one was no exception, at least for the defense. More than a dozen plays were run and the offense only scored once, coming on a pass from Matt Barkley to Marqise Lee over Nickell Robey.

Otherwise, the defense held and -- as the plays went by without the offense getting into the end zone -- the defense got more and more fired up. Some of the highlights included George Uko stopping Curtis McNeal up the middle, a Robey pass break-up of a Barkley attempt to Robert Woods and several stops on runs by Soma Vainuku and Silas Redd. The defensive line for that drill featured Leonard Williams, Antwaun Woods, Uko and J.R. Tavai.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Notes from USC's first scrimmage 

August, 10, 2012
The Trojans held their first scrimmage of fall camp on a hot Friday afternoon at the Coliseum. It wasn’t a crisp performance as several front-line starters were held out or limited in action and there were ball security issues for the offense.

“It was good to see the guys in action,” said USC head coach Lane Kiffin. “It was a typical day for a first practice in the Coliseum. We had some young guys who made mistakes but that’s normal for a lot of guys when they play here for the first time. The defense was ahead of the offense a lot of the time but we got in some good work.”

[+] EnlargeRobert Woods
Steve Dykes/Getty ImagesReceiver Robert Woods had four catches for 55 yards in Friday's scrimmage.
The Trojans had one interception – from Cody Kessler to Will Andrew – and a pair of lost fumbles. All told there were three fumbles from the offense with D.J. Morgan, Buck Allen and Jahleel Pinner all putting the ball on the ground.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

WeAreSC Recruiting Mailbag 

July, 20, 2012
WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every Friday. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it here.

Dan (Santa Clara, Calif.): Only two spots left for the 2013 class. Who do you think takes those last two spots and when? I am hoping for [Jason] Hatcher and [Vernon] Hargreaves. What do you think?

I think you're correct in naming Hatcher and Hargreaves as the top two remaining targets for the current class. Based on necessity alone, Hatcher (defensive lineman) and Hargreaves (cornerback) would be the ideal fits. Hatcher is set to announce his decision next Friday and could very well give the Trojans their 17th commitment.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

USC spirit alive at Coliseum 

April, 14, 2012
The USC spirit is alive and well and ready for a big 2012 season, at least it was for one day at the Coliseum for the spring game.

There was a genuine sense of excitement Saturday, as a large crowd of more than 15,000 gathered in the Grey Lady to get a glimpse of the Cardinal and Gold in action. It was the first public look at the team this spring -- as all USC practices are closed these days -- and the fans soaked up every second of the game-day atmosphere.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Munoz
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireAnthony Munoz was among a distinguished group of Trojans alumni on hand for Saturday's spring game.
There were early morning tailgates, the Trojan Marching Band, the Song Girls and a sideline full of USC legends from Ronnie Lott to Marcus Allen and Anthony Munoz. Most of all, however, the fans were there to see Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and the rest of their Trojans in action.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider