USC Trojans: Joshua Shaw

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.

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Transfer impact on Trojans

July, 15, 2012
The Trojans will likely see an impact on their roster for the 2012 season due to transfers.

USC gained a transfer in defensive back Joshua Shaw from Florida. A talented player who prepped locally at Palmdale (Calif.) High School, Shaw appeared in 10 games as a safety for the Gators in 2011, including one start, and ended the year with 22 tackles, notching a season-high six against Auburn.

Shaw will begin fall camp at strong safety next month but he could also end up seeing time at corner, as he was the No. 3 ranked corner in the ESPN rankings for the class of 2010. It’s a deep defensive back group for USC this year so it remains to be seen how much of an impact Shaw will have, but he’s certainly good enough to make his mark if presented with an opportunity.

Shaw will be a redshirt sophomore this season with three years of eligibility remaining.

The Trojans also lost several transfers, most notably tailback Amir Carlisle, who was on track to be the primary backup to Curtis McNeal this season but is now at Notre Dame.

Carlisle ran for 123 yards on 19 carries as a true freshman in 2011 and also added seven catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. His future was considered bright in Cardinal and Gold and his sudden transfer caught many in the program by surprise.

There wasn’t as much surprise when fellow tailback Dillon Baxter transferred after last season, first to San Diego State and then to Baker University in Kansas. Baxter had a series of off-field issues with the Trojans and his departure had been expected.

Still, the loss of two tailbacks depleted the group and only D.J. Morgan returns as a reserve with any experience. That position will be key to watch this year to see how the lost transfers impact the offense.

USC also lost a pair of wide receivers when Brice Butler transferred to San Diego State and Kyle Prater left for Northwestern. While both came to USC out of high school with outstanding credentials, the production never matched up and both decided to leave rather than battle for playing time in a strong Trojans receiver group.

Trojans head to Haiti

May, 12, 2012
The USC Trojans are on their way to Haiti.

A group of USC football players -- several of whom took part in graduation ceremonies on Friday -- departed from Los Angeles last night for Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. before connecting on a flight bound for the Caribbean country.

The purpose of the trip is to build houses in an area of the country which was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2010. The USC contingent will be in Leogane and Sous Savanne, where they will also visit orphanages and provide supplies that have been donated for the trip.

Among the USC players participating are Matt Barkley, Khaled Holmes, Kyle Negrete, T.J. McDonald, Hayes Pullard, Nickell Robey, Scott Starr, Devon Kennard, Dion Bailey, Robert Woods, Max Wittek, Cody Kessler, Cyrus Hobbi, Kevin Greene, Joshua Shaw and Luke Freeman. The trip was organized in part by Barkley’s father, Les, who will also be on the trip along with the rest of the Barkley family.

Les Barkley had been part of a relief effort to Haiti after the earthquake and worked with a disaster relief organization, Hope Force International, to arrange for the current trip.

The group will return to Los Angeles May 16. For a photo of the group click here.

Secondary additions 

April, 12, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The USC secondary got two pieces of good news on Thursday -- one expected and one unexpected -- that will help boost the fortunes of what has already been the deepest unit on the team this spring.

The Trojans knew that the NCAA had planned to review the transfer case of Joshua Shaw today, and a quick decision was certainly possible. Lane Kiffin talked earlier in the week about how he felt positive about the potential outcome without wanting to sound too confident.

Shaw had been requesting a hardship waiver of the one-year ineligibility period for a transfer player after leaving Florida in January and enrolling at USC. There were family health reasons for his request, which necessitated a move closer to his Palmdale, Calif., hometown.

Thursday practice report 

April, 12, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans finished last season ranked No. 102 in the nation in pass defense. At the conclusion of the 2010 season, they sat at No. 109. Safe to say, it has been a few years since anybody has thrown the term “great” around when discussing the USC secondary. But that didn’t stop senior safety T.J. McDonald from hinting at the possibility as the Trojans prepare for Saturday’s spring game.

“Defensively, we’re playing fast,” McDonald said. “Coaches can throw adjustments at us and we can pick it up and play it right away. That’s something that all great defenses can do and I think we’re taking a step in that direction. We have a lot of work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

The defense has benefitted from not having to go against wide receiver Robert Woods at all this spring. Wide receiver George Farmer has been limited by a hamstring injury, and outside of the first week, the Trojans have been working with one or less tight ends. But the experience in the secondary, led by three-year starters in McDonald, safety Jawanza Starling and cornerback Nickell Robey, makes this group formidable, and head coach Lane Kiffin has taken notice.

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Tuesday practice report 

April, 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Nose tackle Antwaun Woods has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the spring for USC coaches. The redshirt freshman was an afterthought last year, as poor conditioning rendered him incapable of making an impact during his first fall. That he would be able to turn himself around in one offseason to the point where he is challenging for a starting spot as spring ball comes to a close has been a shock to most onlookers.

Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron raises his eyebrows when Woods is mentioned, as if words can’t convey what a difference there is in the Woods of eight months ago compared to the one that lines up for him now.

“He’s come along,” Orgeron said. “Last fall there was no way he was ready to play. He was falling over and couldn’t finish a sprint. Now you look at him -- he’s a part of the program and he has a long ways to go -- but I’m really happy about him.”

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USC players heading to Haiti

April, 3, 2012
A group of 15 USC Trojans football players will be heading to Haiti next month to build houses and deliver supplies.

Haiti was hit by an earthquake in 2010 that severely damaged parts of the country and the USC players will be part of a humanitarian effort to build three houses and transport more than 2,000 pounds of supplies.

The group will be part of an effort sponsored by Hope Force International and will be working in the community of Sous Savanne. The group departs May 14 and will stay in Haiti until May 19.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley and his family have led the way in putting together the trip and they will been joined by several other Trojans players, including T.J. McDonald, Robert Woods, Khaled Holmes, Kyle Negrete, Nickell Robey, Devon Kennard, Hayes Pullard, Max Wittek, Cody Kessler, Scott Starr, Josh Shaw, Cyrus Hobbi, Kevin Greene and Luke Freeman.

Position battle update 

March, 28, 2012
J.R. TavaiRic Tapia/Icon SMISophomore J.R. Tavai has been solid this spring and seems to have locked down the starting nose tackle position.

LOS ANGELES -- As the Trojans reach the midway point of spring practice drills we take a look at the progress of some of the most competitive position battles:

1) No. 2 quarterback -- There really isn’t anything separating Max Wittek and Cody Kessler right now. Both look fairly comfortable working with the offense and they’ve been getting plenty of quality reps as Lane Kiffin limits the work for Matt Barkley. Jesse Scroggins has not taken part in practices yet so he’s fallen behind the other two, but he is expected back soon. Kiffin has said there is no timetable to name a No. 2 guy.

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Springing back from spring break 

March, 13, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Because of the long layoff after USC's final regular season game against UCLA, head coach Lane Kiffin wanted to begin spring practice early in order to get his players back on the field as quickly as possible. The early start also allowed for spring break to land immediately following the first week of practice. This week off likely comes at a good time for all players looking to clear their heads after the first full-pads practice and come back refreshed for the next four weeks. But for some players, the break comes at a perfect time to hopefully bounce back from a slow start or nagging injury.

Kiffin chalked up some of the injuries to skill players as the result of extra reps due to limited numbers, but missed time is missed time, and the longer they are out, the better their chances of falling behind.

1. Quarterback Jesse Scroggins -- It's already a heated battle for the backup quarterback spot, and rolling up and down the field as punishment for missing a team function isn't the best way to move forward in that race. Scroggins hasn't gone through a full practice yet, as he sat out the first one due to a hip injury, then the next two for disciplinary reasons. He has all the tools to throw himself in the mix to become the next quarterback at USC, and a week off to get things right mentally and physically could be huge for his progress.

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Tidbits from Tuesday practice 

March, 6, 2012
* Lane Kiffin called wide receiver George Farmer the MVP of day 1 of spring ball. It certainly came as no surprise to those watching. Early on in the day, I wrote next to Farmer's name in my notes: "Locked in." Kiffin said Farmer was playing with confidence and it showed. He made several nice catches, including one on a deep ball down the sideline where he went high over Isiah Wiley and came down with the ball while falling to the ground.

* Injury report: Kevin Greene (ankle), Josh Shaw (back), Nathan Guertler (hamstring), Jesse Scroggins (hip), Robert Woods (ankle), Torin Harris, Christian Heyward, Kyle Negrete, Christian Thomas, Chad Wheeler and DeVante Wilson. Greene and Woods took part in some of Tuesday's practice. Kiffin said Harris, Heyward, Negrete, Thomas, Wheeler and Wilson would all likely be out for all of spring. During practice, tight ends Xavier Grimble and Junior Pomee were injured and did not return to action.

* Not really any surprises with the starting lineups. Defensively, it was Wes Horton, George Uko, J.R. Tavai and Devon Kennard up front, Dion Bailey, Lamar Dawson and Hayes Pullard at linebacker, and Nickell Robey, T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Wiley in the secondary. Offensively, the line read Kevin Graf, Marcus Martin, Khaled Holmes, John Martinez and Aundrey Walker from left to right. Cyrus Hobbi took a few reps at left guard with the first team, and moved there for good when Martin left early for class. Matt Barkley started at quarterback.

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Henderson ready to emerge 

March, 2, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- USC’s veterans seem more anxious than normal as spring ball, which kicks off Tuesday, approaches. The long layoff, made even longer with the lack of bowl practices, has them chomping at the bit to tighten up the chin straps.

But that anticipation might not even compare to some of the younger players looking forward to their first spring ball as Trojans. The USC coaches made an effort to redshirt as many newcomers as possible last year, hoping to preserve their eligibility for as long as possible to weather the years of scholarship reductions.

Ryan Henderson
Shelly Castellano/Icon SMIRedshirt freshman cornerback Ryan Henderson is intent on emerging as a viable option at cornerback this spring.

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USC throwing session tidbits 

February, 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans held a throwing session on Tuesday following their team conditioning session. Here are some highlights:

* Wes Horton spent a lot of time working with Greg Townsend on technique during drills

* First-unit lines were Kevin Graf, John Martinez, Khaled Holmes, Abe Markowitz, Aundrey Walker (Marcus Martin had left early) on offense, with Devon Kennard, Cody Temple, J.R. Tavai and Horton on defense. (George Uko had left early)

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Shaw has options in secondary 

February, 17, 2012
At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Joshua Shaw has a lot of options when it comes to lining up in the secondary for the Trojans.

The transfer from Florida is settling in nicely after transferring to USC at the spring semester. Shaw is going through winter conditioning drills with the team in preparation for spring ball and those drills include voluntary throwing sessions where Shaw has been lining up primarily at cornerback.

“I’m feeling more comfortable right now,” Shaw said. “Everyone has really welcomed me here and that’s made things easier. The coaches haven’t really told me which spot I’ll be playing, they just said they like what I bring to the table and we’ll figure it out later.”

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Updates from USC's Tuesday workout 

February, 14, 2012
The Trojans held the first winter sesson conditioning run with the coaches in attendance on Tuesday afternoon and then the team held a brief throwing session afterwards. Here are some tidbits from the day:

* Hayes Pullard and George Farmer had a big debate going as they walked off the field about who would win; Pullard's Los Angeles Crenshaw team which also featured Marcus Martin and De'Anthony Thomas , or Farmer's Gardena (Calif.) Serra team which included Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. To be honest, it’s a pretty good debate, as those were two great teams.

* As Ed Orgeron left the field he said “It’s great to be back out here on the grass”.

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Wild week for USC roster 

January, 16, 2012
It’s not too often that there are as many roster changes in one week in college football team as the USC Trojans saw last week.

There were five transfer departures confirmed in RB Amir Carlisle, WR Brice Butler, WR Kyle Prater, DB T.J. Bryant and DB Patrick Hall. There was also an incoming transfer announced with former Florida safety Josh Shaw, who enrolled at USC in time for the spring semester.

Carlisle was the biggest surprise of the group. There weren’t any previously known issues with Carlisle, and his future was thought to be bright within the USC offense. He was a shifty runner with good speed, excellent hands and a surprising amount of toughness in his running style.

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