September 4, 2011 |
Marc Tyler's suspension for a series of off-season incidents infused USC's tailback situation with a dose of drama. More occurred Sunday, but it did not involve Tyler. In a teleconference with reporters, Coach Lane Kiffin said he had met earlier with Dillon Baxter and his family regarding the sophomore's lack of playing time. Redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan and junior Curtis McNeal combined for 24 carries in USC's 19-17 season-opening victory over Minnesota on Saturday.
August 25, 2011 |
With just over a week before USC opens against Minnesota at the Coliseum, the Trojans apparently are still searching for a starting tailback. Junior Curtis McNeal started the last two scrimmages but left both early because of injuries, raising questions of durability. Redshirt freshman D.J. Morgan has flashed speed and some breakaway ability but must gain the trust of coaches with pass-protection skills. Freshman Amir Carlisle has impressed with his toughness, though he too has never played in a college game.
August 24, 2011 |
USC has not determined whether suspended tailback Marc Tyler will play this season. The fifth-year senior was banned from training camp and will not participate in next week's opener against Minnesota. But Tyler practiced with the team for the first time Wednesday, working almost exclusively with the scout team. "He's done what we've asked him to do to be able to come back and practice," Athletic Director Pat Haden said. "He still has a lot more hurdles to overcome.
August 15, 2011 |
USC took Monday off from practice, but players still attended meetings in preparation for their Sept. 3 opener against Minnesota. That gave USC's running backs coach another chance to quiz and encourage his charges. "I've finally got the [meeting] room the way I always had it," the coach formerly known as Kennedy Pola said last week. Much has changed since the former Trojans fullback returned to USC in 2010 for his second stint as an assistant coach. His name, for one. It won't be official until all of the legal paperwork he initiated has been processed, but he already is listed as Kennedy Polamalu in the school's 2011 media guide.
August 13, 2011 |
Lane Kiffin seemed a ridiculous hire. What school facing severe sanctions hires a coach facing sanctions at Tennessee? It smacked of being a desperate act of an imperiled athletic director, Mike Garrett, to hold together the vestiges of a bygone era before Garrett was gone. Kiffin, a piece of Pete Carroll's glory years, was an obvious, selfish, short-term fix to keep a recruiting class from bailing. Never mind that it worked. USC has been able to forestall a calamity greater than the calamity of going 8-5. The Trojans proactively hoarded talent ahead of impending NCAA sanctions and are in such decent shape entering 2011 that they've been picked to win a Pac-12 South division they aren't, technically, allowed to win. The real pain starts next year, when USC loses 10 scholarships a year for three seasons.
July 26, 2011 |
Lane Kiffin went on … and on … and on. Taking a cue, perhaps, from a seasoned politician, USC's coach stretched his opening statement Tuesday at Pacific 12 Conference media day to nearly nine minutes. "I've eaten up all the time," Kiffin finally joked, "so there are no hard questions you can ask me right now. " Kiffin and the Trojans will begin finding answers next week when they open training camp in preparation for Kiffin's second season. USC is coming off an 8-5 record in 2010, its worst season since 2001.
July 19, 2011 |
He didn't break the law. He didn't even break a rule. When Marc Tyler walked out of a bar last week and said some stupid things to TMZ.com, he was just a college jock acting like a knucklehead. It was harmless, it was immature, it was nothing. Cheers to USC for realizing it was everything. Cheers to Lane Kiffin for rolling up his sleeves and scrubbing out this latest Trojans mess before it left a stain. If the coach is truly to keep USC's remodeled house clean, this is how it has to happen, quickly and decisively, with no concern for the sweat or the pain.
July 18, 2011 |
USC's football team already faces a major issue at tailback, two weeks before training camp opens. Coach Lane Kiffin announced Monday that Marc Tyler has been suspended for the Sept. 3 season opener against Minnesota, "and potentially further," after the latest in a string of off-the-field incidents involving the senior tailback. Tyler, USC's leading rusher last season, was shown on TMZ.com making comments deemed inappropriate by the university. Responding to questions on camera outside a nightclub last week, Tyler, 22, made a suggestive comment about USC running backs and reality-television personality Kim Kardashian, suggested a sexually explicit acronym for USC, and said Trojans football players were paid more than pros.
June 3, 2011 |
USC tailback Marc Tyler, the Trojans' leading rusher last season, is awaiting possible disciplinary action for his alleged role in two off-the-field incidents, Tyler confirmed Friday. Tyler, a fifth-year senior, recently appeared at a hearing before USC's Office of Student Judicial Affairs in regard to the April incidents, one in which he allegedly spit on a female student while intoxicated and another in which he allegedly inappropriately touched another female student at a bar near campus.
April 21, 2011 |
USC tailback D.J. Morgan circled the display cases, checking out the Heisman trophies in Heritage Hall. "You could win one of those if you keep working," noted a senior linebacker, walking past. Morgan nodded contemplatively. Then he grinned. The exchange took place last fall when Morgan was a freshman working his way back from major knee surgery. This spring, the former Woodland Hills Taft High star has shown speed, shiftiness and power in pushing to move up the depth chart.