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March 10, 2012 | By Gary Klein
USC safety T.J. McDonald offered up the name without prompting. The Trojans had just concluded their first full-pads workout Saturday and McDonald, a returning team captain, was eager to describe a defense that showed off speed and aggressiveness during the scrimmage portion of practice. "The Dark Side," McDonald said. "That's what we call ourselves. " The defense intercepted a pass by Matt Barkley , caused running back D.J. Morgan to fumble and broke up several pass plays with intimidating hits.
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March 13, 2014 | By Gary Klein
A no-huddle, up-tempo offense is not the only new scheme USC Coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff are installing this spring. Defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox is implementing a 3-4 defense with new terminology and multiple variations. On Thursday, after the Trojans' second workout, Wilcox said defensive players were adapting quickly to the concepts and to facing approximately 120 plays each day. "When you start adding those up, it grows pretty fast and it can get a little fuzzy - especially when it's all new," Wilcox said.
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SPORTS
March 29, 2012 | Helene Elliott
USC quarterback Matt Barkley threw his seventh interception of spring practice on Thursday and, as Coach Lane Kiffin noted, it wasn't the end of the world. It wasn't the end of Barkley's Heisman Trophy chances, either. Kiffin even joked when asked if he was alarmed over Barkley's wayward practice throws, including the pass picked off Thursday by safety Demetrius Wright. "He can still declare for the supplemental draft, so I can't yell at him quite yet," Kiffin said after the session at Howard Jones Field.
SPORTS
February 5, 2014 | By Gary Klein
John Plattenburg, a defensive back from Houston, has signed a national letter of intent with USC, the school announced. Plattenburg, 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, played at Lamar High. He previously played at Corona Centennial High before moving to Texas. USC Coach Steve Sarkisian had said that defensive backs were a priority in the 2014 class. "He has a very high football IQ," Sarkisian said on the USC website . "He gets the game which allows him to make a lot of plays by anticipating what is coming.
SPORTS
February 11, 2012 | By Gary Klein
Despite the numerous problems USC has experienced this season, the Trojans can still cling to a couple points of pride: Last-place USC ranks at the top of the Pac-12 Conference in scoring defense and turnover margin. USC hopes to translate that status into a victory at the Galen Center on Sunday against Stanford. USC could not contain the offensive firepower of Washington and California in its last two games. But recently struggling Stanford — which committed 22 turnovers against UCLA — might offer the Trojans a realistic opportunity to win for only the second time since December.
SPORTS
November 12, 2011 | By Gary Klein
This time the dark clouds were real, not symbolic. Lane Kiffin has talked all season about the shadow hanging over USC's program because of NCAA sanctions and how the Trojans were on the verge of breaking through to a bright future. On Saturday, under a sky that threatened but never dumped rain, the No. 18 Trojans moved another step closer. With a dominating defensive performance and big plays from special teams, USC routed Washington, 40-17, at the Coliseum. "Just keep trying to move those clouds away," Kiffin said.
SPORTS
October 1, 2010 | By Gary Klein
USC defensive end Wes Horton is almost certainly sidelined after getting kicked in the back. An ankle sprain continues to limit end Nick Perry. And versatile Armond Armstead is playing with a sore shoulder that forced him to miss last week's game at Washington State. Even defensive line coach Ed Orgeron is on crutches after foot surgery this week. So, it's probably not the best time for USC's front four to face Washington's Jake Locker. After four games against undermanned opponents, the 18th-ranked Trojans enter the heart of their schedule Saturday evening at the Coliseum against a dual-purpose quarterback who entered the season projected by some as the possible No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
SPORTS
September 4, 2003 | J.A. Adande
Omar Nazel took a few moments -- or about as long as the USC defense needed to announce itself as a major force in the 2003 college football season -- to come up with the right word. How good is the Trojans' D? How much would they miss strong safety Troy Polamalu, the emotional leader of last year's squad? Those questions were answered by the third play of Saturday's game at Auburn when Polamalu's replacement, freshman Darnell Bing, intercepted a pass.
SPORTS
August 21, 2010 | By Gary Klein
USC Coach Lane Kiffin hoped to have some answers Saturday after the Trojans scrimmaged for the final time before their Sept. 2 opener at Hawaii. But questions abounded. For example: What's going on with the offense? On a day when USC did not tackle to avoid injuries, Matt Barkley had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Mitch Mustain had two passes intercepted, one in his debut against the first-team defense. The offense also fumbled twice but recovered the ball.
SPORTS
October 17, 1987
Larry Smith better go check the university lost and found for the USC defense and special teams because it's obvious they never made it to Oregon. Then again, they have yet to make an appearance this year. One fine point: Did Larry Smith go to the Ted Tollner school of motivating a football team? It sure looks like it as the game was very similar to last year's fiasco at Washington State. You would have to think these players would have enough brains to stop taking teams lightly and thinking all they have to do is stroll on the field to have the opposition roll over.
SPORTS
November 25, 2013 | By Gary Klein
Sharon Pullard sat in her car last August and watched her oldest son walk away. She had just dropped him off at school, and as parents often do on their children's first day of kindergarten or college, she let her gaze linger on his receding figure. Suddenly, she burst into tears. "I started getting flashbacks," she said. Her son was no longer a child. He was 21 years old. In his fourth year at USC. It didn't matter. Sharon thought about the young man who stoically endured in high school after his father's death.
SPORTS
October 28, 2013 | By Gary Klein
Su'a Cravens is the freshman safety who has received most of the attention, but Leon McQuay III could grab some of the spotlight as USC's season continues. McQuay played nickel back and safety in USC's 19-3 victory over Utah and got his first interception. “My Dad always told me to visualize what I want,” McQuay said after the game. “And it just happened.” McQuay could play a big role Friday when the Trojans play Oregon State at Corvallis, Ore., especially because of his versatility.
SPORTS
September 28, 2013 | By Mike Hiserman
First, the good news for USC football fans. The offense looked better. The Trojans gained 527 yards, running for 247 as both Tre Madden and Justin Davis reached triple digits. Yet, USC was still routed, 62-41, by Arizona State Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. PHOTOS: Sun Devils top Trojans in the desert That's because Arizona State gained 602 yards against a USC defense that came into the game ranked No. 4 in the nation. USC committed four turnovers as Arizona State matched the most points given up by a Trojans team.
SPORTS
September 27, 2013 | By Gary Klein
USC plays its first Pac-12 Conference South division game against Arizona State, which defeated the Trojans at Sun Devil Stadium in 2011. Staff writer Gary Klein examines the story lines: Homecomings Clancy Pendergast was the Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator for five seasons and helped the NFL team reach the Super Bowl in the 2008 season. He returns to Sun Devil Stadium as the mastermind behind USC's nationally ranked defense. "I've coached a lot of games there," Pendergast said.
SPORTS
September 18, 2013 | By Gary Klein
USC's defense did not enjoy much positive attention during the previous three seasons. But new coordinator Clancy Pendergast has infused the unit with a scheme and an attitude that have helped the Trojans statistically rank among the nation's best after three games. Junior safety Dion Bailey said Wednesday that it was "a little different" for USC to be considered one of the sport's top defenses. "I'm pretty sure no one's heard that around here since Cushing and them were here," he said.
SPORTS
September 15, 2013 | By Gary Klein
While USC worked to overcome challenges on offense during its first three games, the defense was consistently dominant. But as the Trojans enjoyed their 35-7 victory over Boston College, Coach Lane Kiffin acknowledged Sunday the defense has not been severely tested. "We haven't really been challenged compared to what's coming, " Kiffin said during a teleconference with reporters. Utah State and quarterback Chuckie Keeton are coming up next at the Coliseum on Saturday.
SPORTS
September 26, 2004 | David Wharton, Times Staff Writer
No one on the USC defense could deny the shock of what happened in the final seconds of the first half. What looked like a simple play to run out the clock -- a Stanford running back charged straight into the line, disappeared into a pile -- turned into an 82-yard touchdown. It was the type of play that can decide a close game. And, in a funny way, it might have. "That kind of got us angry," linebacker Matt Grootegoed said. "They weren't going to score again. They already had enough."
SPORTS
April 4, 2009 | Gary Klein
USC's quarterback competition stalled Friday, though the players vying for the starting job were mostly blameless. There just wasn't much Aaron Corp, Mitch Mustain or Matt Barkley could do to push things forward. Not with defensive linemen constantly in their faces. "They just kind of wiped us out today," Corp said. Junior end Everson Griffen led the charge as the defense recorded sack after sack after sack during the full-team scrimmage portion of the workout.
SPORTS
September 12, 2013 | By Gary Klein
USC tackle George Uko has been an imposing presence for USC's defense, registering three of the Trojans' nation-leading 11 sacks. Uko, a fourth-year junior, had two sacks in the opener against Hawaii and one sack last week in the Trojans' 10-7 loss to Washington State. "I feel like I'm playing OK," said Uko, who came to USC from Chino Don Lugo High. "There's still a lot of plays that could be made. I still left plays on the field. " Uko is part of a front that has allowed a nation-low 15 yards rushing per game.
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