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IMHO Sunday: The clinic

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think.

Back to school: The USC Football Coaching Clinic, featuring Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian and his Trojan coaching staff along with several guest head coaches, will be held April 3 and 4 at the John McKay Center on campus.

Back to school – Part 2: The two-day clinic will feature seminars by Sarkisian and his staff, as well as offensive and defensive staff roundtable discussions covering philosophy and scheme and in-depth position meetings led by each position coach. Trojans strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis will also will conduct a presentation on player development and the off-season/in-season training program.

Back to school – Part 3: Head coach guest speakers at the USC Football Coaching Clinic include Boise State’s Bryan Harsin, San Diego State’s Rocky Long, Utah State’s Matt Wells, UNLV’s Tony Sanchez, formerly the head coach at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High, and Bellevue (Wash.) High’s Butch Goncharoff, who has built a powerhouse in the Great Northwest.

Back to school – Part 4: For those coaches of all levels interested in the USC Football Coaching Clinic, which will also allow coaches to view a spring practice on April 4 on Cromwell Field, you can register online at www.coachsarkcamp.com.

The analysis: Whoever gets to draft former Trojans All-America defensive lineman Leonard Williams will be getting the opportunity to acquire a rare talent. How rare? According to info from the NFL combine, “Williams should be able to match the athleticism with the power and become a consistent Pro Bowler with a ceiling that goes even higher than that.”

The comparison: The NFL combine in Indianapolis is a very interesting and informative series of on-and-off field evaluations, but the USC Pro Day can also be quite revealing, and come March 11 it will give some Trojans either overlooked or those that had a bad hair in Indy a second chance.

Chasing the dream: Pro Day on the USC campus will also give those still chasing the dream to have one more shot at playing professional football for a living. For some, it becomes the harsh reality that an NFL career is not going to happen and that USC degree is something that should be even more valuable.

Field of change: The Trojans practice facility is getting some improvements with the addition of an artificial turf addition, but selfishly speaking, could their be an canopy included for the media area so the late afternoon sun doesn’t turn the scribes into BBQ chips?

The question:
So how many of you season ticket holders decided to upgrade your seating location for 2015? There appears to be a big push by the ticket department to get fans to upgrade.

The evaluation: Talked with a very respected quarterback guru of future NFL talent who told me that Cody Kessler is a wonderful leader, but he needs to have his big games against high –powered teams. It wasn’t a knock by the acknowledged guru as much as a foreshadowing of what Cody needs to prove in the future, so help me Oregon and UCLA.

Head scratcher: So why is it that former Trojans tailback Buck Allen isn’t getting the type of love in early draft assessments that he and others figured he would receive. He ran a respectable 4.5 in the NFL combine in Indianapolis, and he is tough enough and big enough.

Head scratcher: – Part 2: Although his days at Troy seem like decades ago, former Trojans All-America offensive tackle Matt Kalil is being questioned about his future with the Minnesota Vikings after a season that didn’t quite live up to his past Pro Bowl selection as a rookie. My money is on Matt to rebound from whatever issues seem to be real or perceptive.

The intrigue: We know that All-Pac-12 center Max Tuerk will be a fireball in 2015, but what we don’t know, especially with new O-line coach Bob Connelly, is who will be Tuerk’s backup?

Here comes the NFL: With the competition by potential NFL teams San Diego, Oakland, and St. Louis looking like serious or at least bargaining contenders to relocate to Los Angeles, a question becomes where they will play? The bigger question should a team relocate is whether the Coliseum will even be seriously considered for a temporary venue. Don’t hold your breath.

Here comes the NFL – Part 2: The general thinking is that the Rose Bowl will be the place until a stadium(s) is built. Reports say that the Coliseum has fallen out of favor because there have been no improvements like the Rose Bowl. Certainly an NFL team renting from the Trojans could be a real money windfall, so help me Pat Haden, and the athletic director has made it a point to say a new Coliseum tenant will pay rent. Even Haden has admitted the shoveling of renovation is a ways away.

And now from the press box…

The confessional: Well, if Pete Carroll can say he “messed it up” in the recruiting of Marshawn Lynch while at Troy, I can say I messed it up big-time in not naming Anthony Davis to my most explosive rankings, which ran recently on the ESPN blog. Forgive me, I have sinned. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. A.D. should have been on the select list. My esteemed WeAreSC colleague Steve Bisheff called me and asked if I was having a “brain cramp” and proceeded to try to flog me over my no-excuse blunder.

The confessional – Part 2: How could I forget about Anthony Davis and the Notre Dame kickoff returns? How could I forget his long touchdown run at Oregon those many decades ago? How could I forget? Well, does being a senior citizen count? Didn’t think so.

The confessional – Part 3: Regarding the Anthony Davis omission, one devoted WeAreSC poster wanted to know “What planet are you from?” when going over my misdeed. Sometimes with all the violence around the world, I ask myself the same question.

The rational: When trying to select the most explosive all-the-way-in-one-play Trojans that I have seen in the past 50 years, I asked myself, “If one USC player could get the ball in his hands, regardless of his honors, awards, and career, and could score from anywhere on the field for one play, whom would I pick?” Most didn’t like my selection of R.J. Soward, but he was so incredibly explosive when he had his head on straight, and Soward had the speed, moves, and quicks to score from anywhere on the field. Still not buying it. Okay, we agree to disagree.

The challenge:
Can’t think of a more difficult final two games for a college team in 2015 than the Trojans finishing up at Oregon and then hosting UCLA.

The post-game show…

The test: Steve Sarkisian has talked about his team being more a bully and more physical next season, so how much more pressure is on the strength and conditioning coaches as well as the other assistants to make the Trojans a more physical team? Honestly, the bully tone is set by the head coach and filters down from there. So Sark, is it time to turn into Biff Tannen, the Back to the Future movie bully?

Recruiting party:
The Trojan Club of Orange County (TCOC) is having a post-signing/pre-spring dinner at the Irvine Marriot near John Wayne Airport this Tuesday evening. For info, call “Bo” at 949-786-8269. A Trojans assistant coach to be named will also be in attendance to weave the story on this celebrated signing class.

Donations: The No. 1-ranked USC Trojans Marching Band, under the direction of legendary of the legendary Dr. Arthur C. Bartner, needs your financial assistance. There is a spot on season ticket renewal forms in which to give a donation to college football’s most celebrated band. This is one donation where you know your financial assistance can be seen and heard, especially this coming October in South Bend against Notre Dame.

The offering: Keyshawn Johnson’s son, wide receiver Keyshawn Jr. (Calabasas, Calif./Calabasas), has been offered by Alabama. Hmm, is Lane Kiffin the lead recruiter for the Southern California area and in charge of young Johnson? And BTW, young Johnson has also been offered by Mike Riley of Nebraska, who was Keyshawn Sr.’s offensive coordinator at USC when Dad helped defeat Northwestern in the 1996 Rose Bowl.

More offers: Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has also been offered by Ohio State, Florida State ASU, and UCLA.

The size of it:
FYI, Keyshawn Johnson Jr. is listed for the class of 2017 and measures out to 6-feet, 180 pounds. During his USC playing days, his Key Sr. was listed at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds.

The final word: As a public service, those that have received their season ticket application might note that for an additional $40 you can have a Trojans seating cushion for the entire home schedule attached to your seat. Take it from one that has sat in one of these little perks and tell you it’s well worth it if you have a little extra stash. Note: Prices increase to $45 on Aug.1 and $50 on Aug. 20th.

Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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