In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think.
First responders: Yeah, if you’re going to the renovating Coliseum (photo above) for the USC Trojans’ season opener on Saturday, Sept. 1, against UNLV – a 1 p.m. kickoff (PDT) – you might want to thank the Pac-12 Network for putting your health in harm’s way. If you remember last season’s Sept. 2 early afternoon opener against Western Michigan in the Coliseum, people were dropping like flies from the extreme heat and dramatically dashing to the shaded tunnels. Hey, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, are you going to be sitting amongst the fans in the heat of the day without cover, or are you going to be sitting in the temporary press box “trailers” that will at least have a cover. I mean, the press box will have a cover, right?
First responders – Part 2: And if you think the media will be avoiding the heat of the Coliseum day on Sept. 1, you may be already suffering from heat stroke. With the old Coliseum press box demolished and according to recent media comrades, the aforementioned “media trailers” will be installed halfway up the Coliseum’s renovation site, and there’s no confirmation that those trailers will be air conditioned. As bad as directly being targeted by the anticipated scorching sun as a spectator in the stands, being in a non-ventilated press box trailer could bring greater heat, no circulation, and cause for alarm. Considering the NFL Rams play many of their games on early Sunday afternoons, you have to wonder if the NFL will step in and provide for first-class accommodations like AC.
Weathering home field advantage: We all know the Trojans will have a large talent advantage when they host UNLV during Labor Day weekend, but our desert visitors have to be euphoric knowing the game figures to be played in probable Las Vegas heat conditions, thanks to the 1 p.m. start. Knowing the expected weather dynamics for the game, will the Trojans adjust their practice training camp schedule to 1 p.m. to get the Men of Troy ready for the elements. I am sure the media is jumping for joy at the thought of being exposed for three hours of practice in the hot L.A. sun without cover…not. Last August, the Trojans did put up a media tent for sun protection, and it was greatly appreciated by all.
Progress: As you’re searching for your battery powered fans, here’s the latest Coliseum renovation update: https://app.oxblue.com/open/usc/lacoliseumrenovation
More Times: Well, at least FOX has a heart when (of course it’s all about ratings) it announced that the network will cover the Trojans game at Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 9 (5:30 pm PDT), and the following Saturday, Sept. 15, contest in hot, hot Austin, Texas (7:00 p.m. CT/5 p.m. PDT). FWIW, it should be weather comfortable at Stanford, but the weather in Texas is likely to be in the 90s even for a night game. Well, at least it’s not in the middle of the day (hint hint Larry Scott).
Friday night lights: When the Trojans return home from the Lone Star State to play Washington State, it’ll be a short week, as the Men of Troy play the Cougs on a Friday night Coliseum game on Sept. 21. Kick-off time has been announced by ESPN as 7:30 p.m. (PDT), so it figures that while it could be hot, it should be nowhere near what a mid-day kickoff would bring on the thermometer.
The publicity wave: In Lindy’s 2018 College Football Preview, it says the top USC newcomer is – get ready to be shocked – incoming freshman JT Daniels. Lindy’s writes, “QB JT Daniels: USC coaches are ready to roll out the red carpet for the true freshman because they believe he can/will start.”
Top NFL prospect: Street and Smith’s College Football writes that the Trojans’ top pro prospect is senior inside linebacker Cameron Smith. Street and Smith writes, “With Sam Darnold gone and JT Daniels yet to prove himself in college, the Trojans’ next big thing in the 2019 draft might be a linebacker who is a menace inside with his combination of size tackling ability, and instincts. He’s often exactly in the place at the right time.”
Position rankings: In Athlon’s Pac-12 preview, it ranks the Trojans in seven comparison position categories to other teams in the conference. The Cardinal and Gold are ranked No. 7 at quarterbacks, No. 4 at running backs, No. 3 at wide receivers and tight ends, No. 3 for the offensive line, No. 2 for defensive line, No. 1 at linebacker, and No. 3 in the secondary.
From the press box…
Expectations: In 2018, there’s no player on defense that must play up to his ability to have a successful defense than senior outside linebacker Porter Gustin.
Accountability: Perhaps no player will have a greater impact on the offensive line than senior Chuma Edoga, who must live up to his ability on a consistent basis.
Jack be nimble: Although he put himself in the position of being academically ineligible, you hope that corner Jack Jones can get his head together and merge his considerable athletic talents with his academic game.
Person of interest: One player drawing a lot of future NFL draft interest is Trojans’ senior safety Marvell Tell lll.
Backing the line: A senior getting a lot of preseason All-America recognition is inside linebacker Cameron Smith. One thing for certain, you can bet that Cam won’t be one of those players that lets the big-time attention go to his head. He is an old-school football player.
The post-game show…
Center of attention: Senior Toa Lobendahn has been named to the 2018 Rimington Trophy watchlist, an award given annually to the nation’s top center. Interesting considering Toa played tackle last season. Having only three starts at center in his career, the last time Lobendahn started at center was in 2016.
More Trojans: The National Football Foundation will announce the names on the 2019 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame on Monday.
More Trojans – Part 2: The 2019 ballot will include 76 players and six coaches from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and 100 players and 32 coaches from the NCAA divisional and NAIA ranks.
IMHO: Speaking of College Football Hall of Famers, Trojans’ College Football Hall of Fame offensive tackle Marvin Powell is still not in the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. That sounds crazy considering that Marvin was a three-time All-Pac-8 lineman and a two-time All-American. What’s the deal?
The last word: NFF Board Member, College Football Hall of Famer and Trojans’ athletics director Lynn Swann has joined the board of Evoqua Water Technologies.