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O/NSO: The USC Mount Rushmore series – The Offensive Guards

The Obvious: For much of the modern era of USC football, the Trojans have had an embarrassment of riches along the offensive line, which includes an array of all-stars at the offensive guard position.

The Not So Obvious: Whether it was blasting inside or pulling around the corner for the legendary student body sweep around left or right end, the Trojans have showcased some of the game’s greatest guards whose sole jobs were to spring holes for storied Heisman Trophy winning tailbacks. They have also pass protected for some of college football’s greatest quarterbacks like Heisman winners Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer. Selecting a quartet of offensive guards for our O/NSO USC Football Mount Rushmore was one of our favorite assignments in this series.

First, the O/NSO would like to give a tip of our cardinal and gold hat for those All-American offensive guards in the entire history of USC football that did not make our Mount Rushmore like Bryce Taylor, Damon Bame, Nate Barragar, Johnny Baker, Aaron Rosenberg, Larry Stevens, Mike McKeever, Bill Fisk, Booker Brown, Bill Bain, Pat Howell, Mark Tucker, and Taitusi “Duece” Lutui. And some didn’t make All-American but were still outstanding like Mike Scarpace, Fred Khasigian, and Travis Claridge.    

One of Troy’s toughest offensive guards was All-American Damon Bame (photo above), who was a two-way player on Coach John McKay’s first national championship team in 1962.
One of the Trojans most athletic offensive guards was 1978 All-American Pat Howell (photo above).

As usual, feel free to differ from our selections and inform us of your own selections on the Garry P. WeAreSC message board. A reminder, our selections are not ranked in order of greatness but as a group and not by what they accomplished after their playing days at USC.

The O/NSO now proudly presents our four offensive guards for the O/NSO’s USC Football Mount Rushmore.

The Obvious: Brad Edward Budde (1976-79), the son of former Kansas City Chiefs all-time great guard Ed Budde, is one of the most intense offensive linemen to ever play at USC. He came to Troy after an all-star high school career at Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst High, where he was a Parade All-American. 

Brad Budde (photo above) came to USC as a prep All-American and left not only as a college All-American but is Troy’s only recipient of the Lombardi Award (1979), given to the best college football player regardless of position based on performance, as well as leadership, character, and resiliency.

The Not So Obvious: After starting as a freshman in 1976, Brad Budde‘s teams lost a combined total of seven games in his four years at offensive guard— four of which came in 1977. Despite the team’s lull during his sophomore year, Budde’s career included three Rose Bowls (and top-two finishes in each of those years) and a share of the national title in 1978. As an upperclassman, Budde paved the way for running back Charles White, who ran for over 2,000 yards in 1979.

Following a stellar senior campaign, Budde left Southern California as one of the university’s most decorated linemen. In 1979, he was a unanimous first-team All-American and USC’s Offensive Player of the Year. Despite finishing runner-up in Outland Trophy voting, awarded to the nation’s top interior linemen, he became the Trojans’ first and only Lombardi Award winner. Given to the best college football player in the nation at any position, the award is based on performance, leadership and character.

Upon finishing his USC career, Brad was the No. 11 overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1980 NFL Draft. He started 79 games, highlighted by his second season when running back Joe Delaney rushed for 1,121 yards and was named AFC Rookie of the Year.

Below are videos of two big games that Brad played a prominent role. In the first game video, the Trojans were playing at Alabama in 1978. Move the counter to 29:23 to see Budde (No. 71), a junior, spring Charles White for a 40-yard touchdown run.

In the second video, which was the 1980 Rose Bowl Game against Ohio State, Budde, who is now a physical therapist and motivational speaker, again played a key role on the winning fourth quarter touchdown drive. Early in the video, you might enjoy seeing the Trojans players being introduced with a Brad Budde moment. On the counter, go to 2:14:47 for the thrilling final drive.

The Obvious: Roy Allen Foster (1978-81) prepped at Canoga Park (Calif.) Taft High School and Shawnee Mission West High in Overland Park, Kansas, and almost left USC early in his career due to a bad case of homesickness.

Surprisingly, two-time All-American guard Roy Foster (photo above) came to USC as a fullback but was quickly converted to an offensive guard.

The Not So Obvious: Roy came to the Trojans as an enormous fullback and then was moved to offensive guard. He (6-4, 265) was a two-time All-America selection in 1980 and 1981, respectively. Roy was a consensus selection in 1981.

Roy also became the first winner of The Morris Trophy for being the top offensive or defensive lineman in the Pac-10 Conference. He is one of only three Pac-12 offensive linemen to win the award twice (1980 and 1981). Roy was also a three-time All-Conference first team selection.

During his time at Troy, Roy’s teams went 40-6-2 and won the national title in 1978. In 1981, he was named the Trojans’ Offensive Player of the Year. 

Roy was a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 1982 NFL Draft. He was a two-time Pro Bowler in 1985 and 1986 and played in two Super Bowls. He is the only offensive lineman to have blocked for Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Dan Marino. A little known fact: Roy once caught a touchdown pass from Marino.

Below are two videos of Roy Foster (No. 64) in action. The first is the 1981 USC/Oklahoma game and the second is the 1981 USC/UCLA game.

The Obvious: Bruce Rankin Matthews (1980-82) arrived at USC from Arcadia (Calif.) High and became one of the Trojans all-time greats at guard, a consensus All-American in 1982.

Bruce Matthews (photo above) is considered by most one of the greatest offensive guards in football history.

The Not So Obvious: Coming from one of the best families to ever play the game, Bruce Matthews is the son of defensive lineman Clay Matthews Sr., brother of linebacker Clay Matthews Jr., father to tackle Jake Matthews and center Kevin Matthews, and uncle to linebackers Clay Matthews III and Casey Matthews.

At 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, the versatile lineman played up and down the offensive line during his career. As a senior in 1982, Bruce made the move to the guard spot and became a key component in head coach John Robinson’s offense. As the primary blocker for what was known as “Student Body Right,” he was a nightmare for opposing defenses. Made famous by former Trojan coach John McKay, the simple running play is a sweep to the strongside in which the weakside guard, tackle and tight end pull to the same side. Matthews, as the playside guard, also broke his split to the right and led the charge, blowing up the first man in sight.

Despite USC’s postseason ineligibility and three road losses to top 15 opponents, Bruce’s senior year in 1982 saw the Trojan offense outscore opponents 302 to 143 and the team finished at No. 15 in the AP Poll.

Bruce was named to the All-Pac-10 after his junior and senior seasons, earned consensus All-American honors in his senior year, and was awarded the Morris Trophy the same year, given to the best lineman in the conference.

Following his final season as a Trojans, Bruce was No. 9 overall pick of the Houston Oilers in the 1983 NFL Draft.

Arguably the most versatile lineman in NFL history, Bruce started games at both right and left guard, right and left tackle, center, and long snapper. Blocking for the likes of Pro Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell, quarterback Warren Moon, and running back Eddie George, Matthews was named First-team All-Pro from 1988-1993 and 1998-2000 and was elected to the Pro Bowl roster fourteen times.

In 1999, Bruce and the Tennessee Titans fell to the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. After such a dominant career, Matthews was inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007 and has coached on the professional level with both the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans.

Below is a special video moment of reflection by Bruce Matthews as he reflects upon his football life.

The Obvious: Jeff Bregel (1983-86) was a two-time consensus All-American (1985-86) out of Granada Hills (Calif.) Kennedy, who was recently nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Jeff Bregel (photo above) was a consensus two-time All-American for the Trojans in 1985 and 1986.

The Not So Obvious: A captain on the 1986 team, Jeff won the 1985 Pac-10 Morris Trophy for most outstanding offensive lineman. He played in the 1985 Rose Bowl, 1985 Aloha Bowl and the 1987 Citrus Bowl.

A two-time first team All-Pac-10 selection (1985-86), Jeff won the USC Player of the Game versus Notre Dame in 1985. In 1986, No. 79 also won USC’s Football Alumni Club Award for highest grade point average.

In addition, Jeff played in the 1986 East-West Shrine Game and was a two-time Playboy Preseason All-American. In 1986, he was also a recipient of a NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship and a National Football Scholar-Athlete.

During Jeff’s USC career, the Trojans were 26-20-1.

Following his brilliant USC career, Jeff was drafted in the second round of the 1987 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played on two 49ers Super Bowl championship teams in 1988 and 1989, respectively.

Below are some video highlights of Jeff Bregel’s (No. 79) career as a Trojan.

Offensive guard Jeff Bregel (highlights above -No. 79) has been nominated recently for the College Football Hall of Fame.

The Obvious: And finally, you can’t talk about great USC offensive lines without spotlighting the offensive guards, a group of men that were once “pulling” and leading the way for those celebrated tailbacks.

The Not So Obvious: Next Friday, the O/NSO will complete our offensive line groupings with the most unheralded performers when we pay tribute to our four-man Mount Rushmore of centers. Who are your four?

Previous O/NSO USC Football Mount Rushmore position selections:

The head coach: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-football-mount-rushmore-series-edition-presenting-the-immortal-head-coaches/ 

The quarterbacks: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-quarterbacks/  

The running backs: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-tailbacks/  

The wide receivers: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-wide-receviers/

The fullbacks: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-fullbacks/

The offensive tackles: https://wearesc.com/o-nso-the-usc-mount-rushmore-series-the-offensive-tackles/

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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