By Greg Katz – WeAreSC
The Obvious: Jimmy Gunn, a consensus USC Trojans All-American defensive end who wore No. 83 and was a major component of the original famed “The Wild Bunch” defensive line in 1969, passed away last Saturday in Los Angeles at age 66 from heart failure.
The Not So Obvious: So strike up Dr. Arthur C. Bartner’s Trojans Marching Band (above photo) and play “Fight On” and “Conquest” in honor of the late Jimmy Gunn and old No. 83. For those old enough to remember and for those not old enough to remember, Jimmy Gunn remains truly one of the Trojans all-time greats, regardless of position. A member of the USC Hall of Fame (2001), he was the epitome of a Trojans defender under legendary coach John McKay. Having seen him play during his USC career, Gunn was very fast, cat-quick, extremely rugged and physical, and brought a real sense of domination and leadership to his game. He played seven seasons in the NFL for the Bears, Giants, and Buccaneers.
The Obvious: Jimmy Gunn (6-1, 210) will always be remembered for his courageous play in the thrilling 1967, 21-20, Trojans victory over UCLA in the Coliseum that positioned the Men of Troy for John McKay’s second national championship.
The Not So Obvious: What made Gunn’s performance so remarkable, besides harassing and pounding UCLA Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Gary Beban, was that fact that he played the fourth quarter with torn knee ligaments. It was the type of performance of which legends are made. As a testament of his character, Gunn was named co-captain of the 1969 Trojans.
The Obvious: During his USC career, Jimmy Gunn played opposite two other All-America defensive ends in Tim Rossovich (1967) and Charlie Weaver (1968).
The Not So Obvious: Tim Rossovich will be inducted into this year’s USC Hall of Fame class.
The Obvious: San Diego Lincoln High’s most famous football alumni and former Trojans football great is Pro and College Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen.
The Not So Obvious: Like Allen, Jimmy Gunn is also a high school graduate of San Diego Lincoln High.
The Obvious: There were over 22,000 fans that showed up at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for last Saturday’s Trojans Spring Game.
The Not So Obvious: Most would agree there might have been more and it certainly speaks to the building enthusiasm for the 2015 season. The Trojans Marketing Department also saw marketing in the 22,788 in attendance and took full advantage of the situation. On Monday, the marketing department sent out an email encouraging fans to buy a home game seasonal seat cushion for an early bird special of $40 per seat.
The Obvious: There are a number of high school pipelines that seem to funnel football players to USC, and none is currently more proficient at it than local powerhouse Gardena (Calif.) Serra High.
The Not So Obvious: So what is the allure for Serra players to come to USC? Recently, sophomore linebacker Olajuwon Tucker told the O/NSO, “The big thing is kind of the same thing like having the Serra family and the Trojans family. We all come together as one, so we try to come together and play with the same guys you’re use to (playing with).”
The Obvious: George Farmer is a former USC wide receiver, who elected to forego his senior season to enter the 2015 NFL draft, which will take place later this month.
The Not So Obvious: While there will be excitement and anticipation for the “visible” Trojans like DL Leonard “Big Cat” Williams, WR Nelson Agholor, RB Buck Allen, and ILB Hayes Pullard, Farmer’s future in the draft may be the most intriguing.
The Obvious: College Football Hall of Famer coach and longtime college football analyst Lou Holtz is leaving ESPN after 11 years.
The Not So Obvious: Say what you want about “Granny,” but as Notre Dame’s head football coach, he gave the Trojans a major bundle of losses.
The Obvious: One of the great wins of the second John Robinson coaching era at Troy was a thrilling overtime, 27-20, victory over the Irish in a very cold and very wild Coliseum (90,296) in 1996.
The Not So Obvious: After the game, Holtz would say the loss to the rival Trojans was “like getting punched in the gut.” The victory by the Men of Troy snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Irish.
The Obvious: The 1996 Trojans overtime victory over Notre Dame is filled with juicy trivia.
The Not So Obvious: It was the Trojans first overtime win in three tries. Trojans tailback Delon Washington scored on a 15-yard run with 1:50 to go in regulation and then tied the score at 20-20 with a two-point conversion. In overtime, running back Rodney Sermons caught a five-yard scoring toss from quarterback Brad Otton. The Trojans held on when the Irish’s final overtime gasp, a fourth down pass from ND quarterback Ron Powlus, was knocked down by SC linebacker Mark Cusano.
The Obvious: Former Trojans offensive coordinator Mike Riley, recently the head coach at Oregon State, has completed his first spring practice as the new head coach at Nebraska.
The Not So Obvious: Given that he previously coached at Oregon State, the likeable Riley had to be comforted when 76,881 fans showed up in the Cornhuskers’ Memorial Stadium for the annual spring game.
The Obvious: And finally, one of the Trojans pleasant spring surprises was sophomore offensive lineman Nico Falah, who is majoring in non-governmental organization.
The Not So Obvious: Asked recently why he was a non-governmental organization major, Falah said, “I am a giver; I like helping out the people a lot.”