USC Now
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Oral arguments set for NCAA's appeal in Todd McNair's defamation suit

An appeal hearing in the defamation lawsuit that former USC assistant coach Todd McNair filed against the NCAA is scheduled for next month in Los Angeles.

The NCAA is seeking to have the California Court of Appeals overturn a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s 2012 ruling against the NCAA’s motions to dismiss the case and keep documents under seal.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Oct. 15.

The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times filed an application with the appellate court to unseal the NCAA documents.

McNair filed his lawsuit in June 2011, two months after the NCAA denied his appeal to overturn a penalty imposed against him as a result of an investigation that centered on former Trojans running back Reggie Bush.

McNair was not named in the NCAA’s infractions report but he was the assistant coach the NCAA determined “knew or should have known” that Bush had dealings with two sports marketers. The NCAA also determined that McNair had engaged in unethical conduct and sanctioned him...

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USC Now mailbag: The Boston College debacle is still on your mind

Welcome back to the USC Now mailbag, where you're still asking about USC's 37-31 defeat by Boston College and are already worried about the 2016 game against Alabama.

Let's get to it. 

Farzad asks: When is [USC Coach Steve Sarkisian] going to realize that Cody is not developing and not getting better? This is going to end badly against UCLA and ND.

He is slow in decision making. Many times he has over 6 or 7 seconds and has no clue. Late in the game when it's too late he pads his stats.

If he played better when the game counted his defense doesn't need to come back on the field after 1, 2, 3 out. Please, someone needs to realize that.

Lindsey: Interesting issue you raise, Farzad. You're not alone, many readers emailed with a similar question.

My question for you is, what is this theory that he's not developing based on?

Gary Klein points out in this article that Cody Kessler is having a good season.

Kessler is one of four quarterbacks in college football who has thrown 100 or more...

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Marqise Lee is sidelined for Jacksonville Jaguars game on Sunday

Marqise Lee sat out three games because of a nagging knee injury during his final season at USC.

After two NFL games, he is once again sidelined.

The Jacksonville Jaguars rookie will sit out Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts because of a hamstring injury, the Jaguars announced.

"My main focus is getting it right," Lee told reporters. "A hamstring can linger. If you try to continue to come back, come back, come back at 85 and 90 [percent], you still can have issues."

Lee overcame hamstring tightness during the week to catch two passes for 11 yards in last weekend's 41-10 defeat by the Washington Redskins.

He has eight receptions for 73 yards.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer questions in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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Ed Orgeron turned down coaching opportunity, report says

There will be no cookies for Nicholls State.

Ed Orgeron, who served as USC's interim coach in 2013, recently turned down an opportunity to become Nicholls State's interim coach, CoachingSearch.com reported

After USC fired Lane Kiffin in September 2013, Orgeron injected energy into the program and led the Trojans to a 6-2 record last season. The gravelly voiced Orgeron preached the need for players to have fun, and made symbolic gestures such as reintroducing cookies to the training table.

Orgeron left the program before the Las Vegas Bowl after USC announced the hiring of Steve Sarkisian as permanent head coach.

On Sunday, Nicholls State Athletic Director Rob Bernardi reportedly received a resignation letter from coach Charlie Stubbs. Bernardi told CoachingSearch.com that his immediate reaction was to reach out to Orgeron, who lives near the Louisiana school and coached linebackers there in 1994.

Orgeron reportedly turned down the offer because he had told his wife he would sit out...

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USC coaches are on the road recruiting

USC has an open date Saturday, so Trojans coaches are spending the second half of the bye week on the recruiting trail.

Five assistants were absent from Thursday's practice: Tee Martin, the receivers coach; Keith Heyward (defensive backs); Chris Wilson (defensive line); Marques Tuiasosopo (tight ends) and Clay Helton (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks).

"Our coaches were chomping at the bit to get on the road," USC Coach Steve Sarkisian said.

Sixteen players have committed to the 2015 class, which has 24 available scholarships. Three players -- quarterback Ricky Town, linebacker Cameron Smith and offensive tackle Chuma Edoga -- have signed grant-in-aid agreements.

"It's a balanced class," Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian said recruits have responded "great" to the first-year staff.

"I think people have a pretty good idea of the style of play in which we are going to play on the field," he said.

USC is 2-1, 1-0 in the Pac-12 Conference.

The Trojans resume their schedule against Oregon...

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Trojans tackle Zach Banner says focus is on own team and no one else

Offensive tackle Zach Banner said USC isn't focused on past or future opponents during its bye week.

"We need to just focus on ourselves and take care of us -- everything will fall into place," Banner said. "No one else matters."

After a 37-31 loss to Boston College, the Trojans are 2-1. They resume Pac-12 Conference play on Sept. 27 against Oregon State.

Banner, a third-year sophomore, said the team would use the Boston College experience as a lesson. USC gave up five sacks.

Banner described the line's performance as a "lack of execution. We didn't come out to play our game."

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer questions in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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USC cornerback Chris Hawkins looking for next interception

Chris Hawkins intercepted his first pass against Boston College.

It was only a matter of time, the redshirt freshman said.

“It was something I worked for a long time,” he said. “So it wasn’t surprising when it came.

“Being my third game, and finally putting my hands on the ball, it’s just a great feeling.”

Hawkins has made 11 tackles and now has one of the Trojans’ five interceptions.

“In the first two games I was hungry for it,” he said. “In this third game, I was just playing football and it came to me.”

Hawkins could have ample opportunity to make plays in the Trojans' next game against Oregon State on Sept. 27.

In two games, Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion has completed 52 of 82 passes for 628 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception.

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Ty Isaac is denied hardship waiver, will sit out season at Michigan

Former USC tailback Ty Isaac will not carry the ball for Michigan this season.

The NCAA denied Isaac's appeal for a hardship waiver, Michigan Coach Brady Hoke said Wednesday.

Isaac, a sophomore from Shorewood, Ill., transferred to Michigan during the summer, citing a family medical issue. His mother reportedly underwent hearing-loss surgery, which would restrict her from flying to Los Angeles to see her son play.

Isaac rushed for 246 yards in 40 carries and two touchdowns last season. He will have three years of eligibility remaining at Michigan.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer questions in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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Josh Shaw has been forgiven by USC players, Hayes Pullard says

Cornerback Josh Shaw, who was suspended indefinitely by Coach Steve Sarkisian after admitting he fabricated a story about the cause of injuries, has been forgiven by his USC teammates, linebacker Hayes Pullard said.

The Trojans' leadership committee has discussed the situation, said Pullard, one of six team captains.

"Some of the players are still best friends with him in the locker room and you could tell that we were hurt by it at first, but he's our brother and he's our teammate," Pullard said.

Pullard said teammates were waiting for Shaw to have the opportunity to "come in front of the team and announce his apology."

Shaw, a team captain, was suspended before the opener against Fresno State. He cannot participate in team activities but players have seen him in the McKay Center undergoing rehab for leg injuries.

Pullard said he speaks regularly with Shaw.

"I'm just making sure that he's motivated and letting him know that the team forgave him," he said.

Sarkisian has said that no...

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Receiver George Farmer happy to score first touchdown

George Farmer said he was happy to finally get back into to the end zone.

Farmer scored 21 touchdowns as a senior at Gardena Serra High School in 2010.

He scored his first touchdown for USC last Saturday.

Farmer, a fourth-year junior, said it "felt great" to catch a touchdown pass against Boston College.

"Unfortunately, it couldn't contribute to a win," he said of the Trojans’ 37-31 defeat.

Former coach Lane Kiffin played Farmer at running back as a freshman and as a seldom-used receiver as a sophomore. During spring practice in 2013, Farmer suffered a major knee injury and was redshirted last season.

Farmer's first-quarter touchdown gave the Trojans an early lead, but he said it took a few moments for him to recognize the personal significance.

"It didn't really sink in until I got to the sideline," he said.

Farmer has nine receptions for 72 yards.

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USC's young offensive linemen say travel wasn't the issue in poor play

USC traveled nearly 3,000 miles to Boston College with a young offensive line.

Freshmen Toa Lobendahn and Viane Talamaivao started at guard and Damien Mama rotated in during the Trojans' 37-31 defeat.

Lobendahn said travel didn't contribute to poor play by the freshmen.

"We've gone everywhere," Lobendahn said. "We're used to it."

Most top-rated recruits are seasoned travelers.

Lobendahn, Talamaivao and Mama logged thousands of miles during their senior years of high school.

All three participated in "The Opening," a four-day invitation-only camp on the Nike campus in Beaverton, Ore., and in the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, among other camps and tournaments.

"We were definitely prepared mentally, physically," Lobendahn said of the Boston College experience. "We just didn't execute when we were supposed to."

The Trojans allowed five quarterback sacks and rushed for 20 net yards.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer...

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Trojans will play seven home games in 2015

USC’s 2015 schedule includes seven home games, among them Pac-12 Conference games against Stanford, Washington, Utah, Arizona and UCLA, the conference announced.

The Washington game will be played Thursday night, Oct. 8.

The Trojans play road games at Arizona State, California, Colorado and Oregon. The Colorado game is on Friday night, Nov. 13.

USC plays nonconference home games against Arkansas State and Idaho. The Trojans also play at Notre Dame.

The schedule:

Sept. 5 – Arkansas State

Sept. 12 – Idaho

Sept. 19 – Stanford

Sept. 26 – at Arizona State

Oct. 8 (Thurs.) – Washington

Oct. 17 – at Notre Dame

Oct. 24 – Utah

Oct. 31 – at California

Nov. 7 – Arizona

Nov. 13 (Fri.) – at Colorado

Nov. 21 – at Oregon

Nov. 28 – UCLA

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