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Players Get to Coast, With Coach’s Blessing

Times Staff Writer

Training camp is typically no day at the beach for USC football players, but Saturday proved to be just that for a team that opens its season Sept. 3 at Hawaii.

The Trojans spent part of the afternoon on the sand watching the women’s finals at the Manhattan Beach Open volleyball tournament.

“I was just sunbathing out there,” offensive lineman Taitusi Lutui said. “I had to work on my farmer’s tan.”

Coach Pete Carroll said the beach trip was part of his team’s preparation for the opener.

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The Trojans depart for Hawaii on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 1, and they will stay in a beachfront hotel away from the bustle of Waikiki.

“Guys are going to walk out the back door of that hotel and they’re going to see the beach and the pools and all the stuff, so I thought it was kind of fitting,” Carroll said after the Trojans returned to campus and conducted a walk-through in preparation for today’s scrimmage at the Coliseum.

Carroll said the team would follow a similar schedule in Hawaii.

After the walk-through, players and coaches boarded buses that took them to a downtown hotel where they were scheduled to spend the night.

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“This is exactly what we do for a ballgame,” Carroll said. “The process is underway.”

Lutui said he was looking forward to the season-opening trip.

“I’m sure the water in Hawaii is much cleaner than over here,” he said. “Softer sand too.”

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Interactive Athlete is scheduled to launch a Carroll website today.

Carroll said all proceeds from the website -- Petecarroll.com -- will be donated to “A Better L.A.” The nonprofit group is made up of a consortium of agencies and organizations working to reduce gang violence by promoting change in individuals and communities.

Carroll helped found the agency in 2003 after driving through gang-ravaged areas on his way to work.

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Kickoff for today’s scrimmage is at 1 p.m. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. Admission is free.... Players will be split into two squads for the scrimmage. The first-unit offense will not face the first-unit defense.


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