Wolf: Dog days of training camp officially arrive at USC
Notes and observations on USC football …
LOS ANGELES — The dog days have officially hit USC thanks to the fact training camp opened an earlier-than-normal July 29th.
USC players can’t wait to face someone else after three weeks of practice and are itching to play Western Michigan, or anyone really, besides practicing against themselves.
“It’s been the dog days for this whole week, really,” safety Chris Hawkins said. “I caught myself complaining in the shower today about the repetitiveness.”
Hawkins initially liked the early start to training camp as the NCAA allowed more days of practice following the elimination of two-a-day workouts. But now he is ready for something else.
“We were halfway done and still had 15 more practices,” he said.
Being a student-athlete requires more time than ever.
• Special teams coach John Baxter seemed to bristle over the fact kickers Michael Brown and Chase McGrath mostly struggled during training camp.
“I know casually from the sideline everybody worries about the result,” Baxter said. “The result matters in the games. I can’t predict it. It might go good and it might not. But regardless of what happens, I’m here to coach them.”
That doesn’t sound like a vote of confidence for the kickers, does it?
• USC will honor the 1967 team on its 50th anniversary Friday night at the annual Salute to Troy dinner. The Trojans won the national title and played what is arguably the most famous game in school history, when fourth-ranked USC defeated top-ranked UCLA, 21-20.
The most-remembered play is O.J. Simpson’s 64-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Simpson, of course, will not be at the reunion Friday. He remains in a Nevada jail and is officially not welcome at USC.
But several other players are expected: fullback Mike Hull; left guard Fred Khasigian; left guard Steve Lehmer; linebacker Bob Jensen; right guard Mike Scarpace and linebacker Jim Snow.
A notable exception is offensive tackle Ron Yary, the 1967 Outland Trophy winner and No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Yary said he never received a formal invitation to the dinner and when he called USC, he was not told which teammates would attend.
“They wouldn’t give out the list of guys who were going,” Yary said. “I’m not going if I don’t know who was there. I would have liked to have seen some of those guys.”
Instead, Yary will watch his son, Jack, an offensive lineman at Vista Murrieta High, at a scrimmage Friday night.
• USC on Thursday unveiled a 20-foot statue of Hecuba, the female counterpart to Tommy Trojan at the grand opening of its new Village project. One of the speakers at the ceremonies was former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a graduate of UCLA.
USC went out of its way to note Villaraigosa’s daughter attended USC and he taught at the university.
The first impression of Hecuba is that it will never make anyone forget Tommy Trojan. It looks like a drama student performing in a Greek play.
• USC basketball lost out to Duke earlier this week for forward Marvin Bagley, considered the nation’s No. 1 recruit. So what happens with USC coach Andy Enfield’s scholarship offer to Bagley’s 7-year-old brother?
• Former USC offensive line coach Bob Connelly, an assistant under Steve Sarkisian, is coaching at Long Beach Poly.
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