Sunday, September 26, 2004

A Win is a Win is a Win...

Well, the Trojans did about everything they could to lose the game to Stanford. In an effort strangely reminiscent of the Cal game last year, USC looked very flat on defense in the first half and made several critical blunders to allow the Cardinal to jump out to a 28-17 lead at halftime. Give Stanford credit, they had an extra week to prepare and they had a nice scheme for a half, but USC simply played dominant football in the second half and pulled out a tough 31-28 win at the Farm. It is games like this where an outstanding coaching staff led by Pete Carroll makes all the difference. Click here to hear what Pete Carroll has to say about the tailgate (make sure your volume is on!)

The tailgate at Stanford was a huge success. We had a great crowd with about 25 people in attendance.

The food was spectacular (special thanks to Derek Patao for manning the grill for about 8 hours!!!) and the drinks were flowing. Stanford is a great place for tailgating and the weather was perfect. Dan Cherrie and Aaron "AT" Wooler were all star performers and there were no logistical issues thanks to the tireless efforts of the Hoovers and Clare Flynn

We had a lively crowd after the game and we enjoyed some well-deserved cocktails while watching the Oregon St./ASU game....the best way to savor another road victory. We added a taste of local (well almost local) flavor to the tailgate when the Haggquists drove up from Monterey for the game. Thanks to Larry and Kath for making the trip, picking up some critical last minute supplies and of course for providing room and board to the tailgate caravan on Friday night

The tailgate is in mid season form and will be hitting on all cylinders for the Cal game. Speaking of the Cal game, game time is set for 12:30 and that means breakfast will be served for the first time this year. Needless to say, for a game of this magnitude, the tailgate will be set up early and rumor has it that ESPN Gameday will be setting up at the Coliseum (if Cal wins on Sat)...yet another reason to come down early.

As the tailgate veterans know, our tailgate has fond memories of ESPN Gameday at the Rose Bowl last year. We are trying to develop a themed drink for the Cal game...if you have any ideas let us know (remember it will be a morning tailgate)

Before we break down the game in detail, we would like to congratulate Derek Patao for winning the trivia contest last week. He correctly answered that USC did not cover the spread against Vtech (2004), Cal (2003) and BYU (2003). Derek will receive his award at the Cal game. Of course, the Trojans did not cover the spread this week, which gives us significant pause as we are now concerned that the trivia question has jinxed the Trojans. This weeks question is less susceptible to jinx: Before Keith Rivers, who was the last Trojan to wear #55? Award to be given at Cal game to first person to email Tim with the answer.

Some thoughts on the game:

  • There are more positives than negatives coming out of the Stanford game
  • Since Pete Carroll arrived, the Trojans have always played with tremendous heart and this game was exhibit A....The team did not fold, but rather met the challenge head on and overcame adversity....a sign of a championship team
  • The WRs played great with Steve Smith, Dwayne Jarrett and Chris McFoy all making big plays. Smith is developing into a go-to receiver while McFoy made the play of the night by battling for a key first down in the 4th quarter
  • Leinart may have had his best game throwing the ball this year...his throws were on time and on target. However, taking a sack to push the Trojans beyond FG range was a blemish on Matt's report card. Matt's streak of 15 straight games with at least 2 TD passes was broken (Alex Holmes dropped a pass in the end zone on the first drive)
  • Fred Davis finally got in the act with a 15yd reception. He will be used more vs Cal.
  • Reggie Bush showed some tough inside running in the 4th quarter picking up critical 1st downs. With LenDale hurt, Reggie really stepped up....How about that punt return!!!

  • The Trojans were very close to blowing the game wide open in the first quarter....up 10-0, USC forced a fumble deep in Stanford territory. Somehow the ball eluded 4 Trojans and found the lone Cardinal player. If USC gets that ball and goes up 17-0 (as opposed to Stanford scoring on that drive to make it 10-7) it was lights out.
  • The Trojan defense gave up zero points, 37 yards and 2 first downs in the second half. The Trojans have only given up 10 points in the second half this year (2.5 pt average)
  • True freshman Keith Rivers awoke the tradition of #55 and wreaked havoc from both his LB and DE spot
  • Darnell Bing is really starting to play well....he will be a difference maker on defense this year
  • USC has played it very close to the vest on both offense and defense this year...expect them to show several new wrinkles against Cal
  • Stanford's TD run at the end of the first half was the worst play in the Pete Carroll era, closely followed by the fake punt at ND in Pete's first year
  • Ryan Kileen will make a big kick this year...mark it down!

Details for the Cal tailgate to be posted next week.

Fight On!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Cougars were Crushed....Road Trip to the Farm

USC rolled to another lopsided victory, beating BYU 42-10. The Trojans have now won 12 straight games and are an amazing 13-3 against the spread the last 2 years (despite several 20+ point spreads). I am not sure anyone reads this, but we will give a special reward to to the first person who emails Tim with the 3 games USC has not covered in the last 2 years. Award will be presented at the Cal tailgate on October 9th.

Couple notes on the BYU game:

  • Trojans got hosed on several calls in the first half including a bogus holding call on Alex Holmes (which negated a pass from Bush to Steve Smith on the BYU 1yd line), a "dead ball" foul on Reggie Bush while the play was developing and a phantom PI call on Jason Leach (notice how he shows the official that he is not using his hands)

  • USC dominated the ground game with 290yds rushing and is averaging over 300yds rushing in its last two games. Both Reggie and Lendale went over 100yds, the first time 2 Trojans rushed for over 100yds in the same game since 1998.

  • The OL and WR groups continued to improve. OL seems to be pretty darn good right now, but the WRs still have a way to go
  • Ronald Nunn was burned deep for a TD and will likely lose his starting CB spot to freshman Eric Wright

Road Trip to Stanford
As promised in the preseason tailgate release, we will be road tripping to Palo Alto for the game. We will be bringing a "slimmed down" version of the tailgate including TV/Satellite, grill, USC EZ Up, USC flags and a few chairs. No keg, no bar and no second tent. Among the 20,000+ Trojans expected to make the trip will be tailgate veterans Flynns, Hoovers, Pataos, Haggquists, Dan Cherrie and Aaron Wooler.

We will be set up in Lot 10 (on Galvez outside tunnel 6) at about 11:30 Click here to find Lot 10. Due to travel/space constraints we will not be able to provide the same amount of food and drink as we are accustomed to. To make sure you get your fill, you may want to bring your own food/drink to the tailgate...sorry for the hassle, but we simply do not have the space as we are only bringing one cooler. Feel free to call Tim's cell (310 508 5858) or Andy's cell (310 480 7798) if you have trouble finding us or have questions.

We will be watching ND/Washington, Florida St/Clemson and WSU/Arizona pregame and likely will watch the Oregon St/Arizona St game post game. This is a key Pac 10 match-up. Hope to see you at the tailgate and the game!

Stanford Preview

  • Stanford is better than last year and is 2-0 with blowout wins over San Jose St. and BYU.
  • The Cardinal will likely rely on their talented wide receiver duo of Evan Moore (6-7) and Mark Bradford, both of whom were recruited by USC
  • Stanford's OL and RBs are OK, but not great. I would expect USC to play a basic defense early, shut down the run and bring blitzes later in the game if needed....very similar to the way the Trojans defended BYU.
  • On offense, the Trojans will likely take advantage of a mediocre Stanford DL and really punish the Cardinal with the run. For the first time since Pete and Norm arrived, we may actually run to set up the pass as opposed to vice versa.
  • I also expect to see Leinart throw the ball deep out of play action. Look for William Buchanon (#31) to get involved in the offense. Buch looked great in camp, but suffered a hyperextended knee the week before VaTech. Norm will put him in rotation to give Cal something else to think about on Oct 9.
  • There may be more USC fans than Stanford fans at this game...lets hope the Trojans can grind out another win on the road. With next week off, the Trojans they face off against Cal on October 9th.

Fight On! and Beat the Farm!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

CSU Review/BYU Preview

Now that is how the Trojans play football! In front of the second largest opening day crowd in USC history (85,000+) and the largest opening day crowd since 1981, the USC Trojans simply dominated the CSU Rams 49-0. The Trojans were clicking on all cylinders, particularly the running game with USC garnering over 320 yards rushing. Leading the way was Lendale White, who rushed for over 120 yards and three touchdowns, including this one in the first quarter.

The tailgate got off to a great start as well, also setting an opening day attendance record We had about 30-35 people show up, with a good mix of old school tailgate veterans and some fresh new faces. Thanks to everyone for attending! Tailgate tidbits:

  • The best news from the tailgate is that we will be setting up in our traditional spot on the corner of Menlo and Leighton for the rest of the year. To get that corner spot, the tailgate will need to be set up at least 5.5 hours before kick off.
  • Andy and Clare fought through numerous technical difficulties to successfully set up the DirectTV using a mixture of advanced geometry (Clare) and exceptional alcohol-aided creativity (Andy). The satellite can be very fickle so make sure to thank Andy when you see that TV working! It was worth the hassle to watch the Irish "wake the echoes" in the second half to beat Michigan.
  • Liz took charge of early cooking duties, standing over a hot grill in 92 degree heat to make those tasty turkey burgers and sausages while the rest of us watched TV in the shade with a cocktail. Thanks Liz! We will give some thought to a different menu for the next game...suggestions welcome.
  • The group finished a keg before kickoff and the keg will make another appearance for the Cal tailgate on October 9th. The technical issues with the jockey box have been solved. We will ensure that beer will be available post game in the future. Thanks to Aaron Wooler for providing the keg and jockey box.
  • The new and expanded bar set up was a success and will continue to be enhanced. Look for some themed drinks at the Cal game.
  • A very successful start to the tailgate home tailgate on October 9th vs Cal. Game time is TBD, but our sources tell us it is likely a 12:30 kickoff, which means breakfast will be served.

Game Notes/BYU Preview

  • Several freshman made significant plays in the CSU game including Dwayne Jarrett with this TD catch, Eric Wright with an interception and Jeff Schweiger with a sack, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.

  • Jeff Byers, a freshman center, played extensively in the second half and will likely get some work at guard this week in an attempt to move into the starting OL.
  • Manuel Wright simply dominated the 4th quarter from his defensive tackle position, recording a sack, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery for a TD all in the 4th quarter.
  • RB Herschel Dennis has been reinstated for the BYU game and should help a very strong USC RB unit.
  • BYU played the Trojans tough at the Coliseum last year and will present a very stiff challenge to the Trojans this week in Provo.
  • BYU plays an unconventional 3-3-5 defense which is based on confusing blitz packages to stuff running lanes and put pressure on the QB. Matt Leinart threw 3 interceptions against the Cougars last year.
  • BYU beat Notre Dame and Notre Dame beat a #7 ranked Michigan team, so BYU has proven they can play....particularly at home.
  • BYU TE Daniel Coats is a big time player and really hurt the Trojans last year. QB John Beck is a scrambler and running QB's have given the Trojans trouble in the past (see Va Tech)
  • The Cougars have not shown much consistency on offense, with a limited running game and a passing game dependent on the deep ball. If the Trojans can limit big plays, USC will likely limit the Cougars scoring, but the real test will be if USC can move the ball against BYU, something the Trojans struggled to do last year.

Thanks again for everyone who made it to the tailgate, we hope to see everyone again on October 9th at the Coliseum. Detailed info to come later.

Fight On!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Home Opener vs Colorado State

USC Football at the's finally here!!!!!!! Our USC Trojans continue their quest for the 2005 Rose Bowl by taking on the Colorado State Rams on Saturday 9/11 at 5pm at the Coliseum. This is the first time since 1981 that the Trojans have been ranked #1 and playing in the Coliseum.

The LA newspapers are expecting "a near sell-out" at the game on Saturday and with the temperature expected to drop back into the mid-80s, I will take the over on 83,000. The CSU Rams have a solid team and should provide a real challenge to the Trojans . Before we preview the Rams...lets talk tailgate logistics. Most importantly, please email us by Thursday 5pm at and let us know if you are coming so we can plan accordingly.

Location: We are hoping to set-up in the same spot as last year (grass lot on Southwest side of Coliseum on Menlo, South of 39th Street, just outside tunnel 13, adjacent to cement bus/rv lot). There is a possibility this lot will no longer be used for parking and if so, we will likely set up on the lawn on the North side of the Coliseum outside tunnel 18. Please call Tim at 310 508 5858 or Andy at 310 480 7798 on gameday to confirm location. As usual, you can always look for the USC flags flying high, the 2 EZ Up canopies (one blue, one cardinal) and the cardinal Volvo SUV.

Time: The tailgate should be set up just after 11:30am (game is at 5pm) and we should be serving lunch at 12:30 or so. There are several pre-game activities scheduled including a jet flyover and raising of the National Championship banner, so the tailgate will probably shutdown a bit earlier than normal...probably 4:15. We will definitely shut down the tailgate when the Trojan Marching Band goes by. Click to hear the Band (requires Real Media Player). I know you have heard it before, but given the large crowd, we would encourage you to show up early, grab some lunch, hang with friends and watch some football on DirectTV. We will also set up the spread post game for about 90 minutes.

Menu: For the first game, we are going to keep it to tailgate basics...Burgers (meat and turkey), chicken sausages, salad and appetizers. Keg of Coors Light and margaritas (on the rocks and blended). There will also be a full bar including the house chardonnay, Kettle One, Captain Morgan's, Cuervo 1800 and other favorites. There will be all the mixers, plus plenty of water and soda.

Entertainment: As usual, we will have the DirectTV set up watching college football. Click here to see a list of all the games on TV , but the highlights include UCLA vs Illinois (9am), Notre Dame vs Michigan (11:30pm), Georgia vs South Carolina (2:30pm) and BYU vs Stanford (7pm). The Trojan Marching Band should pass by at about 4:15 or so.

CSU Game Preview

  • Quarterback Justin Holland has a very strong and accurate arm. The passing game is the key to CSU's offense. Holland is not very mobile, so look for the Trojans to apply substantial pressure. The Rams will have success passing the ball, but will struggle to run.
  • WR David Anderson, a 1st team All Mountain West performer last year, had a huge game last week with over 150 yds receiving. He will be Holland's primary target.
  • Also look for the Rams to utilize their All Conference Tight End/H-back in the passing game, particularly on third down and in the red zone.
  • USC will counter the strong CSU QB and WRs with a ferocious pass rush. I expect several sacks and turnovers from the Trojan defense.
  • CSU is very young and inexperienced on defense. Look for USC to apply a heavy dose of Lendale White and Reggie Bush while working in the passing game.

  • This is the week the USC offense busts for Fred Davis (#83) and explosive offensive production from the Trojans.

That is it for now. We hope to see you all out at the game.

Fight On!