If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

Can you name the USC linebacker in the photo without cheating? I doubt many who read this will guess correctly.

So USC plays Drake on Saturday? I think the Trojans can just about beat anyone and just about lose to anyone in the NCAA Tournament. It will be all about their shooting because they won’t get any bench help from Andy Whinefield.

  • The NCAA Tournament can be extremely cruel. In 1985, USC was Pac-10 champions and then had to play Illinois State in the first round of the NCAA’s. The Trojans were overachievers and only the No. 8 seed. The game was played at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.

There was a good crowd because Oklahoma, the No. 1 seed and led by Wayman Tisdale, played that night too and would play the winner of USC-Illinois State in the next round.

USC lost to Illinois State, 58-55, and didn’t play well. It was a late Thursday night game and all of a sudden the Trojans were booked on an early Friday morning flight back to Los Angeles, ending their tournament just as it started.

I was at the game and I can’t really remember much about it now other than USC losing. What I remember vividly, however, is going back to the hotel after the game. Ed Arnold, the former KTLA sportscaster, hopped behind the bar and started making everyone drinks. And most of the USC team spent stayed up the whole night in the bar/restaurant area playing cards and tried to forget what had happened vs. Illinois State.

Just like that, a successful season that included double OT and quadruple OT victories over UCLA, was over.

  • These were the days when USC could lose to Illinois State on Thursday and a fair number of fans were still excited on Friday night to go to the Sports Arena and watch the Cheryl Miller-led Trojans play in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
  • Evan Mobley was named a second-team All-American on the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Assn. team on Thursday.
  • I’m told a couple members of the USC track team were suspended for attending a party in violation of COVID-19 protocols. Earlier, I reported the baseball team had seven players suspended for going to a casino. And I hear another sport (not football) has had similar violations.
  • It will be interesting to see where former USC wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe gets drafted because it will show how much NFL teams place value on measureables. He had a 46.5 vertical leap and 11-foot, 2-inch broad jump.
  • I heard again this week from an NFL scout that USC coaches are downplaying defensive tackle Jay Tufele, who some project as high as a second-round pick. Those coaches never actually coached Tufele in a game and should tell NFL teams to contact the 2019 coaches.
  • No. 12 USC tied No. 3 UCLA, 2-2, in women’s soccer Thursday night. Tara McKeown scored two goals and hit the crossbar with a free kick in the 100th minute of OT.
  • USC is hosting the NCAA men’s water polo championships this weekend. The Trojans defeated Bucknell, 18-9, on Thursday and advanced to the semifinals for the 16th straight season.
  • Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, has USC going to the Elite Eight in his NCAA bracket. Not surprising since Emhoff attended USC law school.
  • Andy Katz has USC losing to Iowa in the Sweet 16 but also says USC is one of his five darkhorses to make the Final Four.
  • And now for some history:

It’s not often you can say an All-American is overlooked. But linebacker Willie Hall has hardly received the credit he deserves from USC.

Hall was the team MVP in 1971, quite an accomplishment for a defensive player. He was all-Pac-8 when there was only one team and just three linebackers selected. Hall was on five All-American teams (AP, UPI, Sporting News, Time, Football News) and led the team in minutes played in 1971. He was a team captain. He was player of the game vs. Notre Dame in 1970.

He was a second-round pick in the 1972 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. Hall joined the Oakland Raiders in 1974, where he played in 46 games, made 39 starts and intercepted 5 passes. In 1977, Hall started at middle linebacker on the Raiders’ team that beat Minnesota in the Super Bowl. Hall intercepted a pass (stepping in front of Ahmad Rashad) and recovered a fumble at the 1-yard line.

Raiders linebacker Willie Hall (39) celebrates after recovering a fumble during Super Bowl XI against the Minnesota Vikings at the Rose Bowl, Sunday, January 9, 1977. The Raiders won 32-14.
Willie Hall holds ball aloft after recovering a fumble in Super Bowl vs. Minnesota Vikings

Hall came to USC from Arizona Western College, meaning he was another key junior-college player the Trojans relied on in those days.

  • It’s too bad the tradition of wearing No. 83 died out. You had Jimmy Gunn, Willie Hall and Richard Wood all wear it consecutively.
Jimmy Gunn wore No. 83 before Willie Hall.
  • In 1972, USC won the national championship with a 12-0 record and is considered one of the greatest teams in college football history.

But the Trojans’ travel plans would never be allowed today.

When USC played at Oregon the Trojans took a late-night flight Friday and arrived in Eugene at 2:45 a.m. on Saturday. This was for a game that kicked off in the early afternoon because the Trojans flew home at 6 p.m. on Saturday night.

The sports science experts would freak out today with that itinerary. How did USC play? The Trojans fumbled nine times but that was because of the heavy rain. USC defeated Oregon, 18-0.

  • Be sure to sign up for the USC newsletter, where today I will show the formation used by the 1972 Trojans.

36 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

  1. Jay Tufele ended up hurting his likely position in the NFL draft by not playing last year. If I were a scout, I would have questioned whether he has the toughness and tenacity to play and if he is going to be a slacker.


    1. Didn’t he have a very sick sister that caused his family financial issues? She was in intensive care for a long period and their family needed all the help they could muster. I’m sure he was able to get an agent to front money on signing with an agency. Doubt that his toughness rbs questioned, but it will cost him money. Out of sight, out of mind.
      He was, by far, our best defensive lineman the previous year and it wasn’t even close.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Your Jay Tufele slacker reference is BS. No one on this blog dislikes SUCC FB more than I do. But I would never fault a player for choosing to step away from his Toejam career to help/protect/do what’s best for his family. He did the right thing.

      Football is short term; the family is forever.

      I hope Young Tufele has a fine NFL career.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Actually, karma, Folt DID want to suspend the track members for the remainder of the year. In fact, according to reliable Faculty Senate sources, after 3 cans of fine white wine Folt spoke about “suspending all athletes in all sports forever.” When asked for her justification, she said, “the way they’ve ignored the Path of Righteousness”…..
      #[MeetingWasThenAdjourned Early]

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Josh Imortalbaby can jump broads? I wonder if his parents ever spoke to Helton. They probably spent stayed open playing cards like many Trojans of the past.
    As far as I know Scott is the only one with editing privileges on this blog, yet his copy reads like a cheap kindle product. I have to post a second time and often give up trying to get spelling to stay the way I wrote. I wonder what his excuse is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! No matter what the professional Scott haters say you aren’t gonna get better Trojan stuff than this Friday column anywhere else….

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Even with all the “shade” cast, Damn ain’t it great to be a Trojan?
    Turning the corner on the COVID…
    Plenty of Vax available if we old dudes wanna take it…
    Spring FB ’round the corner which will give us a bunch more to b!tch about…
    MBB showing promise [even if next year will be tough without E Mobley. Enjoy his last game(s)!]….
    Looking at a 1000 day victory streak–at least–vs UCLA FB and MBB….

    No shade in my corner.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Willie Hall was a great Trojan and a great NFL star. Brought plenty of glory to USC back in the day. I never missed a Raider game if it was on the lil rabbit-ears TV back then.

    Plenty of great history with the LB numbers–#35, #55, etc. Be really nice to be able to tout a #55 LB again….

    Nevertheless, if we want to reserve #83 for a fine OLB prospect (along with TE or WR), let’s do it. It’s all about getting back to a #55.*

    E. Mobley vs Garza (Iowa) would be a dream match up. Great test. Hope we get to see it. Frosh vs Senior….

    USC athletics has been discipline with COVID restrictions and done very well overall. I, for one, am proud of the program’s efforts over the past 12 months.
    Go Keidane and Soccer! Go MWater Polo!

    Wishing y’all a great Friday. Today’s column sure helps.

    *Sending Claiborne to ASU isn’t gonna’ help in this regard, is it?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Liked by 3 people

    1. I respect the shit outta JuJu. He’s someone who is always giving to the team, never taking. And he’s provided fans lots of royal moments…..

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m torn on this whole “giving back” to the home team, especially for young guys playing a sport where a single moment can be your last professionally. What happens if Juju ruins his knee a a play during camp? I guess there insurance, but still I’d think twice before committing to less.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. There’s that. I get what you’re saying. But I can’t help admiring someone who says, “I have more than enough to take care of myself for the rest of five lives … and now I want to end my playing days with my guys in my town. Let it rip.”

        Liked by 3 people

  6. great notes column as usual – really enjoy the picture of Willie Hall and the Trojan linebackers wearing #83


  7. I thought it was Dick Wood ( Lindsey Nelson called him ) but the Cal unis didn’t look right … so went with Gunn. Didn’t know Willie was # 83 always thought he wore his Raider #39. My goodness what 3 great players !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.