Trojans will need maximum protection

first_imgWith concerns over the Trojans’ future looming after the departure of such mainstays as Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Mark Sanchez, the potentially unstable Trojans can look to one reliable unit as a source of balance: the offensive line.The already-experienced unit sacrificed none of its 2008 starters to either the NFL or lasting injury in the offseason. Understandably, such a veteran group of players arrive with hype proclaiming them the best O-line in the nation.Big assets · The Trojans’ offensive line should be one of the deepest in the nation, a huge advantage to whoever ends up playing quarterback. – Ian Elston | Daily Trojan Naturally, offensive line coach Pat Ruel doesn’t buy into any of that kind of talk.“Let me tell you something, you’re only as good as your last play and what you did,” Ruel said. “There’s too many times when people talk about how good you are and you start listening to it and then you’re not working as hard as you should.”Regardless, the affable Ruel budged a little when pressed about the talent and experience of his boys.“We have a chance to be a very good offensive line, and it’s going to be determined by how much hard work we put in and how well we prepare, and their attitude,” Ruel said.Sixth-year senior left guard Jeff Byers agreed with Ruel about the real value of hype.“Rankings mean nothing at the beginning of the season. The toughest challenge for a line is to perform week in and week out,” Byers said. “Offensive line’s a real special position in that every week it’s a different challenge.”When asked about any potential weaknesses in the offensive line, Ruel wryly replied “coaching,” before continuing to offer some criticism of his highly touted players.“I think that right now we’re behind in some pass protection stuff. We’re not clean on picking up some stuff. We’re there, but we just need to fundamentally get there,” Ruel said.Despite Ruel’s concerns over his line’s protection against the pass rush, coach Pete Carroll expressed confidence in the unit’s ability to protect the man behind center.“Our quarterbacks couldn’t ask for a better supporting crew around them,” Carroll said.Junior center Kristofer O’Dowd, who was sidelined during spring practices with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, remained the one major question mark on the roster. At summer practice, O’Dowd confirmed he had been fully cleared to play. The 2008 All-Pac-10 player said that he was “confident” in the offensive line’s ability to excel.“No one left and we’re a smarter group. Things come a lot easier and we can work on smaller details of our game to be a better unit and help this offense and help this team become our best,” O’Dowd said.O’Dowd also denied any nervousness among his fellow starters over the upcoming game at Ohio State, simultaneously offering high praise to his daily opponents on the practice field.“The only defensive unit we’re worried about is the defensive unit we go against every day,” O’Dowd said. “That is the best defense in the country. ”Until this season, Ruel said, the offensive line only ever had eight or nine players in total from year to year. Ruel explained that one benefit of the unit’s retention of all of its starters has been the value of their experience to the team’s new recruits.“We’ve finally got our numbers up a little bit, and now everybody’s talking about how we’ve got a really good talent base,” Ruel said. “Well, that’s what we want. We want our older players now to teach our younger players how to play, how to be competitors, how to be winners and how to be champions.”Both Ruel and Carroll expressed satisfaction with the level of competition between veterans like O’Dowd and Byers and freshmen up-and-comers such as Khaled Holmes and Matt Kalil, the younger brother of former All-American Trojan center Ryan Kalil.“We’ve got a lot of guys battling for playing time that are worthy of playing,” Carroll said. “They’re tough. They’re big enough. They’re smart football players … Now it’ll be really interesting to see if they can’t make a pitch for their playing time.”last_img read more


Carmelo Anthony rejects future bench role with Thunder

first_imgSALT LAKE CITY, UT – APRIL 21: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder cheers from the bench in the first half during Game Three of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 21, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images/AFPCarmelo Anthony isn’t interested in sticking around in Oklahoma City as a bench player for the Thunder.A day after the Thunder were eliminated from the first round of the NBA playoffs, Anthony said during his exit interview on Saturday that such a role was out of the question.ADVERTISEMENT Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC MMA fighter with links to Trump, Cohen is questioned by FBI LATEST STORIES “I’m not sacrificing (with) no bench role,” he said. “I think everybody knows I’ve sacrificed damn near everything, and was willing to sacrifice nearly everything for this situation to work out.”The 33-year-old forward spent significant time on the bench during the Thunder’s first-round loss to the Utah Jazz.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownAnthony, who averaged 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the season, can opt out of the final year of his contract, which is worth $28 million, and not return to the Thunder in 2018.And he indicated he was mulling that option after a sometimes frustrating campaign that followed his trade from the New York Knicks on the eve of training camp. Anthony waived his no-trade clause with the Knicks to make the move happen, with the Thunder hoping he would join established star Russell Westbrook and another OKC newcomer, Paul George, to form a Big Three that would see them challenge the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference.But Anthony said that with the trio joining forces so close to the start of the season “everything was just thrown together” and his role wasn’t properly defined.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img View comments Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident MOST READ Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water recedinglast_img read more