Its late August and both USC and UCLA will get to see how their seasons begin this week. The defending Pac-12 South Division champs Bruins will play host at the Rose Bowl (Saturday at 7 p.m.) to a gritty Nevada team under first year Head coach Bill Polian. The Trojans will travel to Hawaii to take on former assistant coach Norm Chow.
Led by All-American quarterback Brett Hundley the Bruins look to improve on their (9-4) record from last season. Hundley completed 318 of 478 passes for 3740 yards for 27 TD's and also ran for another 720.
Anthony Barr (Loyola) will lead the defense that gave up 27 ppg. He was second on the team in tackles with 83 (60 solo) behind Eric Kendricks 149 (91 solo).
"We have to learn how to finish games," said Barr-Who was named one of the teams captains recently. "We need to be more consistent, we would come out strong one game and not finish as strong. We definitely need to improve on that."
The Trojan have everyone's All-American WR Marqise Lee (Serra) He owns or shares 22 USC records (5 are Pac-12 records and 1 is an NCAA mark). He has 191 catches for 2,864 yards (15.0 avg.) with 25 TDs in his career, along with 40 kickoff returns for 1,141 yards (28.5 avg.) with 2 TDs, 18 carries for 139 yards (7.7 avg.) and 3 tackles.
The starting QB is unsettled Max Wittek and Cody Kessler will both play for USC against Hawaii. The staff wont even pick a starter until the team arrives in on the island. Wittek started the final two games last season for USC while Matt Barkley was injured, but Kessler had a strong training camp this month.
Center Marcus Martin (Crenshaw High) described the both of them, "Cody is a real high-energy guy, he likes to get the team going," said Martin. "Max is more serious and more focused. He likes to concentrate on executing the play. Cody is more hyper. He likes to laugh and clap it up and say, 'C'mon boys."
ADD UCLA: The Bruins will try to stop 3 time All-Conference player Brandon Wemberly (Gardena High). Last season he had 70 catches for 845 yards . . . Barr has a former Loyola High teammate playing for Nevada, DE Jordan Hanson. They have been friends for years. Before camp Barr the two were at Hanson's home for a family barbeque. "You always want to see your friends do well, "said Barr you always want to compete and be the best, that's what real men do."
Hanson had 44 tackles 21 unassisted will be one of the top performers on that side of the ball. He will be joined by Charles Garrett DB from Los Angeles (Dorsey High). "The kid's (Garrett) is a ball player, He shows up every day and works really hard - he gives it 110 percent," said Hanson.