USC Spring Football Midterm Report 2016

In case you're checking, yes, this isn't a recent photo. They didn't let us take pictures so this is from a 2012 spring practice.

In case you’re checking, yes, this isn’t a recent photo. They didn’t let us take pictures so this is from a 2012 spring practice.

We’re at about the halfway point in spring practice with the closing up on practice #7.The total of 14 practices culminate in the annual Spring Game on April 16.

Sadly, I’ve only been able to attend about two practices so far and I’ve mostly been watching the offense…but I’ll give you what I got. Yeah. You know that thing they say about “Don’t quit your day job“? Well, for your information, if I actually quit my day job, I’d be able to do more and write a better report. Kind of a catch-22 situation.

Since we’re on the topic, “catch-22” seems to be what Max Browne is trying out with the team. Zing! It’s one thing to try to spread the ball out amongst all your receivers, but passing to all the defenders isn’t exactly a winning formula. Okay, now that’s out of my system. But seriously, while I want Browne to win the starting quarterback job, he hasn’t done very well both Saturdays I was in attendance. The first time, he threw three interceptions, which was slightly offset by the two touchdowns. At the Coliseum this past Saturday, he only threw two near interceptions. Those were dropped by the defenders. However, he wasn’t able to complete very many passes either.

Maybe I’m the problem. Once is just life, twice makes a pattern. If I stop going to spring practices, maybe Browne will do better. Nah, forget that. I’m not the superstitious type. Let’s just cross our fingers that this isn’t a microcosm of the entire team. Wait…

Anyway, the offensive line, while improved in some areas, certainly don’t look good with the snap. A majority of them were high, wasting precious time fielding them. If that doesn’t get fixed, it’ll get real nasty in games—unless someone can pull one of these off:

The difference is we don’t have a Super Bowl winning scrambler at QB. We should sooner look for the return of Toa Lobendahn or Khaliel Rodgers. Nico Falah did decently filling in as a third-string center the past season, but his snaps haven’t impressed this spring.

There have also been quite a few drops by receivers, when either Browne or Sam Darnold have been leading the team. On the flip side, newcomer Josh Imatorbhebhe runs some of the sickest routes. His cuts are extremely crisp. I feel sorry for the DB that has to cover him—as long as he improves his focus while watching.

Lastly, Justin Davis has looked solid and consistent. He runs with authority and picked up some large gains on the ground. Ronald Jones also continues to excite. Based on the running backs’ performances during fall 2015 and this spring, I am not at all worried about this group.

CommBro Breaker

I wish I had more to report on the defense since we have a “new” defensive coordinator and all. At least I know those corners are doing their jobs!

Zootopia: A Review


Runtime: 1 hours 48 minutes
Budget: Actually Classified?! I am getting tired of this crap.

Disney’s latest film, Zootopia is a thinly veiled social and political commentary on race relations. Other than layering an animal kingdom filter over everything, the film doesn’t really try to hide their agenda pushing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it led to some cringe worthy moments.

Nothing stuck out to me as overtly wrong in the message, but there were some peripherals that I might not agree with. Some parts weren’t consistent either. As long as they didn’t intend it as an allegory, a lot can be forgivable. The topic of race relations can be extremely nuanced and the movie risked oversimplifying at some points.

All in all, the story was well-crafted and they kept it moving along. The characters were believable and their dialogue was especially competent. They even left some room for subtlety in their banter.

CommBro Breaker

The movie attempted to target kids, but how much of it would they really understand? Sure, some of the jokes and slapstick could intrigue them, but so much of the film is dependent on an understanding of the world. And all the implications of the film like:

Did they all become vegetarians/vegans?

Everything involving interspecies couples…

If there is a canine equivalent of UFC, do the dogs all get arrested for dog fighting?

If Pokemon were to evolve and make contact, would they treat the animals like humans treated them?

Etc. Maybe someone with kids can tell me what they thought.

Also, I think almost all of Shakira’s parts could have been removed and it would’ve taken nothing away from the movie.

USC Football: Info Dump

Yeah, so I’ve been slacking in the football department lately. The past few weeks have been slightly eventful and I sure as heck wasn’t talking about the Super Bowl. National Signing Day, Pat Haden’s announced retirement, even the NFL combine were each more individually interesting than that six turnover AFL-NFL championship game. Maybe it’s because I’m bitter that the Seahawks didn’t make it three straight appearances to the “Big Game” (which, incidentally, makes me think of Cal vs. Stanford more than anything). Okay, that’s really just my opinion. Either way, you get a USC football info dump.

We’ll go one by one on each topic. I’ll make it brief because who has the attention span for long posts? I sure don’t!

Recruiting class

A highly ranked recruiting class to be sure. It’s a slight dip from what we’re used to, but hey, given the circumstances, I’ll take it.

Scout #11 overall, Avg.3.90 stars (tied #1)
Rivals #8 overall, Avg. 3.75 stars (tied #3)
247 sports #8 overall
ESPN #11 overall

They got some people for positions of need and tied for highest star ranking on (not that stars are that accruate of predictors of sucess).

miniCommBro Breaker

We got Jack Jones!!! Now we won’t even need to pipe music through the speakers during practice.

He may have aged a bit...

He may have aged a bit…

Pat Haden

It’s been quite a ride for Pat Haden since he entered as the athletic directory in 2010. He had been a trustee of the university basically from when I was born until stepping down to take the AD role. Since then the football team has been:

2010: 8-5
2011: 10-2
2012: 7-6
2013: 10-4
2014: 9-4
2015: 8-6

If you looked purely at records, you might believe they languished a bit under Haden’s watch, but in reality, it was something worse: wasted potential. In virtually every game, the Trojans had a shot (or more) of beating their opponent. Sometimes they would follow through and win. Other times they would fall comically short.Haden can’t and shouldn’t take all the blame for it.

He’s made a lot of decisions that left people scratching their heads. Some have left people outraged.

None of them were made within a vacuum. He answers to the president, board of trustees, the Pac-12 conference, and, yes, even the NCAA. No, I’m not being an apologist. I’m just saying not to be unduly harsh on him. We are looking at all of this in hindsight and without pressure. Yes, he’s made bad decisions, but those shouldn’t completely define him. It would take some combination of naivety or patent dishonesty to make his decisions out to be so single-faceted.

His administration should be remembered for exactly what it is: a mixed legacy.

NFL Combine
CommBro Breaker

I’ll talk about it after the USC Pro Day so I can lump it all together. Try not to feel too cheated.

London Has Fallen: A Review

London Has Fallen

Runtime: 1 hours 39 minutes
Budget: Apparently classified because of how hard it is to find a reliable number. Estimated to be anywhere between $60-105 million.

Nothing about London Has Fallen’s plot is special. In fact, the last time something revolutionary was produced from a combination of Americans, British and lots of shooting was the U.S itself. Not only was the story generic, but there were a lot of cliches and cheesy one-liners.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers also decided to carry over a distracting gimmick from the previous film, Olympus Has Fallen. The superimposed text took away more than it contributed. It draws attention away and torwards minor characters that just plain don’t need it. Meanwhile, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart aren’t even close to fully utilized.

After that two paragraph hatefest, you’d think the film was a summer action movie cash grab. Well, I’m here to tell you that March doesn’t count as summer—not even in California. Sorry folks (CommBro Breaker)1; this movie actually contributes some cinematic value.

While the setting of its predecessor provided a much better backdrop for the carnage, London Has Fallen provided a more memorable experience. Employing the ‘ole Whiskey Hotel brings an almost cheap sense of national pride. It’s like being 5% short of alerting your professor that you cheated. Yes, London Has Fallen overcame near-cheating to be the better film.

You could tell they actually put some thought into the thing. The action was satisfying. Fights had respectable choreography. Soldiers actually made use of cover. The highlight of the film was its continuous shot towards the end.

IF you enjoy action, the film definitely has enough merits to outweigh the drawbacks. That is unless you absolutely hate America.

CommBro Breaker

Refer to 1

By the way, I was pretty much right. Gerard Butler was almost superhuman.