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June 4, 2007

Run at Number One

The college football magazines are rolling out their preseason rankings and as expected the Trojans are coming out on top of the heap.

Pete Carroll returns a slew of starters from his Rose Bowl championship team that will be joined by yet another top-3 recruiting class.

Lindy's Sports Annuals says that Carroll is the "King of LA" and will be on autopilot to another national title. They pick the Trojans as the No. 1 team in the country and list Sam Baker, Keith Rivers and Sedrick Ellis as a First Team All-Americans.

The Sporting News also declared the Trojans as the best team in the land and predicts that John David Booty and Rey Maualuga will be the Pac-10 offensive and defensive players of the year. Rivers, Ellis, Booty and Baker are all First Team All-Americans.

Athlon Magazine lists USC as the top team in the country as well and selects Booty, Baker, Maualuga and Taylor Mays as First Team All-Americans.

But these hollow honors are just words on pieces of paper or computer screens. The real determination of success comes from the hard work put in by the players and coaches. Not just during Saturdays in the fall, but round the clock, all year long.

The Trojans, under Carroll, have this offseason dedication down to a science.

After an intense spring football session the players will now focus on preparing for the rigors of fall camp.

Organized conditioning workouts with Coach Carlisle begin today, with players meeting on the field three days a week followed by time in the weight room.

Coach Carlisle and his staff design an intense series of workouts every week for the student athletes to perform.

Working not only conditioning, but core training, mobility and speed, the players toil away in the hot summer sun with no crowds to cheer them on or SportsCenter highlights to look forward to when they get home.

Even though they have no opponent on the schedule for several months, each of them realizes that the blood, sweat and tears they spill now will equate to victories in the fall.

It is this behind the scenes work that turns a stockpile of five-star athletes into a highly conditioned squad of skilled players. Those players in turn comprise the elite team that Trojan fans have come to expect under Coach Carroll's tenure.

USCFootball.com will continue to cover the team as they prepare for fall camp with interviews, photos and reports from campus.


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