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Football hits 1993’s record

first_img9-0. To those Notre Dame alumni who were here during the 1993 football season, this record feels familiar. On Nov. 13, 1993, a 9-0 Fighting Irish team ranked No. 2 in the country defeated No. 1 ranked Florida State at home, 31-24, in the “Game of the Century,” and the No. 1 sign atop Grace Hall lit up the next day. “I’ll never forget after we won the game when that No. 1 lit up,” 1994 alum Steve Camilleri said. “It wasn’t there for very long, but to have that No. 1 light up when you’re a student at Notre Dame, especially during your senior year – It’s really special.” One week later, Boston College dashed the 10-0 Irish’s hopes for an undefeated season on a game-winning field goal in the final seconds of the game, and the No. 1 light went out. “[At the Boston College game] there was a sense of exhaustion I think all around in the student body, in the fans and in the team, because the Florida State game had been such an effort and such an undertaking for everyone,” 1994 alum and University photographer Matt Cashore said. “I think everyone was just a little flat.” As this year’s 9-0 team travels to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to reprise the “Holy War” on Saturday, Camilleri said he expects a different result. “This Notre Dame team that we’re putting on the field Saturday night in Boston is not going to lose to this Boston College team,” Camilleri said. “It’s just not going to happen.” Despite hopes for a win over Boston College this year, Camilleri said he sees a lot of parallels between his senior football season and this one. “I’ve been in the stands at all the home games this year. I was at the game in Chicago when we played Miami, and I just felt a lot like I did back in 1993,” he said. “There’s just a real excitement and an energy that’s as heightened as it’s ever been since 1993.” While previous Notre Dame teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s had been consistently ranked in the top 10, Cashore said students expected the 1993 season to be a “wait and see year.” Quarterback Rick Mirer had just graduated, and promising freshman quarterback Ron Powlus had broken his collarbone before the season began. But senior quarterback Kevin McDougal shone in the second game of the season with a 27-23 win against Michigan, a game Notre Dame was expected to lose, and Cashore said that changed the momentum of the season. “They didn’t expect much out of Kevin McDougal, and the Michigan game was his chance to show what he could do and the team’s chance to show that they were going to exceed expectations,” Cashore said. Many fans also began this season skeptical of the team’s ability and uncertain over who would be taking the snaps. This time sophomore quarterback Everett Golson stepped up to show he could lead the offense, Camilleri said. “The way the team bounced back last weekend against Pittsburgh, they found a way to win,” he said. “Everett Golson found a way to win.” Confident in Golson’s leadership, many fans started looking forward to a national championship as this year’s undefeated record continues, just as in 1993. “Everyone was going ahead booking plane reservations for whatever the bowl game would be for the national championship … and suddenly snapped awake in the fourth quarter [of the Boston College game],” Cashore said. While the loss to Boston College didn’t completely squash the 1993 team’s chances for a national championship, Florida State ended up winning, despite a loss to the Irish earlier in the season. “We felt like we deserved to be the national champion because we beat the team that became the national champion,” Camilleri said. “We were disappointed, but we weren’t disappointed in our team. We were disappointed in how our team got voted. I think some of us still think we were the national champion that year.” Cashore said most students’ reaction to the national championship snub was to say, “We’ll be back.” “There was a sense that … this is a place that will always be in contention for a national championship,” Cashore said. “We certainly didn’t have the sense of, ‘Well, that was the last chance for 20 years to do that.’ … No one foresaw the bad string of almost 20 years that happened.” While the pressure is on for the 2012 team to reclaim the national championship title that was just out of reach for their 1993 counterparts, Camilleri, executive director of the South Bend Center for the Homeless, said win or lose, the two Notre Dame football teams are united by their players’ unique concern for the community. “I’ve been fortunate to get to know some of the players because they volunteer at the Center for the Homeless. … They are just an incredible group,” Camilleri said. “Much like the team I knew in ’93 who were friends of mine, this team is very deeply involved in helping out their surrounding community, and that is one of the best comparisons we can make.” Contact Tori Roeck at vroeck@nd.edulast_img read more

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Trail Mix – Charlie Parr

first_imgMinnesota singer/songwriter Charlie Parr returns with a brand new record.I fell in love with Charlie Parr’s music back in 2011, when I first heard “Jesus Met The Woman At The Well” off of his release Keep Your Hands On The Plow. Charlie’s sandpaper voice and old time banjo wailings captivated me, and I have been following him ever since.Steeped in gospel, folk, and blues, Charlie has been putting out records since 1999 that call to mind the deepest richness of Americana. On each record I hear echoes of the Appalachians and New Orleans, the Piedmont of North Carolina and the wide open prairies of the Midwest. Like a freight train chugging across country, Charlie pulls in sonic passengers and mashes them together, much like the beans and rice he often cooks on his manifold (more on that later).The end result is a music that is, perhaps, more singularly American than any other.I recently caught up with Charlie to chat about the new record, Spam, and manifold cuisine.BRO – You ventured outside of your native Minnesota to record Stumpjumper and this is your first project with a full band. What pushed you outside of your comfort zone for this project?CP – Phil Cook did. He’s been a great friend and supporter for me, and he encouraged me to get out and try something different. I’m glad I did, and if it hadn’t worked I know I still would have benefited from trying it.BRO – Stumpjumper is all originals, with the exception of “Delia.” What is it about this classic murder ballad that made you include it on the record?CP – “Delia” has been part of my personal soundtrack for ages. It just covers a lot – loneliness, regret, unrequited love, justice and injustice, grief. The different versions, and there are several recorded that date back to at least the mid-1920s, are varied and all have some amazing lines, and the whole thing started with one horrible night in 1895, which gives it the gravity it has.BRO – I know you play a variety of instruments. When you hear a song, during the writing process, do you hear it on a specific instrument or do you have to play around with it until you find the right match?CP – I actually don’t play a variety of instruments. I play guitar (reso and twelve string) and banjo, but I play them all the same. The songs I write can be played on any of the three, and it’s just kind of a  mood thing, when it comes time to play, as to which sound I want to hear while I’m playing a particular song. So it changes from time to time, and recording is just another time, so it depends on what I feel like doing just then.BRO – We are featuring “Over The Red Cedar” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?CP – It’s just kind of a meditation inspired by a conversation I’ve been hearing lately that usually goes along the lines of folks thinking times are okay, and then it turns out that they’re not. I walk a lot and find myself walking to water whenever there’s some around, so at least there’s that.BRO – You grew up in the hometown of Hormel. Be honest . . . did you ever get tired of Spam?CP – We rarely ate Spam, and for many years now I haven’t eaten any meat. When I was a kid, my dad preferred beef and cooked a mean chili. I don’t know for sure, but it might be that when you work in a pork processing plant, you might develop an aversion to certain foods. I can’t say for sure, I’m just guessing. Beans and rice will never let you down.BRO – When will manifold cooking gain distinction as haute cuisine?CP – Never. It’s too practical, not good for folks with control issues, resists a lot of variation, can be messy on your upholstery during prep, and is prone to unspectacular failures.It looks like Charlie is taking the month of May off from touring, but fans from the Midwest to the Rockies can catch him once June rolls around.For more information on Charlie, where his tour is taking him, or how to get your hands on Stumpjumper, please surf on over to Charlie’s website.  Also, be sure to take a listen to “Over The Red Cedar” on this month’s Trail Mix.And, if you want to get your hands on a copy of Charlie’s brand new record for free, Trail Mix and the fine folks at Red House Records would like to make that happen. Take a shot at the trivia question down below and email your answer to A winner from all of the correct responses received by noon on Thursday, May 7th, will have a brand new copy of Stumpjumper shipped right to his or her own personal mailbox!Question . . . . As mentioned above, Charlie grew up in the hometown of Hormel. What Minnesota town would that be?And remember . . . . email your answers in. Putting the answer in the comment box below is just no fun for anyone!last_img read more

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first_img Moody to lead Broward County Bar Association Steve E. Moody was recently installed as president of the Broward County Bar and Sharon Attas-Kaplan will serve as president of the association’s Young Lawyers Section.In addition, several awards were presented to local attorneys and judges who were voted by their peers to exemplify the highest standards of professionalism in the practice of law. They include:•The Lynn Futch Professionalism Award to Douglas M. McIntosh.•The Young Lawyer’s Section Paul May Professionalism Award to Catalina Avalos.•The Steven R. Booher Award to Judge Leonard Fleet.Other officers and directors of the Broward County Bar include President-elect Timothy L. Bailey, Secretary/Treasurer Victor P. DeBianchi, Jr., and directors Edward Holodak, Christopher M. “Chris” Neilson, John C. Primeau, Brenda DiIoia, Carlos M. Llorente, Barbara K. Sunshine, Julie F. Klahr, M. Ross Shulmister, Donald R. Walters, Deborah Poore FitzGerald, Ted P. Galatis, Jr., John G. Jordan, Edwina V. Kessler, Bruce A. Weihe, Jeffrey A. Weissman, and Linda Spaulding White.Other officers of the Young Lawyers’ Section include Angel Petti Rosenberg, president-elect, Robyn Vines, secretary/treasurer, and directors Anne Ogden, Adam Rabinowitz, Chris Connally, Michael Gilden, Dean Khan, Quentin Morgan, Scott Chitoff, and David Hirschberg. Steel Hector lauded for diversity For the fourth year in a row, Steel Hector & Davis has topped the Minority Law Journal’s annual diversity scorecard.The survey, conducted by the National Law Journal and published in the Spring 2004 issue of the Minority Law Journal, found Steel Hector & Davis is the most diverse law firm in the nation with 29.2 percent minority lawyers.The survey also found the firm has the most minority partners with 23.5 percent and the highest percentage of Hispanics with 23.1 percent. No other Florida law firm placed within the top 25.The National Law Journal compiled its rankings from survey results of the nation’s 250 largest law firms. The data was based on information provided by the firms. All figures are as of September 30, 2003. And, although the Minority Law Journal changed its formula to include only lawyers who are U.S. citizens (in past years non-U.S. citizens were included), the Journal notes that Steel Hector continues to top the list. YLD’s Romance honored St. Thomas University School of Law recently honored Mark A. Romance, the immediate past president of The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division, at its annual reception at the Bar’s Annual Meeting in Boca Raton. Each year, St. Thomas University School of Law recognizes one of its graduates for his or her commitment to improving the professional lives of the state’s young lawyers.This is the second consecutive year that Romance has been so recognized by the school. Dean Bob Butterworth presented the award. The Bar’s International Law Section is all over the map Canada, Russia, Latin American. And more.All of that is on the plate of the Bar’s International Law Section, which is working to place Florida not just as a center for commerce with Central and South America, but with the world.“The main thought is that Florida is experiencing a lot of international trade, banking, and investment from all over the world,” said new section Chair Lucius Smejda. “We’re trying to lay a basis for our Bar to receive these people, integrate them, and familiarize them with Florida law, so they will have productive, successful relationships with Florida.”And the section is working hard to meet that challenge with a series of upcoming CLE seminars, both in Florida and around the hemisphere.“We’re hoping to unify The Florida Bar to expand and improve the International Law Section to the extent we’ll be the best international law section in the U.S. We’re now rivaling those of California and New York,” Smejda said. “That’s our challenge for the next few years.”Courses include one set for November 15-17 in Montreal that will deal with international financing issues, with a focus on the U.S., Canada, and Russia. The program is aimed at business executives, top government finance officials, lawyers, accountants, and financiers. Topics will include investment opportunities in all three countries, financing issues, trends in equity markets, tax and corporate planning, and related issues.That will be followed by a seminar on Euro-American businesses, tentatively set for late February or early March of 2005. This seminar will include comparative tax laws and practices, negotiating international contracts, investment laws and practices in various countries, and ways to resolve disputes, including a mock arbitration. There will also be an international notarial conference that will look at the dynamics of civil law notaries and at structuring real estate investments.Besides those, the section will have its annual immigration seminar early next year, and it is working on a course on international litigation courts set for mid-2005. Stone’s professionalism honored The Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism presented Professor Ruth Stone of Florida State University College of Law the 2004 Faculty Award during the Bar’s Annual Meeting in Boca Raton.Throughout her career, Professor Stone has served as both a prosecutor and a private practitioner. She is a clinical legal education teacher and co-director of the Florida State University in-house clinic, The Children’s Advocacy Center. She has developed her own program for the domestic violence section and law office management, ethics and professionalism. In addition, Professor Stone has revised the chapter “The History and Philosophy of the Juvenile Court” for the last three editions of the Florida Juvenile Law and Practice book. Professor Stone is the faculty advisor and head coach for the FSU College of Law Mock Trial Team and is current president of Tallahassee Women Lawyers.Each fall, The Florida Bar Center for Professionalism solicits and coordinates the award nominees from each law school dean. The Faculty Award is presented to a single faculty member of one of Florida’s accredited law schools, who, through teaching scholarship and service to the profession best exemplifies the mission statement of the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. Donet recognized for section work David A. Donet of Coral Gables received the 2004 Tradition of Excellence Award from the Bar’s General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section at The Florida Bar’s Annual Meeting in Boca Raton.Donet, a native of Cuba who came to America at age 14, was recognized for his long service to the section, including as chair in 1989 and supervising its annual Attorney’s Fees CLE seminar for 13 years.Donet’s other activities include service on the Bar Journal and News Editorial Board, editing the section’s column for the Journal, and receiving the Cuban American Bar Association’s pro bono award for service to the community August 1, 2004 Regular News Briefslast_img read more

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Have you woven together your credit union’s marketing efforts, brand, and culture?

first_imgEver been the victim of a “bait and switch”? See an ad for something at a great price, almost too good to be true. You go to the store, or website…and they’re out of stock. But there are other items available, substitutes, usually. And they’re almost always different enough or more expensive enough that you don’t buy.You took the bait, they switched the goods, and you’re left feeling misled and mistreated. That can’t help that company’s reputation, can it?

 That’s what happens when organizations don’t think about their own culture and align it with their marketing efforts. And it’s a common fail.

 Most organizations think: here’s a product, here’s a service. How can we sell it? What’s the key message? What’s cool now? What will catch folks’ eye? How can we appeal to our target demographic? The effort to create marketing and advertising is built around the product, and the medium we’re using, and the folks we’re trying to reach. Makes sense, right? But all too often, the product/member/media discussion leads to one type of message…which the culture of the credit union or company can’t support.Consider a radio spot with young adults talking about where they bank. One of them says his credit union is great. Nice people, friendly, fast. And the ad works. A young person comes into a branch… and the switch is complete. There are tellers…but there’s a line. There are forms to fill out. It’s right before lunch… and that teller isn’t thinking “friendly”…she’s thinking, “hungry.” That potential customer….maybe now, not so much.

The ad worked – but it hadn’t considered the culture. In this case, the culture couldn’t support the outreach. The actual experience didn’t match the advertised experience. Bait and switch.When effective organizations think about marketing, they think not just product, media, target. They think culture. They ask themselves: who are we, how do we behave, and can we support the advertised experience through our people, processes and behaviors.

 And keep in mind: culture is not what you say. It’s what you DO. Culture is the sum total of all the behaviors in your credit union. Align them with your marketing, and potential members will become actual members.Too many people say (when referring to their logo), “But, that is our brand.” Your organization’s brand is not a color or image. Your brand is the emotion that people feel when thinking about your organization or seeing your logo. Much like culture is not what you say, a brand is not what you do…but rather, how you make people FEEL. 

Have you strategically woven together your marketing efforts, brand, and culture? It’s still early enough in the year to revisit strategic goals. Make sure your marketing efforts and brand truthfully tell your members who you are, what you do, and leave them feeling something positive. Tell your story honestly and avoid the old “bait and switch.”If you need help aligning your marketing efforts with your brand and culture, consider working with the forward-thinking team at Chatter Yak. 34SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Deb Schaffer Director of Business Development and host of Social Media Chats ™ for Chatter Yak with a passion for financial institutions and more than 17 years experience in the financial services industry. … Web: Detailslast_img read more

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How NOT to change your financial institution’s name

first_imgI have the privilege of facilitating workshops for bank and credit union associations across the country. During a recent workshop I conducted on branding, participants took a valuable detour to discuss financial institution name changes.I have worked in this industry a long time, and I’m still amazed at the stories my workshop participants tell me about how their financial institutions were renamed. Based on that recent workshop, I offer you four methods your financial institution should never use to change its name.We like (fill in the blank)…let’s do that. Your name change efforts are doomed for failure if the name is selected based on the common interest of a few employees.“We like butterflies, let’s name it after that.”“Everybody likes patriotic themes. Let’s go in that direction.”A name change requires research and strategy and should reflect your financial institution’s potential for growth. It’s not based on what random people like.Let the CEO do it. Your CEO is taking a big gamble if he or she changes the name without anyone else knowing about it. This actually happened in at least one financial institution we know. The CEO didn’t just choose the name. He also worked with a vendor and had a logo created to match the new name. The result was not good. A name change using this method may work for a small business owned by one person, but your financial institution does not fit that description.  continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Noel Buje no longer exists, but San Canzian Village & Hotel will continue to be a place of high gastronomic offer

first_imgIn the Istrian village of only three inhabitants near Grožnjan, in the middle of last year, San Canzian Village & Hotel was located – a new five-star boutique hotel. A unique place that exudes an authentic Istrian atmosphere, combining traditional and modern offers guests an individual approach and superior service. San Canzian has a total of 24 rooms and suites inspired by Istrian charm that are fused into a medieval ambience. After the successful completion of the first phase of the San Canzian project, which culminated in the inclusion of this Istrian pearl in the prestigious group Small Luxury Hotels of the World, one of the most exciting hotel projects in Croatia in 2020 is moving forward.  Thus, from January 1, the management of San Canzian Village & Hotel completely took over the management of the entire offer, with a day focus on the unique and unforgettable experience of its guests.  Photo: FB Mario Mandarić This is the right direction we need, as many small family and boutique hotels as possible, with a top and authentic offer. This means that Noel Buje no longer exists, but the owners of the San Canzian Hotel and the owners of the Zagreb restaurant Noel will still continue their cooperation through occasional joint gastronomic “pop up” projects, as the hotel owners point out. Photo: San Canzian Village & Hotel “Precise, not pretentious cuisine, based on excellent local ingredients, distinguishes the only Croatian chef who was a sous chef in a 3-Michelin-star restaurant. The top-quality breakfast is created from local and mostly organic ingredients from our own production, and for lunch guests have at their disposal an a la carte offer of modernly presented traditional Istrian dishes such as maneštra, pljukanci and seasonal truffles. The selection of menus in sequences inspired by the Istrian climate, paired with top wines from our walk-in wine cellar, will satisfy even the most demanding connoisseurs of fine cuisine. stand out from San Canzian Village & Hotel. In San Canziano, they are aware that in addition to top-quality, local, and possibly organic food, the most important ingredient for the success of a restaurant is a top team. It is for this reason that the important star of the Croatian culinary scene, the chef, has taken over the important function of chef Mario Mandarić, who has so far been a chef at the Roxanich Wine & Heritage Hotel in Motovun. The natural surroundings of the outdoor pool with panoramic views of the olive groves and vineyards provide guests with an ideal atmosphere to enjoy and relax with the soothing sounds of nature. A top restaurant and certainly one of the best wine cellars in Croatia make San Canzian Village & Hotel a top gastronomic destination. The cooperation with the prestigious Zagreb restaurant Noel, the holder of the Michelin star, resulted in top restaurant and bar facilities in the hotel itself and a clearly defined, high gastronomic offer. But after the “incident” in August 2019 with the then chef of San Canziano, the owners decided in the New 2020 year to take full control of the entire offer. The most important thing is that San Canzian Village & Hotel will continue to offer top service in every segment, including a high gastronomic offer.last_img read more

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HLEG recommends ‘enhanced’ ESG role for European supervisors

first_imgIt highlighted this as an area of “policy direction” for the European Union, saying the ESAs “should build sufficient expertise on sustainability issues, scenario analysis and general ESG factors related to medium and long-term risks”.It specifically recommended that the role of the ESAs in assessing ESG-related risks be enhanced.The European Systemic Risk Board last year recommended that stress tests of European pension funds cover climate-related risks.The HLEG’s report set out eight recommendations in total in its report.It recommended that the EU develop a classification system and establish an official European standard and label for green bonds and other sustainable assets.Commissioners Valdis Dombrovskis and Jyrki Katainen said in their introduction to the report: “These labels will provide the confidence and trust in sustainable and green products needed for investors to fund the transition to the low-carbon economy.”PensionsEurope, the trade body for European pension funds, welcomed the classification and label recommendations.  However, Matti Leppälä, secretary general of the association, cautioned against introducing new rules and obligations for the European pension fund sector, saying that the HLEG’s report included suggestions on revising the European pension fund directive IORP II.“The new IORP II directive includes many provisions on ESG, as part of risk management and investments,” he said. “It would be advisable to first see the impact of these new rules before expanding them.”ESG ‘integral’ part of fiduciary dutyThe HLEG noted that the IORP directive took sustainability issues into account, but said that it and other directives would need to be reviewed to implement “the clarification of fiduciary duty and sustainability”.The HLEG has recommended it be clarified that managing ESG risks is an integral part of fiduciary duty. A single set of principles on fiduciary duty and the related concepts of loyalty and prudence should be established in the European Union, according to the HLEG.Stefanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), said “the identification, disclosure and effective management of the huge physical and transition risks posed by climate change” must be at the core of any “functional definition” of fiduciary duty.“We therefore endorse the call by HLEG for the recent recommendations from the FSB’s Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures to be integrated in a way that advances EU leadership on this agenda and provides greater legal certainty alongside efforts to ensure an international level playing field,” she said.The other recommendations set out by the HLEG were to:-       unlock investments in energy efficiency through relevant accounting rules;  –       strengthen ESG reporting requirements;  –       introduce a “sustainability test” for EU financial regulation; and –       create an organisation dedicated to developing and structuring infrastructure projects and matching them with investors. The report said the group had identified “dual imperatives” for the European financial system.The Commission said it would start exploring the HLEG’s early recommendations “as of now”.The group is due to present a final report at the end of 2017 and will continue to examine other policy areas, such as integrating sustainability considerations in ratings.The report can be found here. The European Insurance and Occupational Pension Authority could in future include environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in its stress tests of pension funds, the European Commission-appointed High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on sustainable finance has suggested.The idea was included in a wide-ranging interim report on its work to help develop an EU strategy on sustainable finance, published today.The other European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) could do the same, the report said, identifying climate-related risks as the most “obvious”.However, this should only happen once “sufficient expertise on sustainability has been built up to avoid undue scenarios and outcomes”, according to the HLEG.last_img read more

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Daily closures planned next week on S.R. 62 for patching work in Jefferson County

first_imgCanaan, IN—INDOT maintenance crews will complete deep patching operations on S.R. 62 next week between C.R. 325 E. and Flatbottom Road in eastern Jefferson County, west of Canaan.The road will close daily at this location from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Monday, October 7, through Friday, October 11, weather permitting.S.R. 62 will be open to local traffic only. Access to homes within the closure will be maintained.The official detour route for all thru traffic is U.S. 421 to S.R. 129.last_img

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Special teams paying dividends for Trojans

first_imgSpecial teams.Just by the name, the unit separates itself from all other units in a team. Yet, despite what your second-grade teacher might say, simply because something appears special doesn’t mean it’s all that special. Special teams is the area on many teams where second- and third-string players get their chance to see some playing time.That’s how it mostly was under Pete Carroll. Unless a kicker pulls a kick wide, the long snapper snaps the ball over the punter’s head or the return man muffs a punt, the unit remains like Michael Cera — you don’t know he’s there unless something happens to him.That’s all changed with new coach Lane Kiffin. With him, special teams really is special.Kiffin wasted no time in making it known that he was going to put a large emphasis on special teams. For the first 30 minutes of the first spring practice, Kiffin had every player participate in special teams drills. Linemen were catching punts and running backs were blocking kicks.Senior tailback C.J. Gable, senior wide receiver Ronald Johnson and redshirt junior linebacker Chris Galippo have all said they’ve never spent as much time on special teams as they have this year.“We got more emphasis on it now,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot better now. Everyone’s paying a lot more attention to detail and everyone’s buying in, and we are just making big plays now.”The added emphasis has paid off, as already the Trojans have two returned kicks for touchdowns and blocked one field goal. To compare, in the last four years, the Trojans had a combined four kicks returned for touchdowns and it already has two in three games.“I would challenge that we put more time and dedication into our special teams than anybody in the country and it’s continued to pay off for us three games in a row,” Kiffin said.Not only has it continued to pay off, but it’s paid off at critical points in all three matches.The biggest momentum-turning play on special teams happened last week at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers, big underdogs, had just taken the lead in the third quarter, and you know how underdogs work. The longer you let them stick around, the more dangerous they become.Freshman wide receiver Robert Woods wanted no part in that, so he acted like the bully at school who steps on ants for fun and returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. That gave the Trojans a lead they would never relinquish.Then there was the Virginia game two weeks ago. With 3:49 left in the game, USC had a 17-7 lead, but Virginia was lining up for a 35-yard field goal attempt to make it a one-possession game. The last thing many Trojan fans expected was for Virginia to be within a touchdown that late in the game.Senior cornerback Shareece Wright made sure that didn’t happen. He twisted off the right side and blocked the kick to preserve the two possession game.Lastly, don’t forget about Hawai’i, when senior wide receiver Ronald Johnson returned an 89-yard punt, the longest for USC since 1992, in the third quarter to put the Warriors away.I would argue that without those three plays on special teams, USC would have one or two losses next to its name.How does this happen? How do you get a team that paid as much attention to special teams as a kindergartner does to broccoli to all of a sudden buy into the fact that the broccoli turned into chocolate?It’s great coaching by Kiffin and special teams coordinator John Baxter.“It brings a lot of trust,” Johnson said. “At first, last year a kick return, I didn’t trust it at all. Now Woods is hitting it full steam ahead and coach Baxter really installed a lot into us.”One person that Baxter needed to buy into the system is Galippo. The redshirt junior was a starting linebacker for the Trojans last year and now his playing time mostly comes on special teams. But instead of complaining about his demotion, Galippo has taken his new role very seriously.“It’s pretty special,” Galippo said. “Coach Baxter’s a heck of a coach. To be in week three and have two special teams touchdowns, they both came in critical points in the game that completely flopped the momentum — it just shows how important they are and how playing on special teams you’ve contributed to the team.”For Baxter, this is nothing new. Before coming to USC this year, he spent 13 years as special teams coordinator at Fresno State where he routinely turned out some of the best units in the country.The Bulldogs led the nation with 49 blocked kicks and punts between 2002-09 and scored 39 special teams touchdowns during Baxter’s time there. For those non-math majors out there (my chemical engineer roommate helped me out here), that means Baxter’s unit averaged three special teams’ touchdowns per year.“We’re not spending too much time,” Baxter said. “We’re spending what you should spend. They didn’t before. That’s not my fault. I got nothing to do with it. All I can control is what our staff does. You guys are used to watching [a team spend little time on special teams] but I’m not.”It’s because of Baxter and Kiffin that special teams has become special again at USC.“Spittin’ Sports” runs every Thursday. To comment on this article, visit or e-mail Kenny at read more

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