Quinton Bradley isn’t from California, and he is OK with that.
“I wouldn’t want to be from California this week,” the senior defensive end from San Antonio said. “This team is full of California people and everybody is scrambling to get tickets here and there.”
With only two free tickets allotted to each team member, players from California — or anywhere near it — are trying to scrounge up every ticket possible for Idaho’s game against the eighth-ranked Southern California Trojans, which takes place at 5 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles.
Junior offensive lineman Steven Matlock said his tickets have already gone to his fellow offensive lineman, freshman Patrick Johnson, who has family making the trip from his hometown in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Ever since this game got scheduled, a bunch of guys have been asking for the tickets because we only get two tickets for away games,” Matlock said.
Along with California being home to many of the Vandal football players, Matlock said the chance to play in the legendary Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has the team excited.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “That’s just been the talk in the locker room lately. People across the world dream about playing in that stadium, and we’re just really excited about being there.”
The Coliseum has hosted events such as NFL games, the Olympics, massive concerts and everything in between. Oh yeah, and the Trojans have called it home since 1923.
USC is a program with a strong football tradition and has won 11 national championships, claimed 38 conference titles and has had seven players win the Heisman Trophy.
With a game against an elite team like USC, Idaho coach Paul Petrino said it will be a good opportunity for players to impress NFL scouts.
“I think it’s a huge game for Quinton Bradley,” Petrino said. “This is the game people are going to want to see him play, see how he does against them. He should be real fired up to see what he can do against this level.”
Bradley, who had two sacks in last Thursday’s 45-28 loss to Ohio, is a player Petrino singled out as someone who he thinks can play at the next level.
“I haven’t really gotten the chance to play a big-time program yet — healthy,” said Bradley, who played with an injured shoulder against Idaho’s game at Florida State two years ago. “It’s time for me to show that I can play with NFL type players … If you’re not excited to play this game and get national exposure against USC, then you shouldn’t play football.”
But Bradley doesn’t want the big stage to get to him or his teammates.
“You don’t want to overthink it,” Bradley said. “You just want to go out there and play like they’re any other team. You can’t be amazed by the big crowd. I mean it’s nice, but you gotta play a football game.
“They do the same thing we do. It’s nothing special. They’re just USC, that’s it. Nothing scares me about them … they sweat, they bleed, they do everything like we do. That needs to be understood. You don’t want to travel with teammates that are scared. So as long as everybody is on the same page, we’ll be fine.”
Korbin McDonald can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @KorbinMcD_VN
Photo by: Nathan Romans