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The Story Behind USC's Red Out

Shotgun Spratling |
October 29, 2010 | 5:26 p.m. PDT

Associate Sports Editor

L.A. Coliseum
L.A. Coliseum

During the Trojan War, Aeneas and Hector led the men of Troy. Now, it is Scott Enyeart and Roy Nwaisser leading the charge for the Trojans.

Enyeart and Nwaisser won’t be setting up phalanx formations or taking the USC-version of the Trojans into battle. That responsibility will fall to Lane Kiffin, Matt Barkley and Shareece Wright on Saturday when the Trojans take on No. 1 Oregon. Enyeart and Nwaisser are, however, leading a grassroots movement aimed at every Trojan fan attending the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

For the past two weeks, the Twitter duo has been pushing every single USC fan to wear cardinal for the nationally televised, primetime game.

What started as a simple Twitter message by Enyeart has turned into a global crusade.

Sitting around with his younger brother last Tuesday afternoon, the 28-year-old Enyeart saw Oregon’s calling for the Autzen Stadium fans to wear yellow to its Oct. 21 matchup with UCLA.

Enyeart wondered aloud why USC never did anything like that and decided to tweet about it.

“I wish USC fans would get back to rocking red at the Coli. We need a red out or something,” he wrote.

His tweet caught the eye of Nwaisser, one of the most prominent USC-related Twitter users. Affectionately known as "USC Psycho" to the Trojan faithful, Nwaisser hasn’t missed a USC football game since 1992. He said he’s been wishing USC fans would wear cardinal exclusively to football games for some time. When he saw Enyeart’s tweet, he immediately agreed.

“Someone said I was the [USC fan] leader and should organize a red out,” Nwaisser said. “I knew it would be a huge undertaking to try to get 92,000 to wear cardinal to the game.”

Nwaisser took it as a challenge. He had seen how a small group of USC tweeters had got everyone using “#AlohaUSC” with all tweets from Hawaii during the season opener. So starting a “red out” had to start with Twitter. Nwaisser suggested “#RedOut” as the marker to be tagged at the end of all USC-related Twitter posts.

“I knew there would be some backlash from using #RedOut as the hashtag,” Nwaisser said. “But I knew it would all start with the hashtag and others were just too long for (Twitter’s limit of) 140 characters.”

Immediately, the idea was picked up by a number of USC supporters and re-posted on their Twitter accounts. Without Enyeart or Nwaisser doing much, the idea was already gaining ground.

On Wednesday, the two started spreading the word with mass tweets to official USC accounts, including those in the athletic department.

Enyeart decided to use the other mega social media site, Facebook, to create a “Red Out the Coli” group and spread the word to an even wider audience.

Within a day and a half, over 1,000 people had “Liked” the Facebook group. That number would grow to almost 2,500 before Facebook shut down the group. In an apparent cyber-attack, possibly by Oregon fans, the “Red Out the Coli” group and a number of other USC-related groups were all shut down by Facebook on the same day.

But the lack of a Facebook group hasn’t slowed down the “Red Out” movement. USCRedOut.com was created as a landing page for interested fans. The concept has been mentioned by a number of media outlets and Nwaisser said the USC athletics department has really gotten behind the idea, repeatedly putting something small about the “Red Out” in their publications.

Players such as Matt Barkley have also been instrumental in spreading the word through their social media accounts, in interviews and even during USC’s homecoming rally Thursday. Several of the seniors have also talked about how unique a “Red Out” would be.

“That’d be tight. It’d probably be the first time. I’ve never seen it before,” senior wide receiver Ronald Johnson. “We want that 12th man. We need that support. And once we get them going, I don’t think there’s going to be any stopping it.

For Enyeart and Nwaisser, it has been a very busy week and a half leading up to Saturday’s showdown.

“It’s honestly felt like a job. We’ve been doing (public relations), marketing and promotion. It’s been all the aspects of a job – really hectic and really time consuming,” Nwaisser said. “But it’s going to be a great feeling if we can pull this off because it’s something I’ve always wished USC would do.”

Both Enyeart and Nwaisser see the “Red Out” as a chance to show the true pride of USC. They are hoping the event takes on a life of its own and possibly even becomes a football tradition.

“It’s about trying to the stoke the passion of the fan base. Just because we live in Southern California where there’s everything in the world to do and we don’t have the type of fan base that lives and dies on message boards, doesn’t mean we don’t have pride,” Enyeart said.

“It would be a true testament to the Trojan family and I’ve learned you can’t underestimate the Trojans. If the word got out in two weeks as well it seems it has, I think we have a pretty good shot at pulling it off.”

To reach Shotgun Spratling, click here, or follow him on Twitter @BlueWorkhorse.

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