The Bush Affair

First impressions can be dangerous, especially with something complex like the allegations involving the family of Reggie Bush. Not that the Internet is ever a place for restraint.
But the Pac-10′s investigation into the living arrangement of Bush’s family in San Diego could be a lot more difficult to prove if Bush and his family fail to cooperate.
These cases usually are easier to prove when a player is trying to retain his college eligibilty and will supply vital documents for reinstatement. With Bush expected to be the No. 1 pick in this week’s NFL draft, there’s no incentive for him or his family to cooperate.
Remember how Mike Williams supplied all financial records of money he took from an agent after he decided to play one more year. That’s not the case here.
So how will this affect USC? It all depends if a link can be established showing the university was aware of the possible violations. Again, that could be difficult to prove without Bush’s assistance. The bottom line is we’re a long, long way from USC forfeiting games right now, although that will be the most intriguing aspect of this case the next few months.

Wait Till Next Year

It appears that 6-10 forward Mamadou Diarra from Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley will probably need another year of school before meeting NCAA academic requirements.
USC’s aggresively recruited Diarra and is now weighing its options with one scholarship left. Diarra’s situation could conveniently open the door for controversial forward Davon Jefferson, who did not graduate from Lynwood last year and then left a prep school earlier this year. He’s currently taking online courses.
Jefferson committed to USC in February but at the time the Trojans did not officially offer a scholarship. USC is taking a wait-and-see attitude to see if Jefferson qualifies academically.

Daily Leinart Item

I just spoke to a close associate of Matt Leinart who said the quarterback prefers to be selected by the New York Jets instead of the Tennessee Titans.
Even though former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow is with the Titans, Leinart values the potential endorsements and celebrity lifestyle of Manhattan over Nashville. Does Leinart realize when you go party with Paris Hilton at a New York club, the newspapers will take pictures, which make denials impossible?

It’s In The Legs

An interesting aspect of last week’s depth chart was the left-guard position, where Jeff Byers and Matt Spanos are listed equally. Considering Byers started four games as a true freshman and was the Gatorade National Player of the Year in high school, he seemed a lock to start somewhere along the line entering spring practice.
But one reason Byers has not sealed the deal is that his leg-strength remains less than 100 percent following two hip operations. It also helps explain why Chilo Rachal and Spanos (with no career starts between them) are not battling for the spot instead.
Rachal is currently listed as the starter at right guard.

Blast From The Past

Every once in awhile we will share something funny or memorable from the past few years. With college coaches preparing to visit high schools soon, it reminds me of a funny incident in 2000.
USC just fired Paul Hackett but defensive line coach Ed Orgeron continued to recruit even though the Trojans were without a head coach. One day, Orgeron went to Valencia High School, where he just happened to run into UCLA assistant coach Gary Bernardi.
“What’s he doing here?” Bernardi told a Valencia coach within earshot of Orgeron. “Does he still have a job?”
Witnesses said Orgeron nearly needed to be restrained following the comment.
Orgeron remained upset enough that following Pete Carroll’s hiring, he requested to recruit the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, so he could specifically go head-to-head with Bernardi.

Operation Overkill

ESPN is preparing daily reports on USC quarterback Matt Leinart prior to the draft. I guess CAA never heard of overexposure or maybe Leinart’s making up for all the stuff he didn’t do while at USC.
I realize his great crossover appeal (translation: teen-age girls like him) makes him an unprecendent figure in college football terms. But I’m also reminded what his former agent, Leigh Steinberg, told me before Leinart hired him (and then fired him).
Steinberg told me when Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was a rookie, he kept endorsements and promotional work to a minimum so Roethlisberger could focus on football first.
Once he proved himself, Steinberg would aggresively court endorsements, etc.
Maybe that’s one reason Leinart fired Steinberg. Or maybe CAA is trying to justify his existence.
The massive promotional campaigns (Desperate Housewives ad, ESPN diary) almost mean Leinart can only go in one direction: downward.
With so many ventures pumping Leinart up, expectations will be extremely high. And since he’s not an actor, he can’t blame the director or the script. It’s all on him.
Oh wait, he can blame his agent. Just ask Steinberg.

Why wait?

A reader asked why USC is slower to receive commitments this time of year than many schools.
The reasons are two-fold. Back in his first year of coaching at USC, Pete Carroll was intrigued why schools like Florida State often had only five commitments by January. Carroll thought it might be foolish but then he saw how quickly the Seminoles racked up commitments in January and February.
He learned the elite schools can wait and be more selective and still have one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. Waiting also allows USC to evaluate longer. Opinions on players often change when watching them play during their senior seasons.
And now that USC is one of the nation’s powehouses, it only makes sense to be stingy with scholarship offers this time of year, because right now there’s probably way too many kids out there willing to commit.

Hip Check

What do USC offensive lineman Jeff Byers, tailback Michael Coleman and women’s basketball player Brynn Cameron all have in common?
If you answered hip injuries, you would be correct. But more troubling, each required a second hip operation by out-of-town specialists following their original surgeries in Southern California.
Byers and Cameron went to the prestigious Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail, Colo., where Dr. Richard Steadman treats athletes from all over the world. Coleman underwent his follow-up procedure in the Bay Area.
If I’m a USC athlete and I injure my hip, I would probably ask to go to Steadman-Hawkins right off the bat.
Just in case you think this is USC-bashing, UCLA basketball player Josh Shipp underwent hip surgery at the same place in September as the USC trio, attempted to come back in January but was forced to sit out the remainder of the season because of increasing pain and discomfort.