Open Forum Answers

Well, it’s my favorite day of the week, when I try to figure out why no one cares about anything but Mitch Mustain and Mark Sanchez. At this rate, I figure I’ll be sick of Mustain before the first day of training camp. At least it took almost two years to get sick of Matt Leinart.
Now on to the answers!

Pete Carroll said he would punish Mark Sanchez “internally.” This means the punishment would not be announced or made public. The punishment was for using a fake ID to enter a bar and drinking. I suggest attending a Trojan Club or Monday Morning QB meeting and asking Carroll what the punishment was.
As I’ve stated before, the sanctions include extra running, performing community service, losing game tickets, attending anger-management classes and answering Open Forum questions. Oh wait, that’s my internal punishment.
Speaking of my punishment, Mitch Mustain transferring had nothing to do with Sanchez’s problems.

Petros Papadakis says he reads my blog and likes it, however I suspect his lackeys read it to him and report back. It’s kind of like me and his radio show. I don’t actually listen, I just have my people do it for me and report back. That way I don’t have to listen to Money’s golden throat.

In the previous QB competitions under Pete Carroll, he pretty much picked the starter in spring practice but left some wiggle room, although it never really felt like the position was open following spring practice. If Mustain and Sanchez are close, he might wait until the fall.
But know one thing: Carroll likes picking a starter in spring practice, even if it’s a tentative decision, because it allows the designated No. 1 to throw more in the summer with the main receivers.
This should be a closer competition than Leinart-Cassell-Hance or Booty-Sanchez, so maybe the time table will change.

I don’t know if any Pac-10 team can be overrated because most of them are pretty formidable. If USC is No. 1 in every poll, maybe it is overrated. Maybe Cal is because they never seem to quite capitalize on late-season opportunities.
I believe Washington is underrated. I also believe Dennis Erickson will make Arizona State better than expected although I am unimpressed with his recruiting efforts so far.

I wouldn’t read too much into what sports information puts out on Mitch Mustain. They basically copy and paste whatever Arkansas wrote and we all know SEC schools probably spend way too much copy writing about their athletes.
Now, if you ask me about pushing athletes for postseason awards, that’s a different story. Reggie Bush certainly never got the push Matt Leinart did for the Heisman Trophy, but still won the prestigious award.

Peyton Manning’s appearance made USC’s receivers look good because the ball was always right in their hands. Unless they dropped the ball of course. They all need more seasoning. As Manning himself said, “it’s not a fair question” to compare the Trojans to NFL receivers. I thought Patrick Turner and Joe McKnight looked very good. A couple others were hit and miss.

John David Booty looked extremely comfortable throwing with Manning, but there was absolutely no comparison between the two. Manning’s quick release and powerful passes make Matt Leinart look silly. And his footwork was also incredible. I’m sure Booty would say the same thing. But we’re talking about a 10-year NFL superstar vs. a highly regarded college QB.
Any stories from the day? Well, I came to the field wondering who the guy in the blue shorts was for a couple seconds. And Manning was upset that the TV commercial he filmed ran long and caused him to be a few minutes late for his workout. He’s extremely disciplined and intense about football and I’ve heard he’s told off receivers in the past for not working hard in the offseason when he’s been willing to stay in Indianapolis year-round to work out together.
He also joked about how the Colts vowed not to make certain mistakes in the Super Bowl. And then on the first series, a receiver ran a wrong route on first down, the line committed a penalty on second down and he threw an interception on third down.
Apparently, the TV director on Tuesday was English, because Manning told me he kept asking the Super Bowl MVP to walk on the pitch. “What is that? Some English term for the field?” Manning said.
OK, enough stories.

Someone asked why Mark Sanchez wasn’t at Manning’s workout. He might have been in class or maybe no one told him. It was spur of the moment and Manning didn’t want more than one other QB working out with him.

All the freshmen reported as far as I know.

The jury is out on the running game. We don’t know who the starter will be yet. It might be Joe McKnight eventually, so it’s hard to make predictions. But it needs to be better than last year for sure.

The Rising Stars camp does not count as an official visit. I believe the athletes pay their own airfare to attend.

Troy Van Blarcom and Matt Spanos’ academic situations are different. You get more leeway when you first start out in college. For example, it usually takes three semesters before you can be kicked out of school following academic probation. Van Blarcom was expelled by the university, which had nothing to do with NCAA rules.
But once you are in school for a few years, you can be ineligible for a variety of reasons, like not passing enough units in your major under NCAA guidelines (the percentage goes up each year). Or having the necessary GPA. There are more variables than I can list here.
Also, Tim Floyd had nothing to do with Gabe Pruitt being suspended at the start of the season. Pruitt was academically ineligible for the fall semester. That’s why he missed 11 or so games.

Whether or not Mark Sanchez has the IT factor to start at USC remains to be seen. He did struggle in the Coliseum scrimmage but played better in the final scrimmage and knew it was because he relaxed and didn’t try to force the issue.
His freshman year was a big adjustment because he wasn’t used to the speed of the college game. Last year was better but he was under a lot of pressure knowing he would have to do a lot more than John David Booty to beat him out at quarterback. That causes someone to take more chances in practices and means you can make more mistakes. His attitude remains good but so far it’s been hard to live up to all those expectations coming out of Mission Viejo.
I don’t think the coaches have a problem playing him in a game right now if Booty gets hurt. He didn’t look bad against Stanford last season. Remember, Booty hardly lit the world on fire in his backup appearances during Leinart’s senior year.

Pete Carroll does not like to entrench starters unless it’s obvious. The O-line is set as far as Sam Baker and Chilo Rachel are concerned but most of the other spots could change. Desmond Reed will return punts but I’m sure they wish Travon Patterson will develop enough in that role to get a chance to showcase his speed. Kick returners are still up in the air, with McKnight, etc., coming into the program.

David Buehler will handle kickoffs and field goals. There are a lot of walk-ons coming in, highlighted by Brook Van Muijen and possibly Joe Houston of El Camino College. Nebraska kicker Jordan Congdon is redshirting.

Practices start the first week of August.

I don’t think the offense will be conservative early. Booty is a veteran. Chauncey Washington and C.J. Gable are experienced. Patrick Turner and Fred Davis are experienced. The key will be how personnel is used and how USC will get McKnight, Marc Tyler, Broderick Green, etc., enough early looks to see who will flourish and who needs time to develop.

One player who struggled at last week’s camp was offensive lineman Daniel Campbell. As I wrote, safety Drew McCalister opened USC’s eyes and was offered a scholarship. Safety D’Anton Lynn also moved up the charts. They both like USC. Cornerback Patrick Johnson was impressive but who knows what he will do, since he committed to Miami already and is from Florida.

My intent in answering these questions is to never go a day without thinking of Mitch Mustain. If the readers don’t want this as a weekly feature, I will consider doing it every two weeks. But I suspect they prefer a weekly approach.

I don’t know why the DVD’s are so poor quality on the Orange and Rose bowls, aside from the fact they know people will buy them anyways, so why invest a lot of money in production.

It’s hard recruiting fullbacks for two reasons. There are not a lot of talented fullbacks out there and those who do exist sometimes feel like USC does not use the position enough to exploit their talent.

What do I know about Idaho? It’s in Moscow. It plays in the Kibbee Dome. The University Inn is across the street. Former Washington State coach Jim Walden told me some entertaining stories at The Quiet Bar there last time I stayed after I was introduced to him by Tim Floyd. Floyd used to coach at Idaho. Floyd is the king by the way, if you ever want to just talk to someone honestly with no spin. Nick Holt won five games in two years at Idaho before leaving for the Rams for a day and then USC. Dennis Erickson left after last season. OK, that’s about it.

David Buehler’s kicked one field goal in college. We’ll find out if he’s accurate enough. The coaches seem to think he is.

If Booty gets hurt, Sanchez would be a nice backup to have. The first few series might be limited but I suspect after that things would open up fast.

Right now, I believe Demar Derozan will end up at USC. Actually, tonight, I spoke to some current USC players about it and they felt he would honor his commitment. However, we’re talking about basketball here, so nothing is really surprising and no behavior is considered out of order. I’ve heard the stories that Derozan will end up at North Carolina but judging by the way his family interacted with everyone at the recent basketball camp, he seems loyal to USC.

I have a feeling Reggie Bush’s number will get retired this year. Unless USC is put on NCAA sanctions.

There is a chance Mark Sanchez will stay at USC if he is not the starter. Matt Cassell did. There is also a chance Matt Leinart will sign autographs, the announcers will be upgraded and no one will ask any questions about Mitch Mustain.

There’s no great desire to use Taylor Mays on offense. Mays said he wouldn’t mind trying and he was recruited as a two-way player. It probably won’t happen unless the offense struggles.

Permalink? Trackback? I just work here. All technical questions go to

Chris Galippo is enrolled in summer school and attending summer workouts.

Can I elaborate on Matt Leinart being transparent? I thought it was obvious from his superficial, celebrity worshipping days at USC. After seeing Paris Hilton on Larry King, they seemed to have a lot in common. Although I don’t think Paris Hilton’s friends tell her she has “man boobs.”

Fall practices are generally at 4 p.m. and usually open to the public, but call the football office to check.

Lodrick Stewart is going to try to play anywhere he can, whether in Europe, the CBA or ABA. He wants to succeed and is motivated. And he’s a great quote, by the way, which is important to me and no one else.

I would not say USC does not play its African-American linemen. Next year, Butch Lewis and Charles Brown could start and Thomas Herring is in the mix. The Trojans didn’t mind starting Winston Justice as a true freshman either.

The silent commits are silent! But Tyron Smith was one until last week. Some might consider wide receiver Joe Adams one.

Do you seriously think a question is too hot for me? Regarding the Norm Chow-Pete Carroll falling out, one issue was the fear that recruits would get the impression that the offense would fall apart if Chow left as his profile increased following the Heisman Trophies.
Also, Pete Carroll said he took control of the offense midway through the 2001 season. However, rarely did anyone credit him with any changes he made. Also, Lane Kiffin and Norm Chow disliked each other and Kiffin gradually exerted more influence inside the program, which probably undermined Chow’s position.
Finally, Chow was going to become assistant head coach and was not going to call plays.
Basically, you had two talented coaches who gradually grew apart more and more each year. Carroll had more power, so he won the battle.
On a selfish note, I find it interesting that after receiving so many angry emails two years ago when I initially wrote this story, people finally figured out what I wrote was accurate. That was one of the toughest stories I’ve written on the USC beat, because of the delicate nature of the situation. Chow was still at USC at the time too. Pete Carroll never disputed the story and eventually I heard Chow said he appreciated that I tackled the subject fairly.

The spring practice depth chart is available here on the April 13 blog entry or by typing “depth chart” in blog’s search engine and scrolling down to April 13.

Most of the freshman have only been here a week so ask me in a couple weekswho is performing. But Joe McKnight’s pass-catching skills appear to be as good as advertised in drills. Again, that’s not with pads on or full-contact, but right now it looks impressive.
So he’s caught my eye. Brandon Carswell didn’t look bad either. But I hesitate to make any grand statements because last year at this time, there were rave reviews for Vidal Hazelton and he had a disappointing season based on his hype.

There should be a DVD for the 2006 season. It might be geared toward a release when football season gets closer.

What, no Davon Jefferson questions? Too bad no one asked what I think of Malik Story.

OK, everybody, thanks for all the questions. No, seriously. I hope we can delve deeper into some serious issues next week, like when USC will get its first commitment from the Class of 2014.

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