The Open Forum answers were delayed because I was on assignment tracking down Pete Carroll at the Hermosa Beach Pier yesterday instead of answering these valuable questions because I intend to write where he is every single minute of the day. Wouldnt that be original?
And once again, these answers are brought to you by Roman Meal, the official bread of Peter Caesar Carroll!
I never write down Pete Carrolls answers before I ask the question. I simply recite the answer in my head, that way I save ink and paper, because I almost always know the answer. But Id argue hes a better politician than the ones I see running for president or other offices these days.
Elevatorgate. Pedalgate. I cant really elaborate right now on the many “gates swirling around USC right now other than to say they all make get their own chapters in “Mitch and Me (copyright 2007).
So far, Id agree Mitch Mustains ability to avoid danger demonstrates he is the chosen one. So was ability to mask his identity such as when he slipped into the scrimmage wearing Mike McDonalds jersey number.
All this leads me to inform the readers that we are now discussing turning the movie into a mini-series with a first run scheduled for fall, 2008.
Chris Galippos looked very good in practices but is also a true freshman playing the most difficult position on the defense to learn early. He needs a year to transition but will be a quality replacement for Rey Maualuga.
There are some players who have not practiced, notably Hershel Dennis, who is being protected so his battered knee does not get reinjured in training camp. The other notable is cornerback Kevin Thomas, whos shoulder is not strong enough to return to practice.
The shotgun seems to work as long as the snap gets to the quarterback. There was a horrific snap in the scrimmage the other night that would have been on ESPN all night if it were a real game. But if the ball actually gets to Booty, he seems to do fine in it.
Since conjecture questions are nothing more than educated guesses, Ill say Carroll will not pass Howard Jones or John McKay in wins. The over-under for career wins is 79.
Top 3 veteran surprises: 1. Stanley Havili (not a surprise in true sense but making a huge impact) 2. Charles Brown. 3. Clay Matthews.
Top 3 veteran disappointments: 1. Emmanuel Moody. 2. Mark Sanchez/Travon Patterson/Jamere Holland (injured).
The biggest difference in the offense so far is more reliance on the tight end/fullback and less deep passes. But rather than saying this is merely a Kiffin-Sarkissian issue, it might simply reflect the personnel differences this year compared to the previous two.
Alfred Rowes position has to do with the logjam at safety, which might be the most talented on the team. Freshman Marshall Jones might start at other Pac-10 schools but will be a backup at USC this season.
Aaron Corp could play this year and redshirt next year but I dont really see that happening because players rarely redshirt as a sophomore.
The football and basketball posters are handled by the marketing dept. If you call the athletic dept. and ask for marketing, they will assist you.
Running backs by snap judgment based on scrimmages and not accounting for which defense they played against.
1. Chauncey Washington
2. Broderick Green
3. Joe McKnight
4. Allen Bradford/C.J. Gable
5. Desmond Reed
6. Hershel Dennis
7. Marc Tyler
Im not sure this years OL will be better than last years although it could be better at tackle and guard. Its saying a lot to think Ryan Kalil can be completely replaced but Matt Spanos has been solid in training camp.
There are no real plans for Mike Garrett to retire. Some believe he could go another eight years if he wants to.
If Booty gets injured, I could see Mark Sanchez come in with a cast on his thumb and lob the ball to the tailbacks instead of wasting Aaron Corps redshirt year. Its not in USCs interest to blow Corps redshirt year on one game so some type of stop-gap plan would be enacted, until Sanchez returned and/or Booty returned.
If Booty and Sanchez were out for the year in September, then Corp would be force fed the starting job.
Mitch Mustain will play in the remaining scrimmage and its too bad the general public did not get to see him play in last weeks scrimmage.
Arizona State could be the surprise game on the schedule. So could Washington. We never really know right now, do we? Just like Oregon State last year. But the road schedule is extremely difficult so I would not be surprised by any result.
Believe it or not, Mustains had few reps in practices. The first-string defense knew virtually nothing about him because they never saw him in training camp.
I do not anticipate any more players transferring before the first game however I do think there will be more transfers to come. Stay tuned.
Corp is more talented than McDonald. Hes taller, faster and has a more accurate arm. McDonalds advantage is he knows the offense better and has more poise at the moment because of his experience.
Mike Stanton signed a pro baseball contract and will not play for USC.
With players like Emmanuel Moody leaving, his scholarship could be given to another player for this year only. But USC could hold it and give it to a recruit next year. At this point of the year, it doesnt matter. And it doesnt seem like Pete Carrolls got any walk-ons right now with a pressing need to give a scholarship.
Giving a senior walk-on a scholarship definitely helps the APR. Its one of the little tricks schools learned early about trying to circumvent the APR.
Reaction to Moody? I heard Friday that when ESPN showed on its scroll that Moody transferred, a lot of players jeered. Thats probably a typical group reaction because privately many players uttered, “who cares? Thats the reaction to most things.
My funniest training camp story occurred at UC Irvine. It involved a football staff member (currently coaching on the NAIA level I believe) who drove one of those carts that carry equipment around the complex.
One day during practice he tried to get too fast from one field to the next. There was a big cloud of dust on one field as he completely flipped his cart. That would have been bad enough, but he then tried to turn the cart back to its normal position thinking no one would notice what happened.
Of course, everyone noticed, including the players and it quickly became a legendary moment in training. Id heard rumors he got hurt trying to push the cart back into place, but never confirmed them.
John Robinson is doing syndicated color commentary on college football and NFL games this season.
Marc Tyler is frustrated. His doctors cleared him but USC doctors want to see more healing in the area when the screws were removed from injured ankle.
Mitch Mustain does have a Southern accent but he is soft-spoken its not overbearing.
The next transfer could come from positions, so I cant say which one right now. Ask me in a couple more weeks.
This years freshman class is not squeaky clean from a behavior standpoint but its also on course to be the first with no academic casualties if Broderick Green and Brandon Carswell qualify. The behavior issues may or may not be appropriate.
An incoming freshman would have to sit out this season and play in 2008 if he transferred.
Aaron Corp will not officially surpass Mike McDonald on the depth chart barring a doomsday scenario with injuries. The coaches want to redshirt him this season.
I dont know where USC and UCLA will be ranked in December. But I would not be surprised if neither team were ranked No. 1.
Emmanuel Moodys decision surprised a lot of players, mainly because of the timing. But ultimately, I doubt it determines anything for other backs on the team. He was closest to Joe McKnight and hes not transferring. And its doubtful Moodys defection affects Darrell Scott because he still will be competing with four or five other tailbacks.
Moody hung out with other running backs but also kept to himself a lot.
Im too tired tonight to discuss O.J. Simpson, but I did interview him at length at the 2002 Orange Bowl and I recently found an autograph of his I got in 1974 at Los Angeles International Airport, back when star athletes would sign.
Ronald Johnson will probably be part of the rotation at wide receiver in the opening game and return kickoffs, which could be entertaining.
Brook Van Muijen is still enrolled at USC as a student and can attend. He does not need to leave unless he wants to play football somewhere.
So far, Mustains looked smooth but played sparingly. The true test will be when he gets extensive action, whether in a scrimmage or practice.
Mustain and John David Booty are similar in size but Bootys arm is stronger. Mustain is more mobile. So far Mustain looks fairly complete.
Moody isnt looking at Texas or Miami because he wants to be the star back somewhere and it would be difficult to establish himself.
I smell a Red Devils comeback victory in the Manchester Derby and a 1-1 draw at the Kop with ex-Bundesliga starts Claudio Pizarro and Andriy Voronin scoring the goals.
And finally, heres another installment in the on-going series titled Reading Comprehension 101.
Last weeks Weekend Forum started off with one of my always humorous anecdotes about a newspaper blogger not recognizing me and saying his blog would not be like “Scott Wolfs blog.
Now, the key word in that passage was NEWSPAPER blogger. Despite that key phrase, a couple losers immediately seized this as an attack upon the new USC football website. If I wanted to attack that site, I would call it the USC football web site.
But I referred to a NEWSPAPER blogger in this episode. So pat yourselves on the back if you were one of the two or three who made the typical emotional response without thinking . . . as usual.