A special forum for fans to discuss the firing of Rick Neuheisel and who replaces him? I’ve already mentioned Tom Cable, Mike Bellotti and Dennis Erickson as realistic candidates.

Sight Unseen

New Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said he took the job without visiting Tucson in an interview with radio station KTAR.
“Yep, I sure did,” Rodriguez said. “I talked to about probably 10-or-15 people that have either lived there for an extended period of time or spent quite a bit of time there.
“To a person, every single one of them said it’s a great place to live. If somebody would’ve said, ‘I don’t know about this or that,’ maybe I would’ve said I needed to see it first, but heck, I signed sight unseen.”

No Distractions

Whenever USC beat someone like Notre Dame or Oregon, Lane Kiffin emphasized that those teams allowed distractions or changed their routine for the USC game. An example was Notre Dame using a special gold paint on its helmets and bringing 50 recruits to the game.
But USC introduced its seniors before the UCLA game and then had family members linger on the field longer than any salute in recent memory before the kickoff. That was a break of the normal routine that Kiffin strives to follow.
It really distracted the Trojans too, who only won the game, 50-0.
So much for that theory.

Role Model

Lane Kiffin talked about how much he admires USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
“I look up to Matt Barkley,” Kiffin said. “He has been through a lot of adversity. Basically all of his dreams about football were taken away with the sanctions. I don’t know any 39 year olds that can handle things the way he did, much less any 19 year olds.”

Best WR?

USC’s experienced about a near-perfect two weeks with wins over then No. 4-ranked Oregon and crosstown rival UCLA. So there was an odd moment today when Trojans coach Lane Kiffin decided to proclaim Robert Woods the “second-best receiver on the team.”
There is nothing wrong with Kiffin believing Marqise Lee is the best receiver on the team but considering Woods needs ankle surgery, has a bad shoulder and Kiffin said he considered holding him out of the Oregon game, it was a disrespectful way to send the sophomore to the Biletnikoff Award ceremony next month.
Oh, and Woods also set a Pac-12 single-season record for receptions despite those injuries.
But in Kiffin’s world, what’s new is always better. So a freshman is better than sophomore, a sophomore better than a junior, etc.

End Of Season Business

Lane Kiffin said today he wants to sign 5 or 6 players as midyear exceptions to the 15 scholarship limit. He also said cornerback T.J. Bryant would graduate and transfer, which means USC would get another scholarship back. Kiffin said officially that Dillon Baxter is not part of the program “nor will he ever be in our program.”
Tailback Amir Carlisle will undergo knee surgery and wide receiver Robert Woods ankle surgery now that the season is over.

More On Neuheisel’s Comment

Lane Kiffin talked today about how USC players felt about Rick Neuheisel’s comment that UCLA closed the gap.
“They were really insulted by that,” Kiffin said. “They took it very personal. It was almost as if they were playing against him. Even at halftime they talked about it.”