— Evan Barnes (@evan_b) February 25, 2017
What, a sellout at the Galen Center? What’s going on? A Jay Chou concert? Certainly not a USC basketball game. Tonight’s Southern Section Open Division games between (Sierra Canyon-Bishop Montgomery, Mater Dei-Chino Hills) are officially sold out.
At least USC did sell out the UCLA game. So it’s USC 1, Open Division 1.
Here is a picture from the 1967 USC-UCLA game. It features quite a few notable players: UCLA QB Gary Beban (16) won the Heisman Trophy; USC defensive ends Jimmy Gunn (56) and Tim Rossovich (88) were All-Americans. Gunn was also part of the Wild Bunch defensive line. Defensive tackle Bubba Scott (71) was another member of the Wild Bunch. Defensive tackle Gary Magner (75) was a fourth-round pick by the New York Jets.
USC tailbacks Ronald Jones, Aca’Cedric Ware and Dominic Davis are about to have their third running backs coach in three years. This isn’t as big an issue as changing offensive line coaches every year (which USC did for guys like Zach Banner). But it is also true that Jones had an inconsistent season that was never fully explained. Were coaching changes part of the reason for his struggles?
There is no shame in USC losing to Arizona at McKale Center. Only oe team has beaten the Wildcats the past four years at home. But it’s worth pointing out that USC coach Andy Enfield has not won a Pac-12 road game against a team with a winning record in four seasons.
Is it unreasonable to expect it? No. Kevin O’Neill did it three times in his first two years. Bob Cantu won at UCLA and Stanford during his interim 14-game stint in 2013. Both had winning records.
Enfield? Crickets. And USC won’t play another Pac-12 team with a winning record on the road this season. So the streak will carry into Year 5.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) February 24, 2017
Bennie Boatwright had 23 points and the Trojans shot 53 percent from the field for the Trojans (21-7, 8-7). But Arizona made 11 of 20 shots from 3-point range and Allonzo Trier had 25 points for the Wildcats (26-3, 15-1). USC now has a big game at Arizona State.
USC trailed 60-53 in the second half when Arizona went on an 11-2 run. One fan complained to me that USC never called a timeout during that run. Thoughts?
USC has a nice story on Ajene Harris, who made a successful transition from wide receiver to cornerback following hip surgery. But there is a quote from offensive coordinator crying out for some pushback.
“He came back, went to the other side of the ball, and became a star. I don’t know if that’s happened in USC history,” Martin said.
In USC history? How about Chad Morton, who started at free safety, cornerback, tailback and cornerback . . . and that just in 1997. Morton played defense in 1996 and then finished his career at tailback, where he gained 985 yards in 1998.
How about Marcell Allmond, who played wide receiver for two years then switched to cornerback, where he was a reason the Trojans won their final eight games.
And then there were all those guys forced to play two ways. I will highlight one: Willie Brown (pictured above). In the 1963 Rose Bowl, No. 1 USC played No. 2 Wisconsin. Brown had 108 yards receiving, returned kickoffs 41-and-31 yards and made perhaps the key play of the game with an interception in the end zone. Perhaps someone at USC can show Martin a film of that game.