Can you recall the big deal made in games whenever a quarterback throws a block today? Well, that’s USC QB Pete Beathard attempting the goal-line tackle of Wisconsin fullback Ralph Kurek (34) in the 1963 Rose Bowl. And that’s College Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Hal Bedsole (19) also trying to stop Kurek. Players were required to go two ways in those days because of limited subtitution rules and Beathard often started at quarterback because he was athletic and not a defensive liability.
The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, who served 35 years as president of the University of Notre Dame, died late Thursday night. He was 97. Hesburgh was a national figure and he gave the commencement address at USC in 1968. Also receiving honorary degrees that day were a couple other legends, actor John Wayne and film director George Cukor.
The speech took place the day after Robert Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Perhaps Hesburgh mentioned it in his speech.
Here’s an interesting story I heard from a former basketball player: When Bob Boyd was USC’s basketball coach, he said he wanted to have song girls at basketball games. Athletic director John McKay initially resisted but said OK. The song girls turned out to be such a hit that McKay then added them to football games.
Even before Jordan McLaughlin got hurt, I’ve heard that within the program there is a realization USC needs another point guard. So why was USC recruiting shooting guard Sammy Barnes-Thompkins last week when the Trojans were in Arizona?
It seems like the team is already heavy with shooting guards (Elijah Stewart, Katin Reinhardt, Malik Marquetti) and a point guard would be a higher priority. Or even a small forward, which seems absent from the roster.
During this week’s announcement that Pete Carroll would receive an honorary degree, USC also said the 2015 commencement speaker would be Mellody Hobson, president of the Chicago-based money management firm Ariel Investments. Hobson is married to former USC alumnus George Lucas, who donated around $180 million to build the current Cinema School complex.
Long-snapper Peter McBride is no longer on the USC football roster. In December he missed a practice and was told he could not travel to the Holiday Bowl. He then decided to go home to Arizona for the rest of the Christmas break. Also missing is tight end Chris Willson, who considered applying for a sixth year after breaking his foot in the season opener against Fresno State.
USC will have 10 of its 15 spring practices open to the public that take place at Cromwell Field. If you are familiar with Cromwell Field, it would be pretty hard (and petty) to try and stop the public from watching through its wrought iron fences so it makes sense to open practices. The public must watch from the bleachers. Coliseum practices appear to be closed except for the spring game.
Although a committee usually decides who receives honorary degrees, USC president Max Nikias told me he chose Pete Carroll to be a recipient. Nikias also said Carroll will definitely appear two weeks after the NFL draft. Remember, Carroll did not appear at the USC game against Oregon State announcing his induction the Hall of Fame despite the Seahawks having a bye.