Morning Buzz: Pat Haden Says Sarkisian `Has To Own’ Behavior

HADEN

Maria Dondonyan/Daily Trojan

USC athletic director Pat Haden and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott spoke Wednesday night at a Marshall Sports Business Institute event across from campus. And Haden again discussed the Steve Sarkisian situation.

“I’ve got lots of people who disagree with me,” Haden said. “That’s OK. Leaders have to make decisions. Sometimes they’re popular. Sometimes they’re not. It was very poor behavior, there’s no denying that. It’s not the Steve Sarkisian I hired, it’s not the Steve Sarkisian I know. But I think he’s gotta own it.

“He’s gotten beaten up (in public) for this. I think with this university, Coach Sarkisian and I are just a pimple on the continuum of a great university. This university is bigger and broader than one coach.”

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Former USC QB Matt Barkley Losing Battle To Tim Tebow?

Panthers Eagles FootballThe Philadelphia Inquirer writes about Matt Barkley battling and possibly losing to Tim Tebow for the Eagles’ final QB spot.

Excerpt: “The reason Barkley did not thrive here is not because he isn’t mobile. (Chip) Kelly has clearly shown that he can win without multipurpose quarterbacks. Barkley’s problems have stemmed from a lack of arm strength. At first, it was the shoulder. But even the marginal power he has gained over the last two years hasn’t offset the fact that he doesn’t do one thing great.”

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Man Arraigned For Having USC Copy Of O.J. Simpson Heisman

Lewis Eugene Starks Jr., 56, of Apple Valley, was set to be charged with possession of USC’s copy of O.J. Simpson’s Heisman Trophy and a plaque, and knowing that they had been stolen.

The items were stolen more than 20 years ago from Heritage Hall. Starks is accused of trying to sell the items last year and faces up to six years in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors.

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USC Wide Receivers Count

With USC taking even more blue shirts, it looks like it can sign around 20 recruits in February. There are currently 16 commits. So what happens with big-time receiver prospects like Theo Howard, Javon McKinley or Freddie Swain still out there and USC already having five commitments from wide receivers?

What is likely is someone who is committed gets dropped or USC backs off on some of the uncommitted receivers. It already sounds like USC is not especially strong with McKinley, who I think is worth taking and better than a couple of the committed prospects. And I suspect one of the committed receivers will change his mind, sort of like tailback Melquise Stovall, who looks like he got dropped by the Trojans.

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USC Safety Is `Fluid’ Position

I asked USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox what Chris Hawkins did to win a starting safety spot as indicated on the USC depth chart. And Wilcox quickly backed away from the depth chart.

“It’s a fluid situation,” Wilcox said. ”All those guys bring something different. We want to see who goes out (and plays) when the lights go on.”

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Morning Buzz: USC Report

In this episode, co-host Reid Silverman and I discuss freshman linebacker Cameron Smith starting his first game, Clay Helton taking over play calling, Steve Sarkisian and Adoree Jackson’s chances for a big start to the season.

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Did Clay Helton Turn Down Jobs?

Steve Sarkisian said Clay Helton turned down several jobs in the offseason and giving him playcalling was an incentive to stay. Helton said today he stayed because he’s known Cody Kessler for “seven years” including the two years he spent recruiting him. And he wanted to coach at USC post-NCAA sanctions.

You might remember Lane Kiffin said Helton turned down jobs at two “top five” programs in 2013 to remain at USC. But when I asked Helton about that, he laughed. So who knows if it was true.

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