No parking on campus today for the football game. No tailgating either. There is a shuttle running from the Convention Center’s Venice lot, which is on Figueroa Ave., between Venice Blvd. and 15th drive.
Alas, I do not listen to the show. But I’ve heard from some readers that radio host Colin Cowherd (above, in USC shirt) defended Steve Sarkisian against media criticism. Or something. Anyways, I figured I would let you guys discuss it, if you heard it.
Some USC players must take midterms today, on game day, before tonight’s game against Washington. So how does it help the players to stay in a South Bay hotel and then have to drive all the way to USC for a test (and perhaps back too) instead of just staying at a nearby downtown L.A. hotel, which USC did for many, many years.
I feel like I just went into a time machine and visited the Pete Carroll era again after watching “Trojan War,” the ESPN 30 for 30 film on the USC dynasty. I believe USC fans will love this movie mostly because of its action footage of memorable games. The best part is devoted to the USC-Texas game and makes it feel like the game was yesterday.
An interesting quote from Carroll comes on the famous fourth-and-1 play, where Reggie Bush is conspicuously absent.
“He was never on the field in those situations,” Carroll said.
What the film does not mention is Texas safety Michael Huff saying he was allowed to move up to the line of scrimmage and tackle White because Bush was not in the game.
The news is former USC assistant coach Todd McNair being interviewed throughout the film, although never discussing NCAA sanctions or his role with Bush. It’s a coup for filmmaker Aaron Rashaan Thomas. It is also apparent USC cooperated greatly with the film. A lot of the behind-the-scenes team meetings and locker room scenes came from USC.
Now for the disappointing aspects: Although Carroll is interviewed, what he did to create the dynasty is overshadowed by the desire to focus on the Hollywood aspect of the program. We still don’t get enough of Carroll or what made him magical.
LenDale White emerges as a star of the film and former players (Matt Leinart, Dominique Byrd, Brandon Hancock) do a good job. But some of the non-players interviewed come off as a list of usual suspects who add little.
Do we really need “quarterback coach” Steve Clarkson telling us about the Notre Dame game and Bush Push instead of actual players? Or his thoughts on the Texas game?
Even more puzzling is the use of “actor/producer” Josh Richman, who was actually known to the players as a club promoter and Leinart’s confidante. Richman was the only non-family member I recall seeing accompany Leinart to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in 2005 and the film could certainly have asked him some tougher questions.
My problems come as someone who was there the entire Carroll era, so I don’t have the same view as a fan.
Near the end, White gives another one of his classic quotes on Carroll leaving for the Seattle Seahawks.
“He bailed as fast as he possibly could,” White said. “Some guys may not get up here and say that but I feel that he just left on the university.”
Bush reportedly turned down 40 requests to be interviewed for the film, which airs Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. (PT) on ESPN.
Maybe Steve Sarkisian’s biggest coaching victory came at the expense of Pete Carroll in 2009, when the Huskies won, 16-13. This was one of most boneheaded losses I’ve ever been around. Carroll and offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates wanted an injured Matt Barkley to play so bad, they never named Aaron Corp (above) the starter.
Barkley, the true freshman, bounced passes in warmups with his sore shoulder and Corp started by default. He had little confidence and no wonder the way he was treated that week. It didn’t even seem like Bates talked to him the same way during the game as with Barkley.
This is not really a team or program question. But more of a fan question. There seems to be a deep reservoir of disdain for Steve Sarkisian and Co. from the Washington fans (and quite a few USC fans for that matter!).
This week, I’ve seen facts about Sarkisian’s reign from fans, like the 10 losses by 28 points or more. And his 34-29 record. And his awkward denial he interviewed for the USC job on a radio show the day he accepted the USC job. I could go on and on.
Then there is the Chris Petersen angle. He and Pat Haden did not mesh during an interview the same weekend Sarkisian interviewed for the USC job. Some USC fans ridicule Petersen now for his record at Washington.
For an otherwise non-rivalry, it generates plenty of debate.