A Dark Sark Day

New Southern California football head coach Steve Sarkisian pauses for a moment during a news conference on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, in Los Angeles. USC hired Sarkisian away from Washington on Monday, bringing back the former Trojans offensive coordinator to his native Los Angeles area and the storied program where he thrived as Pete Carroll's assistant. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

So I was just about to write-up a post about the dismal Sarkisian situation this Monday morning, and as it turns out, he was fired in a matter of hours, right after lunchtime PST to be exact.¬† Didn’t know it could get any worse ūüėõ

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This is definitely one of the darkest times USC football has ever faced. The head football coach has become persona non grata on campus, go figure.  Reggie can now plan his celebrated return, Bush pushing it back to Heritage Hall.

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The issue of Sark being a drunk shouldn’t really come as a surprise to us SC fans, let alone Pat Haden.¬† Apparently the Washington Huskies, his previous coaching job before taking on SC, were well aware of his addiction and some players even took to their Twitter to LOL about the situation.

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Fox Sports even reported several additional incidents that involved Sark and the bottle. Among the reported incidents:

‚ÄĘ One former Huskies player claims he “smelled alcohol” on Sarkisian at team meetings “one or two” times;

‚ÄĘ Another ex-Huskie said that in 2009, Sarkisian sometimes arrived at meetings “smelling like booze” and with his “eyes all red”;

‚ÄĘ Two other former Huskies said Sarkisian and other coaches regularly drank alcohol in their offices;

‚ÄĘ Several receipts obtained by the Times¬†show hefty tabs for alcohol paid for in Sarkisian’s name.

So how was Pat Haden not aware of ANY of this?  How was this guy even hired?

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This unfortunate incident sadly exposes a gaping issue that is bigger than crunk Sarkisian, which could be an even more detrimental to the program.¬† As University Athletic Director, Pat Haden is responsible for managing all athletic programs and hiring those sufficient enough to run said programs.¬† Haden is 0 for 2 with the football program. ¬†He didn’t hire Lane Kiffin, but he did drag that along quite nicely. The white visor-wearing douche was a complete disgrace.¬† Coach O was the only savior that graced the football program’s presence finishing the regular season on a high note and he was an interim! Promptly after the season ended, Haden dismissed him in order to make room for Jose Cuervo.¬† Coach O was so distraught by Haden’s decision that he didn’t even stay to coach the team in the Las Vegas Bowl.

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Now this a fun trip down memory lane, remember when Haden and Sarkisian got in trouble? On September 8, 2014 he and USC football coach Steve Sarkisian were reprimanded by Pac-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott for attempting “to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest” during the September 6 game with Stanford. Haden was fined $25,000.¬† Yea that was fun…..

Haden’s employee vetting almost reminds me of a certain under-qualified Vice Presidential candidate…….

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Pat Haden must be under some serious fire, putting him in the HOT seat.¬† I mean ridiculously HOT, the HOT that is only found in HELL, HOT.¬† The man has only been Athletic Director for roughly 5 years.¬† I understand that the deistic legacy of Pete Carroll still runs deep within the program and forever will be until the man gets a gold statue on campus, but that doesn’t mean we need to try and desperately hang on to every individual that had some sort of connection to the winning program.¬† I know it may be hard to digest, but USC needs to start fresh and try and establish a new order.

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I know it’s scary to go out and try something new guys, but in the long run you will be respected for it even if you falter for a short while.¬† But then again this is College Football we’re talking about, the one athletic program that is so highly coveted that some universities’ entire endowment is given just to the football program.¬† Clearly our priorities are in line.

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All we can do in the interim is hope that Sarkisian seeks out the proper rehabilitation treatment to help him alleviate his alcohol addiction.  AND for Haden to get a clue

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SUPER confused

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BIRD V.S. BEAST.  This Super Bowl is a tough one to call for many different reasons.  Both teams bring so much to the table because both teams have something to prove with a newcomer coach wanting to solidify his position in the NFL and a veteran quarterback in search of his second Super Bowl ring.  Both teams are quite awesome with both their states legalizing the green (Yea, I went there) while simultaneously representing the West.

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Remember the West side of the country ESPN? Are you guys even alive over there under all that snow?! ¬†Damn Super Bowl, had to be in NYC. ¬†Always the East trying to outshine the West…”SHINE” being the operative word…. ¬†Sorry, got off track….

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But who will win?  Who knows.  The bigger question is:  Who are you going to root for?

We should all be in for a treat on Sunday,¬†as Denver and Seattle ended the season ranked No. 1 and 2 in the advanced NFL stats efficiency model¬†by virtue of each team‚Äôs dominance on one side of the ball. For the Broncos, that side is obviously offense, led by quarterback Peyton Manning. And for the Seahawks, it is defense, led by their smothering secondary. ¬†Yikes, sorry Russell, I guess you aren’t leading the pack ūüė¶ ¬†Not if Richard Sherman has anything to say about it….

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The Seahawks are coached by the improbable Pete Carroll. ¬†As a die-hard USC fan, you can’t help but love this guy despite his sudden, but necessary, departure from NCAA trouble. ¬†Every other day since the playoffs, ESPN has published an article about Pete Carroll, outlining his awesomeness as a human being, an awesomeness that is so palpable that every player in the NFL wants to play for him. ¬†Carroll was voted the most popular coach in the NFL,¬†according to a survey conducted by ESPN.com. Carroll received over 22 percent of the votes cast by over 320 players asked ‚ÄúWhich head coach would you most like to play for?‚ÄĚ

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Carroll‚Äôs creation of a laid back, player-first atmosphere has been a hallmark of his time at both Seattle and USC, and that‚Äôs a major reason why players and fans LOVE him. Carroll doesn‚Äôt fit the coaching stereotype of an inflexible hot head douche ‚ÄĒ sorry Jim Harbaugh….and take off those hideous khakis, for the love of GOD ‚ÄĒ and that makes him someone NFL players want to work under.

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But then again, there is Peyton. ¬†Peyton Manning¬†set his own NFL record with 55 touchdown passes this year ‚ÄĒ that‚Äôs three-and-a-half TD passes every single game. To put it in another way: He had roughly 14 TD passes every four games. The New York Jets had 13 TD passes all season. DUDE. ¬†At 37, coming off a career-ending neck injury, Manning had one of the greatest seasons in NFL history.

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Peyton Manning is a Monster Beast on the field.¬†More importantly, in some ways, Manning finally seems comfortable with the football geek that he is. To the media’s amusement, he has been loose and funny in interviews this whole postseason. After the Broncos beat the Chargers, somebody asked if retirement was weighing on his mind, and he replied: ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth.‚ÄĚ And isn’t that what is really weighing in all our heads?

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Two very likable guys, one Super Bowl. ¬†I really don’t know! ¬†For one, you want to see Petey win a Super Bowl just to stick it to big butt khaki wearing Jim Harbaugh, a feat he couldn’t conquer last year. ¬†Buwhahaha, who’s the man now?!

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Second, Peyton needs to get another ring to stick it to his younger brother. ¬†Despite Eli Manning’s 2 Super Bowl wins and 2 Super Bowl MVP awards, Peyton is by far the better quarterback, a quarterback whose name is already being etched in gold at the Football Hall of Fame. ¬†With another Super Bowl win, Eli can take a seat.

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All you can root for in this situation is the commercials, hoping they will be worth the 1 million dollars.  I would say the half time show, but seriously who will be watching that?  Sorry Bruno, but I think I will take the Puppy Bowl instead.

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A Big Fat Trojan Sigh

The USC Trojans this season has been anything but exciting.  This was a team ranked #1 at the end of August, defying all the odds, overcoming their  severe sanctions some still consider an unfair NCAA punishment, thanks to Mr. Reggie Bush.  With their 2 year sanction lifted they have (had?) a chance to compete for a national championship, which in turn has caught the attention of College Football, especially the all-mighty winning SEC.

Quarterback Matt Barkley made a huge announcement last December deciding to stay his senior year and play with no-longer-in-the-dog-house Trojans. ¬†Huge billboards were erected throughout the LA area, even Bruin territory Westwood, displaying a picture of Barkley standing behind a microphone podium at that same December announcement press conference ¬†with the confident declaration spelling out, “We Play to Finish.” Before the season even started, all of college football land was buzzing over Barkley winning the coveted Heisman Trophy. ¬†He had a tremendous Junior year season, why not dream a little?

The Trojans started off the season so promising, full of hope and new beginnings. ¬†Now that we are in the second half of the season, the Trojans aren’t looking to play for a national championship, aren’t looking to win a Heisman, aren’t even looking to dazzle fans nor intimidate other teams with their fully equipped and talented offense. ¬†Lane Kiffin and his Trojans are just looking to win the next game.

USC has been playing like they are asleep to say the least. ¬†As a die-hard Trojan fan who lives and breathes college football there is only one question: Who to blame? ¬†I know, I know that is the easiest way to place the problem on someone else, to look to someone for answers but maybe, JUST maybe, there is no one to blame. ¬†But hey, that wouldn’t be the style of this blog fools.

 

Case and point: the head coach. Is it just me or has Lane Kiffin been really screwy this season? ¬†Aside from him bolting away from reporters and failing to comment on injured players, his coaching is questionable. ¬†Relying far too much on the running game which only turned out ok in the Cal game, rushing for over 200 yards (the best of the season thus far), rather than using his killer offense: Matt Barkley’s arm, receivers Robert Woods and Marquise Lee. Wasn’t this visor wearing blondie a championship winning Offensive Coach?! What gives??

I am not trying to downplay the run game, I have nothing but love for Venice Gondo Curtis McNeal as well as Penn state transer Silas Redd who has proven himself to be a BEAST. ¬† But Kiffin seems to have been persistently “protecting” Barkley, not calling any long pass plays and instead opting to call the same run plays, thus not giving the opposing D lineman a chance to sack SC’s beloved prize possession. ¬†Wouldn’t that prize possession seem more like a prize with a Heisman Kiffin? ¬†Wouldn’t be too shabby :/ ¬† ¬†Kiffin’s focus is now just on winning, ¬†he doesn’t care by how much or with what strategy….just as long as we win. ¬†Now that to me doesn’t sound like a championship worthy team.

You can totally get Kiffin’s “winning” drift after the Washington game. ¬†“Yeah, we played conservative once we got a lead like that, but we said it all along, it’s not about anybody’s numbers, or Heisman, or anything like that,” said Kiffin. ¬†” It was about the best thing to win the game. Obviously, I want to pass the ball, but I’m happy with the win,” he said. “It was not a glamorous win, but our ground game was here, our defense was on fire, it was a team win.” ¬†This is not a #1 ranked football team….oh wait #10. ¬†Kiffin just sounds like he is sucking the fun and passion out of the game, not calling the hail mary passes or trick plays. ¬†I miss Pete ūüė¶

Don’t you miss Pete, marching up and down the field like he owns the place. ¬†And then there is little white visor Kiffin, hiding behind his lamanated play card. ¬†Hey the guy is clearly trying his best but his best isn’t working. ¬†It’s not only the fans that are frustrated but the players as well.

There is definitely some miscommunication going on between the coaching staff and players. ¬†The role of Barkley as a quarterback is disappearing. ¬†Did any of you watch last week’s game against the Washington Huskies? ¬†Kiffin sidelined his best offensive weapons for more than half the football game. ¬†WTF dude. ¬†“My take on it is, it was terrible for our offense, with all the weapons we have,” said receiver Robert Woods afterward, his voice trailing as his eyes dropped. ¬†After Barkley was sacked in the second half….Kiffin decided DUNZO, FIN, NADA, Nope, nobody touching my QB or am I putting him in danger. ¬†“There were a few really long situations on third down, and the last thing I wanted to do in this environment was sit there and drop back and let these guys rush us and let the quarterback get hit,” Kiffin said. “Going back to that Stanford game … there’s some times that I was getting Matt hit in those same situations and I made sure I didn’t do that today.”

What game is this again….? ¬†Oh that’s right, FOOTBALL. ¬†I think you are going to get hit a few times when playing the most violent sport in America. ¬†Good GOD Kiffin. ¬†Do you wear that white visor every game to protect you from those sunlight beams containing crazy?! ¬†Yea, I didn’t think so. ¬†Barkley obviously doesn’t feel the same. ¬†“I’ve never heard that from him,” he said, the surprise showing clearly in his voice. “I can take any hit. That’s surprising.” ¬†UGH. ¬†Punch me in the face. ¬†Barkley isn’t hurt Kiffin, CLEARLY. ¬†Play the guy who stayed his senior season with the intention of blowing everybody else out of the water. ¬†Why have such a great offense last year and not have one this year? ¬†You have all you need no?

Kiffin just doesn’t make sense to me. ¬†It is good that they are winning but they aren’t winning they way we all thought they would, the way they deserve. ¬†It may sound a bit bitchy but just winning sometimes isn’t good enough. ¬†It’s not good enough for a team that was once ranked #1. ¬† They should be on the same level as Oregon, defeating teams by 30 points+. ¬†But sadly no, there will be no joy in TrojanLand with Kiffin calling the shots ūüė¶ There is still hope that the Trojans will finish strong and I know they will. ¬†Maybe strong enough for Kiffin, but not strong enough for the rest of us.