Carroll and the 116 dwarfs
On the USC dynasty
By Malamute, Posted 6 January 2005
not just a local sleep problem for Pac-10 coaches; it is now a national
nightmare for all the coaches in NCAA Division IA football. By
corralling the best of the blue-chip nuggets coming out of California, plus a
few national gems, Pete Carroll is on the verge of pulling a John Wooden, whose
UCLA teams won all those NCAA basketball titles, using that same recruiting
"'Last night helped,'" Carroll said. "'We had a couple of
phone calls last night that were real exciting in recruiting for us,'" Ted
Miller reports in this morning's Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Carroll's words
sticking in the throats of 116 other commiserating coaches, who may now need treatment
for sleep apnea.
“Nobody runs on the Trojans,” we used to say back in the
50's and 60's, in the days of the PCC, AAWU and Pacific
Eight conferences. Well, in some years you might have had success in running against USC’s
defensive front, but as a general rule in the conference, a coach needed to
prepare his team for that fact of life: a Trojan defense that was stingy on the
Influenced by that parsimony, the Pacific 10 became the first
passing conference in college football, going
19-4 in the Rose Bowl against the ground-oriented Big Ten, in a period from
Everyone knows that building a football team starts with
its defense. When Carroll assumed the head-coaching job at USC, he said that the
USC is no longer “Tail Back U;” it's now, “Corner Back U.”
The Trojans beat Oklahoma and running back Adrian Peterson
because they stopped the run, holding Peterson to 82 yards in 25 carries. They
forced quarterback Jason White into unfamiliar territory, into passing when
everybody at the Orange Bowl knew he was going to pass, including the Trojans’
secondary, which picked White off three times. Previously, White had been
intercepted only 6 times in 12 games.
Will Pete Carroll be as successful as
John Wooden, who won
10 national champions over a period of 12 years (1964-1975)? Injuries are too
much apart of football for that to ever happen, but Carroll might just
three-Pete by winning the national title in 2005. *
However, there is some disturbing news for Trojan fans.
According to the Los Angeles Times this morning, the owner of the San Francisco
49ers is ‘desperate’ to get Carroll at a ‘big price,’ having just fired
Coach Dennis Erickson and General Manager Terry Donahue.
After securing the services of Carroll, one wonders if the
49ers might not go after USC’s offensive coordinator Norm Chow and then use its
number one pick in the spring draft to select QB Matt Leinhart. Leinhart will
make his decision about whether to take the path to the NFL on January 15.
It would cripple the Trojans’ burgeoning dynasty if all
that should happen.
Orange Bowl Notes:
-- Reportedly, in the week prior to the game, Pete
Carroll’s wife, Glena, placed a hand on LenDale White’s ankle at the hotel
swimming pool and said a prayer for its healing. White suffered a high ankle
sprain – notoriously slow to heal – during the UCLA game on December 4. Against
Oklahoma, White rushed 15 times for 188 yards and showed no signs of a limp.
Miracles do happen.
"Mrs. Carroll did her thing. It's crazy," White told the media. "Everyone was at
the hotel standing around, she came up to me and asked how my ankle was. She
performed a short prayer for my ankle. She had her hands in the vicinity of my
injury. The next morning I woke up and it felt great."
-- Before the game, ABC analyst Bob Griese said that
“(Matt) Leinhart is the outstanding player of the year. But the pressure is on
him tonight. He does not have a great supporting cast.”
Wrong: White and Reggie Bush combined for 193 yards on the
ground. Wide receiver Steve Smith caught 7 balls for 113 yards and WR Dwayne
Jarret caught 5 passes for 115 yards. And on the highlight film, TE
Dominique Byrd is seen making a spectacular
one-handed grab off a Leinhart pass for a 33-yard touchdown. Yada, yada, yada.
Commenting on a disparaging remark made during the ABC
broadcast that short-changed the Trojans’ rightful place in college football’s
history, Mike Penner of the Los Angeles Times writes, “This is just one more
reason why Keith Jackson and Dan Fouts, a couple of West Coast guys who work for
ABC, should have been working the game.”
Minutes prior to the game, I googled “ABC HD and Directv”
and found that Directv had just added ABC's East and West Coast
affiliates to its high definition programming. Well, ABC got that one right, as
did Directv. Now, I'm going to need an HD TIVO.
-- In his past commentary on television, former Oklahoma
coach Bud Wilkinson used to emphasize the importance of Time of Possession, a
historical fact that apparently did not escape Coach Mike Stoops’ notice. The
Sooners won the time-of-possession battle against the Trojans, 35:06 to 24:54.
USC cashed in on short-field opportunities and got off some big plays, while the
Sooners were mired on the ground, burning up time and failing to score.
Oklahoma’s only points of the second half, 9 of them coming late in the game,
were gifts from the referees, who flagged the Trojans for forty yards as a
result of two celebration incidents and one involving a spiked ball in the end
* In the wake of Pauley
Pavilion’s construction (1964) and after it was opened in 1965, Wooden won 10
out of 12 NCAA championships (1964-1975), winning 149 out of the 151 games
played at Pauley Pavilion, accompanied by Dick Engberg, "Raindrops keep falling
on my head," and a sold out house. Of course, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and
Bill Walton had something to say about Wooden’s performance at Pauley, but would
they have gone to UCLA without Pauley Pavilion in place? During their run at
Pauley Pavilion, the team of Wooden and “Lewis,” as Wooden affectionately called
Alcindor, literally took the slam-dunk out of college basketball--until the NCAA
figured out a way to lower the basket for everyone else.
Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at