Home > The Hodge Podge > The Hodge Podge – TROJAN MAN!

The Hodge Podge – TROJAN MAN!


It’s all about the Trojans these days. If you don’t have them, you want them. Or in Lane Kiffin’s case, you have one, but you kinda, sorta wish you didn’t. 

It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend for former Trojans, so much so, it’s be impossible for this USC fan to let another day go by without addressing some of the major happenings. 

Once the Lane Kiffin hiring was made official, I immediately sent a text Britton Dennis:

“I smell a Hodge Podge…”

Then I realized it might have just been a stale fart. I did have carne asada fries for dinner. 

Either way, it’s time for Trojan Talk.

I’m Not Here to Talk About The Present. 

Oh man, has the time really come? It’s been so long. Such a journey we’ve been on; Big Mac and I. But I suppose it’s been long enough. Mark McGwire came forward and so must I. 

I… still… like McGwire. 

Not a shock, considering my last column on the matter, when Mac Attack was named the new hitting coach for the Cardinals. Still, now that the former slugger has come forward, and actually USED the word STEROIDS (AHEMMMMMM… Staring you down Jason Giambi… Starrrrring… Yoooou… Doooooooooown), we finally have a sense of resolve with McGwire. Or do we? 

Roll the tape…

Take One: Bob Costas Interview: You have to admit, this was a pretty decent sell

“There’s not a pill, or an injection, that is going to give me the hand-eye – that is going to give any athlete, the hand-eye coordination… to hit a baseball.” 

Ok. I think I might be buying that a little. 

(Not that it was anything we haven’t heard before.) 

(Plus seeing Skinny Mac slug a homer in his slim-fit green and whites, helps the illusion. Sorry… helps his argument I meant.) 

Really, I had only two problems with this interview.

1.) The constant slurping of the right side of his goatee. Whenever he got antsy or nervous, or passionate. I’ll give him that too. But it’s not made of peanut butter and you aren’t a Saint Bernard, big man. Stop with the licking. It looks like a tell. 

And it’s sort of disgusting.

2.) The bizarre looking extra skin on his neck. If I were to show you a photo of only Mac’s neck, you would guess he’s 35 years older than he really is. That’s what losing a copious mass of muscle in an extremely short period of time will do to you folks. THANK. YOU. STER-OIDS. 

(I can’t concentrate. It’s like looking at that really long black hair sprouting from your aunt’s cheek-mole. MUST… LOOK… A-W-AY. BUT… CAN’T.) 

The main thing I took away from the Costas interview was that McGwire seemed to genuinely care about apologizing. His emotion seemed authentic. 

Could it have been orchestrated? Sure. 

Let’s see what Bob Ley had to say.

Take Two: Bob Ley Interview: I’m beginning to think Mac just really likes to say the word Bob. He must have said it 70 times. 

Whoops! That was how many times he pricked himself in ’98. 

I mean… how many homers he slammed in ’98. My fault. 

McGwire looked like he had shed about 150 pounds of weight off his back, from the Costas interview. Calm, collected and utterly under control. 

Except that pesky chin slurp. Get that thing under control, guy! 

I liked that Mac was calm. I did. Sue me. But, I didn’t believe him. He dodged more Ley questions than Bugs Bunny does Elmer Fudd bullets. I should know. I do the same thing when I don’t feel like giving the answer someone is looking for. 

Ask me why I order ranch dressing with my wings at Wings-N-Things and you might as well be asking what my favorite cold drink is. 

Sure I like wings. What guy doesn’t? It’s great to cool your palate after a shoveling down a handful, particularly if you order anything above the medium sauce. You dip the carrots and munch a while, the cream cools you down. Maybe you have an ice cold Coke too. It helps, but the carbonation almost does battle with the chiles in the sauce. I tend to prefer stopping at Santana’s on the way home for a large horchata. Rice, milk and sugar? You can’t beat that, man. Not a chance. 

In other words, the red-head danced an Irish jig around a few too many of Ley’s questions. But he did call Jose Canseco a dirty rat-liar. Provocative! 

So all-in-all? I thought McGwire came off about as well as he could have hoped. He actually addressed ‘roids and not some mysterious substance. He gave fairly believable reasons for not talking about, “the past” at the Congressional hearing. 

Go ahead Mac. Move on. Go teach Matt Holliday how to slug again. 

(NOT LIKE THAT. You’ve already been down that road.)

Law Suits and Attractive Wives 

I got home from work yesterday at around 5 p.m. and was greeted with Lane Kiffin’s mug on ESPN’s home page. Immediately, I knew. 

We found our coach. 

One of the Kiffins should be great at recruiting. You decide which one.

Aaaahh fiddle sticks! 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Lane Kiffin? I guess it depends on your sex. 

Males think about his wife, Layla. She is in the news nearly as much as he is, or so it seems. Then, thoughts immediately drift to his indredulous tenure with the Oakland Raiders, ending with Kiffin losing his gig, fleeing to Tennessee and the law suit which soon followed. 

Grrrreat call Mike Garrett (USC’s Athletic Director). 

On the other hand… perhaps Layla can inspire the team. That alone might be worth a loss or two less next year. 

And since they had four, I’m thinking they could spare a couple. 

/Smashing every blunt object I can reach in a six-foot radius into my forehead. 

//We just snagged an Al Davis castaway. This is going to be a long year. 

Then again, maybe I can talk myself into this thing. Kiffin is a really young (33 years old) relaxed guy. He and his Malibu Beach bunny wife seem to ooze the SoCal style, Carroll so easily embraced. He is also ridiculously confident, refusing to back down from the Sabans and Meyers of the world. I don’t think motivating players is going to be much of a problem. Nor should getting five-star recruits to commit; it is still SC after all. Sanction or no sanction. 

The big problem is how off-putting Kiffin’s exit press conference at Tennessee, was. He was shifty and awkward. His pictures don’t really do him any more justice either. His facial expressions look for the most part, about like I would expect a reggae off-beat to look like. 

But who’s to say that deer-in-the-headlights look isn’t due to feeling like a chump next to his wife? 

Color me cautiously optimistic about the Mr. Layla Kiffin era. 

Carroll’s Classic Choice (No, Not a New Cola) 

So this is what it’s come to Pete. You’re really testing my allegiance here. 

By now, you all know me pretty well. You know I’m a 49ers fan, have been learning how exactly I became a Clippers supporter through my, “How Jerry Krause Changed My Life” series and realize but don’t fully understand my Dodgers/ A’s split. But above all else, I bleed Trojan cardinal and gold. 

So yeah, I loved the Pete Carroll era, in Troy. Now that part of my life is dead. Carroll is a Seattle Seahawk. Which is pure venom to me on two accounts.

A.) It would be near impossible for me to like Seattle sports any less. I can’t stand them. Plus the region in general really grinds my goose. 

(I’m pretty sure I mixed metaphors there, but that’s what Washington does to you. Be forewarned if you are thinking of moving to the Northwest. It will mess with you.) 

(Pipe down Washington lovers, this isn’t another mindless spat on your State. Let’s not get petty now. Moving on…)

B.) More importantly, the Seahawks are a division foe to the Niners. C’mon Carroll. Can’t a kid catch a break? 

(*Note: I unfortunately had to break my string of, “k” sounds there with the word, “break.” But not for lack of trying. Somehow I just didn’t think using, “cold” would have the same effect. Call me crazy.) 

If Carroll’s choice had been the Rams or Cardinals, I would still feel completely stuck. Well, maybe not the Rams. I have been conditioned to hate the Seahawks, so I must continue, Carroll or not. 

While watching his interviews Tuesday, the ones with his classy sea-green/ looks like a pigeon’s back, tie, for a brief moment I caught myself thinking: Yeah! Go Pete! Prove your critics wrong! Get up there and emmerse yourself in film. 

And then I mind-punched myself in the face. 

I’m sorry Petey, my boy. I can’t go down this road with you. You must walk it alone. 

Well, I guess you can journey with the few hundred Hawks fans you have left, used to watching mediocre football. Sounds like a great time. I’m sure you’ll be more than happy in two or three years that you left SC. 

So goodbye Pete Carroll. I’ll always remember you as the magnificent college coach/ recruiter you were. We had some great times together. 

And by the way, it’s not that I blame you for leaving. I don’t. The Trojan kingdom has uncertain times ahead. I just think you will end up regretting this decision in time. Instead of continuing to Fight On, scratching through the adversity and securing his mythical legend with SC, Carroll is headed to Seattle with an aging quarterback, no running game, a fading offensive line and pretty much no defensive players who can consistently play at a high level. 

Yeah, I see this working out wonderfully.

  1. wstuchell
    January 13, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    I feel the need to add several things here.

    First, Pete Carrol leaving USC could not have come at a better time.

    He was pure teflon at USC. Nothing that went wrong with the program ever stuck to him. Think about Reggie Bush. The NCAA is still waiting for information to decide whether or not they’re going to impose sanctions. McKnight and his SUV. You’re telling me that a head coach of a program didn’t happen to hear/see what his star running back was driving. Possible, yes. Probable, no. However, none of this will be blamed on Carroll.

    Yet, for the first time in his entire stay at USC there is the chance of a NCAA postseason ban. It turns out that the civil suit against Bush may just provide the NCAA with the info they need.

    Second, No more dynasty talk.

    There are few things I dislike more then talking about sports dynasties. In my mind, and most of you will disagree with me, there is only one true dynasty in sports. It kills me to say this but it is the Yankees. The definition of a dynasty is power moving from generation, to generation, to generation….. Winning 1.5 championships in a 10 year span doesn’t make you a dynasty. Winning 4 championships in a 10 year span doesn’t make you a dynasty. Winning 26 championships over 100 years makes you a dynasty.

    In reality USC only won one Championship. They were given a split championship the other year, without even playing in the Championship game. No offense but I think it’s a slight against LSU. When you ask most people who won the Championship that year, they’ll say USC. With Carroll gone, the “Carroll Dynasty” is over.

    Lastly, more balance in the PAC-10.

    Given that my favorite team is in a somewhat competitive league I get that this may be the pot calling the kettle black. However, for seven straight seasons the Pac-10 was a more or less a joke. Everyone knew that USC was going to win the title and go to the Rose Bowl. Now some years were a little more competitive then others but still, it was a weak league. The Big Ten always had two or three teams competing at the top level every year. Ohio State managed to win those games when it mattered. The Pac 10 had USC and then maybe Cal.

    With Carroll leaving the chances of a more competitive league come back. If the Pac 10 becomes more competitive then maybe they will make it to more National Championship games.

    P.S. I still love Vince Young for destroying USC’s hopes of a “three-peat”, and yes he was down when he made that pitch.

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