Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO

For This Week, Oregon Is No. 1 in Hackett's Poll

October 22, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

For some reason that escapes me, USC Coach Paul Hackett says he will dress in a clown suit if he decides to change his starting quarterback.

He doesn't have to do that. Even without the round red nose and oversized pants--hey, that sounds like John Robinson--we know Hackett is a clown.

How else do you explain his comment that Oregon has a better football team than UCLA?

You might think he didn't see Oregon's game Saturday against UCLA, in which the Bruins not only outscored the Ducks, 41-38, but outgained them by more than 100 yards.

Hackett, however, insists he watched on television, providing the expert analysis that Oregon would have won handily if not for its five turnovers.

Maybe so. But since when have turnovers been eliminated from the equation that determines which is a better team?

Although offense-oriented coaches such as Hackett might wish to believe otherwise, most turnovers are not the result of bad luck, voodoo curses or acts of God.

They are the product of either a careless offense or an opportunistic defense.

Both were in evidence Saturday at the Rose Bowl. The Ducks, especially the otherwise superb tailback Reuben Droughns, treated the ball sometimes as if it were radioactive. But UCLA's defense also was a factor.

The Bruins' defense isn't one of the nation's or even one of the conference's most intimidating. UCLA is ninth in the Pac-10 in total defense (408 yards a game) and eighth in scoring defense (27.6).

But they have a remarkable knack for making big plays when necessary, resulting in 16 turnovers in five games. That's the primary reason UCLA is third in the nation in turnover margin.

Considering the psychological games coaches play, it can be assumed Hackett's comment was intended more for his team than Bob Toledo's. Hackett no doubt wanted to make sure the Trojans were aware of the Ducks' outstanding talent during the week that the two teams are scheduled to play each other. He confessed as much when he said he might offer a revised opinion during the week the Trojans are scheduled to play UCLA.

Or maybe he's only clowning around.

*

In reporting the Gold Glove teams this week, an ESPN graphic identified Charles Johnson as a Florida Marlin. . . .

That might not turn out to be as much of a mistake as it seems. . . .

It has been reported that John Henry, about to become the Marlins' new owner, is eager to bring Johnson back to Miami. . . .

I'll have to check with Kevin Malone to see if that could be construed as tampering. . . .

One of the best new shows on television is ABC's "Sports Night," about life behind the cameras at an ESPN-like network. . . .

Tuesday night's episode revolved around an exclusive interview with a woman-abusing pro football player named Christian Patrick, obviously based on problems the New York Giants' Christian Peter has had in the past. . . .

Skip Hicks, his number called for the first time as a Washington Redskin tailback Sunday, carried four times for five yards. . . .

It can't be easy going from a highly rated college football program to a third-rate pro team. . . .

San Bernardino Pacific's Joe Weber, one of the most highly recruited running backs in Southern California, is particularly coveted by Wisconsin. . . .

The Badgers consider him a potential successor to Ron Dayne. . . .

It's easy to see why. At 6 feet 2, 230, Weber will have to gain only about 30 pounds. . . .

I'm not sure how the other eight cities bidding to become the U.S. candidate for the 2012 Summer Olympics stack up, but they'll have difficulty matching Los Angeles' board of directors. . . .

Besides Peter Ueberroth and Harry Usher, 1-2 in charge of the 1984 Games, included are athletes such as Willie Banks, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Janet Evans, Lisa Fernandez, Tommy Hawkins, Rafer Johnson, John Naber, Peter Vidmar and Ulis Williams. . . .

Bring back the triple jump. It vanished after Banks retired. . . .

Forget those starving children in Biafra. Check out this quote on the lockout from the Bulls' Ron Harper: "Everybody didn't make

$4 [million] or $5 million, you know. There are a lot of guys who make more like $200,000 or $500,000. This is going to affect those guys." . . .

Brother, can you spare a dime?

*

While wondering who could have guessed that Charlie Batch would be better than either Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf, I was thinking: Brett Favre hasn't been the same since he lost Cameron Diaz to Ben Stiller, I'd rather believe that than the conventional wisdom that he misses Dorsey Levens in the backfield, Philip Anschutz now owns another team that he won't talk about.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|