USC football practices sometimes attract actors and other entertainment personalities, but Thursday saw the biggest Hollywood production of the Pete Carroll era.
A stuntman fell from a platform, another ran across the field on fire. Both were "saved" by actor Will Ferrell, who wore a mask, half an Ironman costume and a Speedo-style swimsuit as Captain Compete.
"Just a little Halloween spirit," Carroll said of the post-practice stunt. "Have a little fun."
Carroll has a history of pranks, which have been celebrated by some and criticized by others.
On Oct. 31, 2005, running back LenDale White stormed off the field during practice and could later be heard yelling from the top of a building. As players looked on, a dummy wearing White's jersey fell from the roof, scaring some teammates and causing others to roar with laughter.
Thursday's stunt began as the Trojans gathered after their final drill.
Offensive line coach Pat Ruel began yelling at a man atop a mechanical lift used for filming practice. The man fell from the lift, on the street outside a fence that surrounds Howard Jones Field, and landed on a cushion out of view of those attending practice.
A few seconds later, Ferrell burst through the gate carrying the unhurt man.
As Ferrell addressed players, most of whom were laughing, another man emerged from behind the end zone engulfed in flames. After the flames were put out, Ferrell doused the man with water.
"I almost fainted," sophomore receiver Ronald Johnson said, chuckling. "It was scary."
-- Gary Klein