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New Cardinal rule: Stanford has better players than USC

November 15, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

Here's the really depressing news for Trojans fans in a shocking revelation from Pete Carroll after the athletes from Stanford had their way with the athletes from USC.

"We played hard," he says, the Trojans apparently giving everything they had but obviously not belonging in the same class as a group of future engineers and astronauts from Stanford. "We were trying hard."

Doesn't USC have the better athletes? I ask.

"That's obviously not the case," Carroll says.

Are you saying Stanford has better athletes than USC? I ask.

"It sure looked like it today," Carroll says, as shocking an admission as I can recall from Carroll.

"It's been coming and I think it's been kind of clear as you watch film of our conference," Carroll says. "There ain't no doubt [the gap has closed in the Pacific 10 Conference]."

Until now, if there's been one given about USC's football program, it's the abundance of gifted athletes -- two, three and four deep.

"That's the perception because we recruit so hard, we've had our years and we just have better guys," Carroll says, "but that's just not showing up. That's not the case right now. We're fighting for our lives."

Maybe it's coaching, or the lack of it, or a coaching philosophy that doesn't fit the talent on the field. Just a thought.

One of Stanford's coaches says he expected the Trojans to run the ball down Stanford's throat, the same expectation I had all season given USC's overload of talent at the position.

But Carroll fell in love with the freshman quarterback and Joe McKnight is no Reggie Bush. Bush doesn't get caught from behind on a 51-yard breakaway against the likes of Stanford.

"There's nowhere to look but to me," says Carroll, saying the very same thing after the loss to Washington, and oh, after the loss to Oregon.

As good as Carroll has been, it's just hard to accept now that Stanford's athletes are now on the same level, or 34 points better, than the Trojans.

"It doesn't mean anything if you don't play with heart," USC's all-everything Taylor Mays says. "Any day courage like that [displayed by Stanford] will outlast physical ability."

So now Stanford has more heart and courage than USC? Isn't that an indictment of the grown-ups in coaching gear who aren't supposed to let something like that happen?

"You can put it any way you want to put it," Carroll says, and it's a fine time to get defensive after your team has surrendered 55 points to a bunch of brainiacs.

Come on, everyone knows USC is sitting on a stockpile of talent.

"That's what everybody says," Carroll says. "We never think that way. We never operate that way. We never allow ourselves to go to that."

His final conclusion: "I think the margin has definitely narrowed" between USC and its opponents.

Didn't they used to refer to that around here as the Hackett Years?

--

CARROLL SAYS he didn't discuss with Coach Jim Harbaugh at midfield after the game Stanford's attempt to go for two points after already scoring 48.

But the San Francisco Chronicle talked to those close by Carroll and Harbaugh at midfield, and they said Carroll was overheard to say, "What's your deal? What's your deal?"

Harbaugh's reply: "What's your deal?"

I'd hate to think Carroll lost and lied, both on the same day.

--

THERE WAS a small table set up in front of the Coliseum, a cover from a new book to be released by Anthony Davis, and Davis nearby signing autographs. This time he wasn't charging for them.

A year ago he was offering his autograph to Trojans fans at $10 a signature, turning away a youngster who had no cash.

It was a pathetic scene, Davis dressed in a loud suit with a huge Nike swoosh across his back, still trying to make hay from his exploits against Notre Dame more than 30 years ago.

At the time he claimed all the money he was making from his autograph was going to the "Anthony Davis Foundation."

"I put six kids through school who otherwise couldn't afford to go to school," Davis claimed a year ago, while even producing a picture of the kids. "I wouldn't be out here without a reason."

None of those kids ever stepped forward after challenged to do so by Page 2, and now one year later Davis says it's come to his attention the Anthony Davis Foundation was bogus.

He also says he has no idea what happened to all the money he raised while hawking his autograph.

"What I was doing was right," he maintains, "but I didn't know about the other side. That was bad. That was my mistake."

Leonard Wayne is publisher and financier of "If My Nike's Could Talk," Davis' book to be released Dec. 5. (Apparently, according to the title, only one of AD's shoes talks to him.) Wayne says he recently sent a letter to the foundation operator asking that Davis' name no longer be used.

"No more selling autographs," Wayne says. "We have [Davis] doing things the right way now."

I was going to ask where the proceeds from the new book will be going, but I have a pretty good idea.

--

I KNOW these are tough times, a long list of very skilled people at The Times getting laid off the last year or so.

But it doesn't make it easier to hear the Angels have now done the same thing, letting public relations specialist Nancy Mazmanian go.

They don't come more cooperative, professional, or stand as a better representative of what the Angels claim to be in the local community.

It just doesn't make (cents) that Arte Moreno is that hard up for cash to dispatch someone who essentially lived doing everything she could to shine the brightest light on the Angels.

It'd be nice, if just once, someone dug deeper when laying someone off and found a way to make something right that feels so wrong.

--

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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