The deflated ball controversy swirling around USC was a hot topic of conversation among Times reporters during their weekly Google+ Hangout college football chat on Thursday.
Said national columnist Chris Dufresne: "It's the little things that add up. [Lane Kiffin] has sort of created a culture here at USC where he's the guy that manipulated the uniform numbers right up to the spirit of the rule, to injury situations, his poll vote in the coaches' poll, so there's enough there, you can say, well, he's created this culture and he's responsible for everything that happens."
Reporter Gary Klein, who had just spoken to Kiffin before the chat, said the Trojans coach told him that none of the staff knew of the ball issue. Klein said Kiffin "is aware that this is not something that the program needs, especially as USC is trying to get back on track."