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Trojans can run but Lane Kiffin can't hide

Chris Dufresne takes time out (he gets three per half) each Friday during the season to answer questions on college football. This week's topics: the public's right to know, UCLA's rise, USC's fall, and the power of the SEC.

September 21, 2012|Chris Dufresne

Game day is where the real competitive advantages and disadvantages are sorted out.

If Team X has a quarterback who doesn't throw many passes of more than 10 yards, well, that sort of information can leak out, without violating any policy, and become a chart in a newspaper.

I know, you're asking: why can't coaches ban television, radio and newspapers? Why can't games be played in secret, in underground bunkers, without the distractions of fans and nosy reporters?

That could be "Item A" on the agenda at next spring's Pac-12 coaches' meetings.

Q: If I'm running a team that is limited by scholarship (less players and back-up players) why would I ever want to help the opposing team by telling them players are hurt and possibly cannot play?

Bruce K. Middleton

Santa Fe Springs

A: Fine, then just shut down practice to the media the way most other college teams do. But if you are going to let media into practice, how are we supposed to ignore a top player getting injured?

Look, social media has changed everything. Coaches can't control events the way they once did.

We, as reporters, should have the same access to information as the pencil-neck sophomore who sees Matt Barkley's arm in a sling and sends out a text during English class.

People forget we work for our readers, not the Trojans or the Bruins. We are in the information business. Coaches are more interested in disinformation.

Coaches hate distractions, yet the irony is Lane Kiffin has made the injury issue a distraction. He has wasted his valuable time, and ours, and yours.

And somewhere in the midst of all this, USC lost to Stanford…Hmmmmmm.

Q: Tell us all again how USC is so good and should be national champs, are the best in the country, how quick they've returned from those unfair NCAA sanctions and all the other crap you've been writing. Do you even know football?

George Cunningham

A: OK, I'll tell you again. USC finished 10-2 last year and was the only Pac-12 team to beat Oregon, the eventual Pac-12 champ.

The star quarterback decided to return to throw passes to the nation's two best receivers. The Associated Press media poll put USC at preseason No. 1 while the USA Today coaches' poll had the Trojans at No. 3.

No one ever said being preseason No. 1 makes you the national champ. USC then lost to a ranked team, by a touchdown, on the road. If you know football, you also know there are several more games to play.

Q: It is not difficult to see that the L.A. Times has been favoring USC football for decades and that UCLA football is usually positioned in a much more minor position in The Times. USC gets a more prominent position on the Sports pages and usually gets more articles that are longer in length during football season. USC gets more photographs that show players and more of these photographs are larger color pictures.

Greg Miller

Mission Viejo

A: So many things I'd like to say here. I could go off on a rant and vent and really take you to task for some of these outrageous and inaccurate accusations.

But this is a Q&A. If only you had asked a question.

Q: A friend of mine emailed your article to me from The Times re: the Ten count for USC. Having never read your article before…I wanted you to know that I thought it was pretty funny.

Scott Casebeer

Salem, Oregon

A: Thanks. Lucky for you and me, just seconds ago, I just changed my policy of only answering letters that had questions.

Q: Did you watch the same game I did? Sorry, but what I saw did not look anything like a championship team.

B. Daley

A: Maybe you were looking at the wrong team. Maybe you should have been looking at Stanford.

Q: Rankman, it's time to tell you-know-who to stop the "BS" concerning the top 25 in college football. Stop putting "Boise State" in the top 25. Fix him a shaker of martinis, a bowl of peanuts and put him the corner 'till he has the "Blue Boys" out of his system.

Jack Buss


A: Are you bonkers, Banning? You must have seen a different game. Boise State's 7-6 win over Brigham Young on Thursday reminded me of the "old fashioned football" I keep hearing about every time Alabama and Louisiana State play and don't score a touchdown.

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