Coach Lane Kiffin takes a look at the scoreboard during a season-opening… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
In the aftermath of USC's stunning failure at Stanford, Lane Kiffin declared competition open when he admonished one of his young offensive linemen: "We've got standards and expectations here and his effort in that game did not meet those." Trojans fans left dumbfounded by curious play-calling, suspect schemes and the tactical adjustments not made while his team was being beaten and bullied silly at the line of scrimmage would tell him the same thing applies to coaching.
USC has a tradition of successful, affable coaches — McKay, Robinson, Carroll. We do not need a boorish Urban Meyer clone, who is furthering his Oakland and Tennessee reputation. The "man" needs to grow up.
Hey, Lane Kiffin, just a thought, but when your offensive line is getting their butts kicked and the defensive line is living in your backfield, how about the wild thought of actually moving the quarterback with a rolling pocket?
Maybe you should actually think about making changes at halftime that will assist your team in making adjustments to help negate Stanford's strength superiority. It's time for people to realize that you are just over your head when it comes to matching wits with the truly good coaches in major college football.
This game was completely backward and wrong. Isn't it USC that is supposed to have linemen who dominate both sides of the line of scrimmage, star linebackers, overly aggressive defensive backs and a running back good for 200-plus yards? Isn't it Stanford that is supposed to have the glamour boy quarterback, a couple of flashy receivers, and nothing else? And don't NCAA rules require that at least one of the two teams have a field goal kicker?
It's a good thing we went through all that hand-wringing over Alabama leapfrogging our beloved Trojans in the polls a couple of weeks ago.
Craig L. Dunkin
At this time, the question seems not "Is Barkley the best player in the nation?" but rather "Is Barkley the best quarterback in Los Angeles?"
Matt Barkley came back to USC because of some "unfinished business." Now we know what it is, lose to Stanford four straight years. Mission accomplished.
So Matt Barkley still likes USC even after last week's loss. Great topic, Plaschke. I would like the world to know that after an extremely rough last week I still have a zest for back massages and prime rib dinners.
Just before the college football season began, I wrote that as a UCLA alumnus I was really looking forward to this season because UCLA had no place to go but up and USC had no place to go but down. I had no idea that the season would be so bright for me only three weeks in. I love it, I love it.
Martin A. Brower
Corona del Mar
On to baseball
I am not sure who made the worse call Saturday — Mike Scioscia for pulling a still strong and dominating Zack Greinke with two outs remaining or Lane Kiffin for unbelievably running Curtis McNeal up the middle with less than a minute to play. And these are our very best decision makers?
Jim B. Parsons
Jerry Dipoto probably will pull a "Mickey Hatcher" if the Angels miss the playoffs and force out Mike Butcher in the next few months, leaving Mike Scioscia no more excuses for next season. Can anyone say Terry Francona in 2014 if the Angels don't produce in 2013?
Mr. Colletti, can we get one more trade? Don Mattingly for Kirk Gibson. Might be interesting to see what would happen if guys were afraid to come back to the dugout after striking out in the bottom of the ninth.
If the Dodgers' high-paid "superstars" would do the following three things, they would have no problem getting to and winning the World Series.
1. Stop swinging at balls in the dirt for strike three.
2. Stop standing with their bats on their shoulders while being called out on strike three.
3. Ask Luis Cruz how to hit.
It would appear that at least part of C.J. Wilson's success while pitching for the Texas Rangers is that he never had to pitch against the Texas Rangers.
On a bit of a reverse note, is that the way Albert Pujols ran the bases in St. Louis?
How is it that a rookie (Mike Trout) can run perfect routes and make spectacular, home-run-robbing catches regularly, when a veteran (Matt Kemp) just keeps smashing his head against the outfield wall and not catching fly balls? Could someone please tell Kemp the meaning of "warning track"?
Is it just a coincidence that the Angels started hitting after they fired Mickey Hatcher and the Dodgers stopped hitting after they signed him as a consultant?