Broken Coverage



Who doesn’t love retrospectives?

We recently sat down with the careers of USC's four head coaches during the 2013 season.

That’s right: F-O-U-R.

Only three actually coached in games, but here's the run down: Lane Kiffin started the season before getting fired after a blowout loss at Arizona State. He was replaced by Ed Orgeron, who led the Trojans to a 6-2 record but walked out on the team after he was not named the permanent replacement.

Clay Helton, USC’s current coach, was picked to lead the team in that year’s Las Vegas Bowl. Steve Sarkisian, in the meantime, had been hired away from Washington to become USC’s permanent coach.

Sarkisian attended the Las Vegas Bowl win over Fresno State.

He stood on the sideline at the end of the game, not wanting to take away from the misty-colored moments three other USC head coaches had created that season.

I shook Sark’s hand on the sideline, at Sam Boyd Stadium, and wished him luck in 2014. It was not long after that his career careened off Hoover Dam.

Anyway, last weekend, all four 2013 coaches were in the heat of competitive action.

Here’s a best-to-worst performance review:

1: Lane Kiffin. The first-year Florida Atlantic coach turned his playbook loose in 69-31 romp over North Texas. FAU scored touchdowns on 11 straight possessions and amassed 804 total years. Well done, Lane, even if Nick Saban still hates you.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

2: Ed Orgeron: Left for dead after a home loss to Troy, the second-year LSU coach watched his Tigers notch their third straight SEC win with a road win at Ole Miss. LSU is 6-2 and No. 23 in this week’s AP poll. Coach O said some things after the game but the transcription service provider quit before Orgeron was finished.

3: Steve Sarkisian: It was not a good week for the Atlanta Falcons’ first-year offensive coordinator, who is feeling the wrath after a 23-7 loss at New England.

Here is one of the more family-friendly tweets:


4: Clay Helton: We’ll leave it to Trojan fans to rank Helton’s worst defeats so far. Was it last year’s 52-6, opening-day loss to Alabama? Or, Saturday’s 49-14 defeat at Notre Dame?

The L.A. Times brilliantly captured the collapse with a headline, written by sports copy desk ace Steve Horn, that should win a prize:


Steve is one of the best headline writers OF ALL TIME and should add this one to the prized collection he keeps on his wall at home.

Mr. Slate would have been proud of this one: BLARNEY RUBBLE

The question now is how many more lopsided defeats can Helton endure before the heat really gets turned up? USC athletic director Lynn Swann, remember, isn't the man who hired Helton. That was Pat Haden. We'll find out this weekend how tolerant Swann might be to embarrassing defeats at Arizona State.

The Trojans play in Tempe this Saturday. Four years ago, ASU's 62-41 win over USC cost Lane Kiffin his job. Haden pulled the plug on Lane, on the tarmac, after the team arrived home to LAX.

I can't imagine any loss this weekend will cost Helton his job, but I also thought there was ZERO chance Haden would torpedo Lane Kiffin before Halloween.

The bottom line is that Steve Horn, the LAT's ace headline writer, needs to be on his toes.

Tempe could become a fiery inferno for USC's coach:


ESPN pulls the chair onBarstool

News item: ESPN cancels "Barstool Van Talk" after one episode:


Reaction: Even the "The Hasselhoffs," a 1990 series about David Hasselhoff and his two daughters, got two episodes before it was canceled. "My Mother the Car,"a mid-1960s series, made it to 30 shows before it took the pipe.

Truth: I was never going to watch a second of "Barstool Van Talk," which seemed to appeal to a base level of sports society. I have no interest in tossing peanut shells to the floor with these people. But the real question is how the World Wide Leader thought it was a good idea and ever let it get to this embarrassing, press-release point. This has not been a good year for ESPN. And the problems seem as different as snowflakes.

Anyway, "Barstool Van Talk" now joins a pantheon of TV one-off cancellations that includes "Osbournes Reloaded," "Co-Ed Fever," and the insanely inappropriate "Heil Honey I'm Home!" This British show, which aired once on Sept. 30, 1990, was a spoof on 1950s American sitcoms and featured caricatures of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun living in marital bliss until they become neighbors to a a Jewish couple. I schnitzel you not.

Up Chuck Jayhawk

News item: Kansas amasses 21 yards of total offense in last week's 43-0 loss to Texas Christian.

Reaction: It was the fewest yards recorded by a team in the history of the Big 12 Conference.


I prefer to remember this way-more productive No. 21 in Kansas U history. He later played quarterback for the San Diego Chargers, Rams and was the second coach for the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League.

His last name rhymes with "Cradle."

His favorite receiver with the Chargers was nicknamed "Bambi."

William Oldenburg, the bombastic owner of the L.A. Express, once threw a plate of food at No. 21 during an argument.

Ok, Ok. We know you know it's...John Hadl.

The Bird is the Word

Defensive back Rashaan Gaulden reacted to a Tennessee's touchdown last week by flipping two middle fingers to Alabama fans near the end zone. That was one more middle finger than touchdowns scored by the Vols against the Crimson Tide in a 45-7 defeat. Gaulden said emotions got the best of him and he apologized for his brazen act. "That's not how my parents raised me," he said.

Teammates say they don't want Gaulden to lose his fiery edge and are encouraging him to stay aggressive the rest of the season. Because, you never know when Tennessee might score another touchdown.


Honk if you've never heard of "Sovereign Immunity"

The Mike Leach saga continues. He continues, like a plate twirler on the Ed Sullivan Show, to run a 7-1 football team at Washington State while orchestrating a concerted attack on his former employer, Texas Tech. Leach was fired, with cause, in 2009 and wants his back pay--and some pay back!

Texas Tech is protected by the state's sovereign immunity law, which basically does not allow people to sue the state without the state's permission.


Leach has been on a Twitter attack against Texas Tech and last week supported a rally for his cause before a football game in Lubbock. Could you imagine any other acting FBS coach conducting such a campaign during a season?

Well, that's Leach. It led to some funny Twitter exchanges last week. One person wondered how Leach was going be in Texas while his team was playing a game against Colorado in Pullman?


Leach has been called a lot of things in his day. "Boring" is not one of them.[/membership]