LOS ANGELES -- Pete Carroll is mad.
Not fully on-the-record mad, but the Southern California coach is upset enough when it comes to the state of his program. We're in his office and the talk turns to the various temptations for his Trojans in this city. The conversation is beginning to poke around the edges of the current duel investigations into USC football.
"How many players have we had in trouble compared to other schools?" Carroll asked in his defense.
|The chances of Pete Carroll having to relinquish his crystal football are slim. (Getty Images)|
The more complicated answer: No school has a more high-profile case in the works -- still, two years after Reggie Bush took his act to the NFL.
"Over the course of seven years there haven't been that many (players in trouble)," Carroll added, Foo Fighters on his CD player in the background. "I say all that and tomorrow night something could happen. (But) it wouldn't matter if it did. We don't have that kind of list."
It doesn't take a catalogue of violations to be concerned when your former Heisman-winning tailback was allegedly taking cash. Bush didn't show up at a scheduled deposition Monday regarding a $300,000 lawsuit filed by the infamous Lloyd Lake. Instead, Bush's attorneys filed a motion to conceal his testimony from the NCAA and the media. That's the first time since the story broke that the Bush camp's body language has hinted at something other than innocence.
Conceal from the NCAA and media? The testimony from this lawsuit could eventually stain the Pete Carroll years. A year ago, I chatted with Carroll after a Heritage Hall news conference just to ask him about his concerns during the Pac-10 and NCAA investigations into Bush.
There weren't any then. There aren't any now -- at least outwardly.
"Why would we change now?" Carroll asked of an amazing run that has included six Pac-10 titles and two national championships.
Carroll's motor is always running. No coach has been on a run of excellence compacted into such a small time frame since maybe Bud Wilkinson at Oklahoma in the 1950s. The excellence of Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden has been spread out over decades. For a large part of their careers, they weren't playing for conference titles. Miami's dynasty was passed from coach to coach.
USC is always aimed at tomorrow. It has a commitment from the top player from the class of 2009. Carroll, the ultimate recruiter, is pissed at a new piece of NCAA legislation that keeps head coaches at home during the traditional evaluation period in April and May.
Does Pete think this legislation is somehow aimed at him?