The Trojan SCoop: A More Personal Look at USC Football

Mitchell GoldenCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2009

LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 4:  Khaled Holmes of the USC Trojans looks on before the game against the Oregon Ducks on October 4, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 44-10.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

So how to start this? Well, to be polite, I’ll give a quick introduction. My name is Mitch Golden.

“That’s great, Mitch,” you are probably saying, “but why should I care who you are?”

Let me answer that question for you in three easy-to-use steps:

  1. Today, you accessed Bleacher Report
  2. You, for some reason or another, meandered on over to the USC section
  3. As of this week, I am the brand spankin’ new B/R Campus Voice reporter at USC.

So, since I am B/R's official guy on campus, and assuming you traveled to the USC section because you care about the Cardinal and Gold, you might care to at least know who is writing this babble that some call sportswriting.

Now I should clarify something for all you confused readers out there: I have absolutely no idea what this position will lead me to. Nor do I know what type of style I will be writing in over the next few months, although I intend to find some sort of writing format that you, the reader, finds enjoyable.

I also intend to provide news and insight that you cannot find anywhere else—the kind of insight that ESPN cannot publish because Big Balls Pete Carroll will not allow it.

So, feel free to comment on the article: both its style and its content. And ask me questions. I love questions. I will always post my email at the bottom of the article. But please, no spam.

Today, I will start you hungry readers off with two anecdotes. The first comes straight from the USC student section during the San Jose State game. The second comes straight from my wonderful insiders on the football team, who showed me something I doubt many of you avid fans noticed during your nightly film sessions.



Anecdote No. 1: The Hateful Heckler

On Saturday, Sept. 5th of the year 2009, history was made. Matt Barkley became the first ever True Freshman to start a USC season opener. And on that date, Mr. Barkley struggled in his first quarter.

Not that he was to blame for all of USC’s first quarter woes. Sure, he was jittery on his first few passes, nearly overthrowing his first attempt, and clearly overthrowing his second pass attempt.

The offense made several false starts, which may or may not have been due to Barkley’s cadence. As the first quarter came to a close, San Jose State was leading, 3-0.

But after all, this was San Jose State we are talking about. There was no way they could hold the lead.

And as expected, USC fans were not worried, except for the sorry soul that sat three seats down from me.

“Jeez, Barkley! You suck! You’re ruining the game for us!” he would yell, serenading the young Quarterback with derogatory comments after every play.

  • After a false start: Goddamnit Barkley!
  • After a missed pass: We’re going to lose the game thanks to you Barkley!
  • After Joe McKnight fumbles the ball: AHH BARKLEY! YOU SUCK!

Which prompted me (a fervent Barkley supporter) to say to this embittered soul, “That was a run play. What do you expect Barkley to do?”

He looks at me with a blank stare reminiscent of Keanu Reeves, and stumbles upon his response, “He…um…could’ve blocked.”

Needless to say, the naysayer was quiet the rest of the game, as Matt Barkley did not block on running plays, but passed for a respectable 233 yards.

Speaking of blocking…



Anecdote No. 2: The Wonderful Mishaps of Khaled and Kalil.

For those of you who don’t know backup linemen Khaled Holmes and Matt Kalil, here is a little background:

Both players have NFL connections. Khaled’s brother played tight end for two seasons, and Kalil’s brother currently plays center for the Carolina Panthers. Little known fact: Khaled’s younger sister is married to NFL safety Troy Polamalu (imagine if that kid plays football).

Now that you know the players, it’s time for the play. In the second half, both linemen are playing the right side as the second team offense is on the field. Quarterback Aaron Corp calls the play, a run by Marc Tyler.

The trouble is, Khaled and Kalil do not hear the play. As they jog out to the line, they make a guess, and decide as a partnership to block to the right.

Check the play on YouTube (at about 3:15), as it is one of the highlights of the game. It is the play where Marc Tyler runs to the left, and gains 63 yards.

If you look closely, you will see Khaled and Kalil block to the right, and then, as they notice their mistake, sprint across the field, weaving their way towards Tyler, leveling anyone in their path.

Now here is a riddle for you: if Khaled and Kalil did not block right, and then have to make up for it by sprinting across the field, does Marc Tyler make that 63 yard run?

That is one answer I unfortunately cannot provide.

Until Next Time, Fight On!


The Trojan SCoop is written by Mitchell Golden. You can email Mitch at


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