With 10 TV remote trucks lining the outside walls of Howard Jones and Brian Kennedy fields early Tuesday morning, an extremely subdued, contrite and dare we say it, sober Steve Sarkisian addressed his Saturday meltdown at the Salute To Troy in front of 2,500 fans, family members, coaches and players.
With the help of his players and his bosses, he's going to get through this, he said -- eager or was it anxious -- to get back to coaching his Trojan team picked eighth in the nation by the AP and the favorite in many quarters to win the Pac-12 championship.
"I truly believe in myself as a coach that can lead this team and be the best coach for this team to go win a championship," Sark said as players Cody Kessler and Su'a Cravens listened from the outer reaches of the 50 or so media crowding around him.
He's not going anywhere, except for treatment as it works into his schedule, Sark said . . . if he needs it.
Asked directly if he "had a drinking problem," Sark said he didn't think so. And didn't know exactly where this goes from here.
"I don't even know if I need rehab, but that's part of the process," he said. "I'm going to find out."
But this isn't a journey he'll take alone now. There were lots of references to to his long conversations Athletic Director Pat Haden, who conspicuously was not here. "I appreciate Pat's honesty," he added.
And he talked of trying to get in touch with USC Pres. Max Nikias, although that does not seem to have happened.
But Sark did get together "with the leadership council" of the football team and they prescribed "up-downs," Kessler said, just as if he were a player. "I'm still sore today," Sark said of his Sunday punishment that he planned to continue over to Monday.
Cravens saw the good in that: "I think this brought us closer to together and we support him 100 percent," he said.
"The moral of the story," Sark said," is if you mix meds with alcohol, you say things or do things you regret."
Which got him the next question: What meds are you taking? And this answer: "When it comes to what medication I'm taking, I think that's an issue that should remain private."
As it was, until Saturday night. Now it's a national story. And a major distraction just as USC, after the first day of class Monday, was heading into two weeks of game-week preparation for Arkansas State Sept. 5 as signified by players coming out in Scout team jerseys.
"I don't think it's going to be difficult, quite honestly," Sark said with the help of his players, coaches and administrators. He did promise that he would do no more drinking this season.
Sark also said the alcohol that has been a part of the scene in the coaches' lockerroom "after big victories" is a thing of the past. "It won't be there again," he said.
"There's no one else in the country we'd rather play for," Kessler said at a time when he'd normally be warming up.
"We're going to move on," Su'a said. "We love him."
And so it ended, with questions unanswered and a team to coach that had already started working as the press conference was finishing up.
And for those who stayed around even with no players or coaches available, and no parents down the sideline, it was a quiet morning. Some of it was getting used to going against the Scout team so much. And going at a slower speed.
And going with a somewhat quieter Sark, breaking into a "Let's go, guys,' handclap as he moved from one unit to the other, mostly observing and encouraging.
"We had a good practice," Sark called out to us as he left and passed those 10 TV trucks still parked on Mclintock.CHECK THIS OUT: For more details and play-by-play on Saturday's workout, check out SARK'S APOLOGY/INSTANT ANALYSIS.
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