Pete's Arboblog - "Mid-camp doldrums"

It appeared to me that we might have hit the "mid-camp doldrums" yesterday. It's to be expected, and it happens to every team.

The trick is making sure the time that we spend there is limited. That certainly appeared to be the case, as it was only doldrums of the flitting variety; pieces of practice that appeared to be not-quite-as-sharp as others.

Don't be too terribly concerned. Even though we can't blame it on high temperatures, it's usually a mental thing, as players adjust their bodies and minds to the new demands of a rigorous and highly regimented schedule. You know, sort of like major league pitchers have that "dead-arm" thing every spring.

I am adding 17-Travon Patterson to the spotter board today, and I think 87 and 88 to the Tight ends.

I watched the training staff from my perch on one of the medical carts next to the training table work expertly on Chilo Rachal and his neck. He looked to be in enough pain to make me not want to look. Any of us who have had neck troubles in terms of bulging disks or pinched nerves would cringe at the thought of a recurrence. Tiny moved in well behind him, and Radovich. After a couple of years of being among the walking wounded, if healthy, ought to be about ready to make his mark. Highly touted when he came to his first camp, but he hasn't had much of a chance to show his stuff yet. Always be prepared! If he has kept that at heart, perhaps he will have a big year.

LoJack played! A day after I said he was walking like my grandpa! Maybe they shot that groin up with something (eek!) I talked with him as he grabbed a Gatorade. Said he feels fine. I talked with him about his family, as we all sat together, as I mentioned, at last years Tribute. Good kid, smiles easily. REALLY good player. Sunday's next year for LJ.

Watched Ken Norton, Jr. interact with two of his three kids during a lull late in practice. Kissing his daughter Sabrina (12) and playing with Ken III. A big tough, gruff man who becomes a loving and gentle daddy in a moment's notice. When he came over to the forces of good, I was troubled at first. I am always suspicious of "them".

The late Dennis Minishian used to be our stats guy on the radio broadcasts. A fine stats man, he was manager of the Bruins 1964 basketball championship team. A Bruin through-and-though. He said he rooted for SC during our games, but I and others could never shake the thought of having a Bruin in the booth with us. It was probably silly, but we are so ingrained in our deep rooted despisal of all things powder blue……well, you know. Unless you're secretly one of them…..

Both are/were nice guys who won me over slowly but surely. Ken seems like a pretty cool guy (for a Bruin---oops there I go again). More importantly, he is a really good, and respected linebackers coach.

Brandon Hancock is having hair issues. Had a good looking Miami Vice beard going, like a lion's mane. Now it's down to a Fu-Manchu. Please, no Phil Jackson "soul patch" Brandon.

I talked at length with David and Stu, two rabid Trojan basketball fans who follow hoops recruiting and always have the inside scoop for me on that front. Today we talked about yellow journalists and a lot of football. Good guys, long time friends. I do not, as you know, broadcast for the men's basketball team. I did from 89-94, but upon my return, Rory Markas, whom I count among my best friends in the business, has been in the seat and our contracts overlap, and frankly he does a good job and there's no reason for them to dump him for me. I dearly love the game, it is by FAR my best sport in terms of broadcasting, and hope someday to do the men's games again. For now, I am afforded the opportunity to be a fan in the stands, which I also enjoy. I was asked to be the public address announcer a couple of years ago. I did it for one year, but I think they wanted a cheerleader type in there, rather than the old-school John Ramsey clone that I believe PA guys should be (information disseminators first and foremost). So I decided not to do it. (yes. I did some cheerleading under stressful circumstances with the Clippers PA and radio jobs, but I was young and impressionable at the time, and did not know any better)

The Santa Clarita Valley Trojan alumni association meeting scheduled for next Thursday has been postponed until later in the season. I was scheduled to speak there. Next appearance, San Diego TC, on Friday August 25 at a noon luncheon at the Hanalei Hotel.

**

Heading to the Dodgers-Giants affair today, a day game, then to practice from there with Leo, Jenny's son, who, at age 11, has just finished up his second week of work with the Santa Monica Vikings Pop Warner Junior Midgets. Leo has never played before, so is at a decided disadvantage against in most cases more seasoned players. Frankly, he took a bit of a beating first day of hitting, but is coming around, and dishing some of it out himself now. He is 5-4 and 132, which is right on the weight limit line. He has lost 12 pounds in the summer so far and looks a lot better, and his energy level is way up. Smart, good kid. HUGE Trojan fan. He is dying to see his first practice today. My birth son, KC is working as a security guy at Magic Mountain, and about to enter College of the Canyons. Also a Trojan (duh), he was a baseball player for awhile, but switched to hoops (all Santa Clarita Valley) and volleyball, role player for CIF-SS champion and #2 team in the state to Chase Budinger's La Costa Canyon. I did not allow him to play football due to his slight build, but regretted that decision as he bulked up for other sports and looked quite chiseled (just like his old man, HA!) and would have made a fine wideout for Micahel Herrick's passing antics at Valencia. Herrick, of course, is a prize recruit for Ed Oregeron at Mississippi.

**

Finally, thanks to all of you who have come up and introduced yourself to me at practice and on the internet. The nice things you say about me and this column are really great to hear. I was worried about putting myself so "out there" for everyone to see. Sometimes people take that as a sign of weakness to be so up front about things in your personal life.

I know this blog is to be about up-close "insights' into the SC football team and program from the play by play guy's eyes. But Garry said right up front he wanted to hear about real-life things too, from everyday life to the broadcast booth. And that is, like I said in the opening blog, what I will try to give you. If you don't care about one part of it, skip on to the next part. Sort of like a radio or TV station. Just turn the channel, no one will mind. You can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself.

How do you do??!!


USCFootball.com Top Stories