Pete's Arboblog - It's time to play ball

By now the team must be much like the rest of us: wanting to see another team in a different color shirt to play against--tired of hitting ourselves, it's time to get to it!

Most camp discussion continues to center around the man who will be three spots behind center. Hoppe says he hears from a reliable source who knows a guy who has heard it right from the assistant trainer (or something like that) that Allen Bradford is going to be our next big star and will get the nod in Fayetteville. Yet, CJ continues to take the first snaps in practice, then Desmond, then Bradford, then Moody.

One telling sign is that Stafon has a black shirt on. And what of Chauncey? Will he go at all next week in practice? Or ever. Those hammy's can be troublesome, just ask Jerry West.

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I am re-watching last year's Arkansas game on TV to see if I can glean anything from that blowout. First thing that hits me is that we might have very well lost the Rose Bowl on that night when we lost Sartz and Thomas to injuries. Petros and Barry were almost breathless in their pre-game hype about what a good game this is going to be. Funny with the advantage of hindsight. If there is a 44 point swing from last year to this, we'll still cover.

I do this while continuing work on the Hog spotter boards. Worked on 'em at home, up on Prior Plaza during practice, and will do more each day 'till its done, then start on Nebraska. It's REALLY good to work ahead at this early stage of the season, because it catches up with me, the prep work, mid season usually, and then I feel like I am scrambling to stay on top of it all as we close in on November and beyond.

Our regular crew is not going to Ark.: Burt and Hoppe have the day off, so Brian Kennedy (of B.K. Field fame) is spotting for us, I think. It's a job he did for us when I was back at KNX in the early 90's. He's a riot in person, a superior business man who runs Regency Outdoor Advertising (a billboard company--he's one of the last independent owners in the country), and just an all around good guy.

He has been my benefactor, make no mistake about it, and my biggest fan throughout my tenure at USC. He was instrumental if not one of the final words on getting me back into the seat I currently occupy in 2001. His wife, Susan, is a hoot. Their kids look like her. That's a good thing for the girls!

He was a wild man in college, and tells some incredible stories of the guys he hung out with. He drank a lot back then, but is dry and sober now. One of the few guys who could pull it off, I suspect, and still hold on to most of his personality.

So, my favorite story is that one night he got so tanked he passed out, blacked out, which according to him happened way too frequently. So his loving fraternity mates grabbed a cab, went to the airport, booked him a flight, took him to the plane, strapped him in, and left.

He woke up the next morning in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. At least that's how I remember the story. It might have been Iceland. Hey, it's the thought that counts. It's not as bad as when Hoppe's older brother, the 6-8, 300 pound (at the time) Rich was pledging a house and they stripped him to his tidy whities, gave him a nickel and four pennies and took him to skid row. He had to find his way back by himself. So, he's gotta ask someone for a penny to make a dime to make a call, or walk back to SC in the middle of the night in his underwear in the late winter in the 60's. Ahhh, college hazing. Yikes! Perhaps I should be PC here and say that I don't condone this activity, binge drinking is dangerous as is hazing, and everyone ought to be ashamed of themselves and attend classes of some sort. Or, perhaps, get a sense of humor about stories of long ago pasts.

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I have now fielded five interview requests from various radio and TV outlets in the Southwest, including a couple of TV shots Friday night, when, usually, we go to dinner with the athletic department crew on the road. We'll see how this all works. Along with dinner, I like to take in a local high school game on Friday nights in the city in which we are staying (no dropped prepositions for ME!) . It might be too early this time, but I might try anyway. Anyone who travels who would like to go with me is always welcome, more often than not, it's just me, wearing some SC polo shirt, and usually people think I'm a scout. Makes me laugh, but feel important. You can hear them murmur as they walk by me.

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WARNING: THOSE WHO DO NOT LIKE PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT I AM DOING IN DAY TO DAY LIFE, PLEASE STOP READING TODAY'S COLUMN NOW. IF YOU READ ON AND GET UPSET BY THE LACK OF HARD CORE FOOTBALL INFORMATION, OR FOOTBALL INFORMATION OF ANY KIND, I CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FEELINGS BEING HURT.

Okay, now that the idiot is gone:

I'll be off the grid today and tomorrow. Jenny's son, Leo, plays his first ever tackle football game (a scrimmage) in Gardena tonight at 6, then I am up really early to head to San Diego for the annual visit with the SD Trojan Club at 11:30 at the Hanalei Hotel on Hotel Circle between the 5 and 805 just off of the 8. We're staying the night, and my heat in the body surfing World Championships is at 6:30 am Saturday morning, southside of the Oceanside pier. There are 56 men in my age group (45-54) competing in 9 preliminary heats. The top two in each group advance to the second round. I have no chance of doing that, I imagine. Last year, I finished 4th of 5 in my heat. The defending World champ, John Lashbrook is in my heat again, what luck? At least I will compete against the best.

The waves are up a bit. It's been all 1-2 feet lately, Saturday it says more like 3-4, so that will be fun. I am in pretty good shape for it, much better than last year as I have been working out a lot, and expect to score more points in my 15 minute heat than last year, if not finish higher up. Wish me luck, I'll write a bit about it Saturday perhaps when I come home.


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