Pete's Arboblog - Memories with Fertig

Practice today was a no pads, shortened affair as the team gets ready for a Thursday afternoon departure for the Ozarks. The first thing I got to do was talk to a couple of fine gentlemen and pretty fair quarterbacks with some history behind them. The red head, Craig Fertig was sitting in the Keyshawn cart, and we chatted for a bit with a fit and trim Pat Haden.

Haden and I joked about his efforts in Little Rock the last time the Trojans went to the state. He did not complete a pass until the 3rd quarter, said it might have been the worst game he ever played. But the Trojans never lost again, and won the national Championship after laying the opening day egg there.

I had ran into Rod Sherman, who caught 84-Z delay on that November afternoon in 1964 to beat the #1 ranked Irish 20-17….a pass thrown by Mr. Fertig, later an assistant coach, head coach at Oregon State and a long time broadcast partner in the TV booth with Tom Kelly.

I saw that game is '64. My dad got one ticket and had a press pass. He sat in the press box, while I sat underneath it in the stands. I remember being rather stoic about the fact that the Irish led 17-0 at the half, sort of expecting it was going to go that way that day. I held out some hope, as I was promised that IF the Trojans somehow beat mighty Notre Dame, the conference officials who had decided to delay the vote to decide who would go the Rose Bowl that year would certainly vote in USC over an Oregon State team that had the same record in conference play, a bit better mark out of it, courtesy of a 7-6 pasting of mighty Idaho earlier in the year.

My dad came down at the half, and asked if I would rather go home and not have to sit through what was happening. I told him "no, let's stick around through the third quarter and see what happens, and if it doesn't get any better, then we'll go"

Other than Gibson's home run, The Miracle on Manchester and 55-24, I don't think I've ever seen a crowd go quite as wild as it did that day. There's some great film of the game on the USC Video Gold series of VHS tapes, but Kelly actually had to recreate the play by play for some reason. The actual play by play is saved for eternity, thank goodness, on a full length record album which I listen to on my record player. Yes. I have one still! And it gives me goose bumps every time I hear it. It's just a great piece of history, the entire 1964 season, with Dr. Frank C. Baxter narrating and TK's calls. Wow!! So seeing Rod Sherman and Craig Fertig within a day or two of each other always brings back that memory.

And I got home and tuned in to Fred Hessler on the old KMPC 710 with his "Sports at 6" show, and he got the results of the vote, that showed the conference president's were so impressed with SC's win over the #1 team in the country that they voted Oregon State into the Rose Bowl. USC athletic director Jess Hill called it the "rankest injustice I have every seen in my entire life"

I cried myself to sleep. Then I went to the Rose Bowl and rooted like hell for Michigan which handed the Beavers a 34-7 thumping, an Oregon State team that has never been back to Pasadena for the big game since. And that suits me just fine.

Another story of the lovable Fertig. He and I do lots of Trojan Club speaking functions together, and have become fast friends. His story telling and recall of events is fabulous. He has been known to down an adult beverage or two in his day..but there was one time of which I am still in awe. I was calling the USC at Washington game in 1995 for CBS national radio network. I had the booth next to Kelly and Fertig, who were doing the tape delayed TV for LA later that night. SC was down 21-7, but rallied for a tie that eventually sent them to the Rose Bowl.

During the second quarter, I began to notice those small airline liquor bottles were being placed, one by one, around the interior wall of their booth, from one side, soon across the front, then by the end of the game, all the way up the other side. All empty. And bless them, I watched the game that night when I got home and you could not tell anything of the sort had transpired. Amazing.

**

Chauncey is going to play as much as I do in Arkansas. He had his leg tightly wrapped by the end of practice. And for the first time in history, unless Desmond Reed or Ryan Powdrell start at tailback, a true freshman will be in for the first snap at that position.

Drew Radovich looks like the starter at LG. Byers will play a bunch.

The first and second string offenses both worked on the hurry up offense, the one Arkansas uses, to get the defense ready for it.

The defense looked ready, and the offense looked surprisingly comfortable running it.

Big day on Tuesday. It's the first Pete Carroll luncheon for the media, followed by the first in-season competition Tuesday.

Previous editions of Pete's Arboblog:

(8/27) It's Game Week
(8/24) It's Time To Play Ball
(8/23) Preparations Continue
(8/19) Salute to Troy thoughts
(8/18) The Empty Coliseum
(8/16) Brandon Hancock thoughts
(8/14) A perfect day?
(8/13) 3 weeks until game day
(8/12) Mid-camp doldrums
(8/11) Briefcase Blues
(8/10) Thoughts from the Scrimmage
(8/9) First day in pads
(8/8) The Arboblog debuts!


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