USC Now mailbag: Pat Haden, quarterback recruiting and dance competitions

USC Now mailbag: Pat Haden, quarterback recruiting and dance competitions
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden will skip the College Football Playoff meeting in Indianapolis because of the new Indiana law that has been called anti-gay. USC football Coach Steve Sarkisian and players support Haden's decision. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

As spring practice moves toward its final week, I might need to consider soliciting dance-off videos from USC Now readers to liven up the mailbag.

Or maybe I'll just force Gary Klein to dance in our next USC Now spring practice video.


I'm sure that would wake some of you from your spring slumber.

What was USC AD Pat Haden thinking when he refused to go to an NCAA meeting in Indiana in protest to that state's adoption of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in solidarity with his gay son?

Multiple states have adopted similar laws, including Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Arkansas.

USC plays football games this year against Arkansas State, Idaho, Arizona and Arizona State. The Arizona State game is in Tempe.

And isn't Notre Dame in Indiana? That is also an away game for USC. Is Pat Haden going to refuse to go to that game? What happens in 2016 when USC plays Alabama and Arlington, Texas, states which have adopted the same law?

-- Wayne Lusvardi, Pasadena, Calif.

Pat Haden's decision to not attend the College Football Playoff committee meeting in Indiana was a symbolic act to stand up for his beliefs.

I do not think Haden would forgo USC games in states that have similar laws.

He took a stand, voiced his opinion and now must continue business as usual.

Does USC pass up on a 2016 quarterback and focus on either Tate Martell or Tua Tagovailoa in 2017?

-- @aaronleininger1

USC would like to sign a quarterback in the 2016 class.

Malik Henry, formerly of Westlake High before he transferred to IMG Academy, committed to Florida State. Shea Patterson, from Shreveport, La., committed to Ole Miss, and Santa Margarita's K.J. Costello committed to Stanford.

Two days after Costello's announcement, USC offered Glendora's Matt Fink.


Coaches have also monitored Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro's Devon Modster and Los Angeles Hamilton's Armani Rogers, who committed to California.

2017 quarterbacks Tate Martell, from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, and Tua Tagovailoa, from St. Louis School in Hawaii, both have offers.

Do you get the sense that players are aware, affected, opinionated or care about the NCAA and Todd McNair fiasco?

-- Chris Lakey, @mcxyz

Times beat reporter Gary Klein wrote a story with players' reactions this week.

Most are aware of the situation, but most echoed Coach Steve Sarkisian and said it did not affect them and their ability to win football games.

What do you think about these dance competitions? Are they taking practice seriously? Why does Sark always talk about "having fun"?

-- @USCJamesY

There is no easy way to say it -- spring practice can be boring.

No harm was done by Sarkisian holding an impromptu dance competition -- for less than five minutes -- in the middle of one of 15 practices.

It energized the players and they had fun. Perhaps most important, recruits at practice witnessed guys jumping around and having a good time. Recruits on social media saw the photos.

Remember: Recruits want to play in programs that win and have fun doing it.

If there is a dance party in the middle of practice two days before USC plays UCLA, there might be reason for concern.

But six months from a game? Dance away.

Questions about USC? Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag.