Many don’t get USC football joke

Times Staff Writer

An attempt at humor -- something that Coach Pete Carroll said “we were just having fun with” -- backfired on the USC program this week, prompting the school to pull a video off

The footage was of Carroll’s son, Brennan, the Trojans’ tight ends coach, putting a group of potential walk-ons through a series of drills during a tryout.

Throughout, Brennan Carroll is shown hamming it up for the camera -- and using language laced with profanities.

The video was produced by USC and originally posted on Pete Carroll’s website as part of a “mic’d up” series. It was taken down from the site when the school started getting negative feedback from those who didn’t perceive it as a joke.

“It was just a silly thing we wanted to do because Brennan takes so much ownership of the walk-on tryouts,” said Ben Malcolmson, director of online media for “That was our goal. It was taken by a lot of people in the way it was not intended. It wasn’t serving its purpose if it wasn’t being received in the right light.”


Malcolmson said when the video was first posted April 8 it was “overwhelmingly well received. But as time went on, I think it sort of shifted to a more negative perception.”

Pete Carroll said the intent of the video was a “spoof.”

“As we went through the process, we were just having fun with it,” he said. “Sometimes stuff can be misinterpreted or misused or not received well.”

The Los Angeles Daily News reported this month on its USC blog that UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel had pushed the video to recruits because he thought it reflected negatively on USC’s program. Several websites, including, linked to the video last week.

Carroll said he had not spoken to Neuheisel about the alleged negative recruiting and that it did not play a role in the video’s being pulled.

Said Neuheisel, through a school spokesman: “We are not going to comment on rumors pertaining to this matter.”

Brennan Carroll could not be reached for comment.

Pete Carroll said he was not concerned about criticism -- “I don’t care. Not at all,” he said -- and added that he would continue to have Malcolmson experiment with material for the website.

“It’s all trial and error and weird stuff for fun,” Pete Carroll said. “There’s not a whole lot of mentality behind this stuff. We’re just having a good time with it. It shouldn’t be taken for anything other than that.”

Times staff writer Chris Foster contributed to this report.