The Sports Report: What we know about the USC coaching search
Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Ryan Kartje on the Trojans: Clay Helton was out of his job for no more than a few hours on Monday afternoon before the backchanneling began. With one of college football’s famed powerhouse programs in need of a coach following Helton’s firing, interested calls from agents came rolling in right away at USC.
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There was scarcely time for the school’s brass to catch its breath before the rumor mill, and the attendant speculative fireworks, erupted. Every news conference denial or non-denial regarding the USC job will be analyzed with a Zapruder-esque level of scrutiny. They already have.
The urgency to find the perfect fit has never been higher at USC, where the last three coaches have been fired midseason during a 10-year span that has yielded just one Pac-12 title. But for the two administrators at the center of USC’s search, athletic director Mike Bohn and his chief of staff Brandon Sosna, there’s no reason to rush. The benefit of firing your coach two games into the season is that you have all the time in the world to conduct a thorough search and get it right.
That leaves us with several months to debate who USC should hire as its next coach. It also means a minefield of misinformation to come, with all the flimsy rumors and anonymous reports the college football media can muster.
Let’s start with what we know — and don’t know — about where the nascent search is headed:
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Jack Harris on the Angels: Shohei Ohtani will not pitch today as originally expected after he experienced arm soreness this week, Angels manager Joe Maddon said after the Angels defeated the Chicago White Sox 9-3 Thursday, and there’s no guarantee he will start on the mound again before the season ends.
Ohtani had been “penciled” in to start Friday’s series-opener against the Oakland A’s, but then felt soreness after playing catch on Wednesday, according to Maddon.
It’s unclear what will come next for Ohtani. Maddon said the team isn’t shutting him down yet, and that they’re hopeful he could just be battling normal late-season fatigue. They’re planning to have him play catch again in the next few days and see how he feels.
As of Friday morning, there was no plan to have him see a doctor.
“If he feels great, adamantly, I see nothing wrong with [him pitching again],” Maddon said. “But if there’s any kind of lingering soreness, you may not see him pitch. I just don’t know that answer yet.”
Gary Klein on the Rams: Since 2014, when the Rams selected him with the 13th pick in the NFL draft, Aaron Donald has dominated, piling up sacks against all but four teams.
The Indianapolis Colts are among the missing, though Donald offers a reasonable explanation.
“Never played against ‘em,” he said, laughing, after practice Thursday.
That will change Sunday when the Rams play the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Donald, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year, had one of the Rams’ three sacks last Sunday in 34-14 season-opening victory over the Chicago Bears, increasing his career total to 86½.
But he could have had more.
On one play, Bears quarterback Andy Dalton slipped through his grasp. Outside linebacker Justin Hollins was there to make the tackle and record his second sack.
“I don’t know what was going on that day,” Donald said. “I was just letting plays slip out of my hand. I was like, ‘What is going on?’
“So I’ve been working on my grip all week, making sure everything will be good. I changed my gloves so, you know, they’re not getting away no more.”
Jeff Miller on the Chargers: Things could get a little messy Sunday when the Chargers meet Dallas in their 2021 home opener at SoFi Stadium.
But messy is nothing new to Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott.
The former roommates at Ohio State are set to face one another as NFL players for the first time.
Elliott, the Cowboys’ three-time Pro Bowl running back, told reporters in Texas on Wednesday that he and Bosa were not exactly tidy during their college days. Bosa confirmed that assessment Thursday.
“We were both terrible,” he said. “There was not a winner on that. … Luckily, that’s changed over the years. No more pizza boxes and everything lying around.”
Brittney Sykes scored 17 points, Nneka Ogwumike had 15 points and 10 rebounds and the Sparks beat the Atlanta Dream 74-68 on Thursday night to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Sparks (12-19) are in ninth place, a half-game behind the Washington Mystics for the final playoff spot. The Sparks close the regular season Sunday against Dallas. The Mystics (12-18) play at New York (11-20) on Friday and host Minnesota on Sunday.
Te’a Cooper contributed 14 points and Nia Coffey had 10 for the Sparks.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1897 — England’s Joe Lloyd beats Scotland’s Willie Anderson by one stroke to win the U.S. Open in Wheaton, Ill.
1920 — The forerunner of the NFL, the American Professional Football Assn., is founded in an automobile showroom in Canton, Ohio. Twelve teams pay a $100 fee to obtain a franchise.
1938 — Don Budge completes the Grand Slam with a four-set victory over Gene Mako in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Assn. championships.
1954 — Rocky Marciano knocks out Ezzard Charles in the eighth round at Yankee Stadium in New York to retain his world heavyweight title.
1955 — In the first color telecast of a football game by NBC, No. 10 Georgia Tech defeats No. 9 Miami 14-6 in Atlanta. The winning score comes in the final minute when linebacker Jimmy Morris returns an interception 25 yards for a touchdown.
1961 — The Minnesota Vikings, the newest NFL franchise, beats the league’s oldest franchise, the Chicago Bears, 37-13 win in the season opener. Minnesota’s Fran Tarkenton, playing his first NFL game, comes off the bench to become the only quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in his first game.
1966 — In his head coaching debut, coach Joe Paterno leads Penn State past Maryland 15-7.
1967 — Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts passes for 401 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-31 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
1977 — The U.S. wins the Ryder Cup 12½-7½ at Royal Lytham & St Annes England. It’s the last time that a Britain and Ireland team competes for the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup expands the GB&I to include golfers from all of continental Europe in 1979.
1994 — UNLV receiver Randy Gatewood catches 23 passes for 363 yards and a touchdown in a 48-38 loss to Idaho.
2002 — Suzy Whaley becomes the first woman to qualify for a PGA Tour event, earning an exemption to the 2003 Greater Hartford Open by winning a PGA Section Championship. Whaley is also is the first woman to win a Section Championship.
2004 — San Francisco’s Barry Bonds hits his 700th home run, joining Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755) as the only players to reach the milestone.
2016 — Cam Pedersen kicks a 37-yard field as time expired and North Dakota State of the FC, rallies to beat No. 13 Iowa 23-21 for its sixth straight win over an FBS opponent.
Supplied by the Associated Press
Barry Bonds hits his 700th home run. Watch and listen here.
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