Letters to Sports: New coaching dilemmas at USC and UCLA?
Hopefully coach Riley was paying attention to the players who quit on their teammates and refused to play against Cal. The university should pull their scholarships and go find players who want a $300,000 education. It is no surprise the season was so bad as it had so many selfish players who just do not care about anyone but themselves. They made a deal to play and should have lived up to their commitments.
With USC’s most recent sorry performance against Cal, the worst season in recent school history is complete. A complete disaster. Outside of one Drake London, the so-called talent level of Trojans footballers has reached a new low. One can only hope that the new captain of the ship can draw enough talent to make 2021 a distant memory.
As a longtime Bruins fan, I’m strongly hoping we lose the Chip Kelly sweepstakes to Oregon. Basing a rehire on one good month of a years-long failed tenure against a gaggle of mediocre teams is a folly the UCLA football program cannot afford. There’s got to be a better coach out there for the almost $10 million a year Kelly has wasted, giving almost no effort to recruiting and game management.
UCLA wants to retain football coach Chip Kelly after he guided the team to its best season since 2015 and hopes to agree to a contract extension soon.
Well, the SEC fix is in. Again. So once again we have one team entering the playoffs on a losing streak. And the conference champion requirement that was so important a few years back is ignored. Again. The seeding is set up to ensure Alabama and Georgia have a chance to reach the finals instead of forcing them to play again early, which would eliminate one SEC team from reaching the finals. A potential rematch of the two teams is only desired in the South. The committee and the playoff system need to be changed.
No doubt the public can have full confidence Mater Dei officials will do a transparent, deep dive into the football program’s allegations of hazing. After all, in a statement to The Times the school not only promised an internal investigation by an outside law firm but the results of those findings would confirm there isn’t any merit to the lawsuit.
Just another day in the Catholic diocese.
North Las Vegas
Best of the worst?
The Rams beat up on one of the worst teams in the NFL on Sunday and now they won’t stay down. But before anyone starts celebrating and say the Rams are back, they should stop and take a good look at their 8-4 record. Just look at their reasonably soft schedule. Except for the one win against Tampa Bay, the other seven wins have been against mediocre or bad teams.
The Rams proved Sunday that they are a very good team when they play a very bad team. To make it to the Super Bowl, they have to beat the best of the best, not the worst of the worst.
The Cardinals’ Kyler Murray beat the Rams with his arm and legs in an October win at SoFi Stadium. Can he do the same in the rematch Monday in Arizona?
It is difficult to watch this Lakers team, but I find myself more frustrated with the organization than the current roster and coaching staff. As Lakers fans, we suffered through the lean years finishing last in our division three consecutive years and missed the playoffs six years in a row. Our consolation at the time, however, was draft picks and the promise of a bright future. Lakers management — Pelinka, Magic, et al — told us to be patient while they attract two NBA superstars to go with our young talent. The idea of LeBron and another superstar with some combination of Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, D-Russell, Zubac, Kuzma, etc. was a sound plan we could buy into. “We’ll be dominant for a decade” was the thought at the time.
We know how this story ended — we couldn’t attract a second superstar free agent and traded our youth away. Yes, we won a title and many fans will argue the tradeoff was worth it. I too celebrated the title, but I am reminded of the Lakers’ failure to execute their personnel plan every time I watch the current team. We have come to expect so much more from an organization that found ways to assemble rosters with West/Chamberlain, Magic/Worthy, Shaq/Kobe.
Lakers forward DeAndre Jordan fell in love with rebounding early in his career, and it’s been his hallmark over 14 NBA seasons.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel has been dealt a bad hand. A defensive coach, he was deprived of two great defenders, Caruso and Pope, both of whom defended the three and kept driving guards out of the paint while contributing offensively, and replaced by a guard who plays little D, needs the ball to be productive, was basically a stat monster on mediocre teams, and has essentially turned a team that could have repeated last year sans injuries, into a confusing mess. Blame the front office, which panicked.
As Lakers announcer Lawrence Tanter was intoning, “Seventeen,” as the Purple and Gold took the floor against their hated rivals, the Boston Celtics, I heard the late Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most also exclaim, “Seventeen.” I looked at these two average teams and wondered to myself which one would be the first to scream “18!” I honestly do not see either of them yelling “eighteen” any time soon.
Philip S. Hart
I started following the Dodgers in 1962, so I never saw Gil Hodges play, but if Vin Scully is happy that he is in the Hall of Fame, then so am I.
Thanks to Bill Dwyre for the excellent appreciation of Al Franken, a man who really should be appreciated. Although the promoted big-name parts of his track meets were always exciting and well done, the picture that sticks in my mind is from the amateur/student races run before the main event. There were literally hundreds of healthy young student-athletes running around the Sports Arena (and then Southern California) in Sunkist T-shirts. What a great advertisement for Sunkist and track. Franken never stopped promoting.
Departing the norm
More Oklahoma assistants are working for Lincoln Riley at USC beyond the ones he brought with him on the plane to Los Angeles when he was first hired.
If I was a race horse, I would make sure that I was always at least six furlongs away from trainer Bob Baffert, and I would never share a meal with him.
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