Letters to Sports: The Grinch that stole USC’s defense

USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch watches over spring practice in March.
USC defensive coordinator Alex Grinch watches over spring practice in March. USC struggled on defense in its season-opening win on Aug. 26.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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It’s very admirable to have loyalty to a friend or colleague, but it should go both ways. If coach Alex Grinch has any loyalty to Lincoln Riley, he should quit immediately or step aside and let a real coach with experience help his friend put together a great defensive squad for the Trojans. Right now there’s no way this team is getting past Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, etc., etc., etc.

Jesse Guevara
Pico Rivera


The woefully inadequate Trojans defense is unsurprising. Based on his coaching history and the fact the defensive coordinator was retained … again, it should be vividly clear that Lincoln Riley does not know how to build a defense.

Kip Dellinger
Santa Monica



As usual, Bill Plaschke is right on regarding USC’s indefensible defense.

But another problem has surfaced that I fear will cost the Trojans games as well as Caleb Williams’ chances for another Heisman Trophy. I’m talking about how they’ve crippled his game by making him stay “in the pocket” far too long.

Part of Williams’ magic last year was his jaw-dropping ability to scramble. It’s a purely instinctual skill that creates unexpected excitement, turns games around, and helped him win the Heisman.

But that improvisational gift was taken away from him in the season opener. Apparently the new quarterbacks coach is trying to keep him in the pocket, which is like insisting a left-hander learn to write with his right hand.

Jim Hornbeck
Valley Glen


Sports is about people

Bill Plaschke’s piece about the Goldblooms, Linda and Erwin, was a home run. It’s a reminder that often a sports story is much more about the people than the sport. By the account they were a beautiful, loving couple who shared a love of the sport. Well done, Bill.

Maurice Garcia
Newbury Park


Ruehle knows his stuff

During some of the Dodgers’ home games, my wife and I often play the Dieter Ruehle–inspired game, “Name That Tune.” Ruehle, a walking encyclopedia of music, loves to sneak in odd, obscure tunes that fit game situations.

We certainly don’t know everything he plays, but during one recent Kiké Hernández at-bat with the count 2–and-2 in the second inning and the score tied 2–2 — a point where Vinny would love to declare, “Deuces wild,” Ruehle starts tickling out the main title theme from the 1969 ABC television show, “Room 222.”

Well played, sir!

Dan Johnson
Salem, Va.


Go with your gut

Forget Leo Durocher, it’s time to give kudos to nice guy Dave Roberts for leading the Dodgers to another great regular season, particularly with a pitching staff that has been hampered by multiple injuries.

Hopefully during the postseason, Dodgers brass allows Doc to go with his gut rather than making pitching changes and other moves based almost entirely on analytics.

Ken Feldman


Reality check

Those happy postgame comments from previous come-from-behind victories about “fighting all 27 outs” now sound so hollow since Dodgers manager Dave Roberts waved the white flag after 21 outs on Friday. Down 6-0 after seven innings, Roberts pulled Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman from the game, only to have the Dodgers close to within 6-3 and have the tying run in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth. Nice message to send the fans (and the Braves) as to how many of those 27 outs we’ll really fight.

Tom Mueller
La Crescenta



Dylan Hernandez thinks that platooning will be good in the postseason for the Dodgers. Platooning might be good in the grueling dog days of the regular season, but in the playoffs, most great teams and coaches narrow their starting lineups. When did Tommy Lasorda or John Wooden ever use platooning?

David Waldowski
Laguna Woods


Descending Angels

So the Angels are now saving more than $5 million by placing several players on waivers, allowing them to be claimed by other teams. What are the odds that owner Arte Moreno might take about $150,000 of that and actually send his broadcast team on the road, saving them the embarrassment of calling games from their home studio? That’s about as likely as Commissioner Rob Manfred handing that “piece of metal” to Arte Moreno someday. Like 0% chance. What a class organization. As in Fourth Class.

Bob Kargenian
Yorba Linda


RIP, David Fletcher. It appears that Perry Minasian has, for some reason, totally buried you. It’s amazing to say “these are the guys we think are the best to help us” then call up double-A guys and allow Fletcher to languish in the minors. Minasian reminds me of Gene Mauch, who always thought he was the smartest guy in the room and to prove it he made really dumb moves. It didn’t work then and won’t work now. Sorry, but we need a new owner, GM and a manager who isn’t a yes man.


Bob Sands
La Habra


Name change in order?

I think El Segundo should change its name to El Primero in honor of the courageous young men who brought so much pride to their community.

Dan Ferris


A memorable story

Thank you, Steve Henson, for your wonderful article regarding the Peete family. RJ’s story is a tribute to those who know he can achieve with pride. Change a few proper nouns and Henson describes my son Mike. A tribute to the Dodgers organization for engaging RJ as the person he is.

Nick Kartalis



It’s not often when a story in the Sports section brings me to tears, but the wonderful story on RJ Peete did just that. Thank you for this exceptional story about an exceptional young man.

Barry Greenfield
West Hollywood


Belly flop?

As usual, Scott Boras’ ego has gotten in the way of the truth. No one was given more leeway and a longer rope than Cody Bellinger received from the Dodgers. “Belly” became the Dodgers’ chief rally killer as he flirted with the Mendoza Line most of his last two years with the team. Yet the Dodgers kept putting him in the middle of the lineup hoping he’d strike gold. Alas, all he ever did was strike out, period.

The Dodgers sure could have used him to lengthen the lineup and they gave him multiple chances and multiple millions of dollars to make it work. I’m sorry if he was hurt, but I wouldn’t take a chance on him going forward. Boras and Belly became Boris and Natasha, a joke that hurt the Boys In Blue like the dickens.

Allan Kandel
Los Angeles


Pac your bags

I don’t see any problem with Cal and Stanford, two Pac-12 universities, joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. If farm-raised salmon from the Pacific can be marketed as “Atlantic Salmon,” then why can’t two Pacific Coast universities be marketed as Atlantic Coast universities?

Frank Lyman
Laguna Niguel


I just can’t wait for the start of the 2024 season of Pac-2 football. It’ll be so exciting.

Warren Cereghino
Pacific Palisades


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