by Pete Arbogast, the voice of the Trojans:
Today’s scrimmage was not the best affair according to most that witnessed.
The crowd, the final one which included fans, was predictably large, especially the three deep lineup on the various decks overlooking the fields from Dedeaux.
It looks like Alex Wood has won the starting placekicking duties to go along with his being the kickoff man. Looks like his range is from about the 35 to be safe.
The band is practicing on the baseball field, and Dr. Bartner already has a hoarse (horse?) voice.
As for football: we have GOT to block better on those sideways hitch passes to the sideline. More like Ucla to be honest, as they really murdered us on that play last year when the game was on the line.
The second string offense looked better than the second string defense for the most part.
The first string defense was very tough with the first team offense.
It was just plain ol’ sloppy. A lot of drops and the offense only moved in fits and starts it seemed. Coach Sark said as much afterwards: “We were very average today.”
Good offensive plays were much less commonplace than ordinary ones. The Defense won the day.
One thing that caught my eye: Browne got picked at the goal line and Hutchings returned it 99 yards. Would have been 100 and a TD but #89 Hampton stayed with the play when others gave up and dragged him down from behind. If you don’t think that sort of thing can matter, ask Rodney Peete at halftime of the Ucla game.
Practice over; I went over to HH to see the anniversary teams speak to a small gathering. I missed the 1965 team sadly, but did see many of the guys from my childhood (I was 10 at the time) and gave a hug to Mike Garrett and his wife Suzanne.
The 1990 team, the second for which I broadcast, was next, with about 35 guys on hand to be honored, the largest such gathering for an anniversary team in recent memory, and maybe ever.
I know a good number of the guys who spoke: Todd, Wellman, Mazio, John Mazur.
They all talked, and so di the walk-ons and some guys who were not yet seniors in ’90. Scotty G and Shane Foley.
Most spoke of the friendships and chemistry and their teammates being the most important things they all took away from their time at SC.
They talked about the many players and coaches who are no longer with us, not the least of which were Junior and Scott Ross and Coach Larry Smith.
David Webb got up and talked haltingly about his feelings. He was quite emotional and had to stop several times. We soon found out why: Just yesterday, he had finished his latest round of chemotherapy and had dragged his body out of bed to be with his friends and teammates.
He didn’t tell us this, Matt Willig did and when he did, the crowd gave Webb a standing ovation and there were a lot of tears being shed throughout the room, including right here.
Clay Helton came in and gave us a pep talk about the 2015 squad, and while some waited for Sark to come in and talk, most of us took off for dinner being served on Cromwell field preceding the annual Salute to Troy event.
The band played well—there is not a more stirring rendition of the National Anthem in all of college football (and I have heard a LOT of them!)
Dr. Nikias spoke briefly, as did Pat Haden, who seemed choked up when he announced his lifelong buddy JK McKay as winner of the Marv Goux Award.
The 1965 team came up and was championed by captain Chuck Arrobio and Iron Mike who both spoke. Garrett got a standing ovation from the audience.
The 1990 team was fronted by Craig Gibson.
Sark got up and was especially enthusiastic about this year’s team, using unusual candor and color to describe his feelings about some opponents and his squad.
The assistant coaches were equally inspired. Captain Kessler addressed the crowd just before Conquest and fireworks sent us all home happy.
Two weeks to go.
Big thanks to the San Fernando and Conejo Valley Trojans Clubs for hosting JJ, Garry and I for their annual kickoff dinner at Braemar CC in Tarzana last Thursday. I thought it was out best panel ever. And the food was darn delicious, too!
I’ll be in San Diego for their annual lunch, which I think I have done 20 times or more now, on September 4.
Today is the day 50 years ago that giant’s pitcher Juan Marichal tried to murder Dodger catcher John Roseboro with a Louisville Slugger. For this he missed one start, Roseboro was never the same, and the pitcher was named to the Hall of Fame and the giant’s think so much of him they built a statue of him out front of their stadium. Tells you all you need to know.