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Steven Spielberg roasted USC with great zinger

Steven-SpielbergLegendary film director Steven Spielberg was on hand at USC, which is considered by many to have the top film program in the country, earlier this week to speak to a group of students. Naturally, students had a lot of questions to ask about his experiences and how he managed to advance his career to the point where he is worth roughly $3 billion.

At some point during his Q&A, Spielberg decided to showcase his knowledge of sports. In particular, he let everyone know that he still keeps tabs on the Trojans after receiving an honorary degree from USC in 1994.

Burned. For those of you who don’t get the reference, USC lost an embarrassing 10-7 game to Washington State in its first home game of the season a few weeks ago. During the loss, fans busted out a very audible “Fire Kiffin!” chant to express their disgust with head coach Lane Kiffin.

Well, done Spielberg. Well done, indeed.

Recruit Demario Richard: I’ll consider USC if they fire Lane Kiffin

Lane KiffinLane Kiffin is already on the hot seat after his USC Trojans suffered a disastrous home loss to Washington State last weekend, and tweets like the ones sent by running back recruit Demario Richard might help push the coach out the door.

Richard, a senior back at Palmdale High School in Calif., tweeted on Wednesday that he would consider USC if they fire Kiffin.

“If Kiffin Leaves USC might have a shot at gettin me,” Richard tweeted.

Why did Richard send that tweet?

“I felt like it needed to be said . Everybody is scared to say it so imma say it,” he wrote.

Richard said on Twitter that he didn’t like Kiffin because he felt the coach disrespected him at an event. He also said he doesn’t have an official scholarship offer from USC because he turned them down.

Richard deleted the tweets and has deactivated his Twitter account.

Richard is a 4-star running back according to ESPN and Scout, while Rivals has him as a 3-star back. He is weighing scholarship offers from almost every Pac-12 school, as well as other programs like Tennessee, Michigan State, West Virginia and Nebraska.

I never advocate for schools to let individual players control programs, but the Trojans athletic department needs to give a lot of consideration to Richard’s words. Kiffin went 7-6 last year and got demolished in the bowl game. His offense looks terrible through two games this season. If they don’t turn it around, it will be hard for the program to justify keeping him for a fifth season.

Below is Richard’s highlight video so you can see the guy behind the tweets:

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Lane Kiffin denies USC players held meeting; USC players say otherwise

Lane KiffinLane Kiffin seems to have been caught being dishonest with the media once again.

The USC Trojans football coach, whose head is wanted by the school’s fans, denied that the Trojans players held a players-only meeting on Sunday, the day after the team’s embarrassing 10-7 loss to Washington State. Kiffin denied this despite understanding that it was a PLAYERS-ONLY meeting and that the meeting could have taken place without his knowledge.

Three different reporters covering the team said Kiffin denied that a players-only meeting took place. OC Register reporter Rich Hammond was somewhat forgiving to Kiffin, noting that the coach said he didn’t think it happened.

Both LA Daily News reporter Scott Wolf and FOX/Scout reporter Lindsey Thiry say USC wide receiver Marqise Lee emphasized it was a players-only meeting.

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USC fails to cover after giving up late touchdown to Hawaii

lane-kiffinUSC got its 2013 season off to a good start with a win over Hawaii on Thursday night, but they left some gamblers unhappy. A lot of money went on the Trojans to cover a spread that was anywhere in the range of 22 to 24 points and they failed to do so. Was covering on Lane Kiffin’s mind?

USC led 23-5 with a minute left and was still trying to score a touchdown. Rather than burn out the remainder of the clock, the Trojans seemed adamant about adding to their 18-point lead. There has been some speculation that they were attempting to cover the spread for any alumni who bet on them, and it appeared they were going to do just that when they scored on a Justin Davis run with 42 seconds left in the game.

The late touchdown gave USC a 30-5 lead. However, the Trojans’ defense failed to do its part and allowed Hawaii to score on a 60-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing possession with 30 seconds remaining. Final score: USC 30, Hawaii 13.

And with that, we already have our first bad beat of the college football season. We have featured plenty of unlucky gambling losses in the past and will have many more in the future. Buckle up.

USC football: Silas Redd was not picked up by Snoop Dogg in a limo

Silas ReddRepresentatives for USC’s football program issued a statement to the media on Tuesday to refute a report that said ex-Penn State running back Silas Redd was picked up by Snoop Dogg in a limousine upon arriving in Los Angeles last summer.

Redd was a star running back at Penn State and decided to transfer after the NCAA punished the school for the Jerry Sandusky scandal. USC coach Lane Kiffin put the full-court press on Redd, wooing him with a private Mercedes jet among other things.

In the new book “Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football“, which comes out on Sept. 3, author John U. Bacon reportedly says Snoop was waiting for Redd in a limo when his airplane touched down in LA (Kiffin supposedly called in a favor to Snoop). Whatever the Trojans did worked, because Redd played for SC last year, rushing for 905 yards and nine touchdowns.

But USC wants to make it clear that Snoop did NOT have anything to do with Redd’s recruitment.

“Silas Redd has never met Snoop Dogg, much less received a ride from him in any type of vehicle. USC head coach Lane Kiffin picked up Silas from the airport on his recruiting visit,” the school said in a statement.

So there you have it. You really can’t take PR people at their word because they obviously have self-serving purposes, but I’m not buying the Snoop-Silas story anyway. Do you really think Snoop has that much time on his hands where he can just show up at an airport to help Kiffin recruit? I doubt Snoop’s busy weed smoking schedule would allow it.

Ex-USC DL Bob DeMars: Coach motherf—ed me for leaving practice to go to class

Bob DeMars USCFormer USC defensive lineman Bob DeMars recently had some unflattering things to say about the way the football programmed approached academics when he was in school.

DeMars, who was a member of the Trojans’ football program from 1997-2001, said in an interview with Time that the program emphasized athletics and somewhat discouraged academics. He told Time he was discouraged from majoring in the school’s prestigious cinema program like he wanted to. Instead, he was persuaded by the athletic department to study business.

“When I signed with USC, no one said good luck on your degree. No one said, go to school and get good grades. You’re not a student-athlete. You’re an athlete-student,” DeMars told Time.

DeMars still managed to get into filmmaking after school. He made an award-winning documentary called, “Adjust Your Color: The Truth Of Petey Green,” which aired on PBS. He is now attempting to make a film questioning the NCAA and college athletics. He even has a Kickstarter page for the proposed film, where you can go to sponsor the project.

DeMars says the de-emphasis on academics was so bad that defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who coached at Ole Miss and the New Orleans Saints before returning to USC, used to curse at him for leaving spring practice 20 minutes early once a week to attend a mandatory statistics class.

“He M-F’d me all over the place,” DeMars recalled to Time. “He made me feel like a bad person for going to class.”

DeMars still says Orgeron was a brilliant defensive line coach who helped him improve, but he thinks the coach could have still been effective without undermining education. He even says he got the “stink eye” from Orgeron for leaving practice to go to class.

None of these stories will come as a surprise to fans. DeMars was on the team before it rebuilt into a powerhouse under Pete Carroll. They were only a .500 team and still emphasized football over academics to that extent, so you figure this sort of thing goes on in most programs.

Though college football is big business, each athlete needs to do what is best for himself. They need to realize that it is unlikely for them to play professionally, so they should look out for their future, regardless of what the coaches say.

Despite the obstacles from the football program, DeMars had a 2.96 GPA at USC and was a 2001 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention.

Photo via DeMars’ Kickstarter

Lane Kiffin defends Matt Barkley, rips USC defense coached by his father

Former USC quarterback Matt Barkley may have made a mistake by returning to school for his senior season last year. Barkley was once seen as a lock to go early in the first round of the NFL Draft, but injuries and other circumstances have resulted in his stock taking a tumble. However, Lane Kiffin insists Barkley is still a first-round prospect.

While it’s not surprising to hear Barkley’s former coach toot his horn, it is a little puzzling to hear Kiffin defend Barkley at the expense of his defense. A defense which, by the way, was coached by his father, Monte Kiffin.

“I think he’s going to be a great starting quarterback in the NFL, and the film shows it,” Kiffin told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday. “The plays he makes, all the throws he’s made here, the leadership qualities … I’ve said this before: If Matt Barkley had the defense that Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer had, Matt Barkley would have won the Heisman Trophy just like they did. He would have had the winning records they had.”

The Trojans had a number of issues last year during the course of their unprecedented collapse, and defense was certainly one of them. Considering Monte has resigned from USC and been hired as the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, I suppose the only thing Lane could be putting a strain on is the next Kiffin family reunion.

Kiffin was so determined to boost the public perception of Barkley that he even called out one USC player by name, noting that if not for a certain mistake Barkley could have led the Trojans to a win over Andrew Luck and Stanford in 2011.

“Andrew threw an interception for a touchdown and, their very next drive we stop them, and [safety] T.J. McDonald gets called for a head-to-head personal foul that keeps the drive alive,” Kiffin recalled. “Is that Matt Barkley’s fault? If that flag’s not thrown and we stop them right there, you go, ‘Man, Matt just beat Andrew Luck.’ When I remember Matt, I think of all that stuff.”

We get it, coach. You feel that USC lost in spite of Barkley, not because of him. Easy on the family and former player bashing.