Ed. Note...Major Props to Adam Rose of the LAT for helping get into practice on Tuesday. It was a real treat...Thanks Adam!!
When I booked my trip to LA a few weeks ago the first thing I planned on doing was heading over to USC to catch practice. It's no secret that football practice is pretty much open to the public so I was giddy that I would get a chance to see it all first hand. Well as luck would have it practice was closed this week. I'm not really sure why but the word was put out that only boosters, support people (whatever that means) and family would only be allowed into practice.
Over the past year or so I have built a relationship with the L.A. Times USC Blogger Adam Rose. I have emailed Adam over a whole host of subjects and questions and he has always been generous with his time and in the process a relationship was formed. I let Adam know I was coming out on business and hoped we could hook up and at least chat for a few minutes before or after practice. Adam got back in touch with me and told me how address getting into practice. Once it was determined that I couldn't get into practice on Monday he got back in touch with me and told me how approach things on Tuesday but also that he would also work on things from his end.
the business meeting I had on Tuesday was the whole reason I came out to LA and it was an absolute success but it took longer than I hoped so of course I got stuck on the 405 right at rush hour...good luck making it to campus. Well I got there just as things were ending so I didn't get a chance to see an actual practice but Adam did get me in to talk to a few players...what an atmosphere!
A couple of notes...
Brian Cushing couldn't be a nicer kid... I told him I was from Jersey and his eyes lit up...it was a brief conversation about some mutual acquaintances but he couldn't have been more gracious.
Coach Norton is still big even after his playing days...real mellow.
Stanley Havili gave me a fist pump on his way out when I told him how great that catch and run was against Ohio State.
Taylor Mays shook my hand when I wished him luck on Saturday. HE. IS. A. BIG. KID...Wow! Super nice.
Patrick Turner was the same complete gentleman.
I saw Rocky Seto and told how great the ESPN piece Bruce Feldman did on Mays and Ellison. He said he didn't get a chance to read it yet...I told him he would not be disappointed. Awesome Guy!
The real treat was talking one-on-one with Pete Carroll. Totally generous with his time and really willing to talk to the fans. I work on occasion with Steven Nicolas, MD, former team doc for the NY Jets and he was team doc when PC was head coach in NYC. I saw Steve before I came out and he told me to go and say hi to Pete while I was out there and to drop his name. I did just that and PC got a big grin and he said tell Steve my knees are fine and I don't need him to fix me...yet! That got a laugh out of a couple of other people standing near by. I told him that I am in the same business so I would tell Steve just that. Totally cool, very humble and gracious.
It was an incredible atmosphere...a lot of energy. Press and beat writers everywhere. Just a real treat!
No pictures, no autographs just a chance to say hi and wish the guys luck and from what I saw these guys are totally grounded and totally comfortable in the atmosphere that is USC football.
What a treat!
I cannot thank Adam Rose enough for looking out for me and helping me when he was able. He is an absolute gentleman and I consider him a colleague and a friend!
A couple of other things...
I had the pleasure of having lunch with our regular commenter Frak on Monday and I was able to grab a quick snack with Laughing Stock as I waited for practice to start. Great guys who are invaluable to the success of CC...gentleman the pleasure was all mine!
All in all with business, family, friends and USC it was an awesome trip!!
EDIT.... I totally forgot to mention that I had dinner with Holly from EDSBS on Monday night. now that was a blast! We also invaded EDSBS Live from the bar we were at. Very funny. Love ya' Holly great times!!!!