LOS ANGELES, CA – According to several sources USC head coach Pete Carroll interviewed yesterday for the first spot in a line that would ultimately lead to punching LaMarr Griffin in the face. Griffin – the stepfather of former Southern California and current New Orleans star tailback Reggie Bush – is in the middle of an ongoing investigation about receiving improper benefits during the 2004 and 2005 seasons while Bush was a key member of the Trojans’ run to two consecutive BCS title games. According to a close associate of Carroll, the Griffin-punching position is “exactly what Pete wants, the kind of situation he’s been very enthusiastic about from day one.”
Carroll, above, is 65-12 in six seasons with the Trojans.
Carroll interviewed with an ad hoc group calling itself a “coalition of the willing-to-make-a-few-knuckle-sandwiches” based in southern California and composed almost entirely of USC fans, alumni, former players and current members of the football program. The secretive group has thus far refused to reveal any leading candidates for Griffin’s lead chin music maker but Carroll is widely considered the front runner. Although the group has been around since the April Yahoo! Sports article that broke the original story concerning a San Diego house the Griffins were supposedly living in rent-free, it wasn’t until the possible existence of taped conversations between LaMar Griffin and would-be sports agent Lloyd Lake surfaced that rumors of Carroll’s interest in the job became more serious.
One member of the group who wished to remain anonymous had this to say: “There’s been a few scattered complaints about Pete being a johnny-come-lately. A lot of us have been waiting in line for nine months just to glare at [Griffin], so we’re all a little impatient with the process. But if anyone has earned a jump to the head of that line, [Carroll] has. This organization needs leadership, passion and the precision hitting a former safety can bring to LaMar Griffin’s greedy mug. We believe Pete Carroll is that person, and that he’ll lead us to the promised land.”
“Just to make that metaphor clear, we’re hoping Pete punches him very, very hard,” the anonymous member added.
Carroll was a two time all-conference defensive back for the University of Pacific.
The Griffin-punching job is as high profile a position as can be found in the world of sports hatred. ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit likened it to the still controversial search for someone to kick the testes of former Virginia offensive tackle Brad Butler, whose late blindside chop block of Boston College’s Matthias Kiwanuka in 2005 served as the epitome of bad sportsmanship and poor play. A neutral arbitrator eventually ruled that Butler had faced enough punishment in his tenure as a member of Virginia’s football program, prompting outrage across the country at the prospect of un-kicked testicles.
“It’s just like that, except in this case I think Carroll really has a chance to be successful in this position. He has as much passion and drive – arm drive – per pound as anyone out there,” Herbstreit said, citing the head coach’s enthusiastic spirals during USC practices as evidence of solid striking power.
Some critics point to Carroll’s roughly .500 career winning percentage in fisticuffsmanship, especially his 1-3 record against son Brennan, who is a tight ends coach with the Trojans and is himself a former tight end for the University of Pittsburgh. Carroll’s record against his oldest son during the crucial NFL playoffs-watching period is a subject the seventh year head coach has had to address numerous times.
“It is what it is. I pop [Brennan] good every now and again, but when it comes down to it he has the advantage whenever we scuffled while watching a good game. He’ll pull for whoever and I’ll pull for whoever and then suddenly one of us has to go and slug the other in the shoulder. Playoffs were the worst. I get so focused on the screen and Brennan’s always had the reach. Especially during ‘doorknob’ drills. I don’t look back on [that time] as a failure, but rather a learning experience,” Carroll said in a 2005 interview.
Most experts agree, though, that the elements are there for Carroll to “rearrange the face of college football athletics in general, and LaMar Griffin specifically.”
“Frankly, there are so many good reasons to deck Griffin that anyone who walks into that situation is gonna be looking at immediate success,” said Herbstreit.
Among the advantages enjoyed by the first person to slug Bush’s stepfather:
- Bush was a Heisman candidate in both the 2004 and 2005 seasons, the latter of which eventually earned him the prestigious trophy. He was among the most widely covered and popular players during that time, making an extra benefits scandal proportionally more stupid.
- LaMar Griffin was interviewed during a 2005 USC game and publically stated how he [Griffin] was ready to “go pro” during his stepson’s junior season.
- The Griffins were supposedly discussing joint ventures ranging from sports marketing to real estate deals with a man named Michael Michaels.
- Michael Michaels has been photographed wearing a bolo tie.
Michaels, left, has been described as “someone only a complete fuckwit shithead idiot would associate with unless they’re on drugs” like the late Godfather of Soul James Brown, right.
Jason Cole and Charles Robinson, the two journalists who broke the story for Yahoo!, report that while Carroll and the rest of USC’s coaching staff and athletic administration appear to have had no knowledge of the improper benefits, the 55-year-old Carroll was nonetheless eager to wade fist first into the situation.
Carroll could not be reached for comment, but his agent Garry Uberstine cautioned against undue enthusiasm.
“Although I won’t say too much about this ongoing situation, I can say that my client is as energetic as he’s ever been concerning the matter of LaMar Griffin’s face. Anyone in their right mind would be, but I can’t comment on any interviews right now,” Uberstine said by phone.
On rumors of members of the Griffin-punching lobbying group flying Carroll to Costa Rica: “They’re true. They just wanted to show Carroll that no matter where he was the incredible greed, cupidity and arrogance of LaMar Griffin would not seem any better. Also, Pete enjoys his pina coladas.”
On Carroll’s possible salary if he wins the job: “He’ll do it for free.”
“Look, I won’t lie to you: Pete’s fired up. Knocking Griffin out in one blow represents the kind of challenge he thrives on. For right now, though, we don’t want to fuel undue speculation. Pete is happy where he is and nothing’s going to change that,” Uberstine said.
“But [Carroll] would be happier with his knuckles lodged in LaMar Griffin’s eye socket. And you can print that,” he added.