EL PASO, Tex. -- After suffering through a night of unremitting criticism for the late arrival at the Sheriff's Posse Dinner Wednesday, USC has begun something of a defense.
And it's a pretty good one.
All you have to do to put this into some sort of perspective is look at the official bowl schedule of events, one that USC shared with us, for the two teams on Wednesday.
Georgia Tech, which arrived late in town and did not practice, was to arrive at the dinner at 6:30 p.m. The Yellow Jackets arrived at 6.
USC was supposed to arrive at 6:45 for the buffet style meal that had one team following the other. USC arrived a half-hour late, at 7:15 p.m. and as they were getting there, and Georgia Tech was leaving, the thought was they'd actually timed it great because there was no line and they could go straight through.
Only later after the El Paso Times' Duke Keith and a person with the Georgia Tech team tweeted that USC was late and it was something of an embarrassment or a gigantic faux pas, did USC realize how this was going. And that they were somehow at fault.
Because according to the official schedule, Georgia Tech was supposed to stay until 8:30 p.m. so the Yellow Jackets actually left an hour and 15 minutes earlier than they were supposed to. And got no criticism because, of course, they fired the first shot.
USC was caught totally surprised because they'd kept the Sun Bowl officials apprised all the way through and everyone knew they were running late as the result of a flight delay from LA.
"It wasn't a problem for anybody," USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone said Thursday. "No one was upset."
And USC did stay all the way though so the Trojans actually spent the same time at the dinner as Georgia Tech did. And were closer to keeping to the original schedule than the Jackets, who left 75 minutes before they were supposed to, were. USC was just a half-hour late.
But in Lane Kiffin's world, this is how it works. All criticism sticks. It's all valid.
To be honest, one of the real differences here is USC isn't looking to be offended as some in the Georgia Tech traveling party and the local media seem to be.
BARKLEY GOING PADLESS, LEFTY
If Matt Barkley was going to be playing this week, he'd have had to be farther along than it appeared six weeks after his right AC joint sprain. Thursday morning, after a practice in which Barkley was still throwing exclusively lefthanded, without pads and mostly rehabbing, it turns out he would not be playing in Monday's Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech.
Kiffin made the announcement. Barkley followed it up with as look at what this means for him and his career and what his career as a Trojan, looking back, means for him.
Story coming this afternoon.
Story coming this afternoon.
Lane Kiffin post practice:
Dan Weber covers the Trojans program for USCFootball.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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