The Trojan football team was back on the field on Monday following a narrow 13-10 win at Stanford last weekend.
As always, the team paid no attention to its big win on Saturday and focused all its efforts on the upcoming game at Boston College this Saturday.
The Pac-12 Conference fined USC Athletic Director Pat Haden $25,000 on Monday for his actions at Saturday’s game. At Stanford, Haden received a text beckoning him from the press box to the sideline, where he confronted the game officials regarding some of their previous calls.
“The conduct by [Haden] was inappropriate,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a statement. “Such actions by an administrator in attempt to influence the officiating, and ultimately the outcome of a contest, will not be tolerated.”
Prior to receiving the fine, Haden publicly apologized for his actions via USC’s RipsIt Blog.
“I apologize to Commissioner Scott, to the game officials, to Stanford and to the fans for any distraction I might have caused during Saturday’s football game,” Haden said. “In retrospect, I should not have approached the game officials. I should have waited until after the game and gone through the appropriate channels. In the best interests of our team and our coaches, I will stay off the sidelines for our next two games.”
Despite Haden’s apology, people around the country called for Haden’s recusal from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.
College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock, however, silenced those whispers.
“Emotional outbursts at games are not a matter for the playoff selection committee to deal with,” Hancock said in a statement. “This does not affect Pat Haden’s capability as a committee member. We recognize that athletic directors cannot be dispassionate about their own teams, and that’s why we have the recusal policy.”
Sarkisian acknowledged the penalties in his weekly Q&A with USC Athletics.
“I was out of line,” Sarkisian said. “I regret asking [Haden] to come down. It’s my job to manage the game and in the future that’s how I’ll handle it.”
Slow and steady
Sarkisian lauded his team’s ability to execute different styles of offense and come out on top. After setting a Pac-12 record by running 105 plays in the season opener, the Trojans only snapped the ball 59 times against the Cardinal last weekend.
“The beauty for us is that we can be able to go up-tempo and play fast and score a bunch of points,” Sarkisian said. “We showed a lot of versatility — the willingness and the ability to play kind of a grind-it-out type game against Stanford where possessions were at a premium … That we were able to win in that style as well, I think, is going to go a long way for us in the future.”
Road trip, round two
Sarkisian and the Trojans refuse to rest on their laurels following their win over Stanford, since the squad has to hit the road again for its game in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts this Saturday.
“This is a unique trip, when you start traveling over 3,000 miles for an 8 [p.m.] kickoff game,” Sarkisian said. “Boston College is gonna be a hungry football team. They’re big, they’re physical … We know this is gonna be a great challenge going across the country, playing those guys in a night game. I’m sure their students and crowd will be all fired up.”
Last year when the Trojans had two straight road games, they went 2-0, posting dominating wins at Oregon State and California.