Sparring, because his father was a pugilist, get it? Good. In a bit of a red on red turned cardinal and gold on powder keg blue and gold moment, USC linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. aired grievances this week with dear old alma mater UCLA. Reports the Los Angeles Times:
[Norton] said UCLA has told prospective players that he would be joining Coach Rick Neuheisel's staff if defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker leaves for another job.
"It's coming from there and it's wrong and it's not true," said Norton.
He then threw another barb, saying:
"It's kind of a pattern of what happened in the past," Norton said in mentioning Slick Rick's latest alleged escapade.
Predictably, UCLA fans are in flames, treating Norton like some combination of Judas and Benedict Arnold. UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel took the unusual step of releasing a statement denying the allegations. Predictably, this followed:
"If DeWayne leaves, I would consider several candidates for the defensive coordinator job. Kenny probably would have been among those considered, with no guarantees. However, his quotes in the paper say he is staying at USC, so we wish him well."
Translation: good luck ever getting hired by UCLA. Ahhh, catty man fights. Usually this stuff is so NFL.
Both sides end up looking fairly stupid in all of this. For UCLA its more of the same with Neuheisel. The Times' pot-stirrer T.J. Simers wants the "truth", whatever that means. Pete Carroll is sticking by his guy, telling the times if they want the truth to "talk to the recruits".
Problem is, recruiting is one of those rare areas where the NCAA has fairly extensive punitive powers. If I'm either school I'm not inviting newspapers to ask recruits about what is being said.
To think, goodwill between the programs was at a recent high just a few weeks ago as they traded timeouts in wearing contrasting uniform colors, against NCAA rules in restoring an old tradition.