Go Fetch: Tirebiter’s Morning Byte of USC Trojans News


The Ducks’ offense relies on its relentlessness to tire a defense down. Through three quarters, USC did a fantastic job of not letting the Quack Attack turn the game into a track meet. Then the fourth quarter happened. USC’s offense slowed down and the defense could not deter James, Darron Thomas and Kenjon Barner’s spread assault. Tackles were missed. The Trojans were aided by two Duck turnovers and were fortunate that Barkley and Tyler’s fourth-quarter turnovers did not lose the game. But when Oregon comes down to the Coliseum this November, the Trojans must be ruthless in shutting down Barner and De’Anthony Thomas.

But as all know, the winner of this year’s mythical title will have to succeed in all three facets of the game, and while the special teams play of the Trojans is in the more-than-capable hands of coach John Baxter, that still leaves one component somewhat unaccounted for. How USC’s 2012 season unfolds will likely be dictated by the defense, and despite improvement over the last half of 2011, there are still questions that must find satisfactory resolution if the Trojans hope to raise that crystal trophy in January.

In a move to be formally announced Monday, Walton will rejoin ESPN/ABC, where he had been the lead NBA analyst before he collapsed in an airport in 2007.

“My spine failed after a lifetime of spine problems,” Walton told USA TODAY Sports by phone Sunday. “My life was over. I spent three years on the floor.”

He couldn’t move much and says he sometimes was suicidal. But this season he’ll call ESPN Pac-12 basketball games as ESPN expands its coverage of the league through a new deal. Walton also will join the conference’s soon-to-launch regional network and will return for occasional Sacramento Kings local broadcasts.

The report concluded former Penn State president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz, athletic director Tim Curley and football coach Joe Paterno were culpable in failing to report Sandusky’s crimes against boys.

That failure lasted 14 years after the initial investigations, said the report by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who was also hired by USC two years ago to review its policies after the Trojans were hit with NCAA sanctions.

The breakdown at Penn State has officials at the University of California and California State University systems – as well as officials and coaches at local collegiate sports powerhouses UCLA and USC – shocked and saddened but feeling reasonably prepared.