Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stafon Update: Watch Out for Ty on the Sly

Stafon Johnson remains buried toward the bottom of the USC depth chart, but you can bet there will be one person this Saturday who will find him on the field after the game – for a handshake and perhaps a whisper in the ear. Thanks to an odd piece of journalism from Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News* we were alerted to a husky in sheep’s clothing.

That would be U-Dub head coach Tyrone Willingham who last month was willing to be quoted by Wolf overtly expressing his love for and touting the merits of Johnson, who had been down and out in Fayetteville.

Just as Rocky Hinds and Eric Wright showed us, coaches from other schools covet USC’s depth of talent and will (allegedly) break the rules if it means landing a USC-worthy player. The messed up thing is that there isn’t much Pete Carroll can do to prove, let alone prevent such things from happening.

Fortunately for Stafon and USC he’s been making his way up the depth chart, and may have a chance at a few carries this Saturday. While C.J. Gable is out with a nagging injury and Allen Bradford switching back and forth between defense and offense, Johnson is getting snaps with the second- and first-team as the third tailback behind Emanuel Moody and Chauncey Washington.

Here’s what Johnson – who like his unrelated namesake Keyshawn is a fellow Dorsey High alum – told the Los Angeles Times this week:
You've just got to be patient and let things come to you. … [After being put on the scout team] I was like, 'What is going on? What did I do? Am I good enough?' All those thoughts go through your head. … [USC coaches] just wanted 110% every play. No laying back, practicing like you play the game. … I went in there and looked at the film and started kind of seeing, 'Well, I could have finished right here. I could have done this right here, done that right there.’ There wasn't room for excuses anymore. As long as you do the things that you're supposed to do, you should have no problem. Everything else will fall into place.
Sounds like the kid is growing up and learning what it means to be a Trojan under Pete Carroll.

As for Tyrone, we love him, and we wish he were still a domer. But, he should realize there is plenty of talent to go around, especially when he’s used to dealing with mediocre players at schools with recently lowered expectations.

Regardless, here’s to knowing Stafon will continue his ascent and that he’ll do the right thing on Saturday by telling Tyrone that he is going nowhere … except perhaps with his Trojan Family to another BCS bowl game this season.

* Many Trojan fans would argue that the entirety of Wolfe’s coverage of USC Football is odd.

east coast bias

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