Sunday, November 27, 2005

Inside USC Media Day

Tuesdays are especially hectic for the USC football team. That's because it's been designated by the sports information department as media day.

Last week, while children crowded the sidelines aiming to get autographs from their favorite players, camera crews and reporters like Shelley Smith (ESPN) and Lindsay Soto (Fox Sports Net) stood by to interview players and coaches.

The man of the hour was Reggie Bush, who had turned in a breathtaking performance against Fresno State just a few days earlier. ESPN and Fox's Best Damn Sports Show had requested interviews with the Heisman contender, and ESPN also wanted to talk to Carroll -- though they would have to wait until he finished a conference call with other reporters.

Despite just having completed an exhausting practice, Carroll and Bush patiently sat through hours of questions from reporters. Bush's fifteen minute interview with ESPN stretched to 45 minutes, but he never complained, politely answering all of Smith's questions. When she quizzed him about comparisons to the legendary Gale Sayers, Bush demurred. "It's flattering just to be compared to him."

Carroll was equally unassuming, taking the time to formulate his responses to each question and doing a poor job of hiding how excited he was to talk about his team and his players.

All this was expertly choreographed by veteran USC sports information director Tim Tessalone. At one point, Bush was talking to a reporter from Best Damn Sports Show and Carroll was on the conference call. In the blink of an eye, Carroll was downstairs talking to Smith while Bush sneaked out of Heritage Hall to grab some food at the Galen Center for ten minutes before being called back to his next interview.

At any other school, this would have been the busiest media day of the year. For the Trojans, it was business as usual.

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