White's prank put scare into USC
By Rhett Bollinger Daily Trojan

Los Angeles, CA (U-WIRE) -- The Trojans received a trick and a treat during Monday's practice when LenDale White pretended to quit the team and jump off a building on Child's Way.

Only a few coaches and players knew about the prank, tricking most of the team and coaches along with the press.

The prank started when White got into a yelling match with USC coach Pete Carroll and then offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin, however, had no clue that it was all a ploy and really told White to leave practice.

White told the coaches and players that he was mad and yelled that he didn't get enough carries.

"I tried to get my teammates to really believe it," he said.

White then stormed off of the field and told a reporter that he quit the team and was carted away.

"When a Fox (Sports) guy asked me what's wrong, I said, 'I quit,'" White said.

Practice then resumed as normal until the team's final meeting, when Carroll told players that they could win without White.

"I told them, 'We won with him and we can win without him,'" Carroll said.

Then the players heard White yelling that he hated football from the top of a building.

"I had to duck down so they wouldn't see me," White said.

Then a dummy with a No. 21 jersey was thrown off the building and the team and media realized it was all a joke.

Reggie Bush got a kick out of the hoax because he knew about it the whole time and was actually a candidate to play White's role.

"Reggie was scared to go on the roof so he talked LenDale into it," Carroll said.

Many players, including offensive lineman Winston Justice, believed the prank all the way up to point where the dummy was thrown.

"I thought he was serious, but I didn't think he was jumping," Justice said.

Carroll acknowledged that the whole prank affected practice because even some coaches did not know that White was not serious.


"The coaches were the funniest because they couldn't believe that stuff could go like that," he said. "Jethro Franklin was so sucked in. He put his arm around (White) and was talking to him trying to get him back in."


Carroll is also pressing for a new rule, which will allow USC to enter the tunnel first at halftime following a confrontation with Washington State Saturday.

The current Pacific-10 Conference rule requires that the team closest to the tunnel must enter first.

The Trojans always sprint to the locker room at halftime after the visitors have already entered the tunnel.

The Cougars, however, walked up and several Trojans ran over some of the medical staff from the Cougars and a shoving match ensued between the two teams.

Cornerback Josh Pinkard shielded Washington State coach Bill Doba as the players ran by.

"I saw him getting knocked around a bit," Pinkard said. "It was a respect issue."

Doba and Carroll exchanged words after the game at midfield and Carroll apologized for the scuffle.


Justice scored his first career touchdown as he recovered Bush's fumble in the endzone for the Trojans' second score of the game in the first quarter.

"It was more luck than anything else," Justice said.

"It was a hustle play and I was rewarded for it."

Justice deserved the reward after hustling the whole way, chasing Bush, then somehow finding the football on the ground.

It is not very often that an offensive lineman scores a touchdown so Justice said that he kept the football as a keepsake.


USC returned to No. 1 in the latest Bowl Championship Series rankings and are ahead of Texas by .0038.

The Longhorns are in first place in all six-computer rankings, while the Trojans are tied with Virginia Tech in the computer averages.

The Colley Matrix has one-loss Penn State ahead of USC and ranks the Trojans fourth.

USC gained ground in the USA Today coaches poll picking up three first place votes after Texas struggled against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Carroll reiterated the fact that he knows nothing about how the BCS works.

"I don't know what happened last week and I don't know what happened this week," he said.


Linebacker Keith Rivers played only one snap on Saturday before re-aggravating his injured hamstring.

Carroll said Rivers is "questionable" for Saturday's game verus Stanford and that Collin Ashton will get reps in River's place.


USC's game at California on Nov. 12 will kick off at 12:30 p.m. and will air live regionally on ABC.

(C) 2004 Daily Trojan via U-WIRE

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