Rick Neuheisel: “I certainly never intended any disrespect or anything like that”

December 1, 2009 – 10:15 am by Zach Krantz

Regardless of records or what’s on the line for either team, the USC/UCLA game every year is a tense match up. Although it has been one-sided in the last few years while USC is on a dominant run through college football, a rival game is a rival game. This was the case on Saturday when these teams met. USC had dominated the game and with: 52 left in the match up it was all but over. Let’s wait a second before you stop reading the story, USC was set to kneel down and run the clock out when Rick Neuheisel calls a time out. This didn’t and doesn’t know seem right, you’re down by two touchdowns and calling time outs? At this point I would be ready to get my team at of there and think about next week, not Neuheisel. 

UCLA calls a timeout after a kneel down by USC and it seemed at that point Pete Carroll took offense because on the next play he calls a play action pass that leads to a touchdown bomb to make it a total blowout. Now while looking at this from a distance, was it that far fetched that UCLA could stop the clock, get the ball back, score a touchdown, onside kick it, get it back and score again to tie the game? That is a lot to happen in such a small amount of time, but it might happen right? I think this was a mano y mano battle between Neuheisel and Carroll. Pete had won the war but Rick was trying to win one last battle. Some say childish, but I say can’t wait until next years UCLA/USC match up.  (Editor’s note:  Watch the video below of the touchdown pass.  I think it was classless and I lost a ton of respect for Pete Carroll after watching that ridiculous celebration on the sidelines after scoring the TD)

Rick Neuheisel joined KLAC in Los Angeles and talked about the USC game on Saturday, whether or not it was a form of disrespect throwing the last touchdown, and UCLA’s bowl chances.

Asked if there was a different way to approach the last :52 seconds and the time out:

“You know I have played this over and over in my head given how much attention it has gotten and I don’t see how you don’t use a timeout especially when you have three of them and you have about a minute left in the game. I mean if you get the ball back you have a chance to hit a big pass and then you have a chance for an onside kick. Had there been less time, I wouldn’t have done it. It was strictly a math decision. I certainly never intended any disrespect or anything like that.”

Asked why his team went to midfield and how close to a brawl were the two teams:

“That’s what’s most disappointing is that we lost our composure a little bit there. Their excitement on their sideline incited our sideline and it wasn’t called for with respect for us moving toward their side. I don’t think we were really close to any physical incident. I think it was more just jawing. It was disappointing and I am going to address that with our football team. I did a little bit after the game and I will do it again after the emotions calm down.”

Asked what he was expecting after USC took the knee and they took a time out:

“I thought they would try to run the ball and make a first down. And if they make the first down, I don’t have any timeouts left. People every weekend, whether it be high school, college or pro football use their timeouts to try and extend the game to get the ball back. They do it all the time. I don’t think anybody would have made anything of that had their not been a big touchdown pass thrown which got everybody excited. It’s on us to not lose our composure and on us to cover the pass.”

Listen to Rick Neuheisel with Petros and Money on KLAC in Los Angeles

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