National Signing Day watch continues, with less than 24 hours left until the faxes will begin to roll into USC's Heritage Hall offices. The latest updates on recruiting and other USC-related news in Tuesday's notes-heavy edition of links and notes:
After practice Monday, USC coach Kevin O'Neill spoke candidly about the aftermath of the Stan Holt situation, expressing bewilderment at how the firing had exploded over the weekend. "It’s just incomprehensible that that would happen," O'Neill said. "I’ve never heard of that happening before — anywhere. I was the most stunned guy in the whole building.” Holt, in his third year with the program, went from essential unknown to internet sensation via one outburst.
What exactly was said by Holt to official Bobby McRoy? No one knows, exactly, but USC forward Nikola Vucevic added his perspective. "I've been told he said something to the referee, but I don't believe it was something bad," Vucevic said. "I don't know what he said, but Stan is a really good man and I like him a lot. I felt bad when he got a technical and when Coach told him to go to the locker room, and I felt bad that he was fired, but he's still a good friend of mine."
O'Neill refused to blame the loss to Oregon on the technical, saying it stemmed from a variety of factors. One of those, he says, is his team is just flat-out tired. “What’s happening with us is we’ve got guys playing large, large, minutes every game, and we appear to get a little bit worn down at times — not just physically, but mentally," O'Neill said. "It takes a toll when you’re playing against fresh guys all the time. It's very difficult.” Save for guard Dwight Lewis, all of the Trojans' starters are playing significantly more minutes this season than they have in the past. Vucevic is averaging 34 minutes per game after recording 11 minutes per contest last season.
On the topic of signing day, rumors are swirling about a number of recruits who are still deciding between USC and UCLA. Offensive lineman Giovanni Di Poalo (Ventura, Calif.) told USCfootball.com his decision would come down to those two schools; defensive back Dietrich Riley (La Canada, Calif.) visited both schools over the weekend and could choose either. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (Huntington Beach, Calif.) is the same way, although Stanford could play a role in his final decision. We'll have more on their choices and all of National Signing Day as it relates to USC on the blog.