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USC tailback LenDale White quit the football team and shouted profanities from the roof of a nearby building Monday night before fighting with a staff member.
At least that was the joke at the conclusion of Monday’s practice, as a dummy of White (above) got thrown off the roof and became involved in a scuffle with football equipment coordinator Tino Dominguez.
It was a Halloween joke pre-planned by USC coach Pete Carroll and reminiscent of a 2001 incident, when Dominguez threw a “spy” off the roof of an adjacent building the week of the UCLA game.
This prank was far more elaborate, as White left midway through practice and said he quit the team. Several assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, were unaware of the gag and Kiffin yelled at White as he left the field.
“(Kiffin) said, `Get your butt off the field,’ and I said, `I’ll walk when I feel like walking,”‘ White said.
“Carroll said, `Hey, 21, what are you complaining about?’ and I said, `I don’t get enough carries.”‘
White left the field in a cart and threw his gloves into the bushes in disgust, then reappeared about 20 minutes later as Carroll addressed the team.
“I was telling them we can’t let distractions get in our way,” Carroll said. “That we’ve lost guys before. We’ve won with them and without them.”
Some members of the team actually believed White got thrown from the roof.
“That was horrible,” linebacker Oscar Lua said. “What was that about? I think (linebacker) Rey (Maualuga) is still on the field dead.”
Carroll first wanted tailback Reggie Bush to play the part.
“I said, `Hell no’,” Bush said. “Besides, LenDale is more believable.”