No USC Players Sparred After Bowl Loss, Coach Claims

No USC players sparred in the locker room after the Trojans 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, coach Lane Kiffin claims. Other accounts differ.

Initial reports said that tempers flared over after the loss and USC players sparred in the locker room. The incident was reportedly initiated when a young unnamed player called out the leadership of quarterback Matt Barkley, who sat out the game with a shoulder injury, The SportsXChange reported.

“Contrary to media reports, there was not a brawl or altercation in our locker room after the Sun Bowl,” Kiffin said in a statement. “There was a noisy verbal exchange among a couple players who were frustrated with the outcome of the game.

“It lasted less than a minute and was nothing physical. It happens sometimes in football locker rooms after a disappointing loss.”

Barkley admitted that tempers did run high after the loss but said it was all words no and USC players actually sparred.

“I would say tempers flared, yeah, but that’s football,” Barkley said ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on Wednesday. “It’s an emotional game and when you end your season on a negative note like that, emotions are going to be high. Guys were expressing their opinions, for better or worse, but we had it under control. It was nothing to be alarmed about.”

But other players have painted a different scene. One anonymous player told ESPN.com that the scene was downright ugly.

“When I came into the locker room … it was just pure chaos in there,” the player said. “… I think there was a lot of frustration. There were some things said by some guys on our team who are just hotheads.”

The Los Angeles Daily News also cited sources that said between 10 and 15 USC players sparred after the game.