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Pac-10 may alter its tunnel vision after Cougars' coach is bumped
Seattle Times staff reporter
After the incident in which Washington State coach Bill Doba was bumped by USC players in the tunnel at halftime Saturday, the Pac-10 might adjust its policy to avoid a future problem.
Doba, 65, was late getting to the tunnel because of an ABC interview and said he was "bumped a little bit" by USC players as he and some of his players made their way to the locker room. Some WSU players were bumped, too.
Doba downplayed the incident. He said he didn't consider the bumping to be intentional and said USC cornerback Josh Pinkard came to his aid. He also said Trojans coach Pete Carroll apologized after the game and said any bumping was unintentional.
Bud Nameck, the on-field reporter for the Cougars radio network, was near the end of the tunnel at halftime and Monday he described what he saw as "not a real ugly scene but it could have escalated into that."
Jim Muldoon, assistant Pac-10 commissioner, said he had been in touch with Washington State football operations manager Shawn Deeds and a USC official Monday and both had proposed the same solution — let USC go up the tunnel first.
However, that violates present Pac-10 policy that says the team nearest the tunnel in any stadium shall leave first.
Muldoon said the problem at the Coliseum is that the visitors' locker room is near the end of the tunnel and has only one entrance. He said the visiting team "gets backed up" trying to get in the entrance "and USC catches up."
It doesn't take USC long to catch up because the team makes a practice of sprinting to its locker room at the end of the tunnel.
Doba quipped Sunday, "They must give those guys a hundred bucks apiece for the first 50 guys that get in."
Muldoon said the problem needs to be addressed "from a common-sense game-management perspective," especially since USC has three remaining home games.
Washington State instituted a switch of its own three weeks ago to reduce the possibility of fan-opponent confrontations. WSU closed the sidewalks around Bohler Gym to fans at the end of the game until the visiting team has walked to its locker room in the Physical Education Building. That change was prompted by the comment of UCLA senior safety Jarrad Page, who said some fans yelled racial slurs at him after the game when the Bruins visited Pullman in 2003.
Koetter defends his policy
Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter continued to defend his action in telling reporters incorrect information to hide the true condition of quarterback Sam Keller, who didn't play against Washington and is out for the year.
Koetter announced after Saturday's game that Keller will require surgery to repair ligament damage.
"I originally told you sprain because I didn't want you guys to know more than that," Koetter said.
Craig Smith: 206-464-8279 or email@example.com
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