By Stan Silliman
The USC Halloween Football Prank
By now everyone knows USC running back LenDale White scared the padding out of his teammates with a Halloween prank that culminated with him diving head first off a four story building. Okay, it was a look-a-like dummy that plunged to the ground, but White did a super realistic selling job. It was one of the best acting jobs by an USC athlete since O.J.’s day in court.
And in case you’re not aware, several ex-USC athletes have been very successful actors, unless the names Tom Selleck and John Wayne mean nothing to you. LenDale sold this prank. He complained about not getting enough carries, about Reggie Bush and Leinart getting all the limelight. His teammates believed him when he threw down his gloves, said “I’m quitting” and stormed out of practice. When he stood on that roof and yelled “Forget football” they were downright frightened. What you don’t know is that running back/actor White was coached by the greatest running back/actor of all time – O.J. Simpson. When O.J. got wind of a possible prank and you know how O.J. loves pranks, he pleaded to be of help to his Trojan family. Here’s a bit of the interplay as O.J. was coaching LenDale on how to sell the bit:
O.J. : LenDale, you’ve got to be motivated. Feel it. You know when they put Bush in, they devise special plays. They use mis-direction. You go in, they send you three yards up the middle. Hell, man, you’re lucky anyone even blocks for you. You’re not a SoCal boy, you’re from Denver. You’re an omelette to these guys. They screwing you over. You feel it?
LenDale: Oh, I’m getting mad. I need to show the emotion.
O.J.: Here’s what you need to do. You got some gloves? Those are always good props. And it’s good if they a little bit small. Makes ‘em harder to yank off and if you get accused of something … uh… nevermind… you can tear ‘em off your hands like their bloody… and… uh, uh, … like they represent everything you hate… and all the rotten practices… and…
LenDale: I’m not quite sure but I think…
O.J.: You got to be seething. It’s like if some young stud is hitting on your lady. Okay, she’s not your lady, anymore… but you still got feelings… and this young… thinks he can move in… in front of your children. Grrrr… Are you feeling the rage now? You think you can rip those gloves off?
LenDale: I think I understand, Mr. Simpson.
O.J. : You might need to write a note. You love football but you’ve been getting the dirty end of the stick. You storm out of practice and you have your friend, A.C., waiting for you in a Broncho. Do you have a Broncho? How fast does it go?
Lendale: I’m thinking about going over to that building and faking like I’m going to jump off and the equipment manager, Tino, tries to save me and a dummy falls off the roof.
O.J.: Hmmm, a dummy? Can you outfit the dummy with shoes? Stocking cap? What if a set of golf clubs went off the roof with the dummy? Remember, you want to struggle when you rip off your gloves. Make it look like they never fit in the first place. That’ll sell it.
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