Fight on! Havili breaks teammate's cheekbone

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of USC's lives.

The latest out of Heritage Hall: USC cornerback T.J. Bryant underwent surgery on his cheekbone Thursday as a result of a fight with fullback Stanley Havili.

Got to be honest: Havili, a fifth-year senior, is one of the last guys I'd guess would take a poke at a teammate. But these are strange times at USC, which just can't seem to stay out of the news.

This from the story:

The fight broke out near the end of a players-only workout last Friday, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said. The players were finishing a relay drill when an argument escalated into a physical confrontation. Bryant, who was competing for a starting job this fall, is expected to miss three to four weeks. The Trojans open their season in Hawaii on Sept. 2.

Bryant was considered slightly behind Torin Harris for the starting cornerback spot opposite Shareece Wright, but an "OR" was between them on the depth chart, meaning it was a tight competition. And when you're replacing all four members of the secondary, any loss hurts.

The big question, however, is this a "boys will be boys" incident, only with big boys who can obviously cause a lot of damage when fists fly? Or does this suggest some rifts among the players -- specifically between players who want to work hard and other who might view extra effort in conditioning as a waste of time due to NCAA sanctions?

Said Kiffin:

"This was a situation where Stanley tried to step in to get guys to finish without the coaches being there. He was showing leadership to get guys to finish at a level he's used to. My understanding is there was a back-and-forth and some pushing. Obviously, it didn't end well."

Doesn't that sound like Kiffin is saying Havili was unhappy with Bryant's effort and when Bryant fired back at Havili's "encouragement" things escalated?


That said, having covered college football for a while and talked to many players through the years, I realize there actually are plenty of fights among teammates. Think about it: 100 guys ages 18 to 23 -- 85 on scholarship -- together much of the day. There are going to be altercations. Only most of the time, a guy doesn't need surgery afterward so it doesn't become a news story.

Isolated incident or not? Check back on Sept. 2.

The LA Times tells the tale. And the Orange County Register. And LA Daily News.