EL PASO, Texas — USC coach Lane Kiffin, who delivered several apologies for missteps during the regular season, offered another Thursday for etiquette slips by the Trojans in the run-up to Monday's Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech.
On Wednesday night, the Trojans arrived late for a kickoff dinner that was to involve both teams and bowl officials. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and his team were leaving as the Trojans arrived.
The perceived slight, fueled by a photo of an empty dining room, became a hot topic on Twitter and news outlets.
Kiffin said the Trojans were 30 minutes tardy because of their late arrival at the airport, which pushed back the start of a late-afternoon practice. Kiffin said bowl officials were with the Trojans throughout the day.
Upon seeing Georgia Tech exiting, Kiffin said he thought the teams were perhaps scheduled to arrive and depart at staggered times and was not aware there was an issue until Thursday morning.
“We had no intention of disrespecting anybody,” Kiffin said.
A USC athletic department spokesman said that Georgia Tech had arrived earlier than scheduled. But a Georgia Tech spokesman said the Yellow Jackets were there at their appointed time, adding: “From our perspective, it was not a big deal.”
Kiffin also expressed disappointment about a Twitter post by defensive lineman Leonard Williams later Wednesday evening.