Quoting Kiffin: Practice 2 of Gameweek 1

Beat Writer, SC Playbook
Posted Aug 30, 2011


Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin speaks to the media after his team practiced Tuesday at Howard Jones Field.

--“Injuries: Brian Baucham was limited today, Abe Markowitz is still out, Christian Thomas was limited, De’Von Flournoy is still out. Amir Carlisle came out during practice-I think he’ll be back tomorrow. So I think we’re relatively healthy for the most part, which is good. We’ve lost some guys for the season earlier in camp due to the hitting but I think we’re more physical because of it and as I’ve mentioned we’ve suffered some injuries but I think it’ll pay off for us as we get to Saturday.”

(On how the Trojans stop a mobile quarterback, like Minnesota’s MarQueis Gray)
--“Yeah it’s going to be a big challenge for us. This is not just a mobile quarterback but a big, physical—they say he’s 240 pounds—so we’re going to have our hands full, especially because they know what they’re doing with them. They’ve done a great job with running quarterbacks that throw and run, run quarterback, lead run, so this is a very, very big challenge for our defense right off the bat.”

(On whether it’s limiting having to watch film from both Northern Illinois, where Jerry Kill came from, and Minnesota film)
--“Not at all, because I think as you study him, they’ve done the same thing for years. They do a phenomenal job of coaching their players, very simple schemes, but they do them really well and their players play extremely, extremely hard. This is a very, wherever they’ve been, you watch their films over the years, they’re very physical, they go into hard places. They went into Knoxville a couple years ago and basically had the game won with their fourth string quarterback so we got to be ready to go and this is going to be a big matchup for us versus a very physical defense and an offense that’s extremely well coached.”

(On whether any decisions have been made regarding the tailback starting spot)
--“No we’re just plugging along, and as I’ve mentioned before, our goal in this game, regardless of who the opponent was, is to play a lot of guys. We have a ton of players on our roster who have never played a snap of college football and so, like we say, you’re a true freshman until you play regardless of how long you’ve been here practicing. So there’s going to be a lot of big eyes Saturday and we got to work through and get guys in there and find out who is ready to go.”

(On what are the biggest challenges Kiffin foresees with the young starters)
--“I think just being in the first game no matter where you are, let alone the Coliseum and all the emotions that go with that. And so we have to really manage that and try to control our players’ emotions and get them to play really well which is always a challenge for anyone around the country in their first game, to avoid the penalties and first game jitters.”

(On whether a committee situation at tailback can be effective)
--“I think it can. It’s not ideal but we kind of did it last year and at times it was effective. Marc [Tyler], if you look at Marc and Allen [Bradford]’s numbers they were pretty good especially average per carry. It can be done it’s just not ideal because it affects your rhythm a little bit as a playcaller and as your offensive line, to have guys hit the holes a bit different so hopefully it won’t be that way in the end.”

(On why McNeal and Morgan get most of the tailback discussion)
--“I don’t know. It wasn’t on purpose. Dillon’s had just as many reps as the other guys in there. He’s done some things well. Just has to continue to be consistent. We ask him to do a little bit more than some of the other guys at times, because of his pass-catching abilities. He’s got a lot of stuff to work on but has come a long ways from a year ago.”

(On whether there was any point when Baxter was going to be the Trojans’ holder)
--“Yeah we thought about it. But it’s just something that, after we went through, looking at it, working on it, we went with Matt [Barkley] instead.”

(On any Armond Armstead update)
--“Nothing. Still not cleared. And hopefully we’ll get him back here.”

(On whether Kiffin is optimistic that he’ll be cleared this week)
--“I hope so. I don’t know enough to know. This is in the hands of our doctors and so we’ll play him when they let us.”

(On whether Kiffin is satisfied with Galippo’s status)
--“I’m still nervous about it. This is a lot different than a real game, than the type of a real game and all the hitting. So we’ll throw him out there and hopefully he’ll do well.”

(On how confident Kiffin is in the defense from a year ago)
--“I don’t know. I really think until you play it doesn’t change very much. So even though we feel better and look better and we’re bigger and stronger and faster and we look like we tackle better, until we prove it it doesn’t matter. It’s just like when people talk about champions of conferences. Until you’re the champ, you’re not. Until we prove we can play, we haven’t done anything yet.”

(On whether Kiffin was surprised with what happened in the Hawaii game)
--“Yeah we were shocked in that game. I would have never thought, coming in to that game and that many explosive plays and I thought we were going to be pretty good on defense last year. I thought we looked good in camp and obviously the tackling part showed up and as we started losing guys throughout games the depth really showed up. And it really showed up in the games. I think in 11 of the 13 games they scored on one of the last two possessions, including three of the first four games of the year. I think they score on our last possession of the game and so we lost a lot of games on the last possession. The way we look at it, if we just would improve on two-minute defense a year ago we’re 11-2, without all the other things we could improve on. Hopefully playing more players, more physical practices are going to help that.”



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