Quoting Kiffin: Practice 1 of Gameweek 3

Lane Kiffin

Quotes from USC head coach Lane Kiffin while he talked with the media after Tuesday's practice at Howard Jones Field.

"Okay Marqise Simmons out today with a neck [injury], Cyrus Hobbi still out, Martin Coleman out with a shoulder still and Abe [Markowitz] came back and did some things, so hopefully he'll be back this week."

(On the guards rotating again today)
--"Yeah we're going to give the young guys a shot, again and so we're into week three and hopefully the two true freshman [Marcus Martin and Aundrey Walker] can help out in there and do some things. But that's up to them, not up to us."

(On whether the Trojans' poor turnover margin bothers Kiffin)
--"Sure it bothers me. But it's about making plays. We had two balls thrown right to us, to our linebackers, right in our hands, we dropped them. So if we catch those two balls we're even for the year so we have to make those plays and we have to force more fumbles and then we got to obviously take care of the ball on the other side, with the two freshmen [in D.J. Morgan and Curtis McNeal] putting the ball on the ground."

(On letting Anthony Brown have a look with the "ones" today)
--"Yeah we have, we've given Anthony a shot and, another one of those guys in that first class that we signed that has done some good things so it's his chance to get a turn."

(On what Kiffin likes about Brown)
--"Physical, good tackler and really wants to be good."

(On whether Brown will just play in nickel defense)
--"We may rotate him in at base, but it's looking like he'll play nickel for sure."

(On Matt Barkley's performance against Utah)
--"I thought it was okay. There were a couple plays and some stuff could have helped him out too, his stats go a little bit different if we don't have two drops and if Marqise [Lee] lines up off the ball on his 30-yard slant so that would change the numbers a lot there but he did some good things. [Utah] obviously tried to take him away and the receivers away by what they did in the first half, they had never shown that. They had two safeties 20 yards deep and so they were forcing us to run the ball more in that game and we should have been more efficient in the run game. Even though we were running it well in the first half they should have been bigger runs because there were no safeties anywhere down in the box. That should have been a game if we're playing well up front we should have ran them out there."

(On Matt Barkley's performance in the fourth quarters of games)
--"Yeah the bottom line is to win the game so in the fourth quarters of these games we have had the lead and we've called the game to win the game. We haven't called the game for stats or, so we've been very conservative in those times. He hasn't been behind yet, that's really where the issue comes up, when you're behind you got to move them so we've been very conservative with our calls to make sure we win the game and not worry about stats."

(On his impressions of Syracuse on both sides of the ball)
--"Well I think first of all on offense they have a really good passing [game], their quarterback is 75 percent completions, over 80 percent in the second half of games and you go back to these last three games now I think he's 8-1 in touchdowns to interceptions so they're playing extremely well in the passing game. It's a timed passing game, they're coached really well, a lot of NFL schemes and so anytime, regardless of what people think, anytime that you have a quarterback playing extremely well that's experienced, as an opponent you better be ready to go. And so we're going to have to be ready to play them and then on defense, they're seventh in the country last year in total defense and seventh in the country in pass defense so we're going to have our hands full."

(On Marc Tyler's first performance back)
--I thought Marc played well, especially for missing the majority of camp and going in there. So the good thing is hopefully he'll improve on that, we haven't named a starter yet. We want to see those guys compete and see who comes out here and really wants to play."

(On Dillon Baxter seeing more time on the field)
--"Yeah I hope so. We'll see how the game goes. Dillon had a good week of practice last week and hopefully we'll expand his role this week."

(On where Kyle Prater is at)
--"Going back to his injuries set him back, preparing and forced to redshirt last year and then had more injuries this offseason. [He] really just hasn't been able to get into the groove and feel real comfortable in there, really this is like his first year again because he missed so much time."

(On why the Trojans have struggled converting third downs)
--"Yeah real little things. Third downs come to one-on-one matchups and doing things right and we're just a little bit off. For whatever reason we start the game a lot better and as we get going we're not as mentally tough in those situations. We need to do things exactly right as we get a little bit tighter."

(On how troubling it is that the Trojans had10 third downs that were third and short and only three were converted)
--"Well it's very troubling because what happened was, the game, for a lot of the game was going the way we wanted it to go which was make sure we were getting positive yards on first and second down because Utah is a great third and long defense. On third and long people hardly ever move the ball on them so there were a lot of second downs where we were trying to get half to get to manageable third downs and unfortunately we didn't make the plays on a number of them. You wouldn't think you would have a third and inches and quarterback sneak and get a 15-yard clipping penalty, or illegal block penalty, so things like that, just things where you think you're going to pick that up, and all of a sudden you're 15 yards back it completely changed [the] momentum."

(On whether opponents are adjusting their defenses at half time)
--"I don't know the first series [versus Utah] went right down the field in the second half and [we] scored a touchdown so I don't think so."

(On whether Xavier Grimble's inconsistent play against Utah is analogous to the Trojan's overall offense)
--Yeah that shows, that really is kind of the story of our offense right now. You talk about him in the second half, coming out and making an adjustment to the Cover-2 they were playing and throwing him the ball down the middle there and then the drive, goes down and scores. Then we come back to him a little bit later with a play where he's open and he puts the ball on the ground. So there's just too many freshmen mistakes that are happening right now, and those guys are making some plays but then at the same time, two of them putting the ball on the ground, Marqise [Lee] covering up the tight end, those plays are haunting us right now."

(On how much freedom Matt Barkley has in making the calls)
--"Well it's not really freedom really he's still doing what he's trained to do and what he's coached to do. We do put a lot on him, a lot of our stuff is audibled out of, for advantages so that we don't get in to negative plays, which has been effective, you know through two games we have one sack. So a lot of those times those audibles are because they're going to do something that is going to cause somebody to come free so he's done a good job."

(On Kris Albarado redshirting)
--"Well we just looked at it, and looked at the future of having a guy here for four years after this year and they were both doing well, so it made a lot of sense to redshirt him.

(On how significant that second half was for the defense)
--"Well two games in a row [the defense stepped up]. It's good to see the extra conditioning, the extra stuff that we do at the end of practice has helped us in the last two games. Those are situations where we lost three games because of that last year, not finishing out in those same situations so it was great to see."

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