Quoting Kiffin: Practice 1 of Gameweek 4

Lane Kiffin

USC's head coach Lane Kiffin talks with the media after Tuesday's practice about the status of Armond Armstead, Marcus Martin's performance thus far, ASU's Vontaze Burfict and more.

--"Okay Da'John Harris was out today, Lamar Dawson out, Martin Coleman still out and Abe Markowitz was limited, and Kyle Prater was out. Brice Butler came out during practice. We anticipate all those guys playing and hopefully we'll get them back later in the week."

(On the status of Armond Armstead)
--"Yeah after meeting with everybody involved everyone has come to the same conclusion. The best thing is to redshirt him right now, being this late in the season and having him missed so much practice time and so much gametime and that's the best thing for his future. So we look to the future for it, he's probably going to graduate [and] finish his degree this semester. And have him back next year."

(On whether the doctors cleared Armstead)
--"I'm not really going to go into that, that's family business."

(On that information being vital to the team, not just family business)
--"We know whether he's not, whether he is or he isn't. But that's not for you guys to know. If the family wants to tell you that's their business."

(On whether Armstead has a chance to play in the NFL after this season)
--"Sure yeah. That's a decision they'll have to make as a family. He's definitely a great player so I'm sure he'll look at that. He's going to get his degree here and figure out whether he wants to come back here for another year or whether he wants to go on to the next level."

(On whether Kiffin expects Armstead to come back)
--"I hope he's back. We lose a lot of guys. It'd be great to have him back to help our front."

(On the first practice preparing for ASU)
--"Well I think our Tuesdays are a little rough. We're still getting used to the schedule and staff, players, everybody so I think Wednesdays they're more used to it it's just harder for them to get used to it, force themselves to go to bed on Monday nights because they're not as tired.

(On whether Armstead will be out here practicing)
--"I think he will. We're still talking about what we're going to do inside versus outside with him and stuff. So I think he'll be out here at times."

(On how Marcus Martin graded out in the Syracuse game)
--"Yeah Marcus, as you would expect, did some good things. Made some rookie mistakes, and we just got to keep plugging away in there with him. He's got a lot of potential and did some really good things. We're excited about him."

(On the left guard position overall)
--"Well we feel good that Marcus is continuing to develop, get another game under his belt, continue to improve. Abe [Markowitz] didn't really do much today, Jeremy [Galten] was backing up at right tackle so that's about it."

(On Devon Kennard's progression and transition)
--"Yeah the transition of Devon has gone great, he's played really well. He's been very close to, there's been a couple holding penalties where he was going to have a sack, another time the guy slipped out of his hands. He's rushing really well and playing really hard. [I] really feel great about our rotation right now. Obviously we'd love for Armond [Armstead] to be in there but the rotation that we've done which is basically three inside guys and three outside guys and I think nobody played over 43 or 44 plays in the game, which is why we were able to play at such a high level. And that's how we need it to be as we move forward, to have enough depth to continue to do that."

(On Marc Tyler and the wildcat formation)
--"Well I think in general what the wildcat does is you get the ball with no distractions. A lot of times there's a motion guy but he goes right away and what you do is you're getting that ball back at seven and a half yards. Normally as you get a run play you're already moving to the line of scrimmage, you're getting the ball about four to five yards and the quarterback is handing it to you so your vision isn't the same. And so it's really kind of the basis of why it's so successful and it helps guys so there's times when we don't block things perfect but Marc [Tyler] is able to see it early enough and be able to cut back or bounce the plays as he has done over the last two years. I want to say I think it's been 100 percent over two years in short yardage."

(On whether Kiffin thinks Tyler really enjoys being in the wildcat)
--"I think so. Like I said you just get this, if you think about it in a real common sense way, you get the ball back here and I have the ball and there's nobody in front of me and I can see everything as opposed to having to use footwork, take a handoff from the quarterback and now see everything one to two seconds later. And it's really, I think why people have turned to the pistol [offense] too, for the same reason. That's kind of the middle part of it. He's not getting it as deep [as the wildcat] but he's getting it earlier than a normal handoff."

(On the scout team giving the starters hits after the play)
--"Yeah we did that last year in preparation for Hawaii. We just want to make sure that we do a great job with our composure and not get into a personal foul type of game, regardless of what the opponent is doing and so we're just trying to practice it exactly how it happens in games."

(On his team's discipline in general)
--"We can definitely improve. Every game there's been something we've pulled out of the tape to show them. We've had a personal foul on special teams, we've had them on offense and one on defense with Nick [Perry] early on, I think the first game, so we just have to be aware of those situations. We have to be composed. All the time, in sports, in football it happens all the time, the second guy a lot of times is the guy that gets caught. We actually should have had another one in the game on Matt [Kalil] and we actually lucked out. The guy Matt hit late hit our game and so we ended up being the benefit of a call there. But we've got to learn from those. We got to stay composed. When the emotions go up, we can't let our decision-making go down."

(On D.J. Morgan's fumbles attributing to his lack of playing time)
--"Well that's tough. You guys have been around here. If you do it it's almost like the guys in front of you-you got to wait for them to screw up again. It's just, unfortunate. Two carries like that, and not real big huge hits, he put it on the ground. So he's just got to keep working in practice and do the best that he can and wait for his opportunity, just like Allen [Bradford] did last year."

(On how Kiffin prepares his offensive line for a player like ASU's Vontaze Burfict)
--"Well it's tough. We have Anthony Sarao playing it for us right now. And he's the best guy we have on service. But there is no, we don't have anybody like him. They don't make too many 245-pound guys that can run like him. That's why he should definitely leave this year and go to the NFL and be a first round pick. I'm sure he'll be taken in the top-10 so he'd be crazy to stay. It's hard that's why we do the best that we can and he's a physical player. When he wants to turn it on, look out."

(On how USC matches up generally with ASU)
--"Well we do face a similar scheme. Going on three weeks, three different games now, with Minnesota, Syracuse and Arizona State, big over Cover-4 aggressive safeties, very little under front teams so we do have some background in it. But these players are another step. Great speed, I mean it really is unbelievable. To go through the injuries that they've gone through, over the last six months, and to still watch the film and it still looks like they're the best guys in the country it's phenomenal. They must have done a great job recruiting, recruiting depth. I mean I can't imagine losing, they've lost both corners, the safety has a concussion, the best defensive end maybe in the conference [in Junior Onyeali] if you look at the voting for Freshman of the Year he's out and then what some say maybe the more productive linebacker, the most productive of the linebackers, their own offensive coordinator said that at one time, [he's] out. And you still put on the film and they're still getting a bunch of 3 and outs and shutting people down."

(On road trips)
--"You go into these environments. It's about composure, it's about not letting that get your emotions up. You can't get into any of that stuff, whether it's fans or players, whether it's noise, no matter what it is. Over the years, this has been the best program in the world at doing it. Went down to Auburn when they were number one in the country and as wild a pregame atmosphere as you can imagine, I think 23-nothing and so we learn from those lessons. The Orange Bowl when Iowa fans were out there and a lot of stuff thrown at our bus that day, breakable stuff, and our guys stayed composed and came out and played well. So this is a good test, this is a great test for us early on."

(On what goes into an offensive coordinator's use of trick plays)
--"Well there's always risk in them. So it's just you have to weigh the risk versus reward. You see things on film and you think they'll work and then you copy from people. Syracuse I'm sure copied that [double pass play] from Arizona State because it's basically the same exact play that Syracuse threw for a touchdown that Arizona State threw the first play last year. So you go back to the year before and watch the film, it's unfortunate because just for our defense, at the beginning of camp, we ran that play, just knowing that someone was going to copy it. And Carswell completed it against our defense and we didn't learn from it. And unfortunately it's been torn both times. So we got to learn from those mistakes and know those situations when we're in those fringe areas like that that people are going to take shots."

(On whether Kiffin is excited about the USC-ASU matchup)
--"I am because it's a really big test. The best team we've played, number one, then number two, to do it on the road in a place that's going to be exciting. I don't think that loss [to Illinois] did anything because I'm sure their whole motivation, regardless of whether they won or lost that game, that had nothing to do with winning the Pac-12 and getting to the championship. So I know they're going to be jacked up. It's going to be a very tough environment to play in."

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