Quoting Kiffin: Practice 1 of Gameweek 5

Lane Kiffin

Quotes from the Trojans' head coach after Tuesday's practice at Howard Jones Field, including information on T.J. Bryant, Ross Cumming, comments from Kiffin on the Will Lyles/Willie Mack Garza relationship and more.

"Okay Torin Harris did not practice today, Lamar Dawson did not practice today, Matt Kalil did not practice, Amir Carlisle and Christian Thomas [did not practice also]. Hopefully we'll have all those guys back if not tomorrow, by the game."

"As far as practice, I thought that it was much better than last Tuesday. Guys came out, good reaction to not playing well in the fourth quarter last week. Back to work. So it's an exciting game for us to be back home in front of our crowd and work to get a win to get to 4 and 1 to go into a bye [week]."

(On the Willie Mack Garza) --"I did read that. All I can say on that is that the alleged incident I have no knowledge of, or knowledge of a relationship at all and I have been and always been committed, wherever we've been, to doing things the right way, cooperating with the NCAA. So that's all I got on it."

(On "whether its common practice for assistants to engage in that kind of activity with recruits without the knowledge of their head coach")
--"I don't know. I don't know what people do."

(On whether Kiffin has heard back from the league office regarding T.J. McDonald's personal fouls in the ASU game)
--"We have not yet, no."

(On whether Kiffin has "gotten any indication from the NCAA that they reopened an investigation into you?")
--"As I said, I can't respond any way to any of those questions. I said what I said about not knowing anything about it or anything to have to do with that relationship or any of the things that are alleged."

(On whether Kiffin would be surprised if the Garza/Lyles situation would be traced back to Kiffin)
--"That's not for me to judge."

(On whether the relationship with Willie Lyles was the reason Garza said "personal issues" in his resignation)
--"Yeah like I said, I can't respond on anything besides what I've said on this, in any shape."

(On whether the freshmen mistakes are expected to trail off at this point in the season)
--"Yeah right now, because as I said before the game and earlier in [last] week, there's really two things, as a freshman or as a player who hasn't played college football. Because you are a freshman until you play, just because you practice it's different. So there's really two steps to get over it. The first one is you usually play your first game at home, first one is going through a game period. And we saw those in the opener, with a lot of first-year starters. And the next one, as we improved in week two and week three, the next step is going on the road, especially if you happen to go into a big game on the road. There's reasons why, if you see a lot of other conferences, why people schedule different games early so they can get through those, before they have big ones. We saw it happen, again. And it isn't necessarily gigantic plays that jump out at you right away, it's little things that cause bad things in plays to happen. Little things you don't see just watching the game or on TV copy of why plays don't work or the mistakes that are made so this is definitely the time and we've talked about that, starting Sunday. And now there [is] no more time for freshmen mistakes or newcomer mistakes because there aren't excuses anymore."

(On whether Kiffin was questioned about the Garza/Lyles relationship before Garza resigned)
--"As I said Gary [Klein], I've got nothing more to say on this."

(On Kiffin's impression of Arizona ahead of the game)
--"We do have a game this week, yes. Gary forgot about that. Four questions…Yeah they are, and last time they came in here they won so I'm sure they're going to be confident, they're getting healthy, they're getting some guys that have been banged up that played a little bit last week and expect some guys back this week so they're going to be ready to go. They probably played the hardest schedule in the country, playing three top-10 teams, the way that they did and three great offenses. Everybody talks about whether they're ranked on defense, those [teams they played] are some of the best offenses in the country they've played so they're going to be ready to play. Just like us on offense they have the same thing on defense, they've played a lot of first year guys, lost a lot of guys. They're going through some issues there, I'm sure they're thinking the same thing we are, it's kind of time for those mistakes to stop now."

(On if Kiffin is surprised the defense hasn't forced more turnovers)
--"Yeah [I] really am. Probably, I said after the game, the most surprising of anything that's happened over our time here this time around, is the lack of turnovers that we've gotten. And now we're screwing up on offense, too, so that;s why we're last in the conference in both turnovers given away and taken so very surprised for as much attention that we've put on it, we've tried basically about everything. We even gave them ice cream if they got turnovers, that didn't work. We thought that would work with the linemen, you'd be surprised."

("Like a popsicle?") --"No real ice cream, because we only give them sugar free yogurt and they don't like that so we said they could have real ice cream. That still didn't work so we're trying everything. Hopefully it will turn around this week."

--I think a lot of the same, or the normal concerns that you would have, going into your first road game, into a loud environment, line of scrimmage issues, communication issues, first-year players and assignments, not playing fast in that environment which its impossible to simulate that environment. And then the turnovers. Turn the ball over and not getting turnovers. If you go on the road you better pack your defense and pack your run game and if you don't—you see what happened in the first half—we weren't able to run the ball and we didn't play very good defense. That's why I think it was 21-9."

(On how Kiffin coaches ‘focus')
--"We just continue to work on it out here, continue to show shots of turnovers and them getting forced and how people are getting them out. We just do everything that we can and hopefully it will turn around. Sometimes it does, sometimes all of a sudden it just turns around and you don't do anything different than you have been and then all of a sudden you go plus-four in a game. I'm sure Arizona after a week of, Arizona State after a week, if I didn't change anything very much, they just kept doing what they were doing and all of a sudden coming in with us, after turning the ball over a couple times the week before and doing a much better job [in Saturday's game]."

(On giving Aundrey Walker a look at right tackle)
--"Yeah we are. Put him out there, he was there early in camp, moved him in to guard, thinking that he'd compete in there and possibly start in there. That's gone a little bit slower than we had hoped so we moved him back out to right tackle to create some competition there and we obviously weren't satisfied, nor was Kevin, with his play in the game Saturday. So, like we're committed to doing here, always, we're always going to try to create competition and see if we can improve our players, both of them."

--Yeah I think that huddle in general sometimes gets a little bit out of whack, with the young guys and that's why we were reluctant to put Aundrey [Walker] in there as well, on the road. You would have had two true freshmen guards in there at the same time and then all of a sudden [Barkley's] got all the other guys, the freshmen tight ends, Amir [Carlisle] in there and Marqise [lee] so, that a lot of time lends us to relying on Robert [Woods] but we got better in game three of not doing that and then we went on the road and kind of had to go back to it a little bit because other guys weren't being as efficient."

(On whether Kiffin is happy with Ross Cumming at full back)
--"We are very pleased with Ross. A really good story, guy has only been over with on offense for a couple weeks, due to some injuries and other issues we moved him over there to try him out, he was actually in at tight end at first and then he did such a good job we put him out at fullback. Really good story. There's some good stories in there that we use with our team, too, on Sundays. Here's a guy that had been [on offense] for a couple weeks, went in, did a really good job, matched up on [Vontaze] Burfict a couple times and played really well."

(On what is going on with T.J. Bryant)
--"We're trying to redshirt T.J. So he can improve."

--"I think that's a credit to Dion, really. His focus as soon as he got over there and really doing extra stuff, and always trying to watch extra film, those two guys have been great stories that we use with this year's class. There's Hayes and Dion even though they redshirted they still practiced hard when they were there, they still were focused, were attentive in meetings, and it paid off and now they go in as starters in their first year."

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