Quoting Kiffin: 1st Practice for Washington

Lane Kiffin

Quotes from the Trojans' head coach on Monday at Howard Jones Field in preparation for USC-UW.

(Injury Report)
--"Lot of injuries here. Da'John Harris did not practice, Jawanza Starling didn't do much, Dion Bailey did not do much, Hayes Pullard did not do much. Marc Tyler was limited, Marqise Lee was limited and Robert Woods was limited. So obviously there's a bunch of guys that we need to get back and the only good thing is we are a day ahead and so as we go throughout the week hopefully they all will be back."

(Whether Dion Bailey is cleared for contact yet)
--"No."

('What happened to Hayes Pullard')
--"Neck."

('And that happened in the game')
--"Yes. Did not think it'd be something [where] he'd miss practice but he's been really sore."

(What is wrong with Da'John Harris)
--"Ankle."

(On Nick Holt's 'I'd rather play SC than Oregon' quote)
--"I don't make much of it. We have great respect for those guys and their staff and their players. They can say whatever they want. They beat us, two years in a row so they can say whatever they want."

(On how badly Kiffin wants to be Sarkisian)
--"This isn't about Sarkisian or Kiffin. We want to beat Washington because they beat us. We want to win every game that we play, especially when you feel like you had a game that we could have won, much like the Notre Dame game, you do have a sense from your players that you'd like to get those back because you felt you could have won them with so many opportunities and you have to wait a whole year to have a chance again.."

(On whether George Farmer or Marc Tyler will play Saturday)
--"Oh I don't know. I think Marc's probably a little more likely than George, but both of them may be there."

(On whether there will talk between Sarkisian and Kiffin in the offseason about this game)
--"Not with us. Maybe other people do that. We don't really. I think we both respect each other. Maybe we would have done that stuff five years ago or something, but we've got enough other stuff to worry about."

(On whether the two coaches' relationship off-the-field has changed since both becoming head coaches)
--"No, not at all. We still find time to end up at the same places sometimes. [Our] families hang out and are very close. I don't think so at all. It probably brought us even closer, both becoming head coaches in understanding what the other person has to go through."

(On whether Kiffin watched Oregon-Washington)
--"Yeah I watched a little bit of it. But once again, the Oregon deal just doesn't help us very much. We don't really pay much attention to those games when people are playing them because the styles are so much different of what they do so we obviously look more at games like Stanford. "

(On whether winning the Pac-12 South is important, despite not being able to play in a championship)
--"Sure. We'd like to be [winners]. Obviously, these players have no control over not getting to go to a bowl game; it had nothing to do with them. They can control winning the games. Sure, you want to do that, just as a message about where we are as a program and that even with all the adversity and all the sanctions and transfers and all that stuff, if we were able to still do that, I think it would say a lot about these guys.."

('Did you watch LSU-Alabama')
--"Not very much. Just kind of read about it and all the missed field goals. I just wish that Alabama would have missed one when we played there. They went 4 for 4, and we lost by 2 points. And they went 1 for 4. That's really all I was thinking about.."

(On whether the 9-6 score of that game surprised Kiffin)
--"I think that score no matter what would surprise you, regardless of the defenses, because both of them have great skill players on offense. I think it was a little surprising, but not that much. Those are two of maybe the best defenses ever to play. When you deal with those front sevens down there, it's just a different world."

(On whether the team is overthinking this weekend)
--"I don't know. Maybe the first year of playing each other maybe. I don't think we will. We talked about this being about us, like we always do and just playing really well. We've started to play well as a team, for the most part, over the last 3-4 games, so we just need to continue to do that."

(On whether it's harder for true freshmen to play on defense)
--"I don't know that there's something to that, but that seems to be the case. It's been the case for years here. We've had a lot of great, five-star defensive players come in here, and for whatever reason it's taken time. Even those great linebackers, Cush and Keith, for whatever reason our defensive players in general here have taken longer than our offensive players. I don't really know why that is. I don't know if it's with other people the same. It doesn't seem like that."

('Why is Lamar Dawson different')
--" Lamar's a great student. His approach to the game is very, very sharp. Obviously, between my dad and Joe (Barry), they've had a lot of great linebackers over the years, a lot of high-first-round-pick rookies. They say Lamar has picked things up as well as, if not better than, anybody they've had. I think really his ability to pick things up and how serious he is about being great have enabled Lamar to do so well, like he was in camp. He would have played a lot more by now if he wouldn't have had the [injury] setback."

(On J.R. Tavai's abilities)
--"[He's a] very natural player. Good story. Not like most of the other guys we're talking about. Not a highly recruited, five-star player. Actually a guy that my dad has a real hard recruiting area, the South Bay. A lot of premier talent coming out of there. He went to a practice and watched him one day. Came back and brought him to camp. We're kind of like, the guy's short, he's not very big, there's no way. Sure enough, he came to camp, had a great camp. We watched him on film playing great. He's just a natural player who isn't a height-weight-speed guy. That's why he wasn't as highly rated as these other guys. But he's going to be a really good player for us."

(On what position Tavai will ultimately play)
--"Inside, and maybe all the way to even a nose as he gets bigger."

(Where does Matt Barkley need to improve)
--"I don't know. He's playing really well obviously. I don't know how much better you do with this many young guys and this much inexperience in front of him. Matt makes a lot of plays out of rhythm because he has to. Sometimes guys are screwing routes up, and sometimes guys are missing blocks. I think that's actually made him better. When we were here before in some of our great runs, I feel like we didn't have to do that. It was just easier. There were more veteran guys around them. I think it's been really good for Matt. About the only thing I'd say is the deep-ball accuracy. He's missed some deep balls. But that would be about it."

(On how Barkley's progressions have developed)
--"Very deep. We've seen games where he's gone to Ross Cumming as his fifth read. He really has come along. This is exactly where we hoped he would be. We talked a lot in the preseason: What are your expectations for him? Over 30 and under 10 for touchdowns and interceptions. And he's right there."

(On how Barkley's fade routes/screen passes have improved)
--"He still misses the deep ball every once in a while. He's continuing to improve, but we can always find things to do better."

(On what it takes to fix the deep ball)
--"Just really timing with the guys. Once again, there are so many different guys in there. And Robert's injuries have hurt that. Robert's timing. Most weeks Robert practices about half the time because of his ankle. I think that that's part of it too."

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