Quoting Kiffin: Spring Day One

Lane Kiffin (Photo by Kevin Carden)

USC"s head coach Lane Kiffin talks about the Trojans' first spring practice.

(Injury Report)
--"Kevin Greene was very limited today, with an ankle. Josh Shaw had an issue this morning with his back, so he wasn't able to go. Nate Guertler has a hamstring [issue] so he couldn't go, Jesse Scroggins re-aggravated his hip, so he was not able to go. Robert Woods did very little with his ankle. Out for spring most likely are Torin Harris, Christian Heyward, John Katnik, Kyle Negrete, Christian Thomas, Chad Wheeler, DeVante Wilson. During practice Xavier Grimble and Junior Pomee came out and did not return."

--"Thoughts from the first day, I thought there were some really good things, just thinking back to two years ago, being on the same field I think we've come a long ways as you look around at our players, the way they look and how they run so that's credit to obviously our assistant coaches and recruiting, but obviously to a lot of our strength staff. I think that our guys look really good. Obviously we have some depth concerns at a number of spots. As far as the MVP of the day probably was George Farmer. Really to see him healthy out here and the way that he caught the ball today and his confidence is very different than last time we were with him so obviously that was great to see."

(What's it like knowing these guys have something to prepare for this time around)
--"Yeah I think it's refreshing really to our fans and to our players but it doesn't change anything that we do. We're not all of a sudden preparing different and coaching our players any different or get ready for opponents any different. We're going to do the same thing that we've been doing."

(There was a song on the speakers today that said 'I get a good feeling,' it seemed representative of how the players are feeling today)
--"Well I don't know that that's necessarily the bowl game. I think that's just in general. I think they feel good about themselves, they feel confident because they came off ending a season very well and a number of the returners were significant players, some of them All-Americans so that's very different than the year before. Or, especially, two years before that. So I just think in general they have a good feeling about themselves that comes from confidence, which comes from experiencing success."

(What's going to be your approach with Robert Woods this spring)
--"With Robert we'll definitely move very slow. I think we know a lot about Robert. We know who he is, we know how he is as a player. We've played him at all three of our receiver spots and in the backfield so I think it's very rare to have only had a guy, really for a year and a half basically, and then for him to have done so much so probably more than anyone on our team outside of maybe Matt, he would need to be out there. So we'll go very slow with him. I actually thought he would practice today and kinf o last week, late in the week was set back a little bit. So we're just trying to be very safe, probably could have done some stuff today."

('Do you get a sense that George Farmer is really determined to prove himself')
--"I do. I thought that George was very confident. I thought that he looks great, he looks healthy, looks strong. He was going after the ball and I think that comes from his confidence. I think a lot of times, and we talked about it last year, that's the norm with all players even when they're five-star players. The norm is not Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, those are rare situations. We talked about every year there's about five significant impact true freshmen around the country. So normally they take a little bit of time to adjust, like George, especially if they're not midyears."

('How did you think Matt performed today')
--"I thought it's pretty easy for Matt, obviously. You can't install a million plays in day one with other kids so Matt was fine, it just looks like where he left off. It's not very challenging right now, gets a little bit bored. But what's good is you didn't see him force very many balls. I thought at the beginning of last fall camp he got a little bored in a few of those practices, he had a few interceptions going and so it was good to see he didn't do much of that today."

('What about the other quarterbacks')
--"I thought Max and Cody threw the ball really well. They look like they've been here for a while and I think they're both going to be really good players."

('How did your assistant coaches do in their first practice)
--"I thought they fit in really well. They're very comfortable. They're really good teachers and they're confident so I think that comes out. We spent a lot of time getting ready for this day in meetings and walkthroughs and stuff but I think you can see that they're pretty confident and players seem to really take to them, even on special teams as well."

('Moving Tony Burnett back to safety)
--"With Torin Harris out and Brian Baucham wasn't actually cleared until yesterday with an issue so that really makes it where one of those guys or both of them they have to do both so if we were fully healthy both of those guys would be safety would be the idea. Both Josh [Shaw] and Tony [Burnett]."

('Are you going to be cautious with the running backs because of the lack of depth and you want to prevent injuries')
--"Yeah that is a very scary position for us. To have so little experience and numbers there in general and really nothing coming to help that very much. So we've got to be careful with Curtis [McNeal] but continue to develop him because he has some weaknesses in his game that we'd really like to get caught up with the rest of his game."

('Did you sense guys itching to get on the field since it's been so long')
--"Yeah I think they were. They had gone through such a long offseason of lifting and running and to finally be out here with coaches and balls, I think they were really excited"

('What do you think about Buck Allen as a running back')
--"Yeah he had an injury back in high school. He had a good sophomore year and then he got hurt partway through his junior year I believe is when it was, if I recall right. So to see him full strength now is going to be exciting. You can't tell very much with the running backs with no pads because there's no holes. You can't really block very well so it'll be big for him and D.J. [Morgan] as we get into scrimmage formats."

('What's your philosophy on how restrictive ProDay should be')
--"I don't really have a feeling. I don't really feel like the ProDay is really my ProDay. I really feel like it's more for the players now that they've left here [headed] for the NFL so it doesn't bother me very much. I don't spend too much time on it. Especially because it lands right in the middle of our spring ball. I don't think I even went out there last year."

('Do you think parents should be able to watch their kids go through ProDay')
--"Yes I do."

('How much are you keeping up with the departed players' progress)
--"A little bit. They come back. Nick Perry was here today and Matt came back to see us the other day. We'll get reports sometimes from it. I don't sit and watch it but get their numbers in and stuff."

('Are you going to move Aundrey Walker over to the left side to see what he looks like over there')
--"Don't know that yet. That all depends when we get pads on and how they're both playing. If they're both playing really well where they're at, there would be no reason to move him. "

('Did it seem like Walker was moving better today')
--"Yeah he's completely different. If you were to watch just when you go from stretch drills to the offensive line drills a year ago he was always the last guy. And I looked for him to be last today and he was the first guy down there, actually. When you lose 60 pounds you move a little bit better too."

('How are you dividing the reps among the backup quarterbacks)
--"Right now we're going to split it right down the middle and see how that goes. That might be for a long time, it might be for a little time. We just have to see how it works out and give them an even chance here initially. "

('What do you think about Tee Martin early on')
--"Real good I think he brings instant credibility with the guys. I think he's very easy to get along with and so I think the guys like being around him. I think they feel themselves getting better already. "

(On Greg Townsend playing defensive tackle)
--"College football has changed and these guys, they're going to grow so much. We forget that they're always going to gain usually 10 pounds a year so there's usually -- if you're young, it's almost impossible to be too small for the most part. J.R. Tavai was in there last year as a true freshman so the game has changed. You're not going to deal with a bunch of isos and powers from two-back formations. Everything is so spread out that really you're going to continue to see that the big guy in the d-line in this conference is going to diminish a little bit."

('What about Burks as a defensive lineman, a smaller guy with a lot of potential')
--"What we saw in him is he had such great effort in our camps and we watched his film. He doesn't fit the profile of an 'SC guy, that's no secret. He's not the height-weight-speed of what the normal defensive lineman is here. But sometimes those guys they go beyond that and we're hoping for that. We're hoping that he can be like the Arizona State guy [Junior Onyeali] that plays left end who was very small coming out, who we made a mistake and actually didn't recruit him based on his size."

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