Lane Kiffin media call recap

LOS ANGELES -- Some selected quotes from head coach Lane Kiffin's Sunday night conference call following the Trojans’ 27-9 victory over California.


“Really, the story of the game was the line of scrimmage.”

“You know, you just look at the nine sacks to one -- and really Matt’s, he was stepped on by the guard -- and rushing yards, 296 to 77.”

“I know a lot of people would like 50-0 type games or higher-scoring games in general, but I think this game was really good for this team. I think that we all know that we can throw the ball well when teams allow us to, and that we have the great skill players in the receiving game to be able to do that. So I think it was more critical for this team to build confidence in its offensive line, running backs, and running game and defense. And that’s exactly what happened in this game.”

“The bye comes at a very good time. Hopefully not only will we get some guys back that are out, but also some guys that aren’t playing at 100 percent will get better with this extra time.”

Injury update:

“Two guys that will be out for the season, Scott Starr and David Garness, Scott Starr with a neck issue, and David Garness had to have back surgery.”

On whether Starr will be able to apply for a medical redshirt:

“Yes, we believe that he can, because of this happening before the last game. So we think that he will get that.”

On Andre Heidari’s performance:

“I think that’s a pretty big deal, to come off of that surgery and not just kick, but to be that effective and kick well. It says a lot about his rehab and his competitiveness.”

On the play of Matt Barkley against California:

“I don’t think there’s any way to fault Matt for his tipped interception. That’s a play where we are supposed to cut the defensive end with the tailback, and that didn’t happen. There’s no way that you can fault him for that. And the other one was just a little bit off with those two guys, Robert [Woods] and Matt -- who have obviously connected for a ton of completions. And you know, the defensive players are on scholarship too, and they make some plays sometimes.”

“And also, as that game was going, the way we were playing on defense, I thought it was critical to manage the game -- not have a lot of negative plays -- and I thought Matt did that.”

On the performance of Abe Markowitz:

“I thought Abe played great. He did a really good job with his pad-leverage, especially in the run-game. While I was watching it, I couldn’t help but think about him being in the game last week -- if he would have been cleared a week ago -- and the difference that would have made.”

On his confidence in Markowitz’s ability to play at either guard or center:

“We have a lot of confidence in him at all three of those spots -- both guards and the center. A lot of credit to Abe, I walked by the offensive line meeting room at 10 p.m. the other night -- that’s pretty late, considering these guys are here at 5:30 in the morning to start their day -- and he was here by himself watching film.”

On the status of George Farmer:

“George was not medically cleared to play in that game Saturday -- he didn’t even dress out. Hopefully he’ll be back this week.”

On T.J. McDonald’s performance against California:

“I think our defensive coaches, first off, did a great job coming up with a package where he’s basically a defensive end in it, and moves around and causes people some issues. And that’s really good for him for the next level, seeing him that close to the line of scrimmage doing things will just make him more valuable. He is playing great, and he plays on our special teams too. He’s a great Trojan.”

On Aundrey Walker’s performance against California:

“I thought that Aundrey played his best game of the year. He really responded to his partial demotion or whatever you want to call it. As coaches, that’s what we tell our players, ‘That’s what we want to see.’ We’re not trying to be critical, we’re trying to make our players better and challenge them. So he really stepped up and played his best game, and played really well in the run game. The goal for him is to keep improving, and we’ll keep bringing Max Tuerk along as well.“

On whether the competition at the left tackle position is open or closed:

“We’ll keep it going. Max did some good things, and like all true freshmen, made some mistakes -- got beat on a critical fourth down early -- and that stuff is going to happen with all of your true freshmen. It was good to get him in there some, and we’ll keep trying to do that.”

Note: There were also a couple of changes made in the official statistical numbers from USC’s victory over California that were brought up in the call:

USC has been credited with two additional sacks to bring the overall team total in the game to nine. George Uko is being credited with one of the sacks, while Antwaun Woods and Morgan Breslin combined for the other sack.

Additionally, California is now being credited with a team sack for a play on which Matt Barkley tripped and fell behind the line of scrimmage.