Kiffin recaps win over Arizona State

Despite suffering an allergic reaction before the game, Marqise Lee put up Heisman-worthy numbers against the Sun Devils. Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire

Some selected quotes from USC coach Lane Kiffin’s Sunday night conference call following the Trojans’ 38-17 victory over Arizona State.


“The thing we’re most pleased with is our players and where we were at two weeks ago with our penalty issues, last in the country. We’ve played two really good games … We were in a major hole. We’re eighth in the conference now. Obviously, we’d like to be back in first, where we were in the last year, but a lot of progress there.”

“Defense, after a slow start, played really well against a team coming in that was averaging over 450 yards of offense, and [they] only had 250, and seven sacks and four turnovers … It was much needed obviously for our confidence.”

“I thought Curtis [McNeal] had a really good game outside of the fumble – 31 carries, 163 yards and only one negative-yard rush … plus for the second week in a row, [we had] an explosive pass play on a screen situation, so that was good. Both left tackles played really well. Aundrey Walker coming in as backup played the best game he’s ever played which was great to see. And we were more efficient -- 50 percent on third and fourth downs.”

“Negatives -- obviously, the turnovers. We had a chance to really make the game not close. Three times our defense and special teams gives us the ball inside the thirty-yard line and we turn over all three of those.”

On whether he has any USC-UCLA rivalry advice for Jim Mora Jr.:

“He doesn’t need my advice. Shoot, they’re ranked ahead of us in his first year. He’s doing a great job over there. They’re really playing really well, and their offense has been lighting it up with a freshman quarterback.”

On whether the USC-UCLA rivalry is present throughout the entire year:

“I think any time that you have a rivalry game where the schools are this close, it’s obviously a big deal -- what’s going over there -- because you’re dealing with recruiting and you’re recruiting the same kids in the same areas because we’re so close … obviously there’s the in-season -- the game week -- and then there’s a lot of battles in the offseason over the years, too.”

On the tailback screen passes that have been working lately:

“I think that it was something that we weren’t really hitting on earlier in the year. And once again, once people start taking certain things away, it tends to open other things up. Because of the success throwing the ball over the last two weeks, we’ve seen a lot of pass-rush and a lot of deeper coverage, so that tends to open up your screen game.”

On what he said to Robert Woods after his performance:

“Staying positive, you know, getting a bad break on the touchdown. And then some other things, we were just a little bit off or they were taking him away. We ran two screens early to him to try to get him involved right off the bat, and their defensive linemen made great re-traced plays on him. And then we just barely miss him on one down the middle of the field that’s going to be a touchdown, and a touchdown called back, and we tried to get him involved the first play of the second half and the guy made the great play, so I think it’s a little better once you see the film and you see the opportunities that were there, or that we were trying to get him the ball.”

On whether USC will be wearing its home jerseys against UCLA this weekend:

“We are wearing them. I did not talk to Jim [Mora] about it. I think it’s just an assumption now that everybody does it every year.”

On the play of the offensive line against a talented ASU defensive line:

“We really wanted to try to make them run up front and run away from No. 90 (Will Sutton) … and pull and get on the edge … Both of the young left tackles looked great at doing it, too, because they’re both such good athletes.”

On whether or not running back Silas Redd will be available this weekend against UCLA:

“I hope so.”

On Marqise Lee’s brief appearance on defense against Arizona State:

“We did play him for a play. Like I said, there were certain situations he may go in on. He was playing free safety for us on defense, and they ended up getting a delay of game on the play. So they punted, so we took him out.”

On whether Lee will be used on defense more as the season continues:

“I hope to. You know, we just always have to look at his play count, and what’s going on with the game, kickoffs, temperatures…all of those things. We may have played him more Saturday, but then it kind of threw me off when 45 minutes before the game he’s in my office and he’s swollen up and having trouble breathing. So he wasn’t himself yesterday. I know that’s kind of crazy -- he still had such good numbers, but he still wasn’t himself.”