Kiffin to stars: Don't worrry about stats

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
4:00
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Coming off his Trojans' non-dominant 27-9 win over Cal on Saturday, USC coach Lane Kiffin has made a point this week of stressing that statistics and point totals no longer matter to him.

The only thing he's worried about, he's said over and over, is winning.

Tuesday, he revealed that he said as much in a preseason meeting with Matt Barkley, Curtis McNeal, Silas Redd, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods -- USC's five biggest stars and stat compilers.

Why'd he do it?

"To make sure that they understood we're about winning," Kiffin said Tuesday. "We're gonna make sure that we do things to ensure that we're winning games and not worry about some of these individual stats."

Kiffin said the message went over well.

"They're very unselfish kids, all those guys, and they've done a very good job," he said. "Whether it's Curtis touching the ball five times in the first game to Robert only touching the ball four times or five times last Saturday.

"It's going to happen and we're not going to force things just to get people numbers."

Kiffin said USC's commitment to the run game against Cal -- especially in the second half -- was evidence the Trojans are focused on doing "the best thing to win."

Barkley said after Tuesday's practice that he remembered Kiffin's talk on the topic but added that he didn't find it personally necessary.

"He doesn't have to tell me that," Barkley said, adding that "it's stuff that seems natural to me and I know it, but I think it's good that he's relaying that to the team and making sure everyone's on the same page."

Barkley's stats have dropped to the levels of his sophomore season, with his 61.5 completion percentage a far cry from his 69-percent passing as a junior last year.

He maintains he's unconcerned.

"This is not a year for me to start complaining about stats or anything like that," Barkley said. "If we're winning, then I'm perfectly happy.

"If we're running the ball for 300 yards, then I'm perfectly happy."

Barkley said the defenses teams have been displaying against the Trojans' passing plays "is something to get prepared for for next year," in the NFL.

"If teams are gonna do that, drop into two-deep and drop into coverage," Barkley said, "then we're gonna run the ball."

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