Kiffin apologizes for postgame comments

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
4:50
PM PT
Lane Kiffin didn't mean it -- at least, he didn't mean it like that.

Speaking to ESPN's Shelley Smith on the Coliseum field after Saturday's 19-17 win over Minnesota, a visibly displeased Kiffin said the Trojans had "two good players on our offense" and had to "figure out the rest.”

He was presumably speaking of quarterback Matt Barkley and receiver Robert Woods. But that enraged some USC fans over the weekend, who felt Kiffin had disparaged some of the other talented Trojans, including left tackle Matt Kalil, a sure first-round selection in the NFL draft, whenever he declares, and fullback Rhett Ellison, who Kiffin has recently called "awesome."

He stepped back from the comments after Tuesday's practice when he was asked if he regretted saying what he did.

"Yeah, I do," Kiffin said. "The question that was posed was what did you learn today. And, really, what I had learned was that two guys had great games. But I didn't phrase it [the right way], and I told our offense that this morning too.

"I didn't mean it that way."

Give him credit for one thing: He apologized free and clear Tuesday, a nice gesture.

There's nothing terribly wrong with making a minor mental mistake in the heat of the moment. It just happened to be on national television with an audience already upset by what it saw in the second half of that game.

Later Tuesday, Kiffin said he didn't know exactly how many "good" players his offense has, although it's more than two. Still, Barkley and Woods were USC's two best players against the Gophers. No one else was reasonably close.

"Obviously I didn't phrase it really well, but that's what I meant," Kiffin said.

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