Notes and quotes from USC coach Lane Kiffin's conference call Sunday after the Trojans' 48-41 win over Arizona at the Coliseum the day before:
A number of records were broken in Saturday's game that turned up overnight. Among them: Arizona and USC's combined total yardage of 1,136 was the most in a Trojans' game since the 1977 Bluebonnet Bowl, when they beat Texas A&M 47-28 and the teams combined to gain 1,139 yards. Robert Woods and Marqise Lee's 399 combined receiving yards also broke a school record for a duo, and Matt Barkley's 470 yards of offense -- 468 passing plus two running -- also broke the total yardage record. Linebacker Dion Bailey's 14 tackles were the most in a single game by a USC freshman since Chris Claiborne had 20 in a game in 1996.
Tying up some loose ends from the game with the officiating crew, Kiffin was again asked about the sideline interference call on him that cost the Trojans five yards and a shot at a touchdown late in the first half. He said he had already contacted the Pac-12 office about the penalty and was pleased with the response but still felt the call was out of line. “It was ridiculous, and there’s no explanation for it, not one that will ever make sense to me,” Kiffin said. And, lastly, the penalty called in the second quarter on an unidentified Trojans player was on Bailey for an illegal hands to the face move.
Middle linebacker Chris Galippo has not played as well over the last two games, Kiffin said -- largely because the Trojans don't trust anyone enough in the linebacking corps to spell him with Lamar Dawson out because of an ankle injury. Galippo played every snap in Saturday's win over Arizona and every meaningful snap against Arizona State the week before, leading to him wearing down late in the game. "It's human nature," Kiffin said, adding that Galippo's drop in play has been due to both being more tired and being less challenged in practice with Dawson out. "That's why we make everything so competitive. Unfortunately, Lamar not being there has hurt Chris."
Of course, one option to rest Galippo would be to move into a nickel defense at times and play Bailey and Hayes Pullard at linebacker with a third corner joining the mix, but the coaches don't seem comfortable with Tony Burnett playing serious snaps. When Torin Harris does get healthy, it's possible Anthony Brown could slide back down to the nickel slot, allowing them to rest Galippo. Of course, Dawson might be back by then too.
With an open date this week before next Thursday's game against Cal, one possible approach to the week off is to incorporate younger players into the practices to give them some time in the mix and give the older players some rest midway through the season. At least, that's what the Trojans used to do under former coach Pete Carroll. "There'll be a little bit of that," Kiffin said. "But we have to be careful with that. We're not in the same position we were with Pete." Back then, Kiffin said, the Trojans weren't playing nearly as many young guys as they are now, so the open dates often provided the only in-season opportunities to assess their progress. Now that a number of freshmen and sophomores are playing, that strategy isn't as useful.
The crowd at the Coliseum, announced at 63,707, was USC's smallest for a home game this season despite its opponent being more hyped than the previous three. Kiffin called the crowd "late-arriving," and said he was pleased that his team was able to open up a 17-0 lead in the first quarter despite a lack of early support.