Sunday, October 28, 2012
Kiffin revisits Arizona, previews Oregon
By Pedro Moura
USC coach Lane Kiffin addressed the media in his usual day-after game conference call Sunday night, discussing how his Trojans managed to lose, 39-36, to Arizona Wildcats over the weekend. He also looked ahead at a daunting matchup Saturday with Oregon.
His lone regret
Kiffin said he felt good about most of the key decisions he made against Arizona, including the late fourth-and-two reverse call and passing up a field goal attempt on fourth down earlier in the game.
"I felt like we needed to score touchdowns and not field goals," he said.
The one decision he did regret came just before the second-to-last play of the game, when he opted against spiking the ball and had quarterback Matt Barkley throw deep to Marqise Lee.
It didn't work, obviously, and the Trojans' final play was a failed Hail Mary attempt.
"That's all on me," Kiffin said.
Kiffin didn't care about saving any seconds. He said the main reason he wished he had called for a spike was to give Lee some time to catch his breath.
Kiffin said he spent "a lot of the night and morning" putting together a video of all the Trojans' major penalties from their games this season.
That was the focus of their meetings on Sunday: watching the video. It was Kiffin's latest attempt to get through to the team about the importance of discipline.
"They saw the magnitude of what these things do," he said.
Kiffin said his players "were in the tank" after the loss, but "probably not as bad" as they were after their loss to Stanford last month.
About the Ducks
Kiffin called No. 2 Oregon "one of the best teams in the country, if not the best team in the country."
And he praised the Ducks' coach, Chip Kelly, for keeping his team even-keeled after wins.
But he also allowed that the Trojans could be more motivated to beat them after the Arizona loss, just like teams are often more pumped up to play USC after losses of their own.
What could've been
Kiffin refused to spend a lot of time lamenting the loss -- "It's no time to sit around and whine" -- but he did let a few coulda/woulda/shoulda moments slip.
Most notably: "I think very easily we could be 8-0."
Instead, USC is 6-2, with three games remaining against top-25 teams.
Final notes: Among the lesser-known records set by USC in the loss: Lee's 469 all-purpose yards were the second most in NCAA history. Lee and Robert Woods' 438 combined receiving yards were the most by a USC duo in school history. Told of the numbers Sunday night, Kiffin chuckled: "A lot of records for a loss." … Arizona ran 94 total plays against the Trojans, the most by a USC opponent in a dozen years. … Freshman defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who was ejected from the Trojans' last game against Colorado, did not start Saturday's game for the first time in a month. He did not sit out long, though. … Kiffin said Lee had "one of the greatest games in the history of college football," with his 345-receiving-yard day.