Sunday, November 11, 2012
Kiffin: Revisiting Arizona State, previewing UCLA
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin reviewed his team’s 38-17 victory over Arizona State on Saturday at the Coliseum in his standard Sunday evening conference call with reporters. He also looked ahead at Saturday's game against the UCLA Bruins, scheduled for a 12 p.m. PT kickoff at the Rose Bowl:
No more penalty problems
One positive item dominated all conversation for Kiffin on Sunday night: USC's sudden increase in on-field discipline.
Kiffin said he was more pleased with the Trojans' penalty total on Saturday -- just four -- than any other statistic.
USC has now committed just seven penalties in its last two games after being called for 23 in the prior two games.
There's still one more big thing to fix, though: the turnovers. The Trojans have given their opponents the ball eight times during the last two weeks and have created just five of their own.
“Red-zone turnovers have really cost us this season," Kiffin said. "We've left a lot of points out there."
More on Marqise
Kiffin was exceptionally coy about potentially using Marqise Lee on defense against UCLA on Saturday, saying a variety of factors could determine whether he logs any time there.
Those factors included kickoff temperature and Lee’s recovery from the allergic reaction that kept him at less than 100 percent against the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Kiffin again mentioned the deep ball that went off Lee's hands as evidence that his star receiver wasn't feeling great.
"I know it's kind of crazy, but he wasn't himself on Saturday," Kiffin said, despite Lee’s 10 receptions for 161 yards. "He wasn't Marqise."
Lee, now firmly cemented as a Heisman Trophy contender, went in as a free safety for one fourth-down play on Saturday, then left the field after Arizona State called a timeout and decided to punt.
The uniform question
USC and UCLA have a tradition of each wearing their home uniforms for the annual rivalry game between the two schools.
The Bruins broke it last season with an all-white get-up at the Coliseum, but Kiffin said he intends to have his team dressed in the Trojans' home cardinal uniforms at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
He said he had not discussed the jersey situation with UCLA coach Jim Mora.
Advice for Mora?
On the topic of Mora, Kiffin was asked what sort of suggestions he'd have about the nature of the USC-UCLA rivalry for his crosstown counterpart experiencing it for the first time.
"He doesn't need my advice," he said. "He's ranked ahead of us in his first year. He's doing really well over there."
The coach is right: UCLA is 17th in both the BCS standings and the AP poll, whereas the Trojans are 18th in the BCS and 21st in the AP poll.
Final notes: Kiffin said left tackle Aundrey Walker played his best game of the season, subbing for Max Tuerk on Saturday. … Kiffin said the wind at the Coliseum on Saturday was unusual and attributed Kyle Negrete's unusually poor punting to the conditions. ... Two of the three interceptions quarterback Matt Barkley threw against Arizona State were the result of "phenomenal plays" by Sun Devils defenders, Kiffin said. … UCLA's defense has "kind of had some very different games," Kiffin said, which appeared to be his way of saying the Bruins have been inconsistent on D. … Kiffin said he hoped running back Silas Redd would be available to play against UCLA. Redd did not play on Saturday but was in uniform on the sideline.