Monday, November 19, 2012
Kiffin: Revisiting UCLA, previewing Notre Dame
By Pedro Moura
LOS ANGELES -- The big news from USC coach Lane Kiffin's conference call Sunday night was quarterback Matt Barkley's being ruled out for this week's Notre Dame game because of a sprained right shoulder.
But there were other noteworthy things, too. Here are notes and quotes from the rest of Kiffin's call with local reporters:
Job security questions
Kiffin said he was not blindsided by questions about his job security in Saturday's postgame news conference, although he said it's "not something that I think about."
He was asked several questions about his future, including if he felt he needed to beat Notre Dame this week to come back next season.
Kiffin revealed that he'd been told by administration he'd be back no matter what happens this season, and was then asked if athletic director Pat Haden had told him that.
He answered in the affirmative.
"I'd say that was probably fair to ask," he said of the questions Sunday.
An odd rebound
Kiffin said the Trojans were "fortunate" to rebound from a rivalry loss with another rivalry game against the No. 1 team in the country in Notre Dame on Saturday (5 p.m. PT, ABC).
He said he didn't think his players would fold with the Rose Bowl now out of the picture and a Sun Bowl appearance probably the best-case scenario.
"These kids are too proud and they've been through a lot now," Kiffin said. "That won't be an issue."
Kiffin called the 38-28 loss to UCLA a "very discouraging game" but also pointed out that he found it a "strange game, as far as statistics."
There's merit there, as USC outgained UCLA, had half as many penalties, and converted the same ratio of third downs.
But, ultimately, as Kiffin pointed out, a big part of the difference may have come on special teams, where the Trojans lost handily to the Bruins for "one of the few times" in the Kiffin era.
UCLA out-punted USC by a dozen yards each attempt, and converted its only field-goal attempt. The Trojans' Andre Heidari missed two kicks and an extra point.
Final notes: Kiffin said he saw the potential for seven more sacks from USC's defense in Saturday's game. The Trojans produced five, as it was. ... With Silas Redd less than 100 percent healthy at running back, Curtis McNeal's 161-yard day proved "why it's critical to have depth at that position," according to Kiffin. ... Kiffin also said he did not call a team meeting to discuss Barkley's injury and instead planned for his players to find out via the internet and social media. ... The USC coach downplayed any similarities between this week's Notre Dame game and the one Mitch Mustain started while Barkley was hurt in November 2010: "Every situation is different. Mitch was more experienced, obviously."