Monday, September 20, 2010
No decision yet at running back
By Pedro Moura
Allen Bradford was great in Saturday's 32-21 win over Minnesota and Marc Tyler was not -- but USC coach Lane Kiffin hasn't made any decisions about who will start this weekend's game against Washington State.
Bradford, long the projected starter at running back only to lose his spot to Tyler at the end of fall camp, actually had the first carry of the game against the Gophers and lost a yard, but he came on for good when Tyler fumbled the ball midway through the first quarter. From that point on, he outgained Tyler 132-27.
Of course, Tyler looked similarly great against Hawaii in the season opener, but the redshirt junior struggled some against Virginia and again Saturday.
Either player could still end up starting when the Trojans visit Pullman, Wash. on Saturday.
“It’s still early,” Kiffin said Sunday. “We don’t practice again until Tuesday. We’ve got a lot of time to think about it.”
Here a few other highlights from Kiffin's Sunday evening conference call with reporters:
- The coach hadn't heard of USC's latest drop in the Associated Press rankings, or so he said, until a reporter informed him during the call. Of course, USC dropped from No. 18 to No. 20, falling two spots for the third consecutive week. "It doesn't concern me one bit," Kiffin said. "We used to follow it a lot closer because of the BCS and implications there, but it means nothing where those people are ranking us for our team. We're just trying to improve."
- The defensive line was even better against the Gophers than Kiffin initially thought, he said. After reviewing the tape with his coaching staff and team, Kiffin seemed very pleased with the line's consistent play. "I've said all spring and all fall camp that it's the strength of our team," Kiffin said. "It's a really special d-ine. It's still early in the year and it started to show in week two and it definitely showed yesterday. They're really special."
- The Trojans have improved, in Kiffin's eyes -- although they have still yet to beat a team by even two full touchdowns after a 13-point win over Hawaii, 3-point win over Virginia and 11-pointer against the Gophers. "I do feel like we're definitely better than we were 3 weeks ago," Kiffin said, before again lamenting some offensive misdeeds from Saturday's game. "We just need to be more consistent on offense. If we were in that game, we could've blown that thing open and had a pretty big blowout win."
- The coaching staff decided to give linebacker Chris Galippo a defined role in the defense last week, Kiffin said. After not playing a single snap against Virginia, Galippo played 18 snaps -- including a full series in the first half -- against the Gophers and came up big, making an interception in the game's final minutes. His extended time also gave Devon Kennard more of a rest, and the coaches followed that model with other members of the front seven, giving Hebron Fangupo some time and resting Jurrell Casey and Armond Armstead more than they typically would.