Sunday, September 11, 2011
Coach Speak: Week 3
By Pedro Moura
Notes and quotes from Lane Kiffin's Sunday evening conference call after the Trojans' 23-14 win over Utah:
- Following up on the late-night fiasco that was the score change, Kiffin said he originally thought Torin Harris' field-goal-block return was ruled a touchdown on the field, then realized later that it wasn't. But he said he did not personally call for a change in the ruling or anything of that nature, although he said he was pleased to find out the official final score two hours after the game ended. "I’m sure it made a lot of Trojan fans happy to find that out two hours later," Kiffin said. "I hope they didn’t throw away their tickets." The coach did question what the officials would have done if the game was tied in the end-game situation and Utah went on to win it in overtime. He asked if the Pac-12 would reverse the outcome of the game after reviewing the final play in regulation in that hypothetical situation.
- Marc Tyler ran the ball 24 times for 113 yards but did not win himself the starting job for Week 3, Kiffin said. He did, however, admit that the running back situation is going to cause issues going forward, with Dillon Baxter looking for more playing time and Curtis McNeal also deserving but Kiffin unable to provide them the snaps. "This is just one of those situations that everybody can’t be happy," Kiffin said. "You can’t share the ball amongst four guys." Still, the four players are all listed as co-starters on the Trojans' official depth chart for the Syracuse game.
- The apparent miscommunication between Rhett Ellison and Matt Barkley on the Trojans' second-quarter interception may not have been a miscommunication after all. Kiffin took responsibility for the play and said he shouldn't have called it in that situation. "I kinda put it on myself," Kiffin said. "There was a little gray area there in the read. ... Put that one on me."
- The USC coaches still plan to play more guys, even though only four more got in Saturday for a total of 47 players. "I know I've been saying it," Kiffin said. "But we need to do a better job of it. We need to get some more guys in." Freshman linebacker Lamar Dawson, who logged two series but appeared to be pretty badly beaten on one play in that period, made his debut. Kiffin said safety T.J. McDonald and cornerback Nickell Robey each played 73 snaps in the game, which he called "too many."
- Kiffin did not have an update on the status of left guard Martin Coleman, who started Saturday's game but injured his shoulder early on and came out to be attended to by team doctors. He returned, sporting a shoulder brace but came out later on and was replaced by Jeremy Galten. For what it's worth, Galten is listed as the starter on the official depth chart released Sunday by USC.
- Final notes: Nothing more is known on defensive lineman Armond Armstead, who continues to wait to be medically cleared, a process that has taken six months now since he was originally hospitalized in March. ... Baxter did not meet privately with Kiffin on Sunday as he had the previous week, despite getting only one carry against the Utes.