Kiffin sees Arizona as challenge

Lane Kiffin spoke highly of Arizona on Tuesday. Read on for his thoughts on Matt Scott, Rich Rodriguez, the offense overall, and much more.

Arizona has faced some formidable foes this season, including National Title contender Oregon. However, this weekend, the Wildcats will host the preseason Championship favorite, USC.

When the Trojans come to town, they will bring their 6-1 record with them and attempt to put themselves in prime position in the Pac-12 North standings.

Over the past few weeks, the Trojans have had a few things going against them, but have still managed to pull off victories. USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin believes that from this point in the season heading forward, the defense needs to make the biggest improvement.

"We're going to have to step it up on defense," Kiffin said. "Starting this week, we're going to play some great offenses. We play the number five offense in the country this week at their place, so we're going to have our hands full."

Kiffin hasn't had much time to catch up on the work that Rich Rodriguez has done in his first year coaching at Arizona, but has noticed some of the numbers that the read option is putting up in Tucson.

"Arizona does have a very explosive offense," he said. "I think it really speaks to Rich Rod and his system with what they have done in just a year. To come into a program the first year and change the system offensively and then put up what they have. It's really amazing. "The quarterback is a good player. The running back is a good player. Then they have the two wide outs. It looks like they've been there for years."

One of the main reasons for the big numbers is senior quarterback Matt Scott. The signal caller redshirted last season and fell into the perfect system under a new coaching staff.

"(Scott) has a gigantic impact," Kiffin said. "I think he's really fast and throws the ball really accurate. I think he's a really good player and when you out him in that system, he's really dangerous. Just look at his numbers. When you look at the list of their explosive plays, the reel just goes on forever."

Another wrinkle that USC must watch out for is Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defensive scheme. It is the only one of its kind in the conference and the only one that the Trojans will face all season. It is a rare defense that could spell trouble for the USC offense in Tucson.

"Nobody else does the 3-3-5," Kiffin said. "It's definitely new and we've had to prepare for it and get all of our work done. This is really something they do that's unusual. Nobody else really does it in the college or NFL, so we have to take our time teaching it to our guys."

Even with a 6-1 record, Kiffin and the Trojans aren't taking the game lightly. While some think that Arizona's defense is the weakest part of the team, USC's coach doesn't think that the numbers do it any justice.

"No doubt this is our toughest game this season," Kiffin said. "I think it's pretty easy to tell as you watch them. On defense, they've really started to improve and play better. You can look at overall yards and see some bad numbers, but they are put out there for a long time.

"They are out there for 85 or 90 plays a game because of the way the offense plays. I think this is a really good team."

So far this season, every team that has beaten Colorado has lost the next game. USC beat the Buffs last week and will host the Oregon Ducks next weekend. Sandwiched in between is a trip to the desert to play Arizona. It could turn into a trap game if the Trojans are overconfident.

"I don't think we are (overconfident)," he said. "We addressed that this morning. We showed our guys film of Arizona, but didn't really talk about what they've done. Outside of the Oregon game where things kind of got out of hand, they've done a phenomenal job.

"To score 48 points at Stanford and be up by 14 points in the fourth quarter, they could very easily only have one loss this year."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories