With Pac-10 play set to begin next week, one might think Lane Kiffin would be interested in seeing a more well-rounded performance from the Trojans going into the conference opener.
Not so fast, the first-year USC coach said.
"It's got nothing to do with Pac-10 play, we need to get things clicking because we have a big game Saturday," Kiffin said. "We want to play better."
Against a reeling Minnesota team that lost its home opener, 41-38, to FCS member South Dakota, the Trojans are expecting anything and everything from the Golden Gophers.
Even in a losing effort, embattled coach Tim Brewster's team had 462 yards of total offense, with quarterback Adam Weber accounting for 258 through the air on 21 of 31 passing.
"We're going to have our hands full this week," safety T.J. McDonald said.
Fortunately for USC, the defense was again sharp in practice Thursday, with cornerback Torin Harris and McDonald notching interceptions of quarterback Matt Barkley during the team period.
"A lot of it has to do with just getting to the football," McDonald said of the takeaways. "A few picks were just tipped balls. If you get to the football, you put yourself in position to make plays. I feel like we stressed that a lot this week and we will do a lot better job of that Saturday."
Given the nomadic lifestyle of coaches, it's often hard on families to consider any one place home.
"Well I got a lot of homes. Everywhere we play seems to be home," Kiffin said, but he admitted having a special relationship with the Twin Cities, where his father and USC assistant head coach Monte Kiffin worked for the Minnesota Vikings from 1986-1989 and again from 1991-1994.
"It is a place that I went to three years of high school and still know a lot of people," Lane said. "It's a really unique place in just off the charts friendly people and a great place to raise kids, so I have nothing but good memories there."
And what team did the younger Kiffin root for?
"I didn't have a choice to be a Vikings fan. Wherever your dad coaches, you are a fan regardless," he said.
-Defensive linemen Armond Armstead (undisclosed) and Nick Perry (ankle) and tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) were limited for the third consecutive day. All are expected to play against Minnesota.