Quoting Kiffin: Practice 1 of Gameweek 2

The Trojans' head coach opens up about Marc Tyler, Dillon Baxter, impressions of the Utah Utes and more from Tuesday's practice at Howard Jones Field.

(On if the players are liking the morning practice format)
--"Yeah they are. I mean it's good for our players, they're up here early, a lot of them here at 5, 5:15 in the morning and so now they go from here to class so I think it makes them more responsible and it's easier for us to keep track of them, too. I think once they get used to it they actually like it."

(On whether the players got the message after Kiffin's postgame reaction)
--"I hope so. I think that our players are around me every day so they understand, it's been talked about a lot, about the standards that we have and our expectations of play around here so when a game happens like that, a game that basically is two different halves. The first half we score three touchdowns, they don't score any. Three of our four possessions are touchdowns, our defense is playing good, special teams is playing good, very few penalties, 90 percent completion, that's how we expect to play. So the second half was very disappointing so I don't think I surprised our players at all, I think they have the same expectations that's why they came here. They came here to do great things."

(On Utah initial impressions)
--"Yeah this is a very good team. A team that over the last 10 years has been as good as anybody in the country. They've gone to many, they've played many bowl games and won. They're not going to be intimidated by coming in to ‘SC or the Coliseum at all so we're going to have our hands full. Since we've been back this time I would say this is the best front four we've seen and had to face. The front seven in general is really really good and dominant at times."

(On the injury front)
--"I think we're pretty good. Out of the game, nothing really happened in the game which is very fortunate, any time you can be 1-0 and not have any big injuries it is a good thing. So we can go back and work on little things, we've added Marc [Tyler] back to our roster and so that gives us some depth. Our goal is to make our roster extremely competitive, not just down here at the ones but at service team and so adding a guy like Buck Allen to it, all those little guys that you can add as they come back in or that you sign, they qualify, they make your team better because that's who you're going against. And that hurt us a lot last year. Our service teams, there were a lot of kids that we just found going to school here that weren't even football players so hopefully this is going to help us."

(On whether Marc Tyler will play against Utah)
--"Yes he will. I don't know how much, that will depend on how the week goes."

(On what cause Tyler to be reinstated)
--"Doing everything right, he had a number of things that he had to do between myself and between Pat [Haden]. And he did and completed all those things and hopefully he'll continue that way."

(On how Tyler has looked since he came back)
--"He's looked very good. He did service team all week for us last week, was very productive down there, worked very hard. I know they beat him up down there which is what he needed after missing camp so he still has a lot of work to do but it's good to have a guy who has played a lot back. As you look at that game Saturday and you reflect back on it and go over it again and again, so many of the critical mistakes in that game were made by players who hadn't played before and that's the norm. Until you've played you haven't played. That showed up a lot in that game. It wasn't the guys who played a lot making the mistakes. It was the guys that is was their first time playing so anytime you can add a guy who's been there, done it, they usually play than the [other] guys right off the bat."

(On the changeups on the offensive line today)
--"Yeah we're not going to get into specifics but we're looking at everything. We obviously want to increase our level of play up there, be more consistent and hopefully [Abe Markowitz] gets back in that mix. He was our starting guard when he got hurt, so and I think, even if nothing changes, we should be better, because like I've mentioned, four of those five guys had never played the position they were playing in a significant college game so you're going to have some growing pains. And I had to remind myself of that too. Obviously I was very critical after the game but with so many players, offensively, I think the game was an example. So many of those guys had never taken a snap of real football and they're in there playing in critical situations and defense we had some more veterans. It was a different, it was flopped from last year so I think that's why the opener was the way it was."

(On whether Kiffin regrets his negative postgame comments)
--"Yeah I do. The question was posed about what did you learn today and really, what I learned was there were two guys who had great games. And so I didn't phrase it [well], and I told our offense that this morning, too. I didn't mean it that way. Obviously we had some guys that did play well but coming out of that game the feeling was, from watching that game, there were two guys that played great on offense and so I didn't phrase it the right way."

(On what Kiffin learned after watching the film)
"Same really. Offensive line and consistency with the tight ends. I thought the receivers played really well, the quarterback played great. You can't diminish how well the quarterback played. I know our offense has taken some hits for lack of production in the second half but that wasn't [Barkley's] fault. The guy was as good as you could play almost and I think at one point there he was 20-22 you know that doesn't happen on air. So he played great, the running backs were fine. It's the offensive line and tight ends that need to be more consistent in order to have a really good game. And it's not that hard. We did it in the first half. You'll win every game you play if you don't turn the ball over, you don't get sacked and you score touchdowns on 75 percent of your drives."

(On whether Kiffin plans to play more guys next week)
--"Well we've got to play more guys defensively. Coming in we had that play, we did it some, and then we got a little nervous over there with the game getting tight. And the game had that feeling in the second quarter like it was on its way to being a blowout, to where we'd be able to get [other guys] in later and not have to play our ones in the fourth quarter and unfortunately it didn't go that way. Our goal is to get more guys in, our goal is to get Lamar [Dawson] in, our goal is to get the two freshmen defensive line in, to play George Uko a little bit more and we've got to play another corner[back] because Nickell [Robey] wore out playing every snap."

(On who will fill the secondary coaching spot)
--"Yeah between my father and Sammy Knight it will go just like it was last week for the rest of the season. Sammy really, we got a lot of confidence in Sammy. Sammy's been with us know for two years, has done a really good job, has never really coached before as far as running a room and so my dad will help him with that. I think together they'll do well back there and I know the players like Sammy a lot too."

(On whether Sammy Knight/Monte Kiffin will share the secondary coach duties for the rest of the season)
--"Yes that will be the plan for the rest of the season and then we'll evaluate it after the last game."

(On how Dillon Baxter responded today)
--"Great. I thought he practiced as hard as he ever has, I think he's still out here working right now. So that's what you want to see as a coach. You want to see guys get better, you want to see guys accept criticism, when you tell them what you expect from them and not come out here and pout. We tell our players all the time negativity will never get you more playing time or pouting so you never know what the reactions are going to be. Like I said the other night in the conference call, so it was great to see. That's what we want, we want everybody to play well and practice hard and have a lot of success here."

(On whether any of the true or redshirt freshmen play better than Kiffin expected)
--"I wouldn't say expected because we have high hopes but I thought that Dion Bailey and Hayes Pullard played really well for their first games in there, as I mentioned the tight ends did some good things but the two tight ends were inconsistent especially with the drops. George [Uko] played well in his limited time and D.J. [Morgan] did well so that group of our first class there, to join the guys like Robert and Nickell that already played, is looking pretty good."

(On Kiffin's impression of Utah's Brian Blechen)
--"Very athletic, all over the place, kind of a team leader-type guy. Played really well last year so you can see how he's stepping up.

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