Quoting Kiffin: Practice 2 of Gameweek 3

Quotes from Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin after he spoke with the media about Wednesday's practice.

"Marquis Simmons did not practice with his neck, Martin Coleman did not practice, Abe [Markowitz] did practice some so that was good to see, [we'll] go back and look at the film and see how he looked in there and Amir [Carlisle] did some things even though his ankle is still bothering him so for the most part we're pretty healthy."

("How would you assess your offense after two games")
--"Up and down, a tale of two halves really. Both games have started well, moving the ball in the first half and then we've shot ourselves in the foot the second half. Really as you look back to why those things happened a lot of those drives have come down to freshmen mistakes in there so hopefully we're getting through those. Anytime that you play young kids you're going to have that and hopefully we're gaining more experience [so] we won't make those mistakes down the road."

("Is it frustrating that the offense hasn't had that breakout game")
--"It's very frustrating because we're committed to trying to play young guys and when you do that, this happens a little bit and we have so many inexperienced players, not necessarily by what year they are but inexperienced players playing for us on offense and the breakdowns happen. It's very frustrating but still as a head coach you call the plays to win the game and so we've gotten conservative in the fourth quarter. ‘Conservative' doesn't mean you can't make first downs, ‘conservative' just means you're trying not to turn the ball over and not give the game away. We still got to make those first downs so we get to third and inches."

(On whether growing pains are a part of the improving process)
--"Yeah the main thing, I think all of them do at some time. Mike [Williams] went through it as Kansas State, I think he dropped seven balls that day when we were there so they're going to have these mistakes and hopefully they'll get them out of the way."

(On how different the kicking situation is from last year)
--"Well we don't have much experience there with the kicker, with him being a true freshman. But you do feel better because he has a stronger leg and so even in practice when he misses it, for the most part, he's missing it with length and so you feel better than the ball squibbing around so we feel good about where he's at right now and especially since he made the second one even though there was a false start."

("Is Christian Thomas back in the mix")
--"Yeah we've thrown him in on special teams some, he gets sore at times but he's working his way back."

(On having a big guy like Matt Kalil on special teams)
--"It's pretty special once in a while you'll have tall guys but it still takes great effort in what he's put into it. And even out here in practice today he was putting the same effort in practice that he was in the game so that's why he's doing so well at it."

(On whether a guy like Drew McAllister who makes big plays in practice will see game time)
--"Yeah we've played nobody else at that spot, T.J. [McDonald] has taken every snap through two games and so we are going to play Drew [McAllister], we already told Drew he is going to play in this game, I think the third or fourth series so we've got to do that with some positions like that."

(On the defensive line's performance)
--"Well you can always do better but I think they're playing really, really well and they've done a really good job against the run, the front knocking people back and have had some great rushes. They were close to a big sack game. There's a number of times they were going to have a sack and something happened why they couldn't get the sack. That's my way of not getting fined right there, in case you didn't figure that out and then a couple times, one got called back, Da'John [Harris]'s because of penalty on Nickell [Robey] so I thought they had a really good game and had two good games."

(On any other players coming in to rotate against Syracuse)
‘'We have talked about playing Lamar [Dawson] some more, in there, we just talked about Drew [McAllister] and Anthony Brown, too. And Tre Madden."

(On Anthony Brown)
--"He tackles well for us, really has had a good approach to the game and really has tried to learn his stuff for a young guy."

(On Rhett Ellison's diminishing role)
--"Yeah we do. We're kind of with him where we were with Stanley [Havili]. Not a lot of depth at that position so we haven't maybe used him as much as we could have early on, like we did last year. And so we need to continue to expand his role and we can always put him back at tight end, too."

(On Armond Armstead update)

(On whether he expects an update on Armstead soon)
--"I think we have a meeting later this week to discuss where everything is at."

(On the secondary's progression)
--"It's going well. Our [defensive backs] continue to improve. Like we mentioned we got to get better in man coverage and so we're still giving up a few third and longs that we got to get better at and clamp down."

(On who Kiffin pictures at left guard for Saturday's game)
--"No, we'll just throw guys in there and see."

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