Quoting Kiffin: Practice 2 of Gameweek 5

Quotes from USC's head coach after Wednesday's practice at Howard Jones Field. Look for quotes on George Farmer, Aundrey Walker, Matt Barkley's reprimand, Isiah Wiley, Marqise Lee and more.

"Torin Harris did not practice, Lamar Dawson, Matt Kalil, Amir Carlisle and a couple updates on longer term guys. Marquis Simmons is out for the season with a neck. Abe Markowitz, John Katnik and Cody Gifford all had surgery, out for the season. Gio did as well and Christian Thomas now will have hip surgery, he'll be out for the season as well. It's that time of year where injuries start to mount, and a lot of times the down-the-line guys affect you with your service teams and stuff so we need guys to step up all over the place."

"As far as practice I thought it was good, defense did a good job of forcing a couple turnovers and getting after the ball. Obviously that's been our emphasis for a long time and continues to be this week."

(On whether Marquis Simmons needs surgery)
--"Yeah it's nothing with surgery, just something in his neck where he won't be cleared for a couple months so it'll be all the way until spring until we get to practice with him again."

(Kiffin on the long-term effects of those long term injuries)
--"Well what it really does is, what we've seen over the last two years now, with the reductions and stuff, a lot has not necessarily [been] your front line guys—we've been fortunate enough not to lose those guys in transfers or injuries—but it's the next tier guys. Those guys are transferring out, and they're getting injured, and their out for the season where it affects your service teams and it's just something that we have got to continue to try to work on. That's why we do a little bit more work against ourselves than we used to, because of the service team issues."

(On why Kiffin put his players in pads this Wednesday and not last Wednesday)
--"Usually we do [wear pads on Wednesdays]. We were just so banged up going into last Wednesday, and there were so many things that happened last Tuesday with guys that [we were] just trying to keep guys off of the ground. Nothing really about the mentality. We still practiced physical and then we're just hoping to push them through today, bunch of little stuff again today but I just thought it was important."

(On where George Farmer is right now)
--"Yeah George is doing great for us. We've made a decision, with George and his family, to redshirt him because he was so far behind with some injuries and stuff early on, and really have had a great, really three weeks with him, on the service team. He's played quarterback, he's played tailback, he's played receiver and we've actually been putting him in the running back individual and he looks great there. If that [position] could work out, it's something he did before he got to Serra, he played running back, then that would be real excited. A guy that's a big guy, that will give us a big, physical guy that, one of the fastest guys in the country, so that would be exciting. So we're looking at that. As we look at that position, we're still lacking game-making speed back there as we continue to see in games."

(On Aundrey Walker's transition from guard to tackle)
--"Well it's a tough transition. Unfortunately for him, we've been moving him back and forth. We're trying to find a way to get him in there. He's done some good things out there but you got to go back out, the sets become different, it's unusual to move a true freshman at this point of the year but it was too important for us to get some competition out there at right tackle."

(On how practices have changed after ASU forced USC to turnover the ball)
--"It really hasn't. We're doing the same thing we did last time we were here when we were the best in the world at turnover margin. There's nothing different as far as emphasis or practice. It'll turn around."

(On whether this team has been down since the loss)
--"It's been great, don't even talk about it. Guys have practiced well and prepared well. This is a great challenge for us to come back home, get to 4 and 1 as you go into a bye. I think a lot of people would be happy with that."

(On Arizona's offense)
--"Yeah it's really amazing as you line up in this conference how many great players there are, NFL quarterbacks, big, physical, strong arm guys. And I think more than anything for [Nick Foles] what's phenomenal is to be 10 touchdowns, no interceptions and you're behind big in three games. Usually, as you saw in our game, that's where the turnovers start to happen as you're trying to play catch up. So it says a lot for their coaching, a lot for him."

(On Mike Williams being the best example of a guy who overcame his freshmen mistakes after a certain point in the season)
--"Yeah, definitely. There's a bunch of [examples], but that's the one that we revert back to because it was so glaring, as you talk about that day at Kansas State. I think he had six, seven, eight drops. I can't remember exactly what it was, and ran some wrong routes and stuff. We had really put a lot on him, and he came out there and that was a tough environment. And then he managed to come back and set every freshman record in the country after that. So we showed that to our guys as motivation about how you're going to go through these times but we're going to play up. These things will happen but you're going to be better down the road. We have a lot of guys who are looking for that to happen."

(On whether Rhett Ellison will start at tight end with Ross Cumming at full back)
--"No, that will be something we'll continue to look at but I don't think we'll start that way."

(On improving against spread offenses)
--"Well it comes down to assignments and tackling. When you get spread out, your mistakes get magnified. When you miss a tackle, we missed some in the first couple games, there's another guy right there because everything is in tight. Once you get spread out and you miss that tackle, or you fit the thing wrong, like we did on [that] long run [versus ASU}, we did both on that. We let the ball get outside, Torin [Harris] was wrong. And then Jawanza missed the tackle so you get exposed and they're big plays so we tackled again this week in some drills and we got to make sure we do a great job assignment-wise and tackling."

(On how important this win is going into a bye week to avoid back to back losses)
--"Oh I don't think that way. We just think about winning this game and getting to 4 and 1 and going into the bye. We just always want to paint a positive picture of what we feel is going to happen Saturday."

(On Isiah Wiley's performance as of late)
--"Yeah we hope [he'll play]. With Torin [Harris] being banged up, if he's not there this week, hopefully Isiah will get a chance to play some as he did last game, a few snaps. What set Isiah back was he was going to be a mid-year and then he got pushed back to not coming until the fall. That's always tough on junior college guys to come in that quick to a system so hopefully he can help us out."

(On whether the league took Burfict's side in reprimanding Barkley)
--"That's a set up right there. I'm in full support of the conference's decision. That was something, I didn't make it public, but that was something we had already talked to…last week as it came to my attention that I addressed with Matt. We weren't pleased with it, we talk about it to our team all the time, our guys have done well with that so unfortunately Matt said that. It didn't have anything to do with the game. But as I said yesterday and I'll always say I don't know how you find a better person to represent college athletics and what we want Trojans to be than Matt Barkley on and off the field in everything that he does."

(Does Kiffin have experience where any player has been reprimanded by a conference from something that he said)
--"I can recall where a coach was. I don't know if I can recall a player, that's more NFL where that happens. But I think that's the new direction of the conference. I think Larry [Scott] has done an awesome job, he's taken it to a higher level and hold people accountable, regardless. I'm sure there's people that will say ‘really Matt Barkley? C'mon' but it says a lot for the standards that [Scott] is setting."

(On whether Kiffin gave Barkley advice after the coach had been reprimanded before)
--"He's fine. I think Matt, the thing you got to remember about Matt is, Matt can't lie. He can't really say anything different than the way he feels. It's who he is. So he feels, that's just the way that he feels. I woke up Saturday morning and the Arizona paper said ‘Matt Barkley didn't say anything we don't all know.'"

(On whether a situation would arise where Farmer would not be redshirted)
--"We thought about it. But we've just gone in that direction right now and it will stay in that direction unless some unforeseen things happen. But we're really excited about him and his future here and the way he looks. And sometimes when you redshirt the guys, especially highly-recruited guys, they get better immediately [after a redshirt season] because the pressure comes off of them. Remember these national, top-10 players, they have so much pressure put on them to do the same thing that Robert Woods did. And as soon as it doesn't go that way they're hearing every week from every person around them ‘why are you doing this, why aren't you doing that' and it mounts and then they're just trying to go to school and be a normal freshman. So a lot of times we've seen it help guys. It relaxes them. They come out here and just like him, [Farmer] has practiced great."

(On whether Kiffin has heard back from the league office regarding T.J. McDonald's personal fouls)
--"We have not, no."

(On whether Kiffin is rethinking his ‘two-point conversion philosophy')
--"No. The chart at that time says to go for it there, and we come up a couple inches short so we'll stick with it."

(On whether using a 2-point conversion gets guys down when its not successful)
--"Yeah, definitely you got to weight that in. Even though numbers will tell you in certain times that there is times, you do have to take momentum into account. And even that instances I thought about kicking it but the numbers tell you to lean so much toward going for it that I just did."

(On whether there are any guys standing out that the media is over looking)
--"You probably don't overlook Marqise Lee after two touchdowns in a row. But I just think he's going to be a great player and we got to do a better job of getting him the ball."

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