Quoting Kiffin: Practice 1 of Bye Week

Quotes from the Trojans' head coach at McAllister Field after Tuesday's practice of the bye week.

(On whether anyone stood out today)
--"I think off the bat that Max Wittek threw the ball great today, Xavier [Grimble] made some more big plays down the field. Dillon Baxter had some good runs, it was good to see some guys in there. Unfortunately you see George Farmer in there at tailback, kind of looked pretty special there a little bit and then got hurt, couldn't go the rest of practice, unfortunately, kind of bad luck there."

(On whether this is Dillon Baxter's 'week')
--"That's up to Dillon, just like all our guys. Get opportunity, like he did today, to show that he wants to do things right and be consistent from a to z within our offense."

(On whether that 'consistency from a to z' has been his problem)
--Yeah there's just a combination of things. Some other guys playing well when they've gotten in there and just consistency and the trust level that you have that guys are going to do everything right. It's not just about carrying the ball [or] making guys miss, it's all the protections, it's all the little things within it that make sure that your staff and your own players, including the quarterback, feel confidence in you."

(On whether it's good timing for a bye week)
--Yeah it really is, it's come at a great time for us, especially with our issues on defense as of late, we spent some extra time focusing on some things like we did today, spent all the 7 on 7 and team down in the red zone today working on that and hopefully that we get Torin [Harris] and Lamar [Dawson] back. That's a lot of help for us there at two positions that didn't play very well last week."

(On where Ed Orgeron was today)
--"He's dealing with something with his family, down in Louisiana."

(And Ted Gilmore)

(On how Anthony Brown did starting against Arizona)
--"Well I think that's a tough start for anybody as a freshman to go in to one of the best pass offenses in the country, not only a great quarterback but big, physical, really good receivers. So I thought he did some things well for his first start in there and he played a ton of plays. I think he maybe played 70 snaps so he did some things well, made a couple big tackles there and also missed some things, and didn't play exactly the Cover-2 right there…all in all it was an up and down day."

(On how important that start was as a learning experience for Brown)
--"Yeah I mean that's as hard as its going to get as far as team that you're going against as far as big receivers and a very accurate quarterback so he started with the best, so it was really good for him."

(On whether the defense has the potential to improve)
--"Yeah I think we got to be careful that we're not overreacting to a game or two. And that's with all the sides. I've got to be careful of it, you guys can do whatever you want, that's up to you but we do have a tendency, and obviously you guys do that, all of a sudden now we're this great offense. Well a week ago the stories are that we weren't any good and that there's no way Barkley is a first-round pick anymore so we have to take it all in and say 'Okay yeah, obviously that wasn't one of the better defenses that we're going to face. They've struggled almost every game they've played and so before we think we've got everything solved on offense, we got to look at that.' And that happened to us last year sometimes. We'd have up and down games, you just got to look at who you're playing, too. We got a lot of work to do on defense and a lot of work to do on offense, too. But we're not too overreactive because it wasn't too many weeks ago where the defense was kind of winning games for us and the offense wasn't doing their part."

(On what specifically the defense has to do to improve)
--"Yeah a combination. It's always changing. We're always looking at things and changing gameplans, as we did going into that game, with what we did. I just, obviously, wish it would have kept working. The first three series we go punt and two interceptions, that's as good as you can start, pretty much. Unfortunately it didn't keep up that way. And so we're always changing, you always want to make sure that we're trying to put our players in the best position to win and succeed and always trying to create competition. Unfortunately we had a couple spots in that game, due to some injuries, we didn't have great competition there so hopefully we'll get those guys back."

(On whether the conditioning has improved since this time last year)
--"Well I thought we were doing better and it didn't show up very much on defense in the fourth quarter the other day. I think we ended up playing 90 snaps, and some penalties come out of that so officially it's not 90 but 90 snaps in there and that was one of those games. Because when you play, and the difference now and a long time ago, when we were here before, our numbers have to be different on reps. Before we let those [defensive] linemen basically play the whole game when we were great here for two reasons. One, people weren't spread out as much, so now that everybody is spread out, everybody has the same problem: you have to play more defensive linemen because the ball gets thrown all over the place so they're turning and running all the time. Go back and look at how many times teams, back when we were here before, lined up in i-formation, ran the ball and ran normal plays and now you're playing within a five-yard area so you can play a lot more snaps. So that's really changed it, number one. Number two, the way that game went, we're just going right back on the field there. Not getting a lot of three and outs, which is what we used to be great at here, so it's a combination. While we have to be in shape we have to try to play more players. But I do feel like in general we are in better shape than we were a year ago."

(On how to change up the game plan when the opponent just keeps throwing consistently well)
--"Yeah they did a great job, after the beginning of the game. If you take, what we talked about, the punt and the two interceptions-which [T.J.] forced those-is why you play that defense, so you can react to them, see the zone, and [Foles] did a phenomenal job the rest of the game. Obviously we didn't play great, I'm not saying that. But he did great and a lot of non-rhythm throws. I talked about Matt [Barkley's] performance but all of Matt's plays were in rhythm, where he's taking his hitch, he's throwing the ball. Their guy, Nick, made a lot of plays where we almost had him, he scrambled out, then he had to come all the over here and throw the ball back there and he did a great job of that. So the thought was, make him go 10-12-14-16 plays, like some of those drives, and usually they screw it up. And unfortunately we didn't make them screw it up and they did a great job."

(On Barkley possibly venturing into no-huddle territory a la Andrew Luck--obviously a Dan Greenspan question)
--"Yeah we've done that at times. Sometimes it's a play here and there, when you try to come up and, I think we did it four times in the last game, just to get an easy completion and change the tempo of the game. And we've done it at series, actually, but last year the first series [of] the second half versus Cal, this opponent we came out no-huddle. We did some versus Oregon at well, so we've done that at times."

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