Quoting Kiffin: Final Practice Before Cal

Quotes from the Trojans' head coach after Tuesday's practice at Howard Jones Field.

(On playing on national TV)
--"Yeah it's great. We're fortunate at 'SC to get a lot of exposure nationally so this is another chance for us to get that. We got to play really well. Last time that we did this on ESPN we went and played really well at the beginning of the second half and then handed it away so we got to do a better job. It's been great to have the bye. I think our guys are going to come out flying and play really well."

(On whether Lamar Dawson and Torin Harris will play Thursday)
--"Yeah we'll look at them tomorrow, move them around and hopefully they'll be able to go." (On Armond Armstead practicing with the team today)
--"Well he's going to come on the trip with us, being from Northern California and knowing so many people up there. We've involved him in meetings at times and stuff like that. His number one focus right now is getting his degree and he's doing a great job with that. He's got a full load this semester to finish up so that he can graduate and so it's good to have him back here running around. He'll be on the trip with us and he's got a big decision to make in December and January, whether he comes back and helps us win a championship [in 2012] or whether he goes to the NFL."

(On why the freshmen linebackers have had so much success)
--"I don't know. I guess preparation, because of how hard that they prepare. Hayes [Pullard] and Dion [Bailey], really all offseason their focus was to be the starting linebackers here so it's great to see that. To have two freshmen lead your team in tackles, number one and number two, is great for our future and Lamar Dawson when he gets fully healthy he's going to be a great player for us. We redshirted Anthony Sarao, another great linebacker, so we've completely changed that position."

(On what is worrisome about having freshmen at that linebacker spot)
--"Well I think making mistakes, but I think we've done that already. We did that, especially at Arizona State, a bunch of our freshmen showed up in that game. I think we got that out of our system and we got to go prove it on the road again."

(On Kiffin expecting Jesse Scroggins to be the backup quarterback)
--"Yeah we do. Jesse is back out here throwing, he's clear to go which is great. So we'll throw him right back into the mix so hopefully we can be the backup."

(On Kiffin playing against one of his mentors in Cal's Jeff Tedford)
--"It's only fun if you win. So it was fun last year. It wasn't fun when you lose to a guy you know, because you hear about it all offseason, like I had to for Washington, and I still hear about. But it's great to go against him, especially now that's he's calling the plays again. He's completely changed our offense, you see the immediate impact of how well they're playing now that he's back, calling plays so it's a big challenge for us."

(On whether there's a concern of overconfidence)
--"No, not at all. This is a different team. That day everything went right for us, it was just one of those better days and that happens in football where everything goes right for you and everything goes wrong for them. We're going to have our hands full going on the road. We haven't won on the road yet so this will be exciting to go up and get one."

(On what challenges A T & T presents)
--It doesn't really make a difference because if you go look at our roster, look at how few people two years ago [when USC played in the Emerald Bowl] were even on this team and that were playing. So it really doesn't matter at all to us."

(On whether Kiffin was surprised to hear about the firing of Mike Stoops)
--"I was. I thought that he's done a great job there, look at his record over the years and their attendance had picked up and really involved the students there. I think Mike's a great coach and a great guy. Yeah I was surprised."

(On whether it's concerning putting a player out there at this point in the season that hasn't played)
--"Well it's all apart of the process of figuring it out, figuring out that every guy is different. The last thing you want to do is take a guy's redshirt and he plays a play or two so we got to consider all of it and, like we talked about the other day, we get everybody involved in those decisions."

(On why Marqise Lee is so good in the air)
--"Basketball. If you look at guys over the years, the receivers, I think usually the really good receivers are really good basketball players. Especially guys that play the ball in the air, just like Mike [Williams] was and Dwayne [Jarrett] as in highschool, they were great basketball players like him and so I think it just comes natural from ball skills and rebounding. The only thing he's different than those two is he's shorter. Other than that, he goes and gets it and takes it away. The only thing we haven't done is give him enough chances."

(On whether Lee has Kiffin's blessing to play basketball)
--"Yeah for sure. We're all about that. We love our guys playing multiple sports. When they were here before they did it. We've pushed our guys to do that. I think it keeps them competitive year-round, and I think it's great for the university."

(On Cal's Isi Sofele)
--"Yeah I thought he played great last game. Early on he was doing some good things but he really showed up in that Oregon game, made people miss, jumping over them and playing really well. They're going to be difficult. They got great skill players and the quarterback can hurt you if you let him get in rhythm. We're going to have to play really well on defense."

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