Quoting Kiffin: Practice 1 of Stanford

Quotes from the Trojans' head coach after Tuesday's practice at Howard Jones Field. Read on for Kiffin's comments on the running game, the offensive guards' play, Dillon Baxter, Robert Woods, Matt Barkley and more.

"The plan was to spread them out, get number five out of the box and so he was such a great player that if we had to deal with running down hill at him all day it was going to be stuff. So if you see, you look back at those first two drives a lot of times we forced him outside the box with formations so we didn't have to run against him."

(On USC beating Notre Dame in the running game despite hype assuming the opposite)
--"I think they are really good on defense, they are really good against the run, like they've done versus everybody all year. And I think you've got to take a different approach to them. If you just try to go downhill at [Notre Dame] you're going to struggle, especially with our inexperience at offensive line so we go back, like we were just talking about, the first two series, you see a lot of spread out runs, a lot of different looks from the shotgun and getting number five outside of the box because when you're watching that film you just line up in normal formations and come downhill you're not going to have very much success and so we had to kind of do a bunch of different stuff that we hadn't done really before that wasn't normal in our system."

(On the decision to "suspend" Dillon Baxter)
--"Well my statement was made, and there was no word in there [that said] 'suspension,' so like I said in it, like the last sentence, we're done talking about it."

(On whether Baxter is not with the program)
--"Like I said, we're focused on the guys that are here, we're focused on getting ready to play maybe the best team in the country."

(On whether Baxter will rejoin the team)
--"This is all about no distractions and so this is why we're not answering questions, we don't want our players, we don't want our coaches dealing with it. Our team has had great focus over the last couple weeks on the road and the last thing we want to do is get distracted and so we're focused on what we're doing right now which is preparing to play the number one team in the country, probably."

(On where Kiffin would put Robert Woods in the Biletnikoff race right now)
--"Well not very high up if he doesn't practice. Robert didn't practice today so hopefully he'll be healthy this week. But outside of that he's played really well and I think the thing that's special about him is he's not as big as some of those other guys, which obviously when you're bigger it makes it easier because those catches that he's having to dive for are right in stride [for others]. But his ability to line up in so many spots, he did it all again, he even started running routes from the backfield in that game that we usually use the smaller running backs to do."

(On Robert Woods' injury)
--"He's got a couple of them."

(On the injury report today)
--"Yeah. Robert did not practice and Torin [Harris] did not practice but almost everybody else did something, for the most part."

(On what Kiffin knows about George's injury suffered in today's practice)
--"I don't."

(On whether Kiffin tells Barkley to not get caught up in the hype of this upcoming game)
--"Yeah definitely, later in the week, right now it's just about preparing. That would be decision-making on game day and so we'll talk to him about that, especially because of how well he played last year. It's not his fault that they didn't start the clock it's not his fault that we didn't stop them in the two-minute. He did everything he could do to win that game [last year] and so we just got to continue to make sure he plays the same way and doesn't try to force it and try to win it because he's not playing against Andrew [Luck]." (On what makes Matt Barkley so different)
--"I don't know that he's really different. We've been fortunate to have a couple great ones here, couple Heisman winners so I think he's right in the lines of them. He prepares as well as any of them ever have and his focus for the game and want to be great is as good as any of them."

(On whether something stands out between Barkley and past USC quarterbacks)
--"No I just think he does everything right. Where I think maybe there was a flaw in somebody that you're always trying to change, he really just does every aspect of what you want on and off the field, right."

(On whether Stanford is better this year than they were last year)
--"Well they're playing better if you look at the margin of difference. And I think that's unexpected. I think everybody thought there would be a drop off, they lost some players, they lost part of their coaching staff, including their head coach which was what had made their team special. Jim [Harbaugh] coming in there, and completely changing their mindset of how they play and their belief that they can go beat everybody and it showed up. And so I think there was a lot [of people] that thought that [mentality] would drop off and obviously Coach Shaw has done a great job and they're probably even better right now, then they were."

(On where Luck ranks in terms of college quarterbacks that Kiffin has seen)
--"Well I don't know how you could find a more efficient quarterback that's ever played college football. If you put his numbers up and what he's done, and now wins and losses, and red zone production. The quarterback has everything to do with third down and red zone. If he's not on, you're not going to do well in those two categories. For two straight years [Luck] has been phenomenal in third down and you look at this year, they're 100 percent in the red zone. That's hard to do on air."

(On what is so special about Barkley to Woods)
--"I don't know. I just think you got two kids that really work at being great. In the offseason, when we're not around, they have the same mentality whether [the coaches] are there or not. They just want to be great. I think what's unique with them is they're halfway through their second year together. They're not seniors that have been playing together forever, they're doing things like the touchdown pass [against Notre Dame] on the roll out to his right where somehow Robert [Woods] knows he's going to throw it behind number five and number five keeps running and Robert stopped right before Matt threw it and they were just on the same page. We hadn't even practiced that exact look that way. Those are just two really special players. And it was good to see because, for whatever reason, there has been one game this year where they didn't have chemistry and that was the game before. They were just a little bit off up at Cal, so it was great to come back."

(On whether the middle line backer and quarterback play a chess match in an upcoming game like the USC/Stanford one)
--"Oh I don't know. There's so many other elements that go around it, formations, and they do so many things. It's amazing we're talking about maybe the best quarterback ever to play college football but really they start with the run game. That's who they are, that's what they're about. They're never going to go away from that. It's great. I said it last year when I looked at them I love the style that they play with. I've said that the two places that I've been. I said that when we were at Tennessee about the way Alabama plays and these guys do the same thing, I love the style that they play in. I guess I'm just old school that way."

(On whether Kiffin truly believes Luck is the best quarterback in the history of college football)
--"No I do believe that. I'm not the only one. People have been saying that for two years. You hear draft people say he's the best quarterback prospect since Elway."

(On how Kiffin feels about the program going forward given the scholarship reductions)
--"Well I feel really good. What Trojan fans should be excited about, we went into South Bend and played 45 initial scholarship players in that game so I think everybody's concern is what's coming and the reductions and so we're already getting practice at it. So it's good to see that we can perform at a high level with those type of numbers and we've been dealing with stuff like that for two years already."

(On Jeremy Galten playing at right guard)
--"Really that's where he should be anyway and that puts Martin Coleman on the other side. We were just trying to get Marcus Martin going a week ago, after coming off a sub-par game and our guards actually we probably the biggest key to that [Notre Dame] game. The two guards played really, really well in South Bend. Marcus played his best game by far and John played his best game by far which was good to see."

(On what Robert Woods' injury is)
--"He's got a couple of them."

(On whether Woods will play)
--"I hope so. We all hope so."

(On whether probation is as big a deal as people make it out to be)
--"I just think if you look at that and you look at a team that is 6-1 and none of those teams are playing with free agency having happened to them and the reductions and stuff. I just think it's good for our fans. I've read so many things over the years about how bad it's going to get how bad it's going to be and to play like that, with that few players, is good to see."

(On what Kiffin thinks about USC's running game versus Stanford's)
--"Well we had been playing really well against the run. I think we're ranked way up there, had been doing a really good job, especially the last two weeks. So that's great to see because we're going to have to. It's not often you play a team that just set their school record, in a history of some really good run games, and set the school record in one games, seven days before we play them. We better be ready."

(On defensive adjustments made the past two weeks)

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