Quoting Kiffin: Practice 2 of Stanford

Read on for quotes from the Trojans' head coach Lane Kiffin. See what he has to say about Torin Harris' injury, the Trojans' special teams needing to improve, what it takes to stop Andrew Luck and more.

(On whether Heidari and Woods are limited)
--"I anticipate them all playing this week. We'll need them all versus a team that we mentioned all week is probably, arguably, the best team in the country."

(On whether this game is more of a rivalry because of the tight game USC/Stanford was in 2010)
--"No. Nothing to do with that. Every year's different. We haven't really talked about that game as a team, different players in the game and a different staff over there too. It's going to be a big challenge, because somehow they found a way to be playing even better than they did last year."

(On Stanford having a number of viable tight ends)
--"They do present a lot of issues. I don't know how they have so many people. Every snap there's new people in there. More linemen and more tight ends. They present a lot of challenges. Last week Notre Dame did do well with their tight end. Obviously we were concentrating on Floyd a lot, but still the guy made some plays. We were able to stop him once on third down, which was big. We're going to have to be able to do a lot more than that."

(On USC's kickoff coverage and the impact of missing players like George Farmer, Christian Thomas and Marquis Simmons)
--"We have suffered some injuries there. And we didn't play very well on special teams in general last week. It was probably the worst we've played on special teams since we've been here. So it's been a big emphasis this week. Obviously we're not going to accept it. We need to play a lot better. Unfortunately, when you get some guys banged up like we have, there's a trickle-down effect. So when your numbers are already low, and then some guys get banged up and they're pulled off of those teams. That's been happening to us during games. Guys have been coming out of games, going to the locker room then we really have to move down the depth chart, and it's really showed up."

(On what it takes to stop Andrew Luck)
--"The first thing we're going to have to do is stop the run. Be able to stop the run so he's not sitting back there all day with play actions because they're running the ball so well. And then after that, we've got to find a way to create small windows. They do such a good job in the play action, he gets these guys wide open. We're going to really have to be on coverage and make him make tough throws. If they can run the ball, then play-action where he's in rhythm and there's big holes, it'll be a long day like it has been for everybody else."

(On Ross Cumming's transition to offense)
--"It's been great. It really has been huge for us. Outside of probably the Dion [Bailey] move and the Devon [Kennard] move, it has been the next-best thing we've done. It was just an example of a guy who was doing everything right, working really hard [but] had some young guys who were moving in front of him on defense – bigger, taller, longer guys, faster guys. He just kept working hard, and we just kept noticing him in special-teams drills. And then with the thought process of being able to redshirt Soma [Vainuku], we had to look somewhere else [for a backup fullback] and found him and moved him over. He's done a great job for us. He's been very critical in a lot of these fourth quarters being able to run the ball. And it's allowed us to play Rhett [Ellison], the big part, it's allowed us to play Rhett at tight end which Rhett's our best blocking tight end. It's been a really big move for us. Those are the things we didn't have to do here before. Now we do with the numbers, and we're going to have to continue to do them, look at guys playing different positions and even going to the other side of the ball."

(On Stanford's front seven continue to be successful)
--"The mentality. It doesn't matter who goes in. There was a kid who had a sack in the Colorado game. I was looking at him. I said, This guy looks great. And I looked, and he was a third-team defensive lineman. It's just the mentality that they have. It doesn't matter who's in there. I think a lot of people thought they'd be lost with the staff changes. They didn't get lost. Then the personnel changing, and the injury [to Shayne Skov] this year, and it's doesn't. It doesn't matter who's in there. They just play downhill, physical, and they're relentless."

(If that's Stanford's mentality, what is USC's)
--"I hope it's the same. We've played that way the last couple weeks in general. We're going to have to play great on both sides of the ball up front. There's no way to beat this team playing finesse, especially on defense. We're going to have our hands full. It'll be a big test for us, especially we've kind of built our defense now for spread-out teams as far as moving people like Devon [Kennard] and Dion [Bailey], and now we're going to have a big test because now we're going to go back to something that we really haven't had to face and don't face very much anymore, a true, power, in-tight run team. There's probably nobody like them in the country. Not too many people put goal-line personnel on the field on first-and-10 at their own 20. It's very unique.."

(On how important establishing the running game early is)
--"We're going to have to. You can't be one-dimensional. That's why they have whatever, 25, 27 sacks because they do a great job with pressure packages, and they do a great job on third down. If you get out of balance and have a lot of third-and-longs, there's no way you're going to win this game.."

(On how comfortable is with the running back rotation with a go-to power back, go-to scat back and George Farmer as a third option)
--"We're getting a little more comfortable there, and they're producing well the last couple weeks. Marc [Tyler] played really well, even though he was banged up. Curtis [McNeal], obviously, two games in a row has played exceptionally well. Then George a little spark in there. And we've got to work Amir in there as well. And then D.J. [Morgan] had a good practice today. It's a good problem to have."

(On Isiah Wiley's improved play)
--"He has, especially because he wasn't playing much. It's not like he was playing 30 snaps a game. He really wasn't playing at all. He really has done a good job for us. It's a good thing when his name's not being called very much."

(On Ellison's lack of catches)
--"Well Rhett's played great. He's had to play so many different positions that sometimes the timing's a little bit off just because he's playing all those positions that he does. He's very valuable for us. Rhett makes a ton of plays that nobody knows about. Our offense, there's no way we'd be moving the ball and being as productive as we are without him."

(On whether he hopes to fix the Barkley to Ellison timing in the future)
--"Going back and forth, making sure that we look at each package each week. He just missed a touchdown the other week and probably would have hit it … the corner was coming back side versus a bracket defense they play with him down the middle beating No. 5. Rhett ran a good route. Unfortunately we just had to throw it a little bit quick."

(On whether the Trojans' offensive line can now be considered a strength)
--"We're not there yet. As Corso says, 'not so fast.' Still, we're excited that we ran the ball well. We're excited that we had zero sacks. But also Matt (Barkley) helped that. There were a couple sacks in there where Matt got away from stuff. We have a long ways to go up front, and this is going to be a huge test this week. These [Stanford] guys are really, really good. Look at their run-defense numbers."

(On how Kiffin would assess Matt Barkley's singing ability as heard on the Dan Patrick show)
--"I did not hear it. I just heard about it, actually this morning. We'll play it for the team, though."

(On what exactly is wrong with Torin Harris that's kept him out)
--"It's a shoulder injury. It's a nerve injury. They test it every day. They cannot clear him until the nerves fire, and for whatever reason they're not. There's nothing he can do to help it. It either comes back or it doesn't."


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