Quoting Kiffin: Final Prep Before Stanford

Quotes from the Trojans' head coach after Thursday's practice, the final preparation before USC takes on Stanford Saturday in the Coliseum.

(On whether Kiffin expects Robert to play)
--"I hope so. Obviously he's critical to us. He's had a great year, seven games and I think only three or four people have had more catches than he's had at USC. That saying a lot to what he's done and helped us in the return game as well."

(On whether Woods is characterized as 'limited' right now)
--"Yeah very limited, just for whatever reason. Yesterday he did some stuff, the day before he didn't do anything so he's just kind of going back and forth."

(On whether Kiffin likes to give Woods a break on Thursdays)
--"Well we like to do that when he's had two really good days. When he's had two full Tuesdays and Wednesdays where we wear him out and then pull back on him but when he's only really had one day you don't want to do that. So we wish he would have went today, especially because today was so much red zone stuff we hadn't done yet with a normal week. Two weeks before this we've had extra practice time."

(On how important getting the running game going is for this game)
--"It's very critical. For two reasons. One because they're a great pass-rush defense, with whatever 25, 27 sacks. And then number two because their quarterback is great so you got to find a way to run the ball, keep them off the field, so it will be a critical part of this game."

(On how much Stanford taxes the opposing safeties)
--"I think what's really unique about what they do is they put a lot of pressure on all four [defensive backs] in the run game. Usually you got wide receivers outside but this is a team that goes goal-line sometimes in the middle of the field so all your corners and safeties have to work on their fits and be able to tackle at the line of scrimmage which is unusual which is like playing goal-line defense. And then the difference is down there you don't worry much about play-action here you got to worry about play-action because they got the whole length of the field so it's very unique. [We] have to prepare for. They do a great job of giving you issues."

(On whether Stanford's system is unique at the college level)
--"I don't think anybody, this is just abnormal, the six, seven, eight offensive linemen in the middle of the field on 1st and 10. They've started the game, the first play of the game on their own minus 20 with no receivers in the game so I don't think anybody has ever done that at least in probably 50 years. ."

(On practices this week ahead of Stanford)
--"I think it was good. I don't think it had anything to do with Stanford. I think our guys are focused and have done a good job the last couple weeks of preparing and going out and executing really well and this is just their next challenge to come back home and do it."

(On whether incoming players Lamar Dawson and Isiah Wiley are ready to take on a guy like Luck)
--"Well we're going to find out. With Isiah playing most of the game and Lamar is going to play a lot so they're going to have to step up and play that's really the theme of our program of guys stepping up regardless of their age so we've done a little bit more of it on offense than on defense this year and it's going to show up Saturday on defense."

(On whether the tackling in USC's secondary is where it needs to be)
--"I think since the bye it has. We've struggled in the Arizona and Arizona State game[s] especially. And the last few games have improved and then last week was our best tackling in our secondary and our back end by far of the year."

(On how Heidari is looking and whether Kiffin is confident about him playing Saturday)
--"Not really. We just had a walk on kicker try out or anybody. We asked anybody if they'd kicked in high school, of course Da'John Harris was the first one to raise his hand. But we're not going to do that. It'll be a game-time decision."

(On Curtis McNeal's improved play)
--"To see that the last couple weeks, what he's done. He didn't start but he went in there, seized his opportunity, didn't sit around and complain, practiced extremely hard, had a great camp and then there were a couple games where he didn't carry the ball very much but just kept working and it was great to see."

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