Quoting Kiffin: Post-Spring Conference Call

Quotes from Lane Kiffin's post-spring conference call.

(Kiffin's opening statement)
--"To make an opening comment (about the depth chart), that really doesn't mean very much. Any time you come out of spring you're not going to play a game and so there's still a lot of information to collect on our roster from all the fall practices and fall scrimmages that we'll have so really the only reason that is released is just to have something on paper for you guys, really. But there's not much to it. There's no huge jobs already decided because it makes no sense to do that now. We still have a lot of information to come in. As you'll see with the asterisks, a large number of players miss all or a lot of spring -- whether it's some guys who didn't have much information on and they were injured or whether it was some stars on our team, that were injured, there were a lot of them. It is refreshing really to come back this week and move to the fall. To take our board this morning and for the first time really, put all the incoming guys on it and also take all of the guys outside of Tre that are on the injured side of the board and put them into their spots, make it for an exciting fall and a very competitive fall at a lot of positions, very different than this spring was. So it'll be exciting to get to that time. Our players have a lot of work on their own to do as far as getting bigger, faster and stronger and getting the new guys in here as they finish up their senior years of high school and getting into their summer school programs, it will be exciting when we get to the fall."

(On giving Matt Barkley a grade this spring)
--"You know this sounds strange -- I don't know if I could do that. Just because the variables around him and much on the Saturdays prior to this one, it's just too hard to grade because the pieces -- as you look at, I mention those asterisks -- look at them on offense. How many of them there are with the skilled guys for whatever reason, not with the linemen but with the skilled guys. At times with all of the tight ends out, and at times with almost the whole spring without George Farmer, Robert Woods -- the nation's top receiver in the country coming back -- with no practice at all. So it'd just be too hard to do."

(On why Kiffin played Barkley so much Saturday)
--"I just thought more about it. The risk of injury wasn't very much because we weren't going live. And even though the quarterback isn't live when you're going live in general there's just more aggressiveness on the defense and on the blitzes so I thought it was safe from an injury standpoint and also thought it was good for the fans with so many starters being out of the scrimmage. The fans that came to see us play a little bit, I felt bad we weren't tackling for them so at least we could play Matt a little more."

(On whether Kiffin's questions about George Farmer and Buck Allen have been answered from this spring)
--"I think it was good to see George, in those first couple practices, like he did and catch the ball really well and improve on his routes. So he looked like a complete receiver for those couple days, now obviously that wasn't the same as Saturday scrimmages and games in the fall but that was good to see, it was disappointing not to continue to develop him because of him not practicing. With Buck there's still a lot to know. With a tailback without a lot of live tackling going on, there's a lot to know there but Buck has got a long ways to go in getting comfortable in our system because he's done so little since he's been here."

(On what sense Kiffin has of the defensive line)
--"I think that we feel really good about the two ends in Wes (Horton) and Devon (Kennard) and them staying -- Wes on the right and Devon on the left -- and they've improved and Devon is the healthiest that he's been. We have some work to do inside. George (Uko) is a dominant player at times. We need to work on him being more consistent and the other guys really haven't played very much. J.R. (Tavai) played a little bit and none of the other guys have played so to get Cody (Temple) back from surgery and Christian (Heyward) back from surgery will be good to thrown in there with Antwaun (Woods) and J.R., because that's going to be a very important position for us to develop a rotation there.

(On what sense he has with Woods and Tavai next to Uko)
--"I think, like you mentioned, they're very different players in their style. J.R. is much smaller and quicker and Antwaun is bigger so they do give us some different things there. They're not playing like George is right now, at that level, so we have work to do there. And in fairness to J.R., he's a little bit out of position. He's more of a 3-technique btu with George being our 3-technique he's playing nose for us. So he's not sitting over there behind George."

(On Max Tuerk and Jordan Simmons being listed at guards. Could they move to tackle)
--"Yeah those things -- like I said -- those things mean nothing because we don't know enough about those guys. All three of those guys (including Zach Banner), potentially, could be -- they're all long enough to be tackles -- and they all could be guards. Those three freshmen coming in, we don't know enough to know (yet). We'll move them around and figure it out."

(On whether Scroggins still has a chance to be the backup)
--"He's going to have to, step one, his academics. Before we even get into those conversations so he's got a big two weeks here that he's going to have to finish real strong so that he can be eligible."

(On whether Aundrey Walker has solidified himself at left tackle)
--"Of the guys that practiced this spring on our roster right now, that practiced, he would be the left tackle. Now somebody else could come in, either once Chad Wheeler got healthy or three of the incoming guys, we would always leave those competitions open. It just makes too much sense to leave Kevin (Graf) where he's got 12 games under his belt over there on the right side and Aundrey's length is so unique. His size and length is so unique. That obviously helps you a lot on the left side; he has a very high ceiling. So it's exciting at times when you see some plays that look like first rounders do. He's got that type of ability. Now he's got a long ways to go to get there."

(On the cornerback spot opposite Nickell Robey)
--"I think as you look at that, there's some interesting stories there in that Torin (Harris) was the starter and so there's nothing saying that once Torin comes back and that shoulder is healthy, that he won't beat him out because he had done it before. And then Brian Baucham flashed at times and did some really good things but he's got to finish strong these next couple weeks to make sure he's eligible."

(On whether Jesse Scroggins is in the mix to be a backup even if his grades are okay)
--"Well like I said it doesn't make much sense on him to jump ahead. Everybody is different in their situations so I'm not going to go into exact detail of every grade in their classes or where they're at. So some people where they have some work are right there and some have a long ways to go so they're all different. Jesse's got a long two weeks here. He's got to dig himself out of a hole so if he doesn't do that, it doesn't make any sense to project anything past that."

(On giving Nelson Agholor a look at both receiver running back; what are the talents inherit in that position)
--"You got to be careful obviously because you want guys to do things really well and not be too spread out. I think Nelson is a little bit unique because Nelson has just a great love for learning football. He loves studying it, watching the films, watching cutups, playbook work. He's very, very mature for his age, much like Robert (Woods) was, very similar to each other in that aspect so we'll see. If anybody can handle it, he'd be able to and we wouldn't have probably done that if it weren't for Tre (Madden's) injury but I think we've got to look at some things because we need to find some yardage in the passing game out of the running back position."

(On how Kiffin feels about this team after spring, heading into fall with all the expectations around it)
--"Yeah like I've said before, we've addressed that in the beginning of spring and we'll address it in the beginning of fall but it's got nothing to do with how we prepare just because some magazine says we're going to be number one or number two. That's got nothing to do with -- no team is going to lay down and give us easy games on Saturdays because of that. So we have a lot of work to do as a whole. There's a lot of question marks. People can say what they want and their projections and all that. I think it's nice from a standpoint of it does -- it does show that 'SC right now is at a national, at a point where they're getting a lot of national respect -- which is good. It's what we'd expect from our program, especially all the stuff that we've gone through and all the stuff where I think everybody predicted we'd be right now, 21 months ago I don't think anybody would predict this so it's good but it also has nothing to do with winning the games. I think it'd be pretty hard to -- for me to pick a team that's preseason number one -- that's going to play with at least 10 players less than everybody else does."

(On the rationale for listing Kyle Negrete and Kris Albarado as co-starters at punter)
--"No that's going to be a wide-open competition, just like any of our other spots would be. We need to figure that out. Kyle did do some really good things and it could even be -- we even discussed Kyle's probably biggest strength is tight punting -- as you saw how many balls are inside the 10 compared to touchback and so just like you would do with other positions, we're going to find the best thing. And there's nothing saying that maybe Kris doesn't become the long punter and Kyle becomes the shorter punter so we'll figure it out in the fall."

(On whether the schedule changes Kiffin's approach)
--"No you got to be ready no matter who you're playing. You saw that last year, we almost screwed up early in the year with Minnesota and Utah. So it doesn't matter who you're playing, where you're scheduled, you got to get your team ready to go in fall camp and we're going to have to have a great camp and really improve in all areas for a very competitive schedule…anytime Notre Dame is sitting there at the end and the last quarter of the season, Oregon as well. A lot of new, really good coaches in the conference they're going to make it even more competitive."

(On whether Kiffin wishes he'd signed a tailback in hindsight)
--"I wouldn't really say 'hindsight.' We knew what we were doing all along but things change in recruiting all the time. Generally speaking, there's always stuff that isn't out there whether a kid can qualify or whether a kid can become a January enrollee for you and whether they can get into USC. So there's a lot of stuff sometimes that you guys don't know on that."

(On why Wittek was listed first unalphabetically among the backups)
--"That would be a (USC's sports information director) Tim Tessalone question. I don't have any idea why that would be that way…he said he has a shorter first name, Tim is sitting here."

(On the new coaching additions added in the spring)
--"I thought it was great, really to me one of the bigger storylines of spring was those three guys working with - not just the players, but the coaches and systems and everything involved here and their first taste of recruiting here they're off to a great start. So I could not be more pleased with all three of them. I just think the play of our back seven -- I know it's just spring -- but it's by far the best since we've been here this time around and that would obviously be a big key to our success in an area we haven't been great at."

(On how Junior Pomee looked at times this spring)
--"A lot of ability, like a lot of our young kids, very raw. Here's a guy that was a receiver and is moving so that's always a transition, there. And he's just missed a lot of time with a lot of things coming up and injuries and other stuff so hopefully this will be a really good summer for him and as we get into fall camp, Junior will really come around and get focused on football."

(On whether it's safe to say that the tailback situation is the most concerning, heading into fall)
--"I would say the development of the defensive tackles after George and the running back position, yes."

(On what grade Kiffin would give Soma Vainuku this spring)
--"Oh I was excited about Soma's last week. I was disappointed early on, with assignments and breakdowns and would have given him a D/F grade early on and then I thought he ended with an A/B type grade so it was good to see, another young kid with a lot of talent."


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