"(Stadium managers) informed myself that this was probably going to happen before the game," Kiffin explained, "but we didn't tell our players."
Though the coach believed his players to be in the dark about the looming distraction, he should have known quarterback Matt Barkley was savvy enough to play weatherman and find out for himself. "I talked to the ref before the game and he said it was probably going to happen," Barkley quipped after the game, "so I knew."
Like coach, like quarterback.
Barkley decided the information he learned was best kept to himself. When asked if he told his teammates, Barkley said, "No" behind a smile. "I thought we might be able to get the game over, but he said it was probably going to happen, so you just have to go with it."
What was originally announced to be an 18-minute long halftime due to the approaching weather turned into a 70-minute thunderstorm delay. Teams took the field, but were promptly turned around and sent to their locker rooms.
"That was the first time that ever happened to me and most of the team," receiver Marqise Lee said of the delay, "I didn't know you could actually delay, that was new to me." When asked why his quarterback didn't tell him the delay was possible, Lee joked, "That's what I'm saying!"
"It was weird," Barkley said of the delay. "We don't typically get delays from thunderstorms in Southern California."
The Trojans removed pads to dress in dry shirts during the extended break. "We really coached our guys schematically," Kiffin said of the use of time. "Our players really responded, we had a lot of energy coming out."