Bitter Taste Lingers but Trojans Back to Work

No. 13 USC tries to put the loss to Stanford behind them to prepare for Cal on Saturday.

No. 12 USC started to pick up the pieces from Saturday's loss against Stanford when they took the field for practice on Tuesday.

"It was good to get out on the field," said USC Coach Lane Kiffin. "For everybody. For our coaches, for our players, (to) get rid of last week."

The Trojans may be able to get the defeat out of their minds, but they know they won't be able to get rid of the loss on paper. After falling 21-14 to then No. 21 Stanford on the road, the Trojans fell from No. 2 to No. 13 in the AP Poll. Quarterback Matt Barkley went from Heisman frontrunner to Heisman long-shot.

"We're already on to Cal," said Barkley following Tuesday's practice. "It's a new week, a new day, new opponent, and a new game."

It's also new territory. Barkley admitted that he was shocked following the loss to Stanford, saying that he just didn't expect it. No stranger to carrying his team through tough times, including the two-year bowl ban, Barkley now must lead his Trojans through the unexpected if USC still has any hopes of making a run to a national championship. "We have four or five days to get these guys ready for the next battle," he said. "It's what football is all about, you enjoy the victories and you learn from your mistakes and tough games like that."

Kiffin says the bitter taste of defeat will linger until the Trojans suit up again on Saturday. "I said yesterday I wish I was a baseball coach," he said. "You lose, you're 2-1, you've got 159 left and go play the next day. Football's a different sport that way."

USC will take on California (1-2) Saturday in the L.A. Coliseum, kickoff is at 3 p.m. PT.

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