In response to John McKay quote, "It's not about the plays, it's about the players": "There's a lot too that obviously. I think the best way to describe that is you see the same coaches have success year in and year out, whether their coordinators are running the same thing but they have different players. There's a lot to your players, that's why recruiting great players and developing great players is so important to anyone's success, but the systems matter too. But nowadays because of the lower numbers, even before the restrictions back then, the lower number of players you had, people have really gone further with scheme usage of players then they did back then."
In response to Hays describing his relationship with Coach Kiffin and his personality: "I can't worry about what you guys write about my personality, it's got nothing to do with winning games and developing our players. I care more about what our players think because they're the ones were dealing with. Like Hayes said, there have been cases when I've had players say to me, ‘I wish other people could see this side of you,' but I've said it a lot today and yesterday: all the decisions I make are in the best interest for our football program and our players. Not concerned about what outside people view those decisions as."
In response to timetable with restrictions still ongoing: "When you look at the facts and the numbers and what it's done and the impact, it's not going to be two seasons. It's going to be longer than that. Even though technically you come off the 75 go to 85, number wise you're not going to be able to be at 85 right then, so you're going to…The program will feel the impact I believe of some sort, and that's our job to maximize and limit the impact until your classes of 25 become your entire team. As long as these smaller classes that have come in the last two years and will come in next are on your roster, you're at a disadvantage. And whatever that makes next year, that's five, six years from now. It is what it is. Everyone has their problems and that happens to be one of ours. We have to maximize the situation we're in."
In response to what his five/six year plan is: "We've had that now for three years and really typed out and written out, but it's hard to control things that happen. So even though we had a plan and this is how things are going to go, you're never going to have things go perfect. You're going to have juniors that leave early, unfortunately you're probably going to have kids that don't make it in the program. Regardless of how well we develop them or how well we research them before they get there. It's a law of averages. It hasn't gone perfect, but if we go back three years ago, knowing what those penalties were, I think that if you look at our roster today, I think we've done a pretty good job."
In response to if the Trojans are actually in a good position now in terms of talent: "Like I just mentioned, if you go back three years and knew what was coming and then as you look and the plan of pushing back that year and guys that were in that class, guys that if it wasn't pushed back, that was going to be ten less. That may have been Marqise Lee. He may have been one of those ten. So, there are steps that have gone on to put as at this point. I believe we're still relevant in college football, other people may have said we wouldn't have been. But we still got to do a lot better. We still have to continue to improve, and that's why were excited to get back next week, get on the field with our kids and really work on every individual kid we have on our roster, and finding a role for them."
In response to a Cal LB saying Coach Pendergast's schemes are hard to pick up: "Not to disagree with him, but I don't see that from a factual stand point when I look at the impact he had. You know the first year that he went there they lead the conference in total defense, I think they lead the conference in sacks too, so when I looked at it and looked at all the candidates and looked at what he had done in a very short time and he had done that in the first two years he was there, I thought that was really a big part of the hire. Obviously we didn't want something that took years to develop, we wanted to fix it now."
In response to if last year's performance affected this year's recruiting class: "Well I do think last year's season did affect the end of last year's class. All the not playing well, and then job security questions. No matter how well your staff does, there's going to be an impact, there's going to be some parents saying even though you want to go there, we're not going to let you go there because we're afraid that staff may not be there for a long time so that's going to be the case when you're in these situations, and have seasons like that. As far as moving forward, I still think that we're recruiting at an extremely high level and we'll continue to do that."
In response to if Silas Redd will take on bigger leadership role after playing for the Trojans for a year: "It was difficult for Silas to do that. He got here a couple days before camp started and really didn't know anybody. So now that he's had an off season around the guys even though he's battled some injuries, I think he'll have a bigger leadership role and I also think he'll have a more successful season if he stays healthy. He was on pace to have a really good season and I want to say maybe after the Washington game, and then he had a number of injuries that didn't allow him to be the same guy. He's not a really big back, so when you start getting some hip, and some issues going with your lower body and you don't have that burst that he had during training camp in the beginning of the season, we saw that affect him. He tried to battle through the injuries. I don't think you ever brought him up publically or talked about him because he's such a warrior, but if he is able to stay healthy I think he'll have a much better season."
In response to why Redd has missed a large part of summer voluntary workouts: "I have no idea if he's been at those workouts."
In response to saying this year's running back group is reminiscent of 2004/2005: "I'm referring to the depth at that position. If you study, whatever makes that seven year whatever I said before, you don't see a lot of premier players or depth at that position. I feel like our depth is finally back, now we have to produce. And we have to do a great job on the field, but I think if you look at it or next week when you look at running back individual, you'll say wow that looks like a USC running back group. Some of them are inexperienced; some of them are really young. Two of them just got out here, so it will be exciting to see that group develop because that has been a goal of ours to get that group back and you can't do it overnight, it takes a couple recruiting years to get it back and I feel that it's back."
In response to if Coach Kiffin can be a better play caller if he can run the ball: "I think anytime if you're in a pro-style system and you can't efficiently run the ball, it really impacts your entire game and sometimes your entire team. We went back through everything as you guys have heard me say in the off-season, and look at everything in what matter and where did we screw up and the common theme in watching things was a lot of the numbers you can point and say this many yards or this many touchdown passes or average per carry, but in critical situations the inability to run the ball came back again and again and again. And the amount of times that third and one that we didn't make it running the ball was ridiculous. So, you say okay what does that mean. Well that impacts the whole game. It's like a turnover. We're not making it, we're giving the ball back to them in those situations. So when you combine our inability to efficiently run the ball, convert on third down and then you add that to the unbelievable amount of turnovers that we had, we really look at if we can fix a couple of these things here, we'll be a lot better team and we'll be a lot harder to beat. You go back and you lot at all that stuff, and there were times that we lost the game as opposed to making the other team really beat us. When you're playing really good football, that other team has got to have a really great day in order to beat you. We didn't do that. There were games that we were handing them away."
In response to utilizing TE with lack of depth at receiver: "There are only three of them, tight ends, so those areas obviously the numbers are abnormally low. Five scholarship receivers and three scholarship tight ends, so we're just going to have to do our best to make sure those guys can help us in different ways in different roles. And also making sure that all five receivers that we're developing them so they can contribute and they can go in and play when the time comes."
In response to Junior Pomee's relationship with the Trojans: "No, Junior Pomee has not been a part of our football program for a long time now and we wish him the best of luck."
In response to reaction to Oregon sanctions: "You know, once again we're worried about ourselves and all those comparisons and all that stuff we don't do, that's got nothing to do with what were doing, and all we can do is look to improve our own program and not worry about that stuff because as soon as you start concerning yourself with that, you're worried about the things you can't control and have nothing to do with us. And I've said it to our coaches before, I've said it to people around our building, guys quick talking about the scholarships, they ain't coming back, there's not another appeal, so it doesn't matter what happens to other people or any other stuff, it's not going to change what happened to us three years ago, so get over it. Move on."
In response to changes made to running back position group: "I think it starts up front. In the spring game, I think our offensive line did improve in the spring. Now we've got a long ways to go until real games and getting ready for that and that's why this fall camp will be very critical, having all of these running backs healthy in camp and getting them to develop within our systems will be critical. And also the play of the full back, that was an issue last year as we go back and look at the cut-ups and that has part of the short yardage issues too. Those two young fullbacks need to play really well. And they did improve in the spring, and we need to be more physical in that position."
In response to what Coach Kiffin thinks are the negatives of calling the plays: "I guess I've done that, I've done that in the preseason where I didn't do that. You need to make sure you're not getting emotionally involved in the production of the plays and letting that impact anything. And those are the things that as I look at everything and look inside and what's going on and those things are done on purpose. So, you know, I've heard that I don't have enough emotion or that I don't high-five players enough or whatever that stuff is, but a lot of that stuff is on purpose. When you emotions go up, your decision-making goes down. We talking about that a lot with our quarterbacks so if you're calling plays and you're jumping all over the place, that doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to manage the next situation right. The next special team situation, the next penalty situation, the next play. And so as the play caller and the head coach, you got to make sure that when that play is over, that play is over and it's not leaking into the next play or the next series."
In response to how he balances being head coach and play caller: "You just got to focus on that play and then the next play and the next situation, and managing the game but then also managing the next series and preparing for that in between. It's not easy, you spend time going back and forth in your mind during the game. You know, when we're on defense, I'm paying attention so I know what's going on out there, but I'm also glancing down to listen to the headset and maybe make some notes on the next series for offense as well."
In response to if he is concerned about scholarship reduction talk: "Very big concern, and I don't think I talk about it very much, it's usually just to answer factual questions. I try to avoid it because I don't want our players hearing a lot about it and us talking a lot about it. You know, obviously at times I'm going to have to answer questions for you guys and what those impacts are from a facts standpoint and pure numbers, but also we don't want any excuses too. We've done this before. Two years ago we had really numbers and were able to play really well. So, we can control some of it, we can't control some of it. You know, if you have a bunch of injuries and you're already really low and you have a bunch of injuries during the season, it's going to impact you and we saw that last year. You know, we need to coach really well, play really well and you got to have some luck too, and we had that two years ago by staying healthy with our star players."
In response to the potential distractions from weekday games: "It does break up your routine, and you try to stay in your routine as much and sometimes you mess with which days are off and how much time they have off, so it is a challenge. I don't think many coaches prefer that, I think we all prefer to stay on routine of every Saturday, but we also understand the impact of TV contracts and why we do that, and we deal with it the best we can."
In response to if Coach Kiffin believes recruits are waiting to see how the Trojans do this year before making a move: "I think we'd be naïve not to understand the impact of recruiting this time of year when you're preseason No. 1 and coming off whatever we were, No. 5 in the country the year before, there's a lot of positive energy outside of your program about your program. Now, we're in a great place inside of our program and when we get to fall camp with meetings with our coaches and players, but that doesn't mean nationally that it's the same thing. Anytime you're winning and doing well that's going to impact recruiting, so I'm sure that where our program was viewed 12 months ago and where it is right now has an impact, but also, that our committed aren't signing and we have time to fix that."
In response to if it is more important to name a starting QB for the receiver now or let competition go on: "Good question. It's more important for us to name the right guy. And so if that's in a week, if that's in a month, whenever that is we need to make sure it's the right guy and don't rush the decision and pick the wrong guy. Obviously it's a very critical decision and one that's going to happen at some point, hopefully it shows itself, and then we can name a starter."
In response to if Coach Kiffin thinks Max Browne will redshirt if he does not win starting QB spot: "I don't know, we don't even think that way yet, you know we don't even think about any of our guys red shirting, we're focused on all of our guys being ready to play this year, improving them in camp and developing them, we'll figure out the redshirt thing down the road."
In response to if he can imagine playing two QBs: "It's not ideal, but once again all decisions will be made in the best interest of the football team. And even though I've not done that and I don't really like that, I'm not going to say it can never happen."
In response to what Coach Kiffin needs to see from QBs now: "We're not going to get this, but you wish you had preseason games. That's the reality of it. Scrimmages are scrimmages, but it's different when it's a real game and we're not going to get to know that, so we have to create as many situations as we can and put them in situations closes to game like situations and see how they perform."
In response to how Coach Kiffin feels about not having starting QB set already: "Whether you're the head coach or involved in offense, it's kind of the same. So, I reflect back to when we lost Carson Palmer and we were in kind of a similar situation and Matt Leinart got the job even though he'd never thrown a college pass. I think it's more like that, and it's a reminder again, we got to try to find the best guy and not worry about when that is."
In response to how much the decision for QB will happen off the field: "I think it's going to come down to how they perform in those team situations, the closest thing to game situations, and managing the offense and taking care of the football and converting those big plays, because at the end of the day that's how you win those games. So we have to find whose going to be the best quarterback."
In response to the secondary being a top concern: "Yeah, secondary is definitely probably outside of the quarterback the next story line, as far as figuring guys out where they're playing, whose playing, who the best players are back there. We're excited about the guys we have, but also there isn't a lot of experience back there. There's some game experience, but not in the condition that they're in. There's the Josh Shaw or Dion Bailey both potentially playing different positions then they were."
In response to if there will be more players leaving early after Barkley's performance last year: "I don't think so, there are too many stories that go both ways: guys that come back, guys that don't come back. At the same time, there's the Matt Barkley story, but then there's the Nickell Robey story too, so it seems like there are also stories that go both ways. People seem to talk more about when a guy slides, that comes back as opposed to guys that go out early. You know, Nickell Robey went out early and he didn't get drafted. So, it's always going to be individual, it's going to be different for every guy. Guys have different needs, guys have different goals of theirs, so it's always going to be coming down, sitting down with each individual guy and they'll make their best decision."
In response to when Coach Kiffin decided to call the plays this season: "I think it was a while ago. Like I said, I didn't know I was making a big statement today, I guess I had forgot to tell you guys, I had assumed I had. I don't remember when exactly, I just went back over too many things and also just like all these decision that we've made or are making, I view in the best interest of the team and I can't put too much on a couple of games at the end of the year, I have to look at the big picture of things over the three years here that we've done. And I kind of thought to myself it would almost be like how we didn't end very well and obviously Matt didn't play very well right before he got injured as he did the year before or earlier in the year, but that would be like me judging Matt's play right at those last couple of games as that's what his career was and making a decision based off that as opposed to looking at the whole thing and the good things he had done prior to that."
In response to Stanford Head Coach David Shaw saying their success has come from their offensive line and how the Trojans O-Line is shaping up: "I obviously agree with David that has a lot to do with your success when you're a pro-style offense team, but also let's not forget that Stanford's success has had a lot to do with Stanford's defense. They've done a lot of great things on offense, but they have played some great defense over the past couple of years with the run. So as they've gone through the transition of losing a great quarterback, losing a great lineman, losing a great tight end, it's really to me been the defense that's been the staple that has really allowed them through different quarterback changes and personnel changes. So, with our offensive line, I think we're making some progress. It's not to where we want it to be, I think it's much like when we talked about the running back thing, we've gotten that running back position group to the depth and the talent that we like and now we've got to develop them. I don't think our offensive line has gotten there yet, and that may be another class to help get that fixed."
In response to USC Athletic Director Pat Haden's video, released Thursday Night, confirming Coach Kiffin's job security: "I didn't know there was going to be a video, you know Tim had mentioned something to me. I haven't even see the video, but Time mentioned there was going to be something. You know that has nothing to do with how we operate and how prepare and how we coach. Obviously it's a positive not a negative from my standpoint as head coach, but it wasn't a surprise to me because as I've told you guys, I deal with Pat on a daily basis, so I have felt Pat's support and Max's support the whole time we've been here. And I've felt they've always looked at the big picture of things in taking the whole time we've been here into account, and that they've had a better understand of what the numbers, and what happened three years ago and how that impacts a bunch of different areas that I'm not going to get into. But I think they understand that a lot better than the fan or the media would because they're right there in the middle of it."
In response to any transfers: "Not at this time, no."
In response to how the Trojans are doing academically: "I think every summer there's always guys, we never get into specific guys, but there are always guys that we wait for everything to come back in on. I believe from what I know so far with Summer One being done and Summer Two not being done, our guys had a great summer, our guys had a great academic spring and the just even had a better summer so far even though it's not finished. My anticipation is that everyone is going to be there."