On the same day that the USC Trojans were declared preseason No. 1 in the Pac-12, Coach Lane Kiffin, quarterback Matt Barkley and T.J. McDonald maintained a humble outlook at the 2012 season.
Kiffin was adamant that the ranking wouldn’t have any bearing on the way the Trojans play this year, while Barkley took a more literal approach. “It won’t score us any points,” said the senior quarterback.
The Trojans were selected to finish first by the media for the first time in the Lane Kiffin era, and for the 32nd time overall.
Other nuts and bolts:
Lane Kiffin was clear that he couldn’t talk about Penn State players, given NCAA restrictions. However, he did mention the struggles that come with recruiting a team’s own players, in reference to USC’s own sanctions back in 2010.
More on Penn State, Kiffin opened the presser on a somber note, alluding to the sanctions, but also opined that the sanctions given to Penn State and USC are not comparable in any way, given the circumstances.
The depth of the backfield is a major concern as we’ve noted before, and when asked about Nelson Agholor, Kiffin confirmed rumblings that the incoming freshman will in fact play tailback alongside D.J. Morgan, and behind Curtis McNeal. Kiffin did make a point to mention that he’d prefer to play Agholor as a receiver, though, which makes you wonder how that sentiment could change if Penn State’s Silas Redd becomes a reality.
T.J. McDonald feels confident that the USC defense will continue to improve, mentioning that going against the offense in practice is the best medicine for improvement.
McDonald was asked about playing across town from his younger brother Tevin McDonald, to which T.J. praised the Bruins’ safety and his work ethic. He also mentioned that the two break down film together, to improve collectively.
Lane Kiffin called the John McKay Center, “a very special place.”