September 15, 2012; Stanford, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin (right) talks to quarterback Matt Barkley (7) during the third quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. The Cardinal defeated the Trojans 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Every Sunday, USC head coach Lane Kiffin holds a teleconference with select media members, discussing his take on USC’s performance the day before, and looking forward to what he plans to do in the week to come.
Following USC’s frustrating loss to Stanford–for the fourth time in a row, no less–Kiffin opened up about what went wrong for USC and how the Trojans plan to fix these issues going forward. Obviously, the loss has serious implications around USC’s postseason future, but there are still plenty of games left for things back in favor of the Trojans.
Lane Kiffin said Saturday’s loss was the worst offensive performance he’s seen in nine years at USC, from a physical standpoint. He continued to say that the offensive line missed more assignments that game than in any he’s coached in before. This was evident in the fact that the O-line allowed QB Matt Barkley to be brought down an eye-opening six times against the Cardinal, when he was sacked only eight times all of last season.
The head coach did give credit to Stanford’s defensive coaching staff for blitz packages. Said that made loss of Khales hurt even more. With him on the line, Holmes always makes line checks on USC’s protection packages. Kiffin said Barkley had too many other things to worry about to do that yesterday.
As far as the center position goes, starter Khaled Holmes is the first option if healthy; his presence was sorely missed against Stanford. Kiffin also said Abe Markowitz would be 2nd option, if he too is healthy.
At the left tackle position, Lane Kiffin said starter Aundrey Walker’s effort was not up to par against Stanford. As a result, freshman Max Tuerk will now challenge him for the starting job this week.
After the loss, many media members observed that they had never seen Barkley look so dejected and tormented by a shortcoming before. He threw two back to back picks in the second quarter and generally look uncomfortable and out of sync with his teammates. In his four years, we have rarely seen Barkley make such poor decisions as those two picks. “He’s pretty beat up, mentally and physically,” Kiffin said.
Continuing on Barkley, Kiffin also said, “You can imagine the disappointment of a 22-year old who put so much into this and then to have that happen.”
Another happening of interest after the game came when TE Randall Telfer was quoted as saying, “We tried to take them lightly…that’s probably why we lost.” Kiffin said that Telfer has since apologized to him and the team, and that his comments were only about his own play.
In spite of all that went wrong, Kiffin was able to put a positive spin on it. “I’m sure there’s some sense that there was so much pressure on these kids to play perfect,” he noted, and with some of that pressure off, he expects the team to rebound similarly to the way the Trojans did last year after being shell-shocked at ASU.
He also praised WR Nelson Agholor. He had a big reception to set up the first TD that came courtesy of Silas Redd, and had big tackles on special teams.
Kiffin’s final note was that the two most irreplaceable players for the Trojans are “Number 74 and Number 48″, an assessment that an assistant coach made during the preseason. Based on what we saw against Stanford, that assessment is correct.
Trenise is the lead writer/editor for Reign of Troy. Currently, she is a graduate student at UC Berkeley, pursuing a Masters degree in Multimedia Journalism. She earned her undergraduate degree in Broadcast & Digital Journalism from the University of Southern California in 2012. Her work has been featured on Neon Tommy, Bleacher Report, CBSSports.com and NBCSports.com. She is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. You can email Trenise Ferreira at [email protected] OR [email protected] For USC related news, and sports news in general, follow me on twitter!