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Insider

Recap of Kiffin Sunday media call

10/31/2011

Here's a recap of some of the comments from USC coach Lane Kiffin in his Sunday night media conference call:

"Both teams played really good, it was a great college football game. It was an instant classic, unfortunately we’re on the wrong end right now.

"The game turned around on that penalty against T.J. [McDonald]. If that play doesn’t get called, it’s 4th and 7 and all the pressure is on them. I would have been interested to see what would have happened.

"I’m proud of the way we answered questions of a possible letdown after Notre Dame. We played for the most part a pretty clean game, unfortunately it didn’t go our way.

"It was a major issue with the spot of the ball on the holding call against Stanford in OT. [Chris] Galippo got held at the line of scrimmage on 2nd and 5. How does it end up 2nd and 7 instead of 2nd and 15? I had a conversation with a friend of mine this morning, his name is Knox. I asked Knox ‘if there is a 10-yard holding penalty at the line of scrimmage, is it 2nd and 7 or 2nd and 15?’ Knox said ‘It’s 2nd and 15’. Knox is two years old and he figured it out. (Knox is Kiffin’s son)

"On the final play of regulation, we have a thing called ‘declare down’. If the play clock is at seven seconds or less, go to the ground and call timeout no matter what. We didn’t have it at nine seconds, usually a one-stop dropback middle screen takes a couple seconds. I’ve never seen it take eight seconds, which is what it took, Robert [Woods]’s knee hit the ground with one second left. It would have been fun to see if we could have made a 49-yard field goal.

"We handled that clock management well, until that final play of regulation with the players. It was just an abnormal play, I’ve never seen it take eight seconds.

"I had a conversation with the side judge during the replay process. The ref was the one dealing with the replay and I wanted to make sure he knew I wanted to call timeout if it was ruled his knee was down. They ruled he went out of bounds and time ran out. If his knee was down, one second would be placed on the clock. If he didn’t know I had called timeout, he may have just run it out so I talked to the side judge to make sure he told the ref I wanted timeout. He told me if the knee was down at one second we would get another play. That never happened.

"I talked to a couple people right after the game to express what happened, I wanted to make sure my mind was clear on the facts. I explained what was told to me and the fact that I was lied to. It’s not gonna change the outcome of the game though, they’re not gonna let us go back and kick the field goal.

"On T.J.’s penalty, he didn’t hit him helmet-to-helmet. The receiver went down so fast, the target moved. T.J. wasn’t aiming for his head. I don’t know even know what to say to him, don’t hit him? It’s what safeties do in football, they hit receivers coming across the middle, you don’t just let them go right by and score. I don’t know how to coach him out of that.

"Also, T.J. was quoted somewhere as saying he wasn’t going to change the way he played. I talked to him today and he said he was misquoted, that he actually said he needed to change the way he played. He’s going to talk to you guys (media) about that after practice on Tuesday.

"I already talked to the team about avoiding a letdown against Colorado. I just reminded them that it’s not about the opponent, it’s about us doing things well. We need to finish games off, as good as we played on defense in the first half, we didn’t play well in overtime and the final drive in regulation. It was kind of similar to what happened to us last year.

"Dion Bailey has a concussion, he’s day to day. Marc Tyler is not cleared right now on his shoulder.

"I thought our offense did a great job of moving on after that play at the end of regulation. They had a great overtime. They were going in for a score again, 1st and goal. It wasn’t like it was 4th and long. It was just unfortunate the ball got put on the ground.

"The late hit against Jawanza [Starling] was very disappointing. From day one we’ve talked about that a lot, the last 2-3 games we’ve been really clean. Our penalties are way down right now. The taunting foul against Marqise [Lee], I don’t think it was taunting. He was a freshman who made a big play in a nationally televised game, he was excited. I talked to him and told him he can’t even be in the gray area.

"I thought the [Nickell] Robey pick put the game away. We had planned for that, to get ahead late in the game, force a mistake and then finish it off. I thought that play was the turn. Defensively, after that point, we didn’t get the job done.

"I talked to Curtis McNeal after the game. He was like RoJo last year after Notre Dame, in the tank, crying. It says a lot about him, this team. They are really close and they took this loss hard. Nickell Robey, Marqise Lee, in tears. Sometimes you get older guys crying because this was their last chance but these were younger guys too.

"I thought it was neat of the fans the way they stayed at the end of the game like that and applauded both teams as they came off the field. That was not missed by the players, they noticed that.

"Matt Barkley gave us a chance to win the game. For the second year in a row he took the lead late in the game and had a chance to win it but it just didn’t work out. They led the conference in sacks and he didn’t get sacked once, for the second game in a row he didn’t get sacked. That says something about the offensive line and about Matt getting rid of the ball."