USC Trojans: Brian Baucham

Kiffin recaps Colorado win

October, 22, 2012
Some selected quotes from Lane Kiffin’s Sunday night conference call following the Trojans’ 50-6 victory over Colorado.

Open: “Overall, a really good day -- a really special day for all Trojans I think, [for] all Trojan fans. It was really exciting, and I just thought there were a lot of really neat things with not just the two anticipated records … but then to have on the side, an all-time completion percentage in the history of the conference in a game, and then the most touchdown passes by a USC team ever, and then the most touchdown catches by a single player ever, is pretty special. And I thought it just kind of went along with the day, from the Stanley Cup being there, to the SC championship team being there, to the great tribute after the records -- a lot of credit to Craig Kelley and Mark Jackson on that -- it was really neat and I think it just spoke volumes about L.A. and SC.”

[+] EnlargeDrew McAllister
Joe Andras/WeAreSC.comDrew McAllister was one of several reserves to have a big performance against Colorado.
On the team’s continuing issue with penalties: “I don’t really have a theory on it. Obviously [it’s] very disappointing. I’ve never spent a halftime like that before, where myself and the coaches -- the entire halftime was on penalties and on composure. Fortunately, we came out in the second half and did a better job, which was good, so hopefully somehow that fixed it.

“What I’m hoping is that we hit rock bottom in the first half. It’s one thing when [we’re] lined up offsides and stuff like that, but when we have the personal fouls … as I said afterwards, to me that’s a disgrace to our university and to all of our great players that have played here before. That’s nothing that we want to be associated with. So I think maybe in this one, somehow we had to hit rock bottom, and that locker room was.”

On the condition of offensive tackle Aundrey Walker: “I don’t think -- as you guys know -- I’m allowed to say very much on that. But I guess I could say that he was back in meetings today and things seem to be very positive.”

(Read full post)

Kiffin: Revisiting Colorado

October, 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin addressed the media in his normal day-after game conference call Sunday night, talking about his team's 50-6 win over Colorado and briefly looking ahead at the remaining five regular-season games.

Here are notes and quotes from the call:

Injury updates

Defensive end Devon Kennard (torn pec) will sit out the rest of the season and redshirt, Kiffin said.
Kennard will be a redshirt senior in 2013. He tore his pec in a July weight-lifting accident and previously said he had hopes of returning in November for a final NFL trial run.

Kiffin also provided updates on two other players, cornerback Brian Baucham and defensive tackle Cody Temple. Both players are out for the 2012 season, Baucham with a unspecified issue and Temple with an ankle injury.

Left tackle Aundrey Walker, who appeared to suffer a neck injury in the third quarter of Saturday's game, was released from the hospital Sunday after spending the night there.

Kiffin said Walker was back in meetings with the team Sunday. "Things seemed to be very positive," Kiffin said. "That's about all I'd be allowed to say."

Special-teams trickery

So the holder wearing No. 35 who took off running on the two-point play after USC's second touchdown in the first quarter?

That wasn't Kyle Negrete, USC's punter, who normally wears No. 35. That was Cody Kessler, third-string quarterback and recent new holder. Kiffin had Kessler sport No. 35 for the first half of Saturday's game -- presumably to run the fake kick -- and then switch back to No. 6 for the second half, when he came in the game in garbage time at quarterback and completed the first throws of his college career.

It's a legal move, but an ethically dubious one. Kessler was listed as the ballcarrier on the play in the postgame statistics, but he was not announced as such in the press box or over the PA.

It also opens the floodgates for many more potential shenanigans. If Kiffin tried that against Colorado, what might he try against Oregon? So much is suddenly in play.

Sunday, Kiffin deflected a question about who was the holder in the first half, saying, "I'd really rather not get into that at this time for certain reasons."

(Read full post)

Kiffin: Trojans mulling CB options 

October, 5, 2012
USC coach Lane Kiffin could be looking to make some changes in the starting lineup at the cornerback spot currently manned by Torin Harris.

[+] EnlargeLane Kiffin
Rich Barnes/US PresswireUSC coach Lane Kiffin still has not settled the cornerback position opposite Nickell Robey.
The Trojans have used Harris and Anthony Brown in that spot at various points this season -- along with reserves such as Brian Baucham and Kevon Seymour -- but opponents have continued to have success against whoever lines up opposite Nickell Robey.

During his media conference call on Friday night, Kiffin was asked if the Trojans were any closer to finding an answer for those cornerback struggles.

Crisp day for USC offense

September, 19, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Trojans practiced under beautiful conditions out on Brian Kennedy/Howard Jones field once again on Wednesday, and there was a definite upbeat tone on the day for what turned out to be a sharp practice, particularly on the offensive side of the ball -- a positive sign considering how the Trojans struggled in that department against Stanford.

“It was a really good practice today,” Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said. “I thought the offense came out and was really crisp in both the running game and the passing game, and it was good to see. It’s obviously going to be needed to get back on track, and we fully expect that to happen on Saturday.”

That offensive crispness was immediately evident early on when the quarterbacks were working with the tight ends and wide outs. USC quarterback Matt Barkley was in-synch with his receiving options all day, and it wasn’t just the usual Marqise Lee and Robert Woods show either -- tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer made their share of receptions too.

(Read full post)

Kiffin still believes in CB Harris

September, 13, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Since first stepping on the field for USC in September 2010, cornerback Torin Harris has missed nearly half of the Trojans' games (12 of 27) with an assortment of injuries.

And, when he has been healthy, his performances have been up-and-down at best. The best single play he's produced in a USC uniform -- an impressive game-saving interception in the 2011 season opener against Minnesota -- only needed to happen because he got beaten badly for a Gophers touchdown on the previous drive.

Yet, USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin has steadfastly supported Harris over the last two years. Where does Kiffin's confidence come from? His answer's simple.

"Because we've seen it," Kiffin said Thursday. "I think Torin was playing really, really well at the beginning of last season, and it would be hard to argue that he wasn't playing as well as Nickell (Robey) at the time."

This wasn't the first time Kiffin compared Harris to Robey, arguably the Trojans' top defender.

(Read full post)

How big is the loss of Wiley now?

September, 11, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin did a good job of passing off Isiah Wiley's academic ineligibility as an expected casualty at the time it was announced last month.

"The blow is not as big, I think, because of the way we went about it," Kiffin said at the time. "We had kind of moved forward, as you can tell, by not having him here in camp."

Unfortunately, it has been difficult to prove those words true in the early going. The second corner spot Wiley occupied in the second half of last season for the USC Trojans has been the team's weakest link this season, with both Hawaii and Syracuse consistently attacking whatever side of the field Nickell Robey is not on.

So far, it's the only position on the field where the Trojans don't have at least a league-average performer. Sophomore Anthony Brown started Week 1 and junior Torin Harris was the primary No. 2 guy in Week 2, but neither player was really effective. Harris was beaten badly on two touchdown plays against the Orange. Freshman Kevon Seymour has had good and bad moments in his first two collegiate games -- more bad than good against Syracuse.

What is the long-term plan, then?

Harris will get another chance this week against Stanford, with Brown, Seymour and senior Brian Baucham rotating in behind him. Kiffin insisted this week that Josh Shaw, the sophomore safety who transferred from Florida last winter, does not figure into his plans for the position, even though USC has plenty of depth at safety and Shaw is only a third-stringer there currently.

Kiffin didn't say it in as many words Saturday, but he attributed Harris' poor play in the Syracuse game largely to rust, since he hadn't played a college game in almost a full year. And there's some validity to that. But Harris has simply not been a consistent solid starter since arriving at USC in the summer of 2009.

Against Stanford on Saturday, the Trojans should be all right at corner, because the Cardinal run a lot of two-tight end sets and USC will be able to keep its linebackers on the field more than in the last two games.

(Read full post)

USC begins Stanford prep

September, 11, 2012
The Trojans hit the field on Tuesday to prepare for their Pac-12 opener at Stanford this Saturday, and while much of the media attention has focused on USC’s three-game losing streak to the Cardinal -- in particular last season’s 56-48 triple overtime loss -- quarterback Matt Barkley commented afterward that the team is only focused on the task at hand.

“We’re just approaching every game the same,” Barkley said. “It’s the next game, it’s week three, we’re going up north -- an away game -- there’s nothing special about it.”

Trojans running back Curtis McNeal -- who turned the ball over with a fumble on USC’s final possession against Stanford last season -- echoed those sentiments.

(Read full post)

Syracuse Wednesday for Trojans

September, 5, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- It was a surprisingly overcast morning during Trojans’ practice on what USC head coach Lane Kiffin called “Syracuse Wednesday.”

“An up and down day today for us,” Kiffin said. “I thought the defense came out and played a lot better than yesterday, until the end. So we’ll go back and look at the film. We have lot of work to do.”

Practice started out on an upbeat tone as Kiffin tossed the ball over to various players during warmups, while Kyle Negrete boomed some punts off to the side with some impressive hang-time.

(Read full post)

Trojans prepare for air attack

September, 4, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- It was another beautiful day on Brian Kennedy/Howard Jones field on Tuesday as the team prepared to take on Syracuse and its explosive quarterback, Ryan Nassib, on Saturday. Right from the get-go, defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders could be heard emphatically explaining to his unit that Syracuse threw the ball more than 60 times in its last game, so the Trojans DBs had better be ready. It was a common theme on the day that Lane Kiffin and the rest of the staff made sure to hammer home to the defense.

“We wanted to make sure that our guys understand that we’re going to play a really good team,” Kiffin said. “We purposely made sure that we attacked them in the passing game. I totally believe that this is a big-time test. I don’t care who you play or where it’s at -- everybody played a football game on Saturday and nobody threw for more yards than they did. This is a really good quarterback and he started really well last year versus us.”

(Read full post)

Notes: USC-Hawaii analysis 

September, 2, 2012
D-line encouragement: It’s no secret that one of the biggest concerns for the Trojans heading into the season was the lack of experience along the defensive line, a situation that wasn’t helped when Wes Horton was forced to miss the game. What this group did against Hawaii, however, was nothing less than encouraging.

It wasn’t just that a single player or two stood out, it was the fact that so many players along the line did something to make a play. Morgan Breslin had a pair of quarterback pressures on third downs that forced incompletions and punts. He also added a sack and two tackles for loss. Greg Townsend, Jr. had a sack that could have qualified as a mauling. Christian Heyward recovered a fumble that led to the Silas Redd touchdown run. Leonard Williams had a sack, a fumble recovery, a tackle for loss and a pass break-up.

Remember, these are all guys who had never played a down for the Trojans before this game. George Uko, the veteran of the group, had a sack and a forced fumble. J.R. Tavai had good intensity and Kevin Greene looked as good as he has in his USC career. When you take this performance and add in the potential return of Horton, suddenly there is reason to be optimistic about the growth curve of the d-line.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Opportunity for Brown 

August, 25, 2012
“Hello, Anthony Brown, are you there? It’s opportunity knocking.”

With the news on Friday that USC cornerback Isiah Wiley will be academically ineligible for the 2012 season, it officially opens up the starting spot that Wiley held for the last six games of the 2011 season.

Wiley had been held out of fall camp practices as he attempted to get his grades in order through summer school, so it’s not like this is a complete surprise to the Trojans. There have been several other players rotated in at the corner position opposite Nickell Robey in an attempt to find a qualified starter in case Wiley didn’t return.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

USC head coach Lane Kiffin announced after practice that linebacker Marquis Simmons and cornerback Brian Baucham were ruled academically eligible for the 2012 season, but cornerback Isiah Wiley did not qualify.

Kiffin said Wiley, a junior college transfer who started the last six games of the 2011 season, will look to play this year and USC will help him do that, which likely means he will transfer.

[+] EnlargeIsiah Wiley
Ric Tapia/Icon SMIIsiah Wiley was ruled academically ineligible and is likely to transfer.
"It's good to get Simmons and Baucham back, those are two veteran guys at positions of need. They can also help with special teams," Kiffin said. "Wiley is a loss but we move forward. We worked all spring without him and his loss will be felt less because we did things that way. Outside of that one guy, we did well academically."

Friday was a light practice, helmets and no pads, as the Trojans begin the process of winding down fall camp. The team will simulate a home-game atmosphere by staying in the team hotel Friday night, holding a situational scrimmage Saturday morning and then attending the annual Salute to Troy event Saturday afternoon.

The scrimmage will not be a physical one, Kiffin said. It primarily will involve substitutions, communication between coaches and players, timing of getting in and out of the huddle, etc. Kiffin said the scrimmage will have no bearing on position battles such as the backup quarterback spot.

Junior Pomee was out there today working with the tight end group and he looked good in pass patterns. Christian Thomas did not have a helmet on but he was out there for early agility drills and even shadowed the other players for a few reps. That was as much as we've seen from Thomas in a while, so that could be an encouraging sign that he's getting closer to a return to the field. Randall Telfer did not take part in practice.

Wes Horton and Lamar Dawson also were held out.

When the team got together for 11-on-11 work today, here were the starting lineups:

Offense: Barkley, McNeal, Vainuku, Woods, Lee, Grimble, Walker, Martin, Holmes, Martinez, Graf

Defense: Breslin, Uko, Woods, Greene, Sarao, Pullard, Bailey, Robey, Brown, McDonald, Starling

Barkley led the first unit on a touchdown drive at the end of practice. Kiffin put 1:31 on the clock with the offense on their own 20-yard line. The offense got a couple first downs before facing a third down at their own 45, kicker Andre Heidari yelled from the sideline: "I'm in range if you need me, Kiff." Barkley then hit Marqise Lee for a first down, then another pass for 22 yards to Lee, and eventually a Barkley sneak for the score.

Robert Woods had a terrific play earlier in the practice when he took a short bubble screen from Barkley, made Brown miss, and then turned on the speed down the sideline. Kiffin commented after practice that Woods "is in very good shape."

Silas Redd had a 25-yard run off the left side behind a block from Marcus Martin. Morgan Breslin made a good play to get in the backfield quickly and hold D.J. Morgan to no gain. De'Von Flournoy had a nice fingertip catch of a ball across the middle from Max Wittek and he outran Anthony Brown after the catch for a touchdown.

The team worked on full punt and kickoff return drills. There was also some scout-team work to prepare for Hawaii.

USC spirit alive at Coliseum 

April, 14, 2012
The USC spirit is alive and well and ready for a big 2012 season, at least it was for one day at the Coliseum for the spring game.

There was a genuine sense of excitement Saturday, as a large crowd of more than 15,000 gathered in the Grey Lady to get a glimpse of the Cardinal and Gold in action. It was the first public look at the team this spring -- as all USC practices are closed these days -- and the fans soaked up every second of the game-day atmosphere.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Munoz
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireAnthony Munoz was among a distinguished group of Trojans alumni on hand for Saturday's spring game.
There were early morning tailgates, the Trojan Marching Band, the Song Girls and a sideline full of USC legends from Ronnie Lott to Marcus Allen and Anthony Munoz. Most of all, however, the fans were there to see Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald and the rest of their Trojans in action.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Quarterback Matt Barkley, running back D.J. Morgan and receivers De'Von Flournoy and Marqise Lee were the offensive stars in Saturday's USC spring game, while Hayes Pullard, Anthony Brown, Dion Bailey and Isiah Wiley paced the defense.

D.J. Morgan: 6 rushes, 53 yards, 1 TD

Matt Barkley: 23 of 39, 212 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Cody Kessler: 3 of 6, 68 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Max Wittek: 3 of 7, 27 yards

De'Von Flournoy: 7 rec., 69 yards
Marqise Lee: 7 rec., 57 yards, 1 TD
Xavier Grimble: 4 rec., 73 yards
Soma Vainuku: 4 rec., 66 yards, 1 TD

Hayes Pullard: 6 tackles
Anthony Brown: 6 tackles
Dion Bailey: 5 tackles
Isiah Wiley: 4 tackles, 5 pass breakups
Devon Kennard: 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack
Drew McAllister: 1 INT
Brian Baucham :1 INT

Scoring plays
Morgan: 47-yard run (Heidari kick)
Andre Heidari: 28-yard field goal
Heidari: 47-yard FG
Lee: 1-yard pass from Barkley (Heidari kick)
Vainuku: 44-pass from Kessler (Heidari kick)

Thursday practice report 

April, 12, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans finished last season ranked No. 102 in the nation in pass defense. At the conclusion of the 2010 season, they sat at No. 109. Safe to say, it has been a few years since anybody has thrown the term “great” around when discussing the USC secondary. But that didn’t stop senior safety T.J. McDonald from hinting at the possibility as the Trojans prepare for Saturday’s spring game.

“Defensively, we’re playing fast,” McDonald said. “Coaches can throw adjustments at us and we can pick it up and play it right away. That’s something that all great defenses can do and I think we’re taking a step in that direction. We have a lot of work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

The defense has benefitted from not having to go against wide receiver Robert Woods at all this spring. Wide receiver George Farmer has been limited by a hamstring injury, and outside of the first week, the Trojans have been working with one or less tight ends. But the experience in the secondary, led by three-year starters in McDonald, safety Jawanza Starling and cornerback Nickell Robey, makes this group formidable, and head coach Lane Kiffin has taken notice.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider