Our very own ParagonSC was able to attend Pac-10 Media Day yesterday in New York City and had the opportunity to speak with a variety of coaches from around the conference, including Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, and several others. Here are his notes from talking with Kiffin. Since he has a real job, unlike yours truly, and can't catch a break at the moment, I'll post these on his behalf.
Kiffin on the upcoming season
- Excited to get back onto the field, and excited to see the team as a whole for it will be " our first time together."
- Noted that what happened in the past is in the past and the program is moving forward.
- Wants to win every game that we play.
- Emphasized that the team is very fortunate to have a 13 game season, and happy that the NCAA did in fact allow it despite the sanctions. Also excited to have the last game of the season take place at the Rose Bowl.
- Despite being on probation, noted that nothing has changed (in the approach).
- Parting thought from Kiffin: "I dont think that the players motivation during the off season or on a weekly basis is about what bowl game they will be playing in. They have a lot of other reasons to be motivated - to play extremely well. Not worried about the motivation factor about being able to play in a bowl game."
Kiffin on the roster
- "We have had roster movement basically because of what has become free agency for all of our juniors and seniors, who are all allowed to transfer with no penalties. People can come back to them at almost any time. Fortunately non of our projected starters have left, but we have lost some back-ups, which does affect our depth - especially on special teams."
- "Right now, we are at 71scholarship players. A lot of teams will be at 85, so we have to mange the way that we practice a little bit differently. It will be a lot more similar to the NFL. We'll have to monitor that throughout the season and see how we play guys. Maybe we won't redshirt as many guys, so yes, there is a lot of stuff going into it."
- "The sanctions that are imposed as of now after this season will put us at 75 for the next three years, so I guess in a positive sense, we'll be getting used to that this year. But in the end, we aren't really changing much, because we have always thoroughly evaluated our players in the recruiting process through tireless research about their character and who they are. We will continue to do that, because the margin for error is very small. If we are signing classes of 15 guys and other guys are signing 25, the last thing we can do is sign 3 guys who don't make it academically or two guys who get kicked out of school. So, we really have to continue to do a great job with that."
Kiffin on the offensive line, regarding a lack of depth (note: this was Paragon's question)
- "Yeah, It is a concern. But if you go back and study the last two signing classes at USC, there have only been three offensive linemen signed. With Seantrel now leaving, there have only been three offensive lineman signed over the past 2 years. Usually, your goal is to have around four or five each season. So we are going to have to do a great of evaluating everyone that is out there, from transfers to JUCOs, to every high school guy we can find. Now, we are really going to have to go out and get that fixed over the next couple of years. Yes, depth will be an issue, especially 2 and 3 years from now when those guys would normally be playing."
Kiffin on the sanctions and how they can affect team emotion
- "Well, we are going to have to look at it and deal with it as we go, because it is something that none of us have ever been through. We don't know what to expect exactly, but I know this being around our players. Even though we are not practicing with them yet, they are incredibly focused and very excited about the upcoming season. They have an 'us against the world' mentality right now, because of all this stuff that has happened. Everyone is counting 'SC out a little bit, so I think from that perspective, they are very motivated."
Kiffin on the teams make up
- It doesn't take 85 players to win a national championship. When we were able to do it the last time we were here together, we were never at 85. If you go back and reasearh each team, with guys not qualifying or transferring elsewhere, those teams weren't at 85. So, we just got to get the right guys. Right now, we are very fortunate to have a great quarterback, and as you guys know, you can trade the bottom 20 or 25 guys on your roster to get a great quarterback. So it is that important to have him there hopefully for the next three years, not two years."