USC News and Notes for 8/13

Lane Kiffin is doing his best impression of Bobby Fischer...

With USC's depleted roster and with the team racking up a few injuries Lane Kiffin has decided to take a different approach to practice.

USC adjusted its practices this week to cut back on possible injury-inducing contact.

On Thursday, Coach Lane Kiffin all but eliminated it, saying the Trojans would be in full pads and engage in tackling only twice more before the Sept. 2 opener at Hawaii.

Kiffin made the decision after defensive end Nick Perry suffered a high ankle sprain Wednesday during a competitive team drill.

The Trojans will tackle only in Saturday's scrimmage and in another the week after.

Drastic situations call for drastic actions I guess.

Proper tackling technique has been an issue in years past so with the players not being able to work on their technique this could have ramifications in the upcoming season.

Kiffin acknowledges as much...

Kiffin acknowledged concern about how the strategy will affect the Trojans. USC's front seven is an experienced group, but the secondary, with the exception of cornerback Shareece Wright, will be largely inexperienced.

"Obviously, there's a worry," he said. "Are we going to tackle really well and be extremely physical when we kick off versus Hawaii? I just had to weigh it. Let's stay healthy and hope that we do."

We'll see how it goes.

With Nick Perry being out 2-4 weeks with a high ankle sprain (and that is being generous, it will be 6-8 weeks before he is at full speed) Kiffin and the staff have had to make some moves to fill the holes. Derek Simmons was moved from tackle to end to shore up the DE position, while freshman TE Christian Thomas was also moved to defense. How these moves help out is yet to be determined. My concern is that in order to fill slots we may have to use more than few freshmen to fill some holes, thus burning their redshirts.

It's the gift that keeps on giving...

- - -

Haden On Kiffin...

Pat Haden continues to support Lane Kiffin.

USC athletic director Pat Haden supports Lane Kiffin's decision to suspend freshman tailback Dillon Baxter for the season opener for violating team rules. "We just can't allow this kind of behavior, particularly for a freshman when they're just getting started," Haden said Thursday. "So I think he (Kiffin) has done the absolute right thing."

While conceding that the recent stories about the NCAA investigating Kiffin's recruiting practices at Tennessee aren't good for USC's image, Haden wouldn't join the masses in piling on his football coach.

"These things seem to dog Lane, which is unfortunate," Haden said. "Because I do know that he's gotten my message and he's trying to do things right."

This is a non-story so this really shouldn't be a surprise, I mean what else is Haden going to do? Haden just got there, is he going to publicly vote thumbs down on Kiffin?

But I do think he is hedging...

The comments about some of the issues that continue to dog Kiffin could have been worded better. If he really had Kiffin's back he would have said what is correct about this situation thus clarifying it...that this is a continuation of the NCAA's investigation of UT and not just Kiffin but also his assistants named in the various articles written on the subject.

To me this is just lip service...USC needs to go on a war footing and stop playing nice. The way the NCAA is handling this does smack of a witch hunt. Is the NCAA requesting any meeting with any other UT players that Kiffin recruited? If not then why is the NCAA focusing solely on Bryce Brown?

This concerns me a little bit...

- - -

Bush Apologizes to Haden...

Joey posted this as a fan shot last night but I wanted to offer up a few thoughts.

I am not sure what Reggie hopes to accomplish here. Maybe he is just trying to clear his conscience...if so, he way too late for it to be of any help to USC.

More intriguing is that if Reggie had to apologize I guess that means what ALL of us already knew...that Reggie and his family were dirty. They sacrificed the school for their own needs. What makes this more of a joke is not that he apologized, its that it took him this long to do it...after the NCAA dropped a nuclear weapon on the football program is a little late don't you think.

When Reggie gives us specifics on his and his families actions maybe many of the fans and alums that feel betrayed will accept his "contrition" until then it really is just lip service.

Maybe Bush is having a hard time sleeping at night...who knows...and at this point who cares. Reggie is dead to the program, I'm surprised that Haden even took the call.

We have no choice but to move on...so should Reggie...there is NOTHING he can do for us now.

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