USC Football: Kiffin accepts criticism, expecting much better performance Saturday

Stephen Dunn

In another fun-filled edition of Trojan Live, USC head coach Lane Kiffin made jovial yet promising comments about the current state of affairs surrounding his team program heading into Week Three.

In what seems like an eternity ago for the USC faithful, lasting memories of a painful loss to Washington State remain caught in the Trojan belly. Something the entire football program is looking to flush out from the second they step onto the field Saturday morning for warm ups at the Coliseum.

It began when Lane Kiffin mentioned a rather noble idea (whether true or not, we will have to see Saturday), in which he would run out of the tunnel separately from his players to keep morale high in the locker room. That Kiffin says may allow his players to know that, "you can see they are booing me and not you guys."

This was among many interesting moments from Thursday night's edition of the weekly Trojans Live on KFWB 980 Radio. Lane Kiffin kicked off the festivities by addressing some of the positive signs his team has exhibited, while applying his over-arching perspective on some of the misfortunate mishaps which surely left a sour taste in everyone's mouth.

"Games like that happen, unfortunately you feel bad for your players," Kiffin said following the Trojans first loss in a home opener since way back in 2000. "You feel like (ahh) you could have done something different for the players."

While the general consensus surrounding the state of affairs for this program has been rather bleak from the fans perspective, Lane Kiffin continued to preach the positive attributes his team continues to develop in practice. Even stating that besides their performance in the passing game, this team is playing at an extremely high level right now.

According to Kiffin, the burden of responsibility should be directly placed on his shoulders especially surrounding the negative press coming from the start of the season. "I came up with this thing for our players, and said they are booing me not you." While the Trojans have rallied together behind the common cause of playing for one another, they also recognize that things have to improve against the undefeated Boston College Eagles.

"I got no issues with that at all, fans pay money and they expect to see something better than that," Kiffin said about the atmosphere after last week's disappointing loss. "There's high expectations here and we have them too. We are on the same page, and we have to coach better and play better."

In amongst the concerns voiced by Trojan fans, including poor pass protection to which Conquest Chronicles quickly pointed out after looking over the game film, the complexity in the passing game was vastly limited.

The most glaring of examples pointed out that playmaking options Nelson Agholor, Darreus Rogers and Xavier Grimble combined for only two receptions, something Kiffin promptly discussed during the radio program.

"It's a combination of a lot of things, we are not going into the game that Nelson and our TE will not catch the ball," Kiffin said about his much-maligned offense that will take time to develop now that Kessler is now the main guy.

While the boo birds were warranted, given the offense's worst passing performance since 1998, players now have their minds fully set on Boston College. "They are the warriors, it's not the fans it's not me," Kiffin said about his team's performance last weekend, which got vastly overlooked by bubble screens and poor passing on offense.

In a final summation, Kiffin looked forward to what lies ahead under the direction of Cody Kessler along with a strong running game led by Tre Madden, playing complementary football with an outstanding defensive unit. "We can't change the past, all we can do now is win this game and get to 2-1," Kiffin mentioned as his team's mindset.

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