There was of course a lot of speculation about what positions Lane Kiffin was talking about when he indicated there two positions where he was looking to make changes.
Yesterday, those positions were revealed.
Marshall Jones is challenging Jawanza Starling at safety and Michael Reardon is being given a shot to displace left guard Butch Lewis as the Trojans prepare for Saturday night's Pacific 10 Conference game against Arizona State at the Coliseum.
Jones, a junior, took first-team reps Tuesday in place of T.J. McDonald, but only because the Trojans' interceptions leader was limited because of a hamstring strain. Coach Lane Kiffin made it clear that Jones was competing for Starling's position.
The safety spot was a given. We all saw the lack of production by Starling going back a number of games. But the issues with the O-line became obvious when the USC running was pretty much bottled up by Oregon.
In his weekly teleconference Kiffin called out the running game...in essence he said that they regressed. Earlier in the season we saw some great performances by our running backs but that can only happen if the O line blows open some holes and keeps the opposing D line at bay.
He went on to describe the situation in a little more detail...
"Our run game is built on cutting people. We go into a game like that and rarely did it at all. That's a reason they were dominating us up front later in the game – because our system wasn't what it was supposed to be. I'm really disappointed in that."Obviously, it starts with coaching. We better get it fixed."
It's simple really...no effective running game and the offense becomes one dimensional.
Kiffin doesn't have a ton of depth to just bench guys either. He can only move so many guys and fiddle with only so many combinations. He has to find a way to motivate and cajole guys to digging down deep and step up their performance.
Kiffin can lay it on coaching as he did in the OCR piece but at some point the players need to step it up and perform. they were doing it in the earlier part of the season...
They need to get back to that place...