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Kiffin responds to USC's defensive woes

Lane Kiffin is obviously aware of the defensive issues currently plauging the team.

Giving up 84-points over the past two games will do that to you.

It appears to many that the defense has regressed more than it has progressed from last season. You would think that with one full season under their belts that some of the coverage schemes and assignments would have sunk in by now.

But it doesn't look that way.

I have said before that Kiffin has to have the courage to sit players that aren't playing up to par even when the talent might drop off. the MLB position comes to mind. Galippo just isn't there and it doesn't matter why at this point.

I realize that Dawson is out with an injury but is that our only option at MLB?

Kiffin's explanation is an interesting tell...

It was apparent Sunday that Kiffin is sensitive to questions about the defensive schemes. He referred to reading "15 articles" that claim USC runs a "Tampa 2" or "Cover 2" defense made famous by father, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin when he worked for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"We played Cover 2 on four of 72 snaps a couple weeks ago," Lane Kiffin said. "Everyone thinks we play Tampa 2. We rarely do that."

Kiffin said USC actually plays a Cover 3 defense more, which moves safety T.J. McDonald near the line of scrimmage.

"People always say we play Tampa 2," Galippo said. "And we aren't even playing Tampa 2."

Fine, but whatever scheme Kiffin is running it sure isn't working.

I got a chuckle that Kiffin read 15 articles about what people are saying about his defense. I wonder if he read mine?

Look, I have never claimed to know the X's and O's of the game. I am perfectly happy to let the coaches run their schemes. But at this point its semantics, whatever you want to call it, it just looks bad. Outsiders not knowing the difference really doesn't matter when you give an opposing receiver a 5-10 yard cushion on 3rd or 4th and short.

So, I guess it goes back to the original question...Just what is the staff doing to prepare the team from week to week?

I found this passage intriguing as well...

Fans who want more daring coverages or blitzes probably will be disappointed because Kiffin said you can only install a defensive game plan to shake up an offense when you have great players such as former USC linebacker Brian Cushing or former Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

So, does that mean we don't have any great players on defense?

Just askin'.

After two recruiting classes under his belt how should we assess the talent that Kiffin has brought in?

Monte offers up his observations as well...

Monte Kiffin said it quietly Saturday, in passing, almost as if it were an established fact.

The 2011 USC Trojans' defense, Kiffin said, is better than the 2010 USC Trojans' defense -- and sizably better, at that. According to Kiffin, a 71-year-old considered a defensive mastermind, his unit was just in the process of finding its way early in this season and on its way to sustained success.

But is it really? Is this defense really all that much better than last year's?

The coaches say yes. But the evidence, in the fallout of Arizona's 41-point performance on Saturday, says no. In 13 games last season, the Trojans gave up 5,200 total yards to their opponents, an average of exactly 400 yards per game. In five games this season, the Trojans have given up 1,898 total yards, an average of roughly 380. Points figures are similar, too.

Last year, USC opponents averaged 26.7 points. This year, they're averaging 26.4 points.

Pretty much says it all.

I don't what Monte thinks is better between this year and last year but the numbers don't lie...and we have all seen opposing offenses pick this 2011 USC defense apart.

To be fair Kiffin is in a lose/lose here. Say nothing and people will be critical. Explain it like he did here and we'll ask more questions and be more critical.

Either way the results are that something just isn't right with this defense.

One other thing that comes to mind. Coach O has been extremely quiet in all of this. The current D-Line doesn't play like the Coach O D-lines of the past...and Coach O is the DC right?

I am not looking to assess blame here just asking the questions that a number of people are sure to ask. I am happy with the win, but its not like Arizona is a great defensive team. So, what happens when USC goes up against a better defense as the schedule moves forward?

There are only three answers I can think of that are at the root of the problem...1) Scheme. 2) Coaching. 3) Talent.

I don't know what exactly needs fixing but something has to give...