No walkoff for Kiffin on Thursday

September 20, 2012

LOS ANGELES --- Similar to Wednesday, USC coach Lane Kiffin appeared to be in a jovial mood. As practice was winding down, he returned to his platform placed just in front of a USC backdrop and playfully mentioned the event that has put him and the USC football team in the national spotlight once again in the last 24 hours. 

“Let’s see if we can make it past a minute today,” Kiffin joked.

The coach was successful, meeting with members of the media for nearly seven minutes on Thursday morning, and even managed a smile or two.

It was a lot longer than the 29 seconds he was willing to share on Wednesday ending with the now infamous “I gotta go” and subsequent walkoff after, apparently, taking exception to a question that was asked about an injured player’s return to the practice field.

USC, like many other schools in the Pac-12 conference has a policy citing the program won’t discuss injuries.

On Thursday, with the injury question in the past, Kiffin went on about how proud he was of the way his  team has practiced.

“Really good week,” Kiffin said. “Best week we’ve had of preparation.

“We’re excited to get back on the field and move forward.”

As the Trojans continue with their season, Kiffin still has some questions that need to be addressed -- particularly on the offensive line.

Following the loss, Kiffin declared sophomore left tackle Aundrey Walker would have to split reps with freshman Max Tuerk. A decision for who will start hanging in the balance, as the Trojans head into their Friday walk-thru.

“I think Max has really stepped up and tried to take it,” said Kiffin on Thursday. “I’m not sure where we’re going to go yet. We’ll go back and look at (the film), but I know we have two really young kids …that are very talented and could play a number of positions on the (offensive) line eventually.”

The center position is also one of high discussion. Senior Khaled Holmes was injured during the Trojans’ win at Syracuse and was sorely missed last week at Stanford. Kiffin said Abe Markowitz was unavailable as well last week, leaving the team with Cyrus Hobbi as the third option.

The offensive line performed well during fall camp, but has yet to develop consistency through three games. USC is 93rd in the country in rushing out of 120 teams. They’ve given up seven sacks in the first three games after allowing just eight last season. Four of those sacks came last week against Stanford.