It was a beautiful day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena where the Pac-10 hosted it's media day under the scorching rays of the sun that melted everyone's faces who weren't under the shade.
But while mine and the media's faces continually to sweat profusely, the coaches of the Pac-10, alongside a player they chose from the football team to join them during the event, discussed their team and the season that could not come any sooner.
It was no surprise that Lane Kiffin, with Matt Barkley by his side, was the coach everyone wanted to speak with since he was at home in LA. As hot as the day was, it wasn't as hot as Kiffin's chair as the media blitzed him with questions concerning the way he left Tennessee, the sanctions that hit USC, recruiting, and the state of USC today.
Here are some highlights of the day from Kiffin's interview:
With the current hot topic with Kiffin, as if there aren't any hot topics on Kiffin, he answered the question on the lawsuit and what it is about.
"I think it has to do with the location of the team that's in the lawsuit," Kiffin said.
On the perception of USC declining and how crucial it is to start on a good note:
"It's very crucial. We would love to have what I call a 'fresh' start because of the new coaching staff and new players coming could rid of that perception that USC is going to crumble. These last two weeks have been significant to USC with (USC athletic director) Pat Haden, (Senior athletic director assistant) J.K. McKay, and (offensive coordinator) Kennedy Pola coming back because it sends a powerful message in a time where people think personnel are leaving, rather than joining USC."
On fans' expectations because of sanctions:
"I do not imagine 'SC fans lowering their expectations. We have high expectations for our players and coaches. We didn't come here to only go through the sanctions, we came here to win and win championships.
On the media's negative perception on Lane:
"It doesn't bother me. It doesn't worry me or keep me up at night. In the end, we're either going to win a lot and people are going to like us or lose and people say 'I told you so'. Time will tell all that... It doesn't bother me what you (the media) guys write about me, it's your opinion, your job. I'm not the guy who's going to try to get your numbers and tell you off."
On Jeff Fisher criticizing Lane:
"When Jeff said those comments, I did take it personal. Not just because he's from USC, but because I have a lot of respect for coach Fisher. I feel confident after having a conversation with Jeff and going through the details with him of the process that we went through to hire Kennedy Pola and he feels differently now. Whether he can come out and say that now, I don't know, it's up to him."
"We don't want to see the late hits, backs hits, and personal fouls that I saw from tapes of last season. We've implemented things in practices that other players haven't seen such as running laps. Running laps isn't a big punishment, but you do miss reps and lose recognition. It's very critical to me, the team's offense and defensive standpoint, and my dad (Monte Kiffin) is on it all the time."
On looking for a coach after Todd McNair left:
"In the last two weeks I was researching to look for guys to come in. We were actually far down the road with Eric Bieniemy coming, but at the last minute he decided to stay at Minnesota, which led us to Kennedy Pola."
On Pat Haden in regards to the lawsuit:
"He wasn't pleased, nor was I. He was well aware of every step of this. I told him everything when I first came up with Kennedy's name to the timeline and events that happened after that."
On the media not picking USC No.1 in the media poll:
"I wouldn't have either. We went 5-4 in the conference last year, lost four guys in the draft, and lost the most successful coach in college football for the last nine years. Oregon just won the conference, when I saw the polls I was surprised we were picked second."
On the negative news of USC hitting Kiffin since he became head coach:
"There's been a misconception that there's been a negative string of events that have happened for the six months I've been here. The sanctions have nothing to do with the things I've said for the last six months. The past news about me (lawsuit) really is the only controversial news. I could argue that I've been more controversial"
On senior wide receiver Brandon Carswell:
"He was leaving to Cincinnati. I talked to him and his Dad that he was leaving a good education. He is only five courses away from graduating. I begged him to stay, getting a degree is helpful down the road. He decided to stay."
Here are some of the highlights from Barkley's interview:
On growing as a player:
"Last year, with the experience, it helped a lot. To expand on that, traveling and playing in the games we played in helped me a lot to develop to who I am. I could have done better at times last year, but that was last year."
On considering transferring:
"It never entered my mind. I've always wanted to go to USC. I wouldn't give up anything to go anywhere else. To get a degree from USC is huge."
On what he will do after the season:
"It opens a lot of opportunities. I will probably go oversees and go on a mission trip. I've talked to people in my church and we'll go to Africa or South America. I want to do something that will benefit me because this is only a one time opportunity and I want to make the most of this trip. It will help me grow along the way."
On the negative perception of Lane:
"We know who he is and we know through his teachings and how displays himself, we know he's our coach. He's not a betrayer. He's a loyal Trojan. He's a genuine coach."
On missing the opportunity to play in the Rose Bowl:
"Our goal is to win as many games as we can entering the season, and that hasn't change. It's not us to decide who's the best team in the country, but if we win every game then it's not competition. It should be good for us in the long run."
Kiffin did confirm that senior wide out, Trayvon Patterson, did in fact transfer from USC to Colorado where he is training now. Patterson joins Jordan Campbell, Malik Jackson, and DJ Shoemate as the players who have used their exclusive transfer waivers that are able to use because of the sanctions that were handed down on USC by the NCAA.
"I'm just glad that all our lineman are intact," said Kiffin.