The No. 25 USC Trojans are just days away from the beginning of their 2011 season, slated to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday at home. Coach Lane Kiffin talked about that game and much more in an interview with reporters on Wednesday.
Asked about the Gophers specifically, Kiffin said, "Don't anticipate a lot of surprise in what they do...It's really more about scheming." It looks like the Trojans are approaching this game without preparing for specific Gopher players too much. Heavy scheming may be a good way to begin the season for these Trojans, allowing the defense to keep things simple and shake off any offseason rust.
On the other side of the ball, quarterback Matt Barkley will be a key for Kiffin this season. Asked about what he wants from his quarterback, Kiffin stated that Barkley needs to play with more consistency than last year and become a solid anchor for the Trojans. Kiffin mentioned that a 70% completion rate and a season with 30-plus touchdowns as well as under-10 interceptions are out of the question for his signal-caller.
Kiffin also addressed his thoughts on entering year two as USC's head coach: "I think it's more about knowing your staff and your roster...You feel like you're always scrambling your first year. You go into second year, you feel way ahead." Kiffin certainly looked relaxed during the interview and talked with enthusiasm about his team. He brought up on several occasions how his enhanced knowledge of the team this year will benefit USC's season.
Kiffin and the Trojans will get to show everyone just how well the team has prepared very soon against Minnesota. The game is scheduled for 12:30 PT and will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN2 and ESPN3.