USC Practice Notebook: Stanford Week Begins
“They’re going to be tough all year long, for everybody they play,” Kiffin said to reporters after practice. “They run the ball really well, have a quarterback that’s taking care of the ball, and play really good defense.”
The Trojans’ mantra going into this season has been “Unfinished Business,” and perhaps no opponent epitomizes that more than the Cardinal, who have bested the Trojans for three consecutive seasons, including last season’s triple overtime 56-48 thriller in the Coliseum. Yet Kiffin insists that any back story is in the background ahead of this weekend’s clash.
“Every year is different. Every team is new. They’ve got a lot of new people, we’ve got a lot of new people, and so I don’t think it’s going to matter,” Kiffin stated. “I think it goes back to preparing really well and getting ready to go on the road in our conference opener.”
*One player who doesn’t have any history with the Cardinal is junior running back Silas Redd. The Penn State transfer notched his first 100-yard game as a Trojan versus Syracuse with 107 yards on 15 carries, and says he’s gradually becoming more accustomed to his role in the offense.
“I’m pretty comfortable,” said the Trojans’ leading rusher on the season. “[I] had a couple of mental lapses today but that’s not me not knowing anything, it’s just mental mistakes. I feel pretty good about the playbook.”
No matter how much success he’s had thus far, though, Redd concedes that conference games are an entirely different challenge than what he’s faced thus far.
“You have to have a little bit of a sense of urgency going into the conference,” he asserted. “This is where you make your money.”
*One of the biggest question marks concerns the status of senior center Khaled Holmes, who injured his lower right leg against Syracuse. Holmes is listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart but if he’s unable to go, redshirt freshman Cyrus Hobbi will get the call.
“[Hobbi] has been the backup for two years now,” said offensive line coach James Cregg. “I feel real comfortable with him knowing his assignments and what’s going on. He studies the game and has been real adequate as far as the camp goes and knowing what to do, so we’re excited about him.
Regardless of who starts in the middle, the entire offensive line will have its hands full with a deep and experienced Stanford front seven. But as talented as the Cardinal’s personnel are, it’s the schemes they run that have the Trojans’ work cut out for them.
“They’re really well coached, they’re fundamentally sound, they’ve got a great defensive line coach and they present a lot of problems,” he said.
“You’ve got to be on your game.”