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USC Football Notebook: Past Oregon, On To Arizona State

Will Robinson |
November 7, 2012 | 5:54 p.m. PST

Senior Sports Editor

McDonald and the defense will try to avenge last year's embarrassment in Tempe. (James Santelli/NT)
McDonald and the defense will try to avenge last year's embarrassment in Tempe. (James Santelli/NT)
After a second-straight poor performance by the defense against a spread team, the Trojans aim to rebound against a third spread squad – Todd Graham’s Arizona State Sun Devils. Though most of USC coach Lane Kiffin’s were about the porous D, wideout Marqise Lee’s Heisman candidacy video debuted today (which you should watch here). Nonetheless, as the cliché goes, defense wins championships… and Wednesday practice’s attention.

The full Monte: Kiffin keeps accepting responsibility
The elder Kiffin, Monte, echoed sentiments he shared Saturday night after No. 19 USC’s loss to No. 3 Oregon that the brunt of any blame falls on him

“It starts with me,” Monte said. “That’s why you can’t start pointing fingers. It doesn’t matter. We gotta step up.”

The Trojans allowed a gaudy 730 yards and 62 points, both records for opponents against USC. They also allowed 588 yards to Arizona the previous week.

And he’s conscious of the outside criticism, joking, “I’m not reading [the Los Angeles Times] this week.”

“You gotta go to your squad, get them back, we just gotta move to the next game,” Kiffin said. “That’s when you gotta step up as a coach.”

Another game, another strong offense
The Sun Devils will come to the L.A. Coliseum with another strong offense, with a balanced attack averaging more points and about the same yards per game compared to USC. Quarterback Taylor Kelly and the three-headed backfield monster of D.J. Foster, Cameron Marshall and Marion Grace (as well as Kelly, the team leader in rush attempts) lead Graham’s run-slanted, quick spread.

“[Arizona St.] present issues because [Kelly] is playing very efficient,” Lane Kiffin said. “It’s not the same type of pace we just faced, so the good thing about that is that after Oregon games, you do see a fast pace, so at least you’ve played against it.”

After Oregon, the Trojans and Kiffin can only do one thing.

“We’re moving forward,” the head coach stated. “We’re gonna have a really good week of practice and hopefully get back on track and play defense like we had been prior to the last five-and-a-half quarters.”

“Keep doing our own job”
Safety T.J. McDonald made that abundantly clear today.

“We’re just trying to get back to work, working hard, making sure we improve on all our little details,” the senior said.

After waiting the week, the defense just wants to put last game behind them.

“We’ve got a chip on our shoulder,” McDonald said. “We want to go out there and prove that we’re the defense we know we are.”

“We gotta stay disciplined, stay on all our assignments and make sure our mentality doesn’t change.”


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