Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor
The Trojans face their first real all-around threat when the Aggies make their trip to the Coliseum this Saturday. Even with the statistically impressive Chuckie Keeton at the helm of a dynamic offense, Coach Kiffin believes his team is focused and ready for the difficult task at hand.
- The team concentrated on what Coach Kiffin called "mental" work today after another physical week of practice. With injury numbers still relatively high, the team practiced in shorts per usual with this year's Thursday practices.
- Against Boston College USC had 10 penalties for 100 yards, a statistic Coach Kiffin hopes to improve upon. The head coach cited poor in-game decision making as the source of the problem. "Those have been gone over on film and we're making sure that we're not making those same mistakes in practice."
- Kiffin continued to praise Utah State, emphasizing all week to his players that this is not a game to be overlooked. "This is a really good team, a very talented team, not just on offense but on defense," said the head coach. "Even in the games where they have barely lost against bigger teams, for the most part they've out played them."
- The Aggies are undoubtedly a first-quarter team, scoring one-third of their total points this season in the first quarter alone. "They've started really fast," said Kiffin. "You look at first quarter scoring last year, this is a team that's really started games fast."
- The focus on Chuckie Keeton remains of the utmost importance for the Trojan defense. The Aggie quarterback leads an offense averaging roughly 331 passing yards per game that is ranked 9th in the nation in passing efficiency. Kiffin thinks Keeton just keeps getting better and better saying, "As well as he played last year he's improved this year with his accuracy, his throwing, he's really on time and he doesn't get sacked much," said Kiffin. "He's a really unique player, to me he looks a lot like Russell Wilson. He just finds ways to make plays."
- Utah State has scored 148 points in their first three games, averaging 49.3 points per game. Their highly-touted offense is ranked eighth in the nation for points per game, 12th for total offense, and fourth for third down efficiency. Kiffin noted this saying, "This is the best offense that we've played. They are very dynamic. We're going to have to tackle extremely well and we're going to have to cover because they're really good. There is a reason they're scoring 50 points per game."
- UCLA's Shaquelle Evans interviewed with ESPN 710 on Thursday morning and had some critical comments regarding the Trojans. Kiffin addressed the issue saying, "Kids will be kids. None of that stuff bothers me. You can't control everything or shut down all social media. We're worried about this game and we're going to have to play really well on Saturday."
- Here's Coach Kiffin after another physical week of practice...