A physical practice starts a big week for the Trojans...
- Overlook Utah State at your own risk. The Aggies are a tough match-up with dual threat QB Chuckie Keeton (12 TDs to 1 INT this season) and a stout defense (No. 14 ranked defense in the nation in 2012).
- Lane Kiffin on Keeton: "This is a dynamic player. We're going to have to do a great job covering because he can throw the ball. And, we're going to have to do a great job tackling because he's so elusive."
- While Weber State is not the same challenge as USC, Utah State put up 70 points last week. Marqise Lee warned the offense about being lured into a shootout mentality. "We've just got to stay focused on our game," he said. "Just because they are a high-powered offense and do what they do, doesn't force us to do extra things and move too fast. Take our time, do what we usually do, and it will get the job done."
- However, if the defense does yield some points, Lee and company are ready to pick up the unit that has carried the team through three games. "They've been holding us up," said Lee about the D. "We feel as an offense that we need to do our part and that's what we did last week."
- On Saturday, Lee scored his first touchdown since November 17 against UCLA. "It's been a minute," he admitted. He also noticed Lane Kiffin trying to run with him on his 80-yard dash down the sideline. "I told Coach Kiffin, 'Oh, you almost caught me,'" he said during the team film session. "Then Hayes [Pullard] had a comment, 'If he can catch you, I can catch you.' I was like, 'There's no way.'"
- Senior WR De'Von Flournoy had more catches against Boston College than the rest of his career combined. Nevertheless, he has always been known as a valuable locker room leader, and now a third receiver candidate if Darreus Rogers is injured. "D-Flo always played an important role as a team player," said Lee. "D-Flo knows the playbook left to right like the back of his hand. Now, he's in and doing what he's supposed to. Now, he's stepping up."
- Flournoy caught as many balls as Lee against the Eagles because Cody Kessler was "hitting the open guy" and going through as many as four progressions per play. The quarterback knows that "guys are keying on [Lee] a lot more" so he is using all his weapons.
- For Kessler, confidence is high after a career performance, "Everything is just flowing right now." He is hitting the film room this week to prepare for Utah State's "unique schemes" in which "guys move around a lot" to disguise the look.
- When asked if Max Nikias will be calling the first play again this week, Kiffin smiled, "No, I don't think so. He's 0-for-1." Here is the full press conference...