Former USC assistants Kiffin and Sarkisian talk about first match-up

Former USC assistants under Pete Carroll, Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian, will face off as head coaches on Saturday at The Coliseum in Los Angeles. 

Both Kiffin and Sarkisian acknowledged their close friendship during respective press conferences today, but Kiffin didn’t really want to make a big story out of Kiffin vs. Sarkisian.

Kiffin said, “I don’t think it’s relevant.” 

Kiffin said he was sure he would talk to Sark during the week, but joked, “He’ll send some texts and messages to try to manipulate or trick me into something.  He’ll try it all this week.  Yeah (it’s still a great friendship).  Maybe he’ll let our band play this year.  Last year, they didn’t let our band play last year at Washington.”

Sarkisian said, “Fortunately for everybody involved, Lane and I aren't going to be blocking or tackling or running or throwing or catching Saturday. So we're all OK there. We're going to let the premier athletes do that. You know, both of us have been mentored for this opportunity to be head coaches. He's done a nice job, I think we've done a nice job. These are both jobs we thought we special ones, especially in the Pac-10. It's a unique experience, this early in our careers, to be facing each other in such a pivotal ball game in the Pac-10 race.”

"Yeah, we talk. We text. It's a good friendship. It's one that keeps us healthy in the profession. The ability to talk to another head coach and bounce ideas off of. Because so much of this profession is keeping things in close and in tight and you can't share with anybody. The ability to share with Lane different thoughts, different ideas, different frustrations that maybe you don't want everyone else to see, but you can bounce it off him and he understands. So it's been a good relationship that way."

Kiffin said, “They do know us really well on both sides of the ball.  The amount of hours, whether it was myself and Sarkisian or Nick Holt and my Dad at times, we are very familiar with each other.  Probably have to be careful to not overanalyze it too much and just make sure we are playing really fast.”

Kick-off is set for 8:00 pm EST on ABC or ESPN2. 


Paul Johnson says Yellow Jackets had 85 missed assignments

Georgia Tech is 2-2 on the season with loses to Kansas and NC State.  Today, Paul Johnson made it quite obvious that he is NOT happy with his team.

Johnson said, “After watching the tape, I was more disappointed than I was after the game, if that is possible. I was really frustrated and this is probably the second or third time this year that we have played with little emotion in the mental aspect. The physical aspect wasn’t great, but it was ok. The mental aspect of it was just out there. We have guys that have played for two or three years that are doing things that there is no explanation for. Concentration, paying attention to detail, all of those things, we just have to do a better job of getting through the basic fundamentals. With some of the stuff that we busted in the (NC State) game is really unexplainable. They can’t explain it when you show it to them on tape either.

“Actually, we had 43 missed assignments on one end and 42 on the other. There were so many -- from turning guys loose on pass protection to us going the wrong way, we were busted the first play of the game on offense. These are guys that have played for two or three years and it is not new stuff. This is just mental lapses and holes in concentration.”

“You have to stay in your rush lanes, you have to make a block, you have to make a tackle. It isn’t complicated stuff. I think we have had 125 passes thrown against us, and one interception in the secondary. We have seven sacks, one sack where somebody made a block, the rest they turned them loose.”

“I am not going to single out any players, there are a lot of guys that could be leaders. I don’t think one or two players could do it. I think it has to be the nucleus.”

Georgia Tech travels to Wake Forest this weekend. 

Les Miles: Offensively nobody is satisfied in our building

During a press conference today, Les Miles summarized the West Virginia game, addressed his quarterback play, and offered his opinion on the booing by Tiger fans in Tiger Stadium.

Miles said, "Enjoyed again another wonderful evening in Tiger Stadium. ... I can tell you that the West Virginia team was a very, very capable football team. They had a quality defense, a very explosive offense, they were very good in special teams, and frankly we were in control of that game the entire time."

"That quarterback was pressured the whole night. Again, the special teams, I think our average starting possession was the 37 yard line and I think theirs was the 25 yard line. We controlled every special teams snap. Our coverage units were very crisp with tackling, our return units got yardage.”

"Offensively nobody is satisfied in our building."

"Our quarterback didn't throw three balls well at all. He threw one right to them and two that were incomplete. ... I was very pleased with the running game. I think our running backs are coming to life. I think our line is understanding the commitment to the rush. I have had quarterbacks not nearly as talented as either one of these two guys. ... It's an offensive issue. It's one that we need to make sure we correct collectively. ... I've had quarterback's that have not played well ... but they seemed to get better and I suspect this will happen again."

(on the booing by Tiger fans) "I guess I'm stuck this way. I'm a purist when it comes to sports. I've always felt like when you've stepped in between those white lines ... those people that stepped in between those white lines played for score and competition. ... I've never in my life seen the reason to root negatively. I root strong for the team I support. I was raised in Ohio where I went to the Browns games. ... I did not know how to root against Dallas, I did not know how to root against St. Louis because I was rooting so strongly for the Browns."

LSU hosts Tennessee on Saturday at 3:30 pm EST on CBS.


Lunchtime Coaches Quick Hits

Derek Dooley on traveling to LSU: “We probably will travel 66-68 guys and 30 have never been on a road trip at Tennessee.”

“If we serve one up to him (Patrick Peterson), it will be the fastest 6 points you’ve ever seen.”

(Dooley jokes) “I was going to paint the field, but that didn’t work for Oregon State.  If they have beaten Oregon State, I may have put a big (Tiger) eye on our field.  I don’t know how you simulate Tiger Stadium unless you have a practice in Neyland Stadium and had all our fans screaming at us.” 


Oregon State head coach Mike Riley once again dealing with slow start to season: “And here we are again. There’s no difference, is there. But this team has to prove it (can rebound). It’s not a given we can do that. We have to play better. … what I hope is that we understand what good competition is and the detail of what it takes to beat a good team. We’ve got to do better. That’s just basically it in a nutshell.’’ 


Joker Phillips concerned about tackling: “I'm not at all concerned about our schemes. I think we've got to become better tacklers, and if that calls for us to have tackling drills throughout the week, we've got to have that.” 


Quoting Norm Chow: "This is my third year, and each year we've started five different guys. It's never been that way anywhere else. But this new run game, we've simplified a ton. These guys are blocking the same guy 90 percent of the time."


Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit talks about his quarterback: “You don’t want him to be a robot, because you’re taking away a lot of really good things he really, really does well. The (Brett) Favre guy goes out there, he’s going to throw picks. Those style of quarterbacks, that’s what’s going to happen. At times, they’re going to get a little careless because they think they can get the ball in there in tight spots. So, you’ve got to make them understand the timing of the game, where we’re at. Like the one intercept, we didn’t need him to throw (downfield). The check wasn’t bad.”

“I’d take him. I like him. I think he’s doing really a good job for us. Do we need better? Yeah, but that’s everybody. We all have to get better. But I’d rather have a guy with talent and the moxie and the passion that he has than be worried about a quarterback that’s scared to death back there.” 


Lane Kiffin talks about going against Steve Sarkisian: “It really doesn’t mean anything.  This game isn’t about myself or him, as far as how I view it.  It’s our conference home opener.   This is a team that beat us last year.  This has nothing to do with me and him.  We need to play well and win this game.” 

“Defense, there is a ton of similarities (UW compared to old USC).  They are pretty much out of the book what we did here.  Offensively, they have changed due to his personnel.” 


Rick Neuheisel: “We just weren’t playing very fast.  We weren’t playing really well up front in week 2 and week 3.  Too much thinking and too much hesitating.”

"We're not clicking on all cylinders in respect to all the machinations of the pistol offense."

"If we can't learn the lesson from last weekend about people counting one team out, then we aren't very smart."

"Let me say this, we just have to get better. This week is about focus. We have to earn the right to have a great afternoon."


Greg Schiano: “It’s disappointing, but this is a young team that’s going to stick together, and we are going to get better and we are going to learn from these examples.”


Houston Nutt talks about Masoli: "He had eight poor decisions last week (and) he only had four this week, so he's getting much better. He made a lot of big plays yesterday. A lot of big plays. You just can't have the fumble and the interception, and he knows that."

Quoting Kevin Sumlin: "For our defense to accept the challenge of where we were, to get some stops and turnovers and put points on the board, I think what you see is a complete team win. To win games like that coming off a situation like we did, as a coach, you're encouraged. Different people in different areas of our football team accepted that challenge and really, really created the success for us at the end of the game."

“To get through some adversity and win really, really is what makes and builds confidence. To be in that situation and see how people responded when we had to have something done … that says volumes for who we are right now.”

Quoting Tulane head coach Bob Toledo: "The story here is 42-23. In the first half, our kicking game kind of put us in a bind and offensively, we couldn't get first downs so our defense was on the field way too long. They kind of got worn down a little bit. They came out in the second half and made a couple of big plays, got back in the game, and then those last couple of drives we just fell apart.” 

"Those two turnovers just killed us and then we let them run the ball into the end zone in the that last play. We had a chance to make it a game at the end and we let it slip away. But again, I've got to give credit to Houston. They won the football game."

Mack Brown: Outhit, outhustled, outcoached in all 3 phases. Totally unacceptable at Texas.

Mack Brown was pretty much miserable today during his press conference.  He spoke the hard truth and put the blame on himself and his assistants.

Brown started by saying, “We got outhit, outhustled, outcoached in all three phases. Totally unacceptable at Texas.” 

“You want to play hard.  Texas football teams play hard.  If you don’t, it’s on me and our assistant coaches.  We get paid for getting them ready.  That’s our job.”

“I didn’t get them ready.  Assistants get them ready.  It’s a shame. It’s been a long time around here since I didn’t think we played with passion for 60 minutes.” 

“We lost three turnovers for the 2nd week in a row.  We didn’t make our first and third down efficiency.  We looked discouraged and we didn’t play to the end. We missed 15 tackles for 92 yards.  We had 18 missed assignments. We only forced 2 turnovers. Special teams are supposed to create field position, make big plays, and regain momentum, and we didn’t do any of them. We didn’t answer all day.”

“One of the worst things you can do as a coach is have 12 on the field.  We had 12 on the field on defense and special teams.  It was probably the worst we’ve been on punt block & return since we’ve been here.”

“You don’t forget, you move forward.   I’ve told the kids whatever you read this week will be fair.” 

“We’ve only lost back-to-back games 4 times in 13 years.  We’re lucky Saturday wasn’t a conference game.  With OU this weekend, we have to get back to work.  The biggest think is they are +8 in the turnover margin and we are -3.”


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