Who would have thought heading into the USC/UCLA game that the Bruins would be the team at 8-2 overall, leading the Pac-12 South as the Trojans sit at 7-3 overall looking to overtake their rival? Lane Kiffin’s team has had some tough losses to Stanford, Arizona and Oregon, but at the same token Jim Mora has done some job with turning around the UCLA program from what it was in one season. USC looks to stay on the winning track this Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
Lane Kiffin joined XX 1090 Sports Radio in San Diego with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton to discuss the mental state of the USC Trojans, his impressions of Jim Mora at UCLA, the electricity for UCLA/USC, Matt Barkley’s senior experience being a key factor for a Trojans victory and playing the UCLA/USC game at the LA Coliseum or The Rose Bowl.
What’s the mental state of your team right now with three losses?
“Well I don’t think that’s on their mind. Those are over with especially when you have such a great rivalry game coming up and obviously UCLA is playing really well at the same time. All of our focus is on this week’s game.”
Your thoughts on what Jim Mora has done with UCLA so far?
“He’s done a great job first off. Coming in with a quarterback who hadn’t played before and he was red-shirting. They are just playing great on offense and they are playing really good overall. But the bottom line is to win games and that’s how we are judged and he’s done a real good job of doing that and winning the close games.”
What is the electricity like on the sidelines for UCLA vs. USC?
“You feel it in the stadium because it’s such an unusual rivalry. The crowd is so split. Usually schools aren’t that close in proximity, so it’s a very, very unusual rivalry that way and it’s just an electric atmosphere and so much hangs on the game in the world of recruiting too.”
Does Matt Barkley’s experience give this group an edge in this game?
“Well you’d like to think that. Veteran quarterbacks in big games sometimes play better than young quarterbacks, but there are so many other things that have to go right for quarterbacks to play well on offense and obviously they have no control of the other side of the ball.”
Is there a difference between playing this game at the LA Coliseum or The Rose Bowl?
“I don’t think it makes that much of a difference because the crowd is so split. It’s not like you are traveling on a road game because you are just taking the bus up the road, so I don’t think that plays a lot into it.”