After a 42-29 win against Syracuse, No. 2 USC now shifts its focus to its Pac-12 opener against No. 21 Stanford Saturday in Palo Alto, Calif.
Though Stanford will no longer have quarterback Andrew Luck, USC coach Lane Kiffin thinks the Cardinal still feature many weapons to utilize on the field.
“They seem to have leaned on the running game, which is still really good,” Kiffin said. “They still have a really good offensive line and a great front seven. They’re going to be tough all year long for whoever they play.”
To neutralize Stanford’s running game, USC will have to subdue running back Stepfan Taylor, who has 185 yards and two touchdowns on the ground this season.
Kiffin also noted Stanford’s multiple front defensive scheme and how it can cause trouble for any offense.
“It puts pressure on everybody — on your offensive line, on your tight ends in protection and your backs in protection and your receivers and their hot routes,” Kiffin said. “Anytime you play these multiple front defenses, everybody has got to be on the same page.”
Looking back to last week’s win against Syracuse, Kiffin repeated his praise for the team in its ability to adjust to the weather delay at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
“Our players did a really good job, handled the situation well, came out and played a really good second half,” he said.
Kiffin also recognized the efforts of the redshirt freshmen tight end duo of Xavier Grimble and Randell Telfer, who have made their presence felt in the blocking game.
“Xavier and Randell played really well. They only got one catch between the two of them, but they’re very unselfish,” Kiffin said. “They block extremely well in the run game and for those outside screens.”
The Trojans will look to continue their winning ways and capitalize on their strengths, but Kiffin and the team concede that doing so against the consistent Cardinal will be no easy task.
“They’re really veteran when you look at their defense. They’ve been together for a really long time,” Kiffin said. “Their players are really smart, and they don’t make very many mistakes. You got to play really well to beat them.”