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Lane Kiffin says USC's extra-point trickery is still in the arsenal

The Trojans haven't used any fancy formations on extra-point attempts this season, but Coach Lane Kiffin says they'll be back, eventually.

September 19, 2013|By Gary Klein
  • USC Coach Lane Kiffin says the Trojans haven't abandoned their unique extra-point formations, after all, they're only three games into the season, they could still make an appearance.
USC Coach Lane Kiffin says the Trojans haven't abandoned their unique… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

It's been a subtle change, nothing near as drastic as hiring a new defensive coordinator or relying on the running game instead of the pass.

Through three games, USC has yet to line up in the funky extra-point formations that were standard the last two seasons and seemed to audibly exasperate Trojans fans at the Coliseum.

The murmur translated as: "Just kick the extra point!"

"It wasn't a major thing," Coach Lane Kiffin said of deploying a more traditional alignment. "We always kind of change things up. So we still have all our stuff available and use it different weeks for certain reasons.

"And we haven't had a lot of scenarios where we just wanted to do it."

USC did not abandon the formations because of fan reaction, Kiffin said.

"We have great fans," he said, "but I don't think about the fans when it comes to plays or formations."

Kiffin did not rule out strategic use of the formations as the season progresses. USC plays Utah State on Saturday at the Coliseum.

"We've only played three games, so they're still on film" from last season, Kiffin said. "So everybody is still using time practicing against them.

"They're coming back out eventually."

Tight fit

Randall Telfer suddenly looked hungry when informed of tailback Tre Madden's statement.

Madden fumbled one of his carries in last week's victory over Boston College and joked after the game that he would take out to dinner the player who had recovered the ball and helped avert a turnover.

Telfer, a junior tight end who came up with the ball, had yet to collect on Madden's pledge early this week.

"But I think I'm going to hold him to it," a grinning Telfer said.

Critics of Kiffin's conservative play-calling in a 10-7 loss to Washington State were happy to see Telfer and fellow tight end Xavier Grimble reappear in the Trojans' passing game against Boston College.

Telfer caught his first two passes of the season and gained 17 yards. Grimble had two receptions for 23 yards.

"I've always felt a part of the game plan," Telfer said. "I was just called on to be a run blocker and stay in protection … so we could get the ball in the hands of the playmakers.

"Whatever helps us win. As long as we get points on the board."

Quick hits

Kiffin said remarks about USC, such as those UCLA receiver Shaquelle Evans made during a radio interview on Wednesday, did not bother him. "They're struggling," Evans told ESPN-AM (710). "It's just awesome to see that. I hate 'em, so I'm just loving it." Said Kiffin: "They're college kids, let 'em be. Let them have fun." …Trojans players have rallied around senior safety Gerald Bowman, whose father passed away this week. "We're here for him," Kiffin said, adding, "Our team's really good at being there for each other in these situations and we've had a lot of guys that have gone through stuff lately that can help him."

gary.klein@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimesklein

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