Every Tuesday through Thursday morning, USC coach Lane Kiffin meets with media members following football practice, first summarizing the day’s session and then fielding a handful of questions.
But Kiffin abruptly ended his interview on Wednesday after roughly 28 seconds in response to a question about a previously injured player’s return to practice.
“Really good practice today,” said Kiffin to begin the media session at Howard Jones Field. “I thought the offense came out and was really crisp in both the running game and the passing game.”
In response to his opening statement, a reporter asked whether Kiffin thought the improved offensive performance was a “function” of the injured player’s return to practice in preparation for Saturday’s game against California.
“I don’t know,” Kiffin replied.
Midway through the next question about senior safety T.J. McDonald’s pass-rushing role against Stanford last Saturday, Kiffin simply said, “I gotta go,” brushed past a handful of reporters and jogged away.
He did not speak with the media further.
USC instituted a new policy in August preventing credential media members from reporting injury-related news they observe during practice. Citing the competitive disadvantage those reports create, Kiffin has also instructed his players not to comment on their respective injuries.
Last week, Scott Wolf, a reporter from the Los Angeles Daily News, had his USC football media credentials revoked for two weeks after he reported sophomore kicker Andre Heidari had undergone knee surgery and would be sidelined for three weeks.
Heidari had not played in the team’s Sept. 8 game against Syracuse in East Rutherford, N..J.
Upon appeal, the ban was lifted, and the reporter was reinstated two days later.
“I apologize if that was taken the wrong way,” Kiffin said last Thursday following Wolf’s reinstatement. “We viewed it differently. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong. The editors and our people are going to try and get together so you people can do your job the best you can and also for us not [to compromise] a competitive advantage. I know it’s not exactly the best thing for you, but we’re also trying to protect our team, too.”