Lane Kiffin sees challenge in containing Hawaii quarterback
USC Coach Lane Kiffin has spoken at length about the problems Hawaii’s run-and-shoot offense presents for defenses.
But do the Trojans really need to fret?
USC routed Hawaii at the Coliseum in 2003 when record-setting quarterback Timmy Chang was at the controls for the Warriors and in 2005 in Honolulu when Colt Brennan alternated at the spot.
Now comes Bryant Moniz, a former walk-on and part-time pizza delivery man who became Hawaii’s starting quarterback in October and nearly led the Warriors to a bowl game.
“We’re like a butterfly floating, and our offense stings like a bee,” Moniz told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last week after completing 27 of 34 passes against a scout team simulating USC’s defense.
Moniz, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior, played high school football in Hawaii and passed for 18 touchdowns at Fresno City College in 2007. He sat out the 2008 season, enrolling at Hawaii in January 2009.
After starter Greg Alexander suffered a knee injury in the fourth game last season, Moniz moved into the lineup and passed for 2,396 yards and 14 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
“It’s hard to get to him,” Kiffin said Sunday. “It’s hard to get a lot of sacks on these guys for as much as they throw the ball.
“You get so spread out too that once a guy starts to move around there’s a lot of space there. So we’re going to have to do a phenomenal job of tackling in space.”
That might prove difficult for a Trojans team that has not tackled for weeks in trying to avoid injuries.
Lineman is lost
Reserve offensive lineman Abe Markowitz suffered a foot injury during practice and will be sidelined at least four weeks, several sources confirmed. The injury was first reported by USCFootball.com.
Markowitz, a sophomore from Hawaii who was awarded a scholarship during training camp, was listed as the No. 2 center on the depth chart.
Michael Reardon, who has been working at guard, could move to that spot, but Reardon sat out Sunday’s practice. Reardon was previously sidelined because of hip soreness.
Hall is suspended
Patrick Hall, a freshman safety from Oxnard, has been suspended indefinitely, Kiffin said.
“This was not one major incident … or anything having to do with the law,” Kiffin said. “This is a combination of everything coming together, meeting with him and not feeling like he’s got the same goals as the rest of our players do.”
Hall, from Ventura St. Bonaventure High, was a 2009 signee but suffered a major knee injury during his first training-camp workout last summer and was later declared ineligible. He re-enrolled at USC in the spring.
Hall could not be reached for comment.
Butler makes push
Receiver Brice Butler put on a show during practice, catching three touchdown passes.
“By far [Butler’s] best day since I’ve been here,” Kiffin said. “He was all over the place making big-time catches.”
Butler, who lately has declined interview requests, perhaps was motivated by a glance at the depth chart. Senior Ronald Johnson and freshman Robert Woods are the starters.
“He could have been upset there’s a true freshman starting over him,” Kiffin said. “I tell them all the time, ‘If you don’t like where you are on the depth chart, play better.’ ”