Kiffin wants Markowitz on the field

LOS ANGELES -- USC coach Lane Kiffin was elated with the play of left guard Abe Markowitz in Saturday's win over Cal and plans to keep playing the fifth-year senior the rest of this season.

Kiffin said he couldn't commit to Markowitz continuing to start, but said he will probably figure into the Trojans' offensive line alignment going forward regardless.

"I know that we'd like to keep playing him regardless of who's starting and who's up or who's down," Kiffin said.

Sophomore Marcus Martin has been USC's starter at left guard since this time last season. Kiffin said over the weekend that the reason he did not play until the fourth quarter against Cal was "not because of his play," so he could re-assume the starting role at left guard.

And if Khaled Holmes is healthy, he'll be USC's No. 1 center.

Markowitz said Tuesday that he thought for most of last week that he'd be stepping in for Holmes against Cal, until he found out Holmes would in fact be returning from an injury he appeared to suffer against Syracuse earlier this month.

"At the beginning of the week, I thought I'd be playing center," Markowitz said. "Then I had to play guard by the end of the week."

Quarterback Matt Barkley thought Markowitz did a "pretty good job" in his starting debut for the Trojans.

"I mean, there were times that you could've asked for more from him," Barkley said Tuesday. "But for his first full game like that, I thought he did well."

Markowitz was all smiles after USC's Tuesday practice, saying he was grateful for the opportunity to finally start in his fifth collegiate season.

He just had one minor critique of the Trojans' offense.

"There were a couple series when we out there and just did three straight passes and I was like, 'Ah, we should've ran the ball,' " Markowitz said. "And then the next drive we pounded it, ran the ball and drove down the field."