Preparing for Arizona with ... Colorado

LOS ANGELES -- Like every other college football coach in the country, Lane Kiffin has emphasized to his team and to the media the importance of taking things one game at a time this season and not looking past any opponents.

The thing is, Kiffin himself didn't really abide by his own doctrine last week. The USC coach admitted Wednesday that he used last week's win over Colorado as a trial run for defensive rotations he's going to incorporate further in the coming weeks.

The Trojans felt so confident they would top the Buffaloes with ease, they essentially started to prepare defensively for Arizona and Oregon mid-game, rotating players in and out to practice what the Wildcats' and Ducks' offenses are going to require.

"Even though we didn't expect Colorado to be up-tempo, we didn't want to wait until this week to get used to our rotations and shuffling of guys," Kiffin said. "So we did it even though it was a slower moving offense."

Kiffin said he didn't know if it was rare to install things in game situations down the road.

"It was good, regardless," Kiffin said. "To get guys snaps in the beginning of the game instead of just at the end of the game was critical for us, because we're going to need those guys at some point during the year."

Developing depth is, as it has been all season, an issue for the Trojans. Kiffin has said he's ultra-confident in his first 22 players but indicated the confidence drops off significantly for the second 22.

But USC will need a full second-string worth of defensive players to play effective defense against Arizona on Saturday, and especially against Oregon the next week.

That's why the Trojans subbed so much last week.

"We wanted to not get to this week and all of a sudden have a no-huddle rotation, so even though they weren't in no-huddle we treated our reps that way," Kiffin said. "That's why you really saw all of our guys -- even T.J. (McDonald) and Nickell (Robey) -- rotate in there, which is unusual for us."