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USC Coach Lane Kiffin Has Jake Locker's Back

In advance of Saturday’s game between the University of Washington Huskies and the University of Southern California Trojans, USC head coach Lane Kiffin had some nice things to say to Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times about Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who has fallen on hard times after plummeting from the ranks of Heisman hopefuls.

USC Coach Lane Kiffin said Sunday night that Locker was the best player USC will have faced this season and that the 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior was worthy of projections as the possible No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

“One game is never going to define a player,” he said.

That’s easy for Kiffin to say. He didn’t go 4-20 against Nebraska. Locker did, and the piling on continues. Writes Yahoo!’s Matt Hinton

I can’t say definitively that Washington quarterback Jake Locker’s afternoon was the worst regular-season performance ever by a quasi-serious Heisman candidate on national television. Star players come and go, and their many forgettable efforts over the years have been, you know, forgettable. But for a guy who’d already been “etched in stone” as the No. 1 overall pick next year, it might have been ugly enough to cost him a little bit of money.

Whatever the scouts think, it was certainly ugly enough – in the hyped, early showcase game for the Huskies’ long-awaited comeback tour from the depths of the Pac-10 – to relegate Locker to the ranks of former Heisman candidates before the discussion can really begin.

Jake Locker will begin work on redefining himself on Saturday against Kiffin’s Trojans.