Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 10/23/12
LOS ANGELES -- There is nothing illegal about players changing uniform numbers during the course of a game. Different, but not illegal. So when Cody Kessler switched from No. 35 to his usual No. 6 on Saturday, it was well within NCAA rules, as USC head coach Lane Kiffin pointed out on Tuesday. We change jerseys all the time with our guys, Kiffin said. We changed some more this week. Everything is within college rules. USC special teams coach John Baxter is known for his successful, yet sometimes off-the-cuff schemes. The new numbers game USC played last week appears to be his brainchild. I honestly, have no idea why I did it, said Kessler about his first half number swap. I dont know if it was some scheme thing he wanted to do or something like that. I have no idea. Baxter was not available for comment. As the special teams coach, his availability along with the defensive players and coaches is on Wednesday. Kessler, the third string quarterback, who is also the holder on special teams, says he walked into the Trojans locker room at the Coliseum on Saturday when Baxter told him that hed be wearing uniform No. 35. Kessler says he didnt ask any questions, he was just doing what he was told. His teammates joked with him that he looked like a running back in the No. 35 jersey. After the Trojans reached the endzone for the second time in the game, Kessler did his best running back impersonation by rushing in a two point try. However, it was called back because of a holding penalty. As the holder on the USC PAT, also known as The Score Team, Kessler runs the migrations the unit goes through, determining if theyll kick or instead go for two. Its just a read thing, Kessler said. Coach Baxter has always done the migration stuff. He always gives me a look to look for and what to read and so I get up there and I read it and if we have the look we want, then we run it and if we dont, we shift and kick. The migrations, along with the number swap, represent even more things that the Trojans now have on tape for opponents to pay attention to. With each shift and change of personnel thats even more time opponents have to spend time to prepare for, not knowing if the Trojans are going to use it or not. Call it gamesmanship. Thats a huge part, Kiffin said. Thats why we do a lot of the stuff we do. For instance, the PAT stuff that they do, thats not they just got out there and shift. Theyre in different formations almost all the time and different alignments. Thats because its a pain to prepare for. You got to waste time preparing for that instead of spending more time on offense and defense. Last week it was Kessler wearing jersey No. 35. On Saturday at Arizona, it'll be?
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