(CBS) – Things are getting a little heated between Pac-12 South division rivals, Arizona State and USC before the two schools meet up Saturday night in Tempe.
Perhaps trying to unnerve the high-strung Sun Devils, the Trojans have been on a verbal assault through the media, aimed at All-American candidate Vontaze Burfict.
“He’s a dirty player. His switch is always on and it’s not a good switch” Matt Barkley told the Los Angeles Times.
Barkley recalls Burfict going after his knees when the two met up in High School, Barkley at Mater Dei, Burfict at Corona Centennial.
Matt Kalil, who repeatedly tried baiting Burfict into personal foul penalties last season said, “If I see him standing around, I’ll drill him.”
Sun Devil coach Dennis Erickson isn’t surprised the Trojans are talking, ” I’m sure they’re trying to get into his head because everyone we play does, but we’ll see how he plays. “
Burfict has the reputation for being a monster on the football field, good and bad, even getting a suspension from Erickson after head-butting Oregon State’s Ryan Katz.
But that was in the past, ” I haven’t seen him do anything wrong. Erickson told the media after Thursday nights practice. ” He’s got to be able to play like he plays too because the aggressiveness is what makes him a great football player.”
Even Lane Kiffin was gloating over Burfict’s talent, ” When he wants to turn it on, look out. He should definitely leave and go to the NFL.”
Chris Galippo did his talking about the talent on ASU’s roster, ” They did a good job feeding off the guys USC wasn’t offering. They did a good job with the four-star and three-star guys that USC maybe overlooked. “
The injury depleted Sun Devils could start as many as 12 guys from California on offense and defense on Saturday night.