The Trojans are a little under a week into fall camp. Lincoln Riley met with local reporters on Monday night to talk about where things stand, the offensive line, and more.

One of the key talking points centered around the presence of referees at practice as USC tries to detail its approach. Riley touched on what the officials offered, including some interesting perspective on why flags aren’t always necessarily a bad thing.

“We did two pretty long team periods tonight. Did a little more team than we’ve been doing,” he said. “First team period there was a lot of penalties. One took a touchdown off the board, one kept an offensive drive going. We talked about it a little bit midway through practice. Second team period was a lot cleaner in terms of penalties.

“The penalty deal is always a fine line. You typically go look at it during the season and the teams that have less penalties aren’t any good. Part of it is there’s just not enough aggression. If you’re playing this game the way it’s meant to be played, you are going to have some. What we’ve got to teach these guys is the aggressive nature. The administrative penalties, the dead-ball penalties after the play, stuff like that is what you have no room for. The occasional aggressive pass interference or a hold or whatever that is, you’ve got to play ball. Those things are going to happen if you’re playing as aggressive as you can.

“We’ve really been trying to just educate our guys on what the line is. We’ve talked a ton about the physicality and the edge we want to play with. But we’ve got to do it within the rules and obviously not shoot ourselves in the foot. It was good to get in front of those guys.”

What Riley’s saying bears out some. If you look at the 10 least penalized teams a season ago, you see ULM (4-8), Kansas (2-10), Eastern Michigan (7-6), Army (9-4), Washington (4-8), Navy (4-8), UNLV (2-10), Air Force (10-3), Northwestern (3-9), LSU (6-7), and Indiana (2-10). Alabama, for instance, had the sixth-most penalties in the country.

USC was penalized about eight times a game (95 total) in 12 games. That was one of the highest marks in the country. As Riley tries to get his team looking how he wants it on the field, it sounds like he wants that number to come down, just not completely.

You can see the rest of Riley’s availability below: