Before I get started, I want to say a few things. I’ve never been one of those people who says fire the coach at the first sign of struggle. I’ve seen enough football to understand how complicated a game it is, and coaches need time to gel with their teams. Plus, it’s not like me to be very vocal when it comes to someone’s job and personal financial dependence. I also don’t want anyone to think my faith in USC is shaken by the recent struggles. It has never and will never be questioned. Having said that, there are a few things I would like to say about our current head coach Lane Kiffin, and his father Monte.
The fact is all three of our losses this year can be blamed on Lane Kiffin. Against Stanford, we led 14-7 at halftime, and got shut out in the 2nd half. Stanford made adjustments, we didn’t. Against Arizona, all we had to do was control ourselves and take care of business, but the players were clearly looking ahead to the next week, and that’s on the coaches. That lack of focus is the reason that the players got lazy with the ball, and committed all those penalties. Speaking of which, we lead the nation in penalty yardage, which is a lack of control from the coaching staff.
And sure, no one has stopped Oregon, but there’s a difference between not being able to stop them, and not even being able to slow them down on any of their possessions. You had a week to prepare (probably two in the coaches minds), and that’s the defensive scheme you came up with? How does Lane not try a surprise onside kick? What’s the difference if they get the ball on the 20 or the 50? Oregon will score anyways. By constantly kicking it off to them, he was essentially giving them points, and for someone who makes no secret about how arrogant he is, he couldn’t pull the trigger on a seemingly obvious gamble.
Oh yeah, and not let’s add on the fact that today, USC was fined because a “student manager” deflated some of the game balls before the game against Oregon. Yeah, I find it hard to believe that Lane had nothing to do with this, and assuming he did, it’s really shady that the student manager, who has now been dismissed from the team, is taking the fall for it. This comes just a couple weeks after USC was also caught switching jerseys for players on extra points. Kiffin played it off as a standard practice, and it is a standard practice….of cheating. Stuff like this is not what USC is all about: can you imagine Pete Carroll doing any of this stuff? I don’t think so.
I was willing to let the Stanford loss slide. Anyone who followed USC during the days of Pete Carroll knows that USC is prone to dropping one of those random games. Stanford has one of the best front seven in the nation, and Stanford outplayed us in the second half. But then you have the loss to Arizona, who goes out the next week and gets absolutely destroyed by UCLA the following week. Let me say that again. UCLA DESTROYED ARIZONA! Consider the talent level of USC, the talent level of UCLA, and you tell me who should be 6-3 with a loss to Arizona, and who should be 7-2 with a win over the Wildcats.
Sure, expectations of the #1 team in the nation were too high. But I don’t see how a team going from the #1 team in the nation, to probably a 4 or 5 loss season, ending the season unranked, and not having any of your star three players come close to the Heisman trophy (Lee probably has the best chance), isn’t disastrous. Now I don’t have the answers for who should replace these two, but that’s not my job to find someone to replace them: it’s Pat Haden’s. The fact is, if we keep the Kiffins on, then we are setting the precedent that what happened this season is ok, and it’s not. Get rid of the Kiffin’s, find someone who can control and motivate his players, and get USC back to where it belongs: at the top.
What do you guys think of Lane Kiffin? Should be be given another chance after this season is done? We want to hear from you!
If none of these reasons convince you, then check this out: a funny Taiwanese cartoon agrees with us!
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