Sunday, September 29, 2013

No Mourning for Lane Kiffin

The pile of negatives against USC's football team finally pushed Lane Kiffin out of Heritage Hall early Sunday morning. The beleaguered coach was fired a day after the Trojans were overrun by the Arizona State Sun Devils, 62-41, in the Tempe desert.
Trojan fans and some members of the media had been urging the USC hierarchy, specifically athletic director Pat Haden, to replace Kiffin. The call for his ouster began after an embarrassing loss in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech, ending the Trojans' season with six losses, including two to rivals UCLA and Notre Dame.
The heat was turned up this season after Washington State stunned USC at home following a week of indecisiveness about who would start at quarterback, Cody Kessler or Max Wittek, both third-year sophomores.
Up until Sunday, Haden had more than once publicly backed Kiffin, saying he would not fire him. But it is obvious that Saturday night's pummeling persuaded the athletic department to change its mind.


add Kiffin: The main reason USC was willing to stick with Kiffin was that he was coaching a team that was under severe sanctions by the NCAA. Thirty scholarships were taken away after the investigations into the cases regarding Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo had turned up improprieties that the NCAA felt the university was intolerant to. Haden seemed to be willing to let Kiffin bide his time until the sanctions were lifted next season. Last week Haden had appealed to the NCAA to lighten  its ruling against the football team, but was turned down.


second add Kiffin: His stubbornness to continue to call the offensive plays didn't help his cause. In the defeat to Washington State, a team that USC hadn't lost to since 2002, he seldom called for a pass down field. Marquis Lee, USC's All-America wide receiver, caught passes for just 27 yards against the Cougars. And Saturday night's loss to ASU was the team's second in  Pac-12 conference play, all but ending its chances of winning the South Division.


last add Kiffin: The biggest flaw in his coaching, though, may have been his not having a quarterback groomed to take over for Matt Barkley, who stayed on to play his senior year instead of going to the NFL. Kiffin had a whole year to prepare either Wittek or Kessler to take over the offense, but when USC opened the season in Hawaii, he could not decide on who would take the snap from center.

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