It’s Now Time for USC to Fire Lane Kiffin

Dec 31, 2012; El Paso, TX, USA; Southern California Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin before the Sun Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Sun Bowl stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

All-Americans. A No. 1 ranking. A No. 1 NFL prospect. A team fresh off of a quality win over the 4th ranked Oregon Ducks on the road in Eugene. A team predicted to play Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.

That’s what 2011 Coach of the Year nominee Lane Kiffin inherited entering 2012.

Today, after a stunning 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl, Kiffin completes a season that ended with five losses in six games, six losses overall at USC for the first time since 2001, and the dubious honor of being the first AP Preseason No. 1 team to ever finish with a half dozen defeats.

But as with every important life predicament, it shouldn’t be what happens that defines people, it should be how it happens. And unfortunately for Lane Kiffin, the how is much worse than the what.

The Trojans finished the season by losing to a team in the Sun Bowl that got blown out at home by Middle Tennessee of the Sun Belt a few months ago. They passed for just 105 yards against the 70th ranked pass defense in the nation and redshirt-freshman quarterback Max Wittek threw three interceptions while completing just 38 percent of his passes.

Even worse, Kiffin did nothing to stop it, prolonging a streak under his watch that now stretches 786 days since the Trojans won a game in which they trailed in the second half.

While Wittek was struggling mightily, backup and fellow redshirt-freshman Cody Kessler never was got the call to at least warm up. And the struggles were compounded by play calling that put the Trojans in difficult spots all game long.

When Kiffin wanted to pass, Wittek was in the shotgun or flanked with three receivers. When Kiffin wanted to run, the Trojans would often set up in the I-formation.

Just as they were all season long, the Trojans were incredibly predictable on offense and even with an interim-defensive coordinator at the helm of the Georgia Tech defense, Kiffin was easily figured out repeatedly.

But alas, Kiffin’s lack of adjustments has been the story for much of the season.

At UCLA, Curtis McNeal was running through, over and around the Bruins defense, totaling 161 yards on the ground. But Kiffin, addicted to the passing game and padding the stats of Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee, abandoned the running game and the Trojans threw themselves into three and outs while being down four points in a third quarter and having all of the momentum. The result was a loss.

Then there was the goal line stand against Notre Dame that has beaten to death for shoddy play calling despite eight opportunities with goal to go.

To sum it up, Kiffin has been the biggest cause of the Trojans’ dismal 2012 season.

So for Kiffin, his record at USC is now 25-13 in three seasons, all affected in some way by sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush scandal. For Pat Haden, that plays into the rationale that prompted the third-year athletic director to proclaim Kiffin’s safety after the 38-28 loss to UCLA last month.

But after faltering so dramatically and with a million bumps along the way, from deflated balls and jersey switches, to poor play calling and poor use of personnel, it’s been made clear that Lane Kiffin is not the guy to both lead USC to Pac-12 Championships or to do so in ‘the Trojan way’ that Haden preaches.

Yes, Kiffin is a tremendous recruiter. But with Su’a Craven, Kenny Bigelow and Max Browne, the trio at the heart of the 2013 recruiting class, all signed as early enrollrees, the time has come to make the change.

USC has too much fire power, too many weapons and too much history to allow an underachievement of such proportions slide, regardless of sanctions or recruiting prowess.

Topics: Football, Lane Kiffin, USC Trojans

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  • GoJoeBruinUCLA

    What people miss about Kiffin and his recruiting class is that the class has now been a tad watered down and commits are re-thinking. Likely, a new coach with decent recruiting acumen comes in and inspires recruits that SC is back in the right direction. Why go through this all again?

    On second thought? Nevermind. Keep Kiffin.

    • rusoviet

      Better yet pump ‘woodie’ out of his sarcophagus – Gene Bartow had the courage to stand up to Sam Gilbert and his life was threatened – Gilbert took one look at ‘grampy johnnie’ and knew there was nothing to fear….

  • gotroy22

    I was shocked how Kiffin has lost the team. Finishing the season 1-5 is simply unacceptable for SC football. He must go.

  • http://twitter.com/djcionemarco dino marconi

    Kiffin is NOT a great recruiter when it comes to OL and DL which is the team’s greatest need. Check out his recruiting classes, and you’ll also find a lot of undersized linemen with no position and very few OT’s.
    The wealthy donors need to cut back on their donations and the average fan has to stop buying USC gear

  • puny lane

    Kiffin looks and sounds like a guy, wanting, expecting to be fired. Maybe he feels monte has been mistreated. More likely he is already looking towards one of the nfl vacancies or at a coordinator oppty. Either way, he needs to be obliged and shown the door.

    • Trojan Fan

      Amen to all who said Kiffin should be fired!!!!

  • chillouteveryone

    Recruiting for USC has never been a real problem, but it’s going to be now. I feel sorry for players liked Barkley and Redd who committed to SC’s success only to be undercut by terrible coaching on both sides of the ball. The team has had challenges with injuries and the sanctions, but give any first rate coach the players at SC and you’d have at least seen us play on New Year’s Day

  • [email protected]

    Kiffin must go. He has no connection to the players. So sad!

  • [email protected]

    Kiffin must be fired. What is his inspiration to the highly touted football players?Especially, so what happened to the best players in the nation, especiallly Marcus Lee, Lee, Robert Wood, and Matt Barkley? So very sad that they were coached by

    a man who did not have any chemistry with his team?

    Carol Weaver, Los Angeles County Woman of the Year in Education, 2010

    John Rozelle Weaver, NFL Family

  • Michael

    It’s time to see if Pat Haden has the balls to do what’s right, and fire Kiffin, who should be the Poster Boy for “how not to coach a team!”

  • rusoviet

    The black hoodie and the wrap around sunglasses coupled with his eyes fixated on the ‘Applebee’s’ menu is what the media has reported on.

    This is Haden’s mess – and it’s a real one.

  • RallyMonkeyUSA

    Forget all that “Kiffin is a good recruiter” talk. That is bs. USC is a good recruiter. Our school, our city, our tradition, our heismans, our championships are good recruiters. Our education is a good recruiter. Our weather and people are good recruiters. We don’t need Kiffin. Get rid of him pat before we turn on u too. Ur connected with him why? This guy continues to embarrass our school with the off field drama…what he’s done in the past year is worse than any sanctions brought by bush. He is dragging USC brand through the mud. I hope to god that our donors speak with their paychecks…or lack there of.

  • Allen Payne

    Kiffin quit coaching this team early in the season ….they have refused to play for him …something is up , not sure of what , but he needs to GO ……..

  • rusoviet

    Frankly you have to believe this was Mike Garrett’s final contemptuous hit towards Troy. He (Garrett) knew Nikias loathed him and that his days were numbered so why not, prior to the announced NCAA sanctions, offer one of the top 5 program head coaching jobs in all of the USA to this clown – thanks Mike and to hell with you.

  • http://twitter.com/biggil91 Gillie

    After watching this Sugar Bowl, USC should fire Kiffin and give Charlie Strong whatever he wants.

    • http://fansided.com/ Michael Castillo

      This.

  • Michael

    Lame Kitten: Loses another recruit…High School boys are smarter than the Rhodes Scholar, whose sitting on his oiled thumb and doing nothing! Have you punched the numbers Haden?

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