Go Fetch: Tirebiter’s Morning Byte Of USC Trojans News


While the NCAA is allowing schools that have reached the scholarship limit to exceed it for Penn State transfers, the same rule does not apply to schools facing reduced scholarship caps because of sanctions. Kiffin wouldn’t discuss USC’s specific scholarship numbers, but the Trojans are believed to be at their prescribed limit of 75. That could change if incoming freshman receiver Darreus Rogers is unable to qualify for school.

Kiffin is fully aware that people are starting to like him a lot more in Los Angeles and even across the country.

But he insists that the adjustment in perception has had nothing to do with any modifications he has made to his public perception. Rather, he says, the public has changed the way it looks at him because of the success he had in 2011. “Winning solves a lot of problems,” Kiffin said at lunch. “The change hasn’t been me.”

On Tuesday, at Universal Studios for Pac-12 football media day, we sat with Kiffin again to update his status as a sideline Satan. After talking for nearly 30 minutes, we have to be honest, folks: The guy remains a major disappointment. We thought Kiffin would be a much bigger jerk than he has been so far.

On signing day in February, Kiffin said Agholor would be playing some running back but would primarily be a receiver. But the freshman’s savvy has convinced the Trojans’ third-year coach that he’d be able to handle a temporary switch.

During Pac-12 media day Tuesday, Kiffin, the head coach at USC, spoke highly of Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and even offered advice to the first-year coach, who was just hit with unprecedented NCAA sanctions. “I think when you go through a situation, like everyone else we recruit high school players but now you have to recruit your own players to stay and we were in a position where obviously our junior and seniors can leave and they’re in the situation where anyone can leave,” said Kiffin, who walked into a USC program that also was hit with scholarship losses and postseason bans. “And that’s not an easy position, you have coaches flying players to their schools, during summer school. It’s your back ups sometimes schools will say you can come and start here while you’re a back up where you are, and it’s not easy.”

Penn State may be among the handful of schools to eventually shovel its way out of this. Two years after crippling penalties at USC, the Trojans are going to begin the season as Pac-12 favorites ranked in the top five nationally. How did that happen? USC had a plan. Lane Kiffin has proved his worth as a coach and quarterback Matt Barkley stayed. It’s hard to imagine that the Trojans still have two years of recruiting restrictions left, but at least now they can recruit to the possibility of bowl games, conference and national championships. What Kiffin once referred to as “our death penalty” may end up being nothing more than an 8-5 bottoming out in 2010.