USC Football: Pursuit of Silas Redd Doesn’t Help Perception of Lane Kiffin

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Take Media Day for instance, where Kiffin was asked about whether or not he’d consult Bill O’Brien on playing with sanctions. He said yes. If you were put in Kiffin’s shoes, you’d say yes too. He’s not going to publicly say that he could care less about Penn State and is coming hard for their players. Nor, did he come out unprovoked and say he’d council O’Brien on overcoming sanctions out of the kindness of his heart. He simply answered a question that he was asked, and a pointed question at that.

Though to Pete Thamel, given Kiffin’s desire to seize an opportunity to fill the one glaring hole the Trojans have with Silas Redd, saying ‘yes’ to a question about the hypothetical counselling of Bill O’Brien is condemning to the nature of Lane Kiffin.

“In vintage fashion, Kiffin offered to put one hand on O’Brien’s shoulder while using the other to swipe at his roster,” said Thamel last week. Yet, that’s really not at all accurate, considering that Kiffin isn’t actually going out of his way to aid O’Brien. He was again, just answering a question asked by the media.

But as noted, it’s not just Thamel. Kiffin has been called a poacher and a used car salesman on Twitter and message boards. But you see, Kiffin isn’t ‘poaching’ Penn State. Yes, he’s going after their best player, but he’s filling a need and is in completely legal contact with just one Penn State player.

In the context of recruiting, poaching is going after another schools’ talent, typically plural, as a detriment to the other squad. Unlike Tosh Lupoi getting Cal commits to flip to Washington back in January, Kiffin’s pursuit of Redd is solely a legal attempt at improving his own team, while giving the player an opportunity to compete on a level he won’t be able to, given sanctions at Penn State. There’s no need to negative recruit in this situation, it just doesn’t make sense.

Kiffin isn’t taking eight coaches to Happy Valley with the hopes of bringing back a handful of players just because, nor is he trying to further damage the Penn State program, nor back stab Bill O’Brien. He’s simply using every legal motion in his power to better his team and go for broke to try and win a national championship for the first and only time with a core of Matt Barkley, T.J. McDonald, and Robert Woods.

But it’s his lingering perception from Tennessee that’s shaped his actions with Silas Redd to be seen with an unfavorable outlook by the media. It’s Lane Kiffin, the media and the fans have never liked him, he’s done ‘bad things’ in the past, and therefore it’s just seen as the right thing to do, to slam his actions and call his pseudo-backstabbing ‘vintage’.

Had it been Bob Stoops, Brady Hoke, Bill Snyder or any other coach will an overwhelmingly positive national sentiment, the same actions wouldn’t have been remotely characterized with the same vigor that Kiffin’s been saddled with.

Psychologists and Dr. Phil love to live by the motto, ‘the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior’. But the irony of that attitude is that the myopic vibe it presents not only creates a forced foreshadowing, it refuses to allow change and growth, and thus in reality keeps the prognosticator in a mindset devoted to the past and immune to progression.

Using Lane Kiffin as the example, isn’t it easy to see how any word he utters can be used to extend the past actions at Tennessee, rather than shed light on the positives of his USC tenure?