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Arizona Cardinals to hire USC OC Kliff Kingsbury as head coach

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders leaves the field after the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Baylor Bears on November 24, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Baylor defeated Texas Tech 35-24. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders leaves the field after the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Baylor Bears on November 24, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Baylor defeated Texas Tech 35-24. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) /
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Kliff Kingsbury has been picked as the new head coach of the Arizona Cardinal, according to Fox Sports, leaving USC football in a lurch after a month as offensive coordinator.

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Kliff Kingsbury’s time as USC football’s offensive coordinator is at an end after 35 days.

The former Texas Tech head coach, who joined the Trojans on December 5, is finalizing a deal to become the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach, according to Peter Schrager of FoxSports.com.

For the Trojans, the brief joy of making the best possible hire, and the recruiting boost going into Early Signing Day, probably wasn’t worth the drama of the last month.

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Within two weeks of his hiring, reports of NFL interest for Kingsbury resurfaced.

Even though he called USC the “right spot at the right time” during an interview on the Dan Patrick Show on December 17, Trojan fans were welcomed into the new year by a report that Kingsbury would interview for the Cardinals and New York Jets head coaching positions.

Days later, the drama really kicked into gear. On Saturday morning, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that USC athletic director Lynn Swann had denied NFL teams their request to interview Kingsbury. By the end of the day, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk was reporting Kingsbury was considering the option of resigning and paying his buyout to pursue his NFL options.

On Sunday, it was again Florio suggesting the New England Patriots could enter the fray for Kingsbury, as an offensive coordinator.

On Monday afternoon, things hit the fan. Jay Glazer of FOX NFL broke the news that Kingsbury had been freed up to interview for NFL jobs opening speculation about whether he truly had resigned or Swann had backed off his initial interview denial.

Later that day, Colin Cowherd predicted Kingsbury would be hired by the Cardinals, based on his sources.

Where USC goes from here is anyone’s guess. The Trojans will have to identify a new offensive coordinator as soon as possible, perhaps looking in the similar directions as were reported before Kingsbury. In the lead up to Kingsbury’s hiring, Rams’ offensive assistant Jedd Fisch and now-Utah State offensive coordinator Mike Sanford Jr. had been rumored as targets.

The biggest question: Will USC stick with the plan to convert to an Air Raid offense? Or go back to a more traditional attack?

Whoever fills the role, they will face plenty of scrutiny as they attempt to revamp the Trojan offense after a 5-7 season. So will USC for the handling of the Kingsbury saga and ensuing embarrassment.

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