30 minutes with Lane Kiffin...Part II

Here is Part two of my time with Lane Kiffin from Day 1 at the Pac-10 Media Event in NYC.

On the NCAA's transfer policy and how it may affect the make up of the team

"From what I have been told Alabama kept everyone together and did a great job of having nobody leave. But I don't now if they factored it in, if you read the penalties this transfer part is not in there, you know when you read the report, but this happens to be something that comes with the bowl ban...this isn't going away because remember when the season's over if we don't win the appeal we're going to have to keep our seniors who are going to have another chance to leave so all the juniors that have stayed are going to have a whole other chance to leave next year.

That has been the biggest effect we've seen, we saw our incoming signing class, except for losing Seantreal, you know to lose I think it was five guys because of the transfer rule...that as been the hardest thing to deal with thus far. It is interesting as that was not one of the penalties we were expecting...we're dealing with it..."

On if he has spoken to other coaches who have been through this like Coach Franccione on how to manage it

"No, I haven't (reached out), you know we have just really tried to put our heads together and taken some of the penalties as how they are and looking at them and managing our roster the best way that we can. The problem I think in studying this for the past six weeks with these transfers is that almost all the kids that came to 'SC were highly, highly recruited kids so, what we have seen is that the guys that are leaving really didn't play very much, you know who have been back-ups. These were five-star players coming out and they have these high expectations of themselves and all of a sudden they have this free pass to go.

It is interesting because the penalty is because of the post-season ban...but not one our kids left because of the penalty, they left because of playing time, so that is kind of the part that hurts because of the penalty structure they think it is not fair to have a post season game but that is not the reason that they left it was because they were buried on the depth chart and not playing very much and they wanted an opportunity to go play somewhere else."

On Pat Haden being named as Athletic Director

"I feel great support from Pat already...I have met with him in person a couple times already and spoken with him over the phone a bunch of times, I really feel that he is behind USC football. Obviously it is very important to him having played there before and knowing the great history of 'SC so I can't imagine our first week together going any better than it has."

On the pressure to succeed because of the past history of the program

"I think it is a great challenge, I am really excited about the challenge...like when I talk to our players, we don't worry about what we can't control, to sit here and worry about things that happened before you know, that most of these players weren't even here for you lets move forward...this is a great challenge. If we can continue to play at a championship level like we did before now with these penalties it will say a lot about our players and our staff, so I am excited about the challenge and the lower expectations that many seem to feel right now. Like I said, the best thing is to get back out on the field with our players and all that stuff is going to go away when we practice because we are not going to be able to think about it."

On the pending Tennessee Titan Lawsuit

"Because of it being a lawsuit I can't comment on it so I have been advised to say that I can't comment on it."

On his approach to coaching USC vs. Tennessee

"I think when you come into a job you have to have a specific plan for that job...for that program, where it is and what's going on with it. When we came into Tennessee; Tennessee is a great program that had kind of dipped a little bit of late. They had a 5-7 season the year before, their recruiting classes had been the way they had been 5 or 10 years before and also Tennessee did not have a bunch of players in state that was going to fill out the roster. Tennessee to be extremely successful, if you wanted to win championships, you had to recruit nationally...we had to get out there so, it was important for us to get the power of UT out there when were at Tennessee. So, I was trying to grab attention through the media.

Now, when you come to 'SC remember this since a kid was in the fourth grade, prior to last year, he has watched USC play in a BCS game. That's a powerful, powerful message...that is more powerful than anything I can do. Because the kids you're going to recruit think of all the great players, the championships and the history. When we came to USC with Coach Carroll it was like what Florida State was at the time. Every kid in the country listed Florida State in his top three even if Florida State hadn't called them yet..that to me is where 'SC has gotten to so we really didn't need to go out and grab more attention. We just need to recruit really well."

- - -

Couple of bullet points towards the end of my time with him..

  • Kiffin feels the kids still view 'SC as 'SC. The sanctions really haven't been a deterrent to those that want to be 'SC...you can see it in the kids who are verbally committed to the class of 2011.
  • Kiffin had a discussion with Seantrel Henderson's father and told him that f the sanctions were too tough for them that he would release him. "They decided that they were and we wished him the best of luck."
  • He doesn't really worry about the sanctions..."You would probably think that I sit around an think about it a lot it but I can't control it, it really has nothing to do with me. I will just deal it with is as it comes.
  • He is really excited with the fact that out of 17 high school guys that he signed 16 of them never asked him to get out. Everyone one of them except for Seantrel stayed with it and never came to ask "can I get out".
  • On recruiting..."The primary goal is to control the state of California, that is most important but at the same time we are still going to go out and recruit the best players around the country just like we did before..."
  • On transfers..."a lot goes into these kids decisions to move on but one of the hardest things for these kids when they transfer is that they give up a USC degree which is very powerful in the state of CA. where most of these kids are going back to...so to a lot of kids that's the difference...playing time vs. the degree."
  • On Barkley and how he handled the sanctions..."I think it say a lot about him and his maturity in how he handled the news the day the penalties were handed down. Coming out of his freshman year he in a difficult spot he is the face of the program and he handled it well. He did a great job like he always does...I think that says as much about him as anything else."

I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as i did...it was labor intensive in transcribing it but it was worth it. This was a great experience for me. I got the chance to meet some of the writers whose work I enjoy every day...even when I disagree with them. The Pac-10 could not have been any nicer in accommodating and embracing the new "digital" media. I look forward to more of these and hope Larry Scott does the same thing next summer.

FIGHT ON!

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