Things shook out a little differntly than last year here in NYC for the east coast swing of the Pac-12's media event...
I got pretty much all of Lane Kiffin's time.
Kiffin was relaxed. Not as much under the gun as last year with all the controversy post NCAA ruling. He was affable and looked me in the eye and answered every question I asked. He wasn't quick to make a break for it and head out.
I kept it light, I didn't go into too much detail because Kiffin pretty much answered all the same questions over the past two days....we all know the answers.
I could tell he was relieved with the NCAA decision making process behind him. The penalties are what they are and he and his staff can move forward.
Overall depth is a concern on both sides of the ball, no secret there.
He doesn't plan on doing anything much different than last season.
Kiffin is excited with all the potential on offense. New faces on the line, the potential for even more explosiveness with the receivers. We spoke about the running back situation. Because he views each back differently, the three potential starters, Kiffin sees all three getting touches in different roles. I didn't ask about the Tyler situation...I saw it as a pointless question, we all know the deal with Tyler for right now.
With being in his second year at 'SC with the players on the roster he is looking forward to seeing the defense responds this season. Last seasons struggles were obviously, not lost on him or his dad. He thinks that with some of the new faces they may turn the corner this season. We spoke about Nickell Robey and how special a player he is and how great a story he is and will continue to be.
We discussed recruiting...He reiterated that with the reduced numbers quality will be the key moving forward.
I then asked him about his relationship with Pat Haden.
Kiffin has tremendous respect for Haden. They see eye to eye on may issues and that he handled all that has been thrown at him better than most.
I nibbled around the edges of USC not challenging the NCAA...I could tell that he was just happy not be involved with it.
I didn't discuss the UT situation...He knows it is how of his hands at this point.
I then turned away from football and asked more about family and how he has adjusted after his first season ended. He was happy to back in L.A. ... as was his wife.
Kiffin is at peace with where he is. USC is his dream job and knows he has an uphill climb with all that the program is facing.
We did small talk as things wound down then Stewart Mandel came by.