Lane Kiffin On College GameDay (via ESPN)
Two weeks ago Lane Kiffin was leading the Trojans in final preparations for a conference Saturday night tilt against Arizona State, which resulted in a 21-point beat down at the hands of the Sun Devils eventually leading to his firing early the next morning back at the LAX Airport.
In what could best be described in yet another highly-publicized process, Kiffin addressed some major points of discussion around his USC coaching career on a rather visible medium.
"I have great passion for USC and that was a difficult situation," Kiffin said, joining College Game Day this morning for the first public interview since his well-documented firing. "The Trojans are in good hands and are going to do great things."
Looking to cultivate a different path in the collegiate football ranks after taking some time to asses his recent run, Lane Kiffin joined the College Game Day set to engage in a formal sit-down interview with ESPN personality Chris Fowler.
Fowler and Kiffin took center stage discussing poignant issues fluctuating from the formal firing at LAX, his entire coaching career already sounding like a seasoned veteran in the coaching ranks, and even recent comments from former players like quarterback Cody Kessler.
"It was like watching someone else raise your kids," Kiffin said, describing his feelings while watching the Trojans pull out an emotional victory under Coach Orgeron Thursday night. "They are in great hands at a great university, and it makes you happy too."
Kiffin took center stage in a special one-on-one interview on College GameDay in front of the rival Washington Huskies fan base, who chanted "You Got Fired" throughout the course of the interview. The questions were direct, poignant and necessary, while the answers showed recognition for some recent mistakes much to Lane Kiffin's previous mantra.
"I think you are aways trying to figure yourself out," Kiffin says, describing his self analysis during his last season at USC in the midst of a 28-15 overall record at his dream job. "I appreciate Pat's support, it was phenomenal and they are going to continue doing great things."
Fowler quickly shifted the conversation to the Trojans most recent performance, showcasing Cody Kessler's post-game quotes, which Kiffin quickly responded that the entire Kessler family reached out to him the next morning showcasing the utmost respect for the work of the quarterbacks first head coach and recruiter.
That being said, Kiffin was given the opportunity to assess his career arc to date and quickly recognized the highs and lows of working through what many have called the "death penalty" of collegiate scholarship sanctions. "Obviously I'm to blame as the head coach, and I accept that, but to be 28-15, there is some good stuff in there," said Kiffin.
Fast forward to this point in time, and Kiffin firmly recognizes that he must make some adjustments as a head coach and that he made serious mistakes early in his career. Beginning from his headline-worthy hiring by the Oakland Raiders at 32-years of age, Kiffin has certainly ridden an emotional coaching roller coaster throughout his young coaching arc at the professional and high-end collegiate ranks.
"We fell apart there at the end, and I'm to blame as head coach," Kiffin said, admitting that he made some minor mistakes throughout his career that he admits were amplified on the national spotlight given his young and meteoric rise up the coaching ranks. "To see the way they played the other night, it was cool to see."
Kiffin leaned on the mantra of battling through difficult scholarship sanctions but to be honest, that was one of the overriding factors behind his hiring by former Athletic Director Mike Garrett. That being said, the Trojans recent stretch of futility losing 7 of its last 11 games (0-4 vs. AP Top 25), signaled a necessity for change at the top of the coaching ranks.
These were among the major motivations that fueled Pat Haden's decision to pull the trigger and move in a different direction with leadership on the USC Football program. "I will support USC forever," Kiffin formally stated about the university that provided some of his best and worst moments as a collegiate head coach.
Interestingly enough Kiffin utilized his analytic mind breaking down Washington's defense, specifically surrounding Washington DB/S Shaq Thompson in pass coverage. While his future will most likely rest in coaching, Kiffin showed some personality and intelligence breaking down film; an area that has never faded from the coaches arsenal.