Whatever respect Lane Kiffin built up last season for guiding the Trojans to a 10-2 record has been whittled away. Kiffin's antics during the season are head-scratching, making things often seem to be a lot harder than they need to be. The Trojans made a month's worth of mistakes in the Desert on Saturday afternoon. This team seems to flop any time it's faced with pressure, and that all goes back to the head coach.
Going into the season there was a lot of talk about a certain USC player potentially being the first pick in the draft. After two months of the season, it's clear the Trojans best player is sophomore WR Marqise Lee, not Matt Barkley. Despite the presence of Lee and Robert Woods, the senior QB has had such a shaky 2012 and more mistakes became his and the Trojans undoing in the desert. Barkley has now thrown eight INTs, one more than he had all of last season despite throwing almost 200 fewer passes. And USC still has zero wins over teams with winning records in 2012.
USC. In case there were any concerns that coaching paranoia and control-freak tendencies had waned, Kiffy is here to assure you that's not the case. He is "not addressing injuries this season," according to the Los Angeles Times, and the school has pulled the credential and practice access for Los Angeles Daily News reporter Scott Wolf after he dared report that kicker Andre Heidari had knee surgery Sunday night. Kiffin instituted a policy in August banning journalists from reporting in-practice injury or strategy news, but the Daily News report did not cite practice-related information. The Times said three sports editors from the Los Angeles area met with USC athletic director Pat Haden Wednesday to discuss the situation, and later Wednesday it was announced that the practice ban was lifted on Wolf. However, discussions about Kiffy's paranoid policy were ongoing. As is his ability to annoy much of the human race.
Coach Lane Kiffin was penalized for a rare sideline infraction toward the end of the first half. "I came out on the field by a couple feet," Kiffin said. "(Mike) Stoops is out by the numbers and I get one foot out and they call it. It won't happen again. I won't say any more because I don't feel like getting fined."
The status of defensive lineman Armond Armstead, who was held out of spring workouts after undergoing tests on his chest area, has not been determined, Kiffin said…. Junior running back Curtis McNeal is attending summer-session classes with hopes of becoming eligible in the fall…. Incoming freshman defensive lineman DeVante Wilson will undergo knee surgery and is expected to redshirt. Redshirt freshman cornerback Patrick Hall had knee surgery this summer.... Steve Dillon, a defensive lineman from Palmdale High, was released by USC after informing the school he would not qualify academically, Kiffin said.
In June, UT will have to prove that Kiffin violated rules despite proper guidance from UT administration, Buckner said. Because the Notice of Allegations already indicates that Kiffin knowingly broke rules laid out for him by Blackburn, football appears to be in good shape at UT.
"The committee has gone out of its way to tell institutions that you can't just monitor a program, you have to be proactively or actively monitoring that program," Buckner said. "That's what Tennessee is going to have to respond to the NCAA committee."
"We wish Jurrell and Tyron the best as they move on to a professional career and we thank them for their great contributions to the Trojan football program," Kiffin said in a statement.
"We realize there are many factors that go into a player’s decision to leave early or stay in school, and we’ll always support the decision that he and his family make.
"Seeing great players leave early for the NFL is something we’re very accustomed to at USC and it’s something that will continue to happen in the future. We’ll continue to bring in great players like Jurrell and Tyron who will have opportunities to leave early for the NFL."
Lane Kiffin, USC
Being on the hot seat doesn’t necessarily mean a coach will be fired without a good year. No one has more pressure on his shoulders than Kiffin after the way he bolted from Tennessee and considering he’s following a legend in Pete Carroll. Just being good at USC is a failure, and there will be no grace period whatsoever even after the team’s disappointing 2009.
Status: USC could’ve had almost any coach it wanted. Kiffin had better be worth it.
Orgeron: We feel that USC is the best job in the country. I always felt that way. No doubt about it. I was here when Coach Carroll was hired. Lane and I were on the ground floor with Coach Carroll. We feel like USC is a very powerful place. You’re in the hotbed of recruiting. It’s a private institution. The weather, the people, the support, the tradition. I’ve never been to another university as powerful as USC. Nothing has ever come close.
There was plenty of talk that the door was open for the rest of the Pac 10 to make a big jump by taking advantage of the issues at USC. From Pete Carroll leaving, to a disappointing 2009, to the potential NCAA sanctions, there was plenty of ammunition for the rivals to use. UCLA, Oregon, and California were able to get their hands on a few prospects who might have gone to USC had Carroll been in place and if the Trojans were coming off a Rose Bowl season. Kiffin did more than fine.
Besides getting Henderson, snagging top WR Markeith Ambles out of Georgia was a nice pickup while keeping sure-things like corner Nickell Robey out of Florida to go along with top-shelf wide receivers Kyle Prater out of Illinois and Robert Woods out of Gardena, Calif., showed that the loss of Carroll wasn’t that big a deal. For all the great things the rest of the Pac 10 did, USC’s recruiting class was still the best in the league. However …
"There are SC kids and there are kids who want to go play across town. Once you get to know them, it's pretty easy to figure out who is who."