Preparing for the future...Means understanding the past.
Lane Kiffin is taking a lot of heat over this weekends loss to UCLA on Saturday. That is to be accepted as we have heard rumblings all season about Kiffin's lack of imagination in the play calling this season. I think there is some truth to that but there is plenty of blame to go around.
I have never been a fan of the youth movement that is all over the CFB landscape and I said so here. This is not to say that Kiffin can't be a good or even great OC but the time for learning and feeling your way through is not at the helm of one of the most storied programs in all of college football.
From Gary Klein at the LA Times:
"I've got a lot of things to worry about," he said. "That's not at the top of my list."
Kiffin, the son of Monte Kiffin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive coordinator, said he expected and accepted scrutiny.
"When you get into this, if you want high-level jobs like this, it's going to happen," he said. "You're going to get more credit than you deserve when you do well and you're going to get more criticism than you deserve when you don't."
Quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian, who oversees the offense with Kiffin, said there was plenty of blame to go around.
As for Sarkisian I can say only one thing: YA THINK!
I am not qualified as a fan to call for Kiffin's dismissal but it is obvious that seems to be in over his head. There was virtually little change from the play calling from the Texas game throughout this season culminating in this past weekends loss. Watching Saturdays game made me feel like they were totally clueless as to how to counter the Bruin pass rush.
I am not foolish enough to think that we would continue to dominate UCLA for years and years but this game seemed to leave us looking flat and unprepared. Of course with this loss all the SC nay Sayers are out banging the drum for Pete Carroll to win a new kind of Three-Pete; a third straight loss in the Rose Bowl, that's fine people can dream but dreams sometimes turn into nightmares. SC fans will each handle this frustrating loss in different ways. My thought process was simple; as bad as it looked on Saturday a Rose Bowl consolation isn't bad at all. Especially in a rebuilding year.
Losing to UCLA on Saturday was painful but it was bound to happen sooner or later. Losing to Texas was much more painful, with history in our grasp, we had the lead late and couldn't hold it in what could be described as greatest bowl game ever played. That's where looking at the past will educate us for the future.
Pete Carroll has taken some great talent and bought it together and created one of the greatest runs in CFB. Notice that I said talent and not players. While its obvious that the players he has recruited have shown us what they can do, good and bad, the same can be made for the coaching staff. There is talent too there but at times, more often than not, they have not lived up to their billing. Lane Kiffin mentored under the most prolific offensive coordinator in CFB, Norm Chow. But with all that mentoring Kiffin continues to be unimaginative in his schemes and play calling. Two losses on the Rose Bowl turf show that pretty clearly send a very strong message to the SC faithful. The question now is can it be fixed?
You can look at this program two different ways:
1- That we have been so used to winning that losing this way to whom we lost to may have knocked us down a couple rungs but there is no program that lay claim to its accomplishments while continuing to thrive even in a "rebuilding" year.
2- That this incredible run we have had was bound to end and end it did under the weight of its own success. Its called getting complacent.
Either one is accurate but as I have said time and again there isn't another program out there that wouldn't trade places with us. Think about that for a minute for the past four to five years USC has held the College Football landscape captive because of the success that we have had. SC has had there fingerprints on some of the greatest games that college football has ever seen and has had some the most productive players in the history of college football playing on our team.
In order to keep this run going changes will need to be made both on and off the field. I don't know what those changes are and its up to Pete Carroll to sort through it all. As fans we live and die with how our team performs. SC has been lucky to have what we have had of late and our standards are pretty high. It is impossible to continue to have this type of success year in and year out and at some point Pete Carroll will leave SC and probably head back to the NFL and tend to some unfinished business. So we should enjoy this while we can. That doesn't mean as fans that we shouldn't question the game plan or play calling that's what being a fan is all about.
Hopefully we will get through this tough loss and use it to as positive energy to get back on track against Michigan.