So now that we have had 24 hours to digest Lane Kiffin's moving on to Oakland we should probably look at the ramifications of his departure. The press obviously has focused on Kiffin's youth in regards to his being hired by Al Davis for the Raiders head coaching job, that's of no interest to me, I rarely watch pro football and when I do it is usually to catch up on former USC players. But there has been little said about as to why Kiffin may have left in the first place.
There have been many who wanted Kiffin gone because they considered his play calling stale and unimaginative. Some felt he should have been held accountable for the loss to Texas last year in the BCS Title game. Others simply can't let go of the departure of Norm Chow. There has been some talk of watch out what you wish for... I think that's a valid point.
Regardless of the reason for his departure, SC will adjust as they always do and find a way to win. But it isn't that simple. Kiffin, love him or hate him, was a great recruiter and did a tireless job. That is not something that you can just replace overnight. When you recruit these young players you need to have someone who can speak their language and find a way to connect. Kiffin was that guy and while there is no doubt that Pete Carroll is just as big a reason that these kids come to SC Kiffin's youth was a big advantage in breaking the ice.
I wasn't completely happy with Kiffin in regards to some of the play calling this past season but it is also foolish to think that he was a complete failure. He was calling the plays when SC went undefeated in 2005 especially the 66-19 beat down of UCLA. His play calling was also pretty good against Texas, as the SC offense practically scored at will in the 2nd half of that game. I will not criticize him for the 4th and 2 play as they had been using LenDale White that way all night, it was White who admitted to going off blockers that ended up having him fall short. This year it was obviously different, with all the new personnel that SC recruited along with the talent that went to the NFL SC seemed to squeak by in a lot of its games in 2006. Of course the 2 losses against Oregon St. and UCLA really opened up Kiffin, and Sarkisian to a lot of questions about the play calling.
I'm not prepared to throw Kiffin under the bus. He has served SC well and his recruiting classes are proof of his work. SC's two losses this year were a bitter pill to swallow and the circumstances of those games really pissed the fans off. I can't give Kiffin a pass but it also shouldn't define his whole career at USC. With all the talk of SC being a pre-season #1 going into next season I think Kiffin's departure will a little more negative reaction than some will admit and that's in the recruiting department.
From the OC Register:
Kiffin was the Trojans' chief recruiting coordinator.
He said leaving USC would be difficult after experiencing what is known as the "Trojan Family" and spirit.
As I stated above, I agree with that statement. Pete Carroll has proven he can get the most out f his players but it is always easier to get the most of your players when you stockpile the talent that SC has. Yes, recruiting is a team effort but Kiffin obviously has been a success with the talent he has helped bring in especially if he was the head recruiter.
I understand about opportunity and I have no problem with his wanting to go to the next level. We all seek new challenges and this was Kiffin's shot at the brass ring, that's fine.
I think USC will be fine in the long run but Kiffin leaving won't guarantee all wine and roses. Its still a few weeks before signing day and a move like this could hurt more than it helps. If we do lose out on some of these big time recruits and the reason floated is Kiffin leaving I wonder what Kiffin's detractors will say then.
Like I said it's Newton's Third Law.