Now that I have had a night to sleep on it, there are a few observations that need to be made.
It has been discussed in many places but one thing that is hurting this team is Kiffin's play calling and clock management. I couldn't help but notice that on that last drive two things happened that "could" have helped 'SC.
One was the most obvious, Barkley not spiking the ball as they were moving up the field. I could see how running the hurry-up could keep the Arizona defense on their toes, but this USC team has been hot and cold running the hurry-up. They were also facing a team that practices against an up tempo offense day in and day out. This was not going to fool them. It was clear that UA was going to give Barkley the short porch in front of them, spiking the ball would have saved time and settled the team/offense down from the frantic pace.
Spiking the ball brings us to observation #2.
I know that Kiffin gives Barkley some leeway in running the offense. Barkley has been known to change plays at the LOS often, but did anyone else notice how Barkley was looking over to the sideline trying to get a play to run? How many seconds did that waste? Couple that with not spiking the ball and it is not hard to see how USC took itself out of a game tying field goal.
Barkley made this interesting comment...
Said Barkley when asked why USC did not spike the ball at all on its final drive: "I don't make those decisions on the field."
That is confusing.
So if Kiffin gives Barkley leeway to change plays why not let him manage other aspects of the game...epsecially on that final drive?
How many times have we seen Kiffin with his nose in the play card? One could say he has too many plays to choose from...I would say it differently. Kiffin isn't yet experienced enough to pull the right play off the top of his head in the right situation. I mean these are all of his plays and yet he has to review a play card at a critical moment?
This is where Kiffin's hubris hurts the team.
I hate to bring up the past, but Kiffin's refusal to hire Norm Chow when he came here now speaks volumes. It's not because he didn't hire Chow specifically, but it is it because he wears two different hats...Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator. Don't let the OC title that Kennedy Polamalu has fool you into thinking he runs anything on the offense.
This is Kiffin's baby so he gets to clean the dirty diapers.
Lane Kiffin got the gift of a lifetime in getting Barkley to return. But is he squandering it? I have a hard time believing Barkley returned for anything other than improved development. He may have got top 5 money in this past draft, but we all knew the potential issues in Barkley's play. He could have been seen as another USC QB bust in the NFL.
It is tough to blame Barkley for everything in yesterday's performance but the flaws in his game were as plain as day. What has Kiffin done to improve Barkley's play?
Not much in my eyes. Without Lee and Woods, Barkley would not be holding those records.
Barkley the human being is different than Barkley the QB. How many times did Barkley make throws to the opposing DB's yesterday...I mean literally?
Kiffin has little history of developing a top fight QB. All the comparisons of Barkley to Leinart are laughable...Leinart's resume is filled with game ending heroics and smart play. Barkley has some great wins on his resume but those great end of game drives are few and far between. Barkley's numbers will put him as one of the greatest in school history but to me that came at a price...he can be erratic and still make poor decisions.
Barkley isn't even close to Leinart.
I put this on Kiffin.
I guess he really does see this offense as a video game.