Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fire Lane Kiffin!

Why is Lane Kiffin still coaching the USC football team?

Hasn't he done everything possible to get himself fired?  A pre-season No.1 pick, USC has ridiculously under-performed, finishing 7-6, dropping five out of their last six, looking worse with each game. Given the downward spiral, if they had to play another game, can you imagine what a stinker that would be?

Coach Lane Kiffin is the problem Three sources close to three SC players report that most of the team has tuned out the coach. For the last few games SC has been essentially been a rudderless ship, spiraling out of control. The players, insist the sources, have lost respect for the coach. Much of it is apparently due to the lousy job the coach's father, Monte, has done as defensive coordinator. The elder Kiffin, who's been a disaster, should have been fired long ago. In fact he should never have been hired. The defense is rarely properly prepared and, in the second half, never makes effective adjustments. The players blame Lane for not dumping Monty, who's been a cancer. Lane finally fired his father but, for the team, it was too late..

The Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve should have been the last straw for Lane Kiffin. That El Paso debacle, losing to a mediocre Georgia Tech team, should have been enough for USC's athletic director Pat Haden to boot Kiffin out the door. Has there been as more embarrassing Trojan loss? Tech, which was walloped by lowly Middle Tennessee State early in the season, should have been a breeze for the Trojans. Instead, the one-dimensional Yellow Jackets breezed by the Trojans, who looked half-asleep.

The Sun Bowl should have been a positive preview of next season, a romp by passionate players showing how they were going to tear up the Pac-12. But what we saw was a team that doesn't care, headed by a rookie QB Max Wittek, who's nowhere near ready to lead a major college team. THIS is what SC fans have to look forward to? Ugh!

Blame Lane Kiffin for the Sun Bowl fiasco. I know the game was in El Paso, the last place anybody with any sense wants to be on New Year's Eve. But you're on national TV,  playing for the honor of your school and the Pac-12 conference. You suck it up and play like hell, give it your all. The SC players were in El Paso, but their heads were elsewhere, certainly not in the game. It's up to the coach and his staff to fire up those players. They didn't do it. They didn't even come close.

It wasn't just the Sun Bowl. The SC games have been a showcase of coaching errors since mid-November. The defense is usually set up wrong and the offense, particularly in the Notre Dame loss,  is often a muddle of misdirection.

AD Haden is apparently reluctant to fire Kiffin for two reasons. One, with the team saddled with sanctions, it's hard to attract a quality coach. Also, there's a Grade A recruiting class coming that might bolt if Kiffin was canned. But looking at the mess that's SC football, some of those hotshots might bail anyway. One blue-chipper, Santa Monica wide receiver Sebastian LaRue,  has just decommitted. Will others follow?

Star wide receiver  Robert Woods, who could have stayed, announced he's leaving for the NFL. Why stick with a loser?  USC will start the season outside the Top 25. Without a seasoned QB, chances of cracking the Top 25 are slim.

If Haden was smart, he'd bite the bullet, collect buy-out money from rich alums and get rid of Kiffin. The rest of the Pac-12, of course, is rooting for Haden to do nothing. They'd just love watching the uppity Trojans sink to the lower depths of the Pac-12.