Rather than acting like a used Trojan, University of Southern California (USC) head coach Lane Kiffin admirably admitted that he needs to mature as a man and leader to find success on the gridiron.
Overseeing an utterly miserable campaign in Troy that saw USC go 7-6, Kiffin, who has compiled substandard records of 32-19 in college and 5-15 in the NFL, accepted complete responsibility for the fabled program’s demise this past autumn.
During the summertime, many pundits and onlookers predicted that 22-year-old quarterback Matt Barkley would become the school’s seventh Heisman Memorial Trophy winner and Kiffin would guide the Trojans to their 12th national championship.
“Why do I feel like I’d be the most polarizing figure?” asked Kiffin, 37, a notorious muff whose destroyed relationships with past employers at the University of Tennessee and Oakland Raiders. “I would say it’s got to be a combination of things. It’s got to be mistakes I’ve made as a young head coach going all the way back to Oakland … to mistakes at Tennessee, to mistakes here.”
“So you’re going to pay for mistakes you make along the way, whether you did them on purpose or not. No. 2, I would say the preseason buildup. The buildup of the preseason No. 1. The Heisman Trophy candidate. The All-Americans. Recruiting was going unbelievable — the No. 1 recruiting class. With that hype comes a lot of expectations. When those aren’t met that’s going to fall on the head coach. And then you’re at SC, I would say would be the third one.”
Critics bashed Kiffin for calling bush league plays, possibly violating NCAA ethics codes and having such little command of the Trojans that a “flat-out brawl” reportedly occurred after USC was embarrassed 21-7 by Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve in El Paso, Texas.
Al Davis’ primary nemesis, who some contend is stealing roughly $2.4 million annually from the university, directed a fleet of underachievers and that’s absolutely unacceptable.
Regardless, seeming genuinely contrite and humbled, Kiffin deserves a final chance at redemption in “La-La Land.”
Lane Kiffin indeed is “a young head coach” and it will be interesting to see if Layla’s husband can learn from his many “mistakes.”by