Noted moron Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times made the case Thursday that USC head coach Lane Kiffin could be fired if the Trojans lose to UCLA this weekend. Now, putting aside the fact that Plaschke has always been a UCLA honk, and forgiving him for having the IQ of a dead flashlight battery, this might be one of the dumbest things anyone has ever written.
Kiffin’s job is anywhere but in trouble. While the Trojans have struggled this season, no one at USC expected a team with roughly 50 healthy scholarship players to set the world on fire. Especially considering how young the defense is and the fact that the team was transitioning to new systems on offense and defense.
A win this weekend would put the Trojans at 8-5 for the year, at 5-4 in the Pac-10. That would be good enough for third place, behind two (likely) BCS-bound teams (Oregon and Stanford). Considering USC lost to Washington and Stanford on last second field goals, that’s not a horrible season at all. Sure, it hasn’t been up to the standards of recent years, but it ain’t a bad first year, especially considering the way the program has been hamstrung by the NCAA.
Plaschke states that Kiffin has “an athletic director who didn’t hire him, boosters who are mostly wary of him and a team that doesn’t always play for him.” That is just a ridiculous statement.
USC athletic director Pat Haden has, on numerous occasions, stated that he is very pleased with the way Kiffin is running the program. He has expressed support for him in tough circumstances over and over.
USC’s boosters aren’t “wary” of Kiffin at all. They just want the team to win more. What boosters in the country don’t feel that way?
And to suggest that Kiffin hasn’t gotten the team to play for him is ludicrous. When you consider how worn down this team is after only having about 50 healthy scholarship players all year, it’s not hard to see why they look so tired at the end of games. No other football team in the country has had to practice, and play with fewer scholarship athletes, and the Trojans have been doing it all season. There’s a reason that the defense has given up drives at the end of games several times. They’re just flat-out gassed.
Kiffin has an All-Star staff assembled and in his first year recruiting while knowing what his restrictions are (via the NCAA’s sanctions) he can now focus on putting together a roster that will be more full next year. USC is likely going to go the Junior College route to plug some immediate holes, and the Trojans have also focused on getting a bunch of early entry players on board, so they will count towards their 2010, pre-sanctions, recruiting class. That will allow them to take more players this coming cycle.
Don’t discount what Kiffin’s staff could do to transform this team with a full year to mold them.
Pat Haden isn’t an idiot. In fact, the guy was a Rhodes Scholar. He sees the bigger picture. He is concerned with the future of the program, not this weekend’s UCLA game.
Though I’ve never been a huge Kiffin fan, suggesting that he has done a terrible job and will be fired is simply idiotic. Then again, what should we expect from a hack like Plaschke?