Wow, Lane Kiffin sure knows how to make people angry. Whether it’s Al Davis, Urban Meyer, or the Tennessee Vols fans (NSFW), Kiffin has seemingly mastered the art of burning bridges and making enemies. Another thing he excels at is recruiting. He was a great recruiter at USC under Pete Carroll, had a tremendous first recruiting class at Tennessee, has recruited a tremendous football staff at both UT and USC, and his best recruiting job may have been his wife! The one thing I’m not sure about is if he can actually coach.
He coached for 20 games with the Raiders and was 5-15. I throw that record out the window because I’m convinced no one can win anymore in Oakland. His 7-6 record in his first year at Tennessee was promising, but not great. Arguably the Vols two best games were road losses to Florida (23-13) and Alabama (12-10). So here we are, with Kiffin as the new head coach of USC and the jury still out on his coaching abilities. I believe Kiffin will be given every shot to continue the dynasty that Pete Carroll built at USC and to create his own legacy there. After four or five years there, we’ll truly find out if Lane Kiffin is a good coach or not.
Lane Kiffin joined Petros and Money on KLAC in Los Angelesto talk about how long it took him before accepting USC’s offer, the hurt feelings and unfulfilled goals at Tennessee, on running a clean program at USC, and if there will be a quarterback competition for the Trojans.
On how long it took him to consider USC’s offer before accepting:
“It took about one second [laughing]. No I had to think about it because I was at a very special place and we had put some time in there that we had really changed the culture and developed the team and had really improved on and off the field. And I developed a lot of relationships there. But in the end, it became easy in the end because this really is home. I know people say that sometimes, but this really is, you know with all three kids being born out here. And the six years that we were here, my wife really enjoyed her time here; so many special people. I knew it was home, and as I walked in to Heritage Hall, to see all the faces, the trophies, the people and the power of ‘SC – you know, it truly is home.”
On the hurt feelings and relationships he left unfulfilled at Tennessee:
“Well, I think this; when I explained my decision to the players, obviously there were some hurt players but that’s to be expected, but when guys really came in and sat down I spent a lot of time with a number of them – they understood. It’s home and it’s a special place -somewhere we’ve been before – and the place we were at was very special, but it’s just different and people understand that. I think as time goes -even as time went through this morning still being in Knoxville and throughout 1 or 2 o’clock today – I saw a transition in feelings and people being happy for us because they knew we were happy.”
On his statement that he’s going to run a ‘clean’ program down in sunny Southern California:
“Well I think it’s very important. I think any time, if you’re doing things right, you continue to grow and you continue to learn from situations. Being at Tennessee and the microscope of the SEC – the recruiting and what you’re doing – it’s unbelievable. And being there for 16 months and going through it has prepared me to come in here and give ‘SC exactly what is needed right now: that mindset that you have to do everything right, that you’re always looking, that you’re always thinking of everything because you end up having to have that mindset down there because of the way it is. And so that’s what ‘SC needs right now. We need to do this extremely clean, and there’s no reason not to. It’s the power of ‘SC, and the staff that we’re going to put together and the great players that have been here before and all the players that are going to want to come here and play in the Coliseum, there is no reason that we need to do antyhing other than that.”
On if there will be a quarterback competition between Barkeley and Mustain next spring and summer or if it’s Barkeley’s job from day one:
“I can’t even answer that right now only because I got off a plane and went to a press conference. I know a number of the kids here, I don’t know the whole roster, but we’ll make our practice field extremely competitive and the job will be extremely competitive. But I don’t even know enough to answer that right now.”