As the head football coach at USC, Lane Kiffin is back where he wants to be – at least for now. The 35-year-old coach is already taking the reigns of his third team. By all accounts, with his previous experience there, it’s tradition, the bright lights of LA and the recruiting base, it seems like he thinks this is his ideal landing spot.
Of course, it’s difficult to tell with Kiffin because he is so adept at saying what he needs to say to get fans, players andowners/administration on board. Recent history suggests that that immediately precedes a bolt away from the situation that leaves teams in limbo. And there are some reasons for USC to worry. While the NCAA was (supposedly) concluding its in-depth look into the USC football and basketball teams, Pete Carroll left for the NFL. Not only could some sanctions be looming (though far more likely for basketball than football), Kiffin may have played a role in some of the issues. At the very least, Kiffin was with USC during some of the time in contention and he clearly blurred the recruiting lines at Tennessee (before leaving). Time will tell if Kiffin is just a smart/fast talker or a guy who can get the job done and do so without getting in trouble. Lane Kiffin joined Darren Smith on XX Radio in San Diego to discuss buy-outs, death threats, the NFL, LeBron James, and recruiting California.
On buy-outs in contracts:
“There is a reason that, when they sign a contract, they put a buy-out in there. There is a concern for you leaving. And if you leave, you owe a certain amount of money.”
On if he has ever received death threats from fans:
“Not that much to me when I was down there. Right at the end there when we left, it got pretty ugly towards my wife. They had put our address and her cell phone where everybody can see it and on the rock there and on Internet. She started getting a lot of really scary calls and messages. Which is part of the reason why that next morning we got on a plane. Usually you leave your family behind and you come out and they sell the house and take a little bit of transition time. But, we weren’t able to do that there. They got on a plane with us and haven’t been back since.”
On if he would prefer not to have the NFL return to Los Angeles:
“No that’s not true at all. I don’t think that would have any negative effect on us whatsoever – at all. Kids are not going to not come here because the NFL is here. It’s still LA. It’s still SC. I look at this way; you have all this talk about LeBron. And everyone assumes he’s going to go somewhere he can be marketed – a city that has the ability to market him. Well that’s LA. That’s why great players have come here in other sports over the years. And that’s why players come here in college. We’re just a quicker version of what you see in the pros.”
On the result of his recent Real Sports segment:
“I thought it was OK. I thought it was fair. Whenever you do something like that and give people that much access, that’s hours and hours of filming and interviews and miked up. You never know how it’s going to come out because people can piece it together different ways, so I thought they were very fair… Something like that, they are following you around and you are miked up during practice and during scrimmage and in meetings. Like I said, you have no idea how it’s going to come out. That’s the fear of how fair they are going to be because they can piece it together however they want.”
And on if he thinks he could win with just players from California:
“You could. That really is our number one goal. We talk about the ’state of SC.’ You say what area is that? That’s the whole state of California. We’ve got to control the whole state. What that means is that we have to work really hard to evaluate all the kids out there that we are getting the kids to our camp and that we are not missing on kids. And then we want to go add great players out of state. Our philosophy is that when we go out of state, we better be getting potential first round picks. Actually, I believe that 6 of our last 11 All-Americans have been from out of state.”