When I first heard that Pete Carroll was leaving USC to coach the Seattle Seahawks, I was kind of excited to see who was going to replace him. It didn’t take long for them to introduce Lane Kiffin as their next head coach but I don’t think that was a great decision. They rushed to fill the position after Carroll announced he was leaving for another chance at coaching in the NFL. Just about any head coach in the nation would have wanted that job and they gave it to Kiffin. An NCAA college football powerhouse that covets an NFL pedigree just added a coach who was 5-15 with the Oakland Raiders and 7-6 with the Tennessee Volunteers. Go figure! Being that Kiffin last coached at USC in ‘06, I guess they wanted to go with a coach who already knows the area and has proven he can recruit top-notch players.
Although I don’t think Kiffin is a great coach, he does have a great coaching staff surrounding him. His father, Monte, is one of the most respected defensive minds in both college and pro football and his good friend, Ed Orgeron, is the defensive line coach and one of the best recruiters in college football today. As a head coach, you don’t necessarily have to be hands-on with everything. You have to have good coaches surrounding you, be able to delegate responsibilities and be able to recruit and Kiffin can do just that. Lane Kiffin joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego to talk about where he begins as a coach to rebuild the program at USC, how long it took him to make the decision to leave Tennessee for USC, and what it is like to replace Pete Carroll.
How many ties he has with the players on the roster:
“Well the senior class, the last time that we were here we recruited the senior class that was here. We do have some ties with them but there is a bunch of players we have had to learn and develop relationships with and figure out how our roster looks.”
Where he begins as a coach to rebuild the program at USC:
“Well the majority of our staff is new and so we just had to go and pretend that we haven’t been here before and go back and study the film from last year and what we have and make sure that we signed a good class of recruits in the last class that will be here in the fall. A couple of them will be here already like Dillon Baxter and so we are excited about the future here.”
What the last year of his life has looked like:
“It has been very exciting. We were at a great place in Tennessee and had some big wins down there and was excited about what was going on, had signed another recruiting class and we’re on our way of signing another top five class and so it was exciting time, but when this opportunity became available it was something that, regardless of what was started there, couldn’t turn down. A lot had to do to with having been here before so we are excited to be back.”
How long it took him to make the decision to leave Tennessee for USC:
“Well not that long because I view this as the best job in America. All our kids are born out here and having been here six years before there is a lot of reasons why I feel I can say that. The only hard things was obviously leaving there and some of the players we had recruited there and signed there and had helped develop.”
What it is like to replace Pete Carroll:
“Well we don’t really focus on that. Obviously coach, I think, prior to last year had a seven year run that was the best in history of college football over a short period of time. There are big shoes to fill but we don’t worry about it because you can’t do anything about that. All you can do is go to work every day. I think we put together a great staff and a good signing class and we have just got to continue to do that over years.”