Lane Kiffin will win many football games as USC Trojans head coach. He is a decent enough gameplanner when he holds the right cards (Oregon will tell you as much), he can recruit among the best of them thanks to a crack staff headed by Ed Orgeron, and he has an awesome dad who will never allow the defense to trip up that much. That is more than enough to win eight to ten games every year. (Whether that's good enough for USC fans though...)
It's been a rough week for Kiffin. Starting with the short-sighted banning of Scott Wolf, compounded by a strange gameplan against Stanford, exacerbated by the harsh name-calling of his players after the loss, and now this silliness to cap it off.
How can Lane be so oblivious that all these incidents are coming at once and that they've become a constant distraction to his management of the team?
It's a bit funny really. Lane's haplessness in this situation isn't just a tough watch, it's almost entirely preordained. The USC head coach seems to always struggle with the spotlight on him, which makes you wonder how he'll handle potential lean years forthcoming for USC football.
That being said, this season has unfolded like a Worf episode in Star Trek. You remember Worf, right? The Klingon who was forever alone?
Every episode centered around him seemed to be weighed with Klingon gravitas, only it became unintentionally funny how prim and proper he was compared to his Klingon kin and how out of step he always appeared to be with everyone else, even when he was definitely . And it always seemed to follow the same trope; Worf is a wanderer, he will always be a wanderer, and it will always be a little funny and saddening that he never seems like he'll truly fit in anywhere.
I'm not sure what that has to do with Lane Kiffin, but in many ways it's the same situation (except I'm sure many people take pleasure in his struggles). Whereever he goes, Kiffin just doesn't seem to fit, and for whatever reason he can't get out of his own way. It's almost as if something internal is battling within him when he pulls these little stunts. There's no looseness with the media like with Pete Carroll (who probably was one of the best natural fits in Southern California you could ever find); Kiffin seems to retreat within and talk in a way no head coach should ever try to talk with the media.
Could USC come back and clownstomp? Of course they could, and Lane would deserve ample credit for all of that. The point is that Kiffin seems to be struggling to do the simple things that would immediately lessen 90% of the pressure he feels on a daily basis from the local and national media.
At some point he has to fix it. These gaffes are becoming way too frequent and drawing way too much attention away from the football program. Kiffin has to remind USC fans why he was the hire in the first place, or he's eventually going to end up as adrift as a Klingon living with Paulie Cicero as his adopted brother.