Lane Kiffin can't seem to get away from trouble. He was the Raiders head coach for a few seasons before given the boot by longtime owner Al Davis. He then tried to revive Tennessee football, before bolting for USC and California. That left Volunteer fans with a sour taste in their mouth, and now Kiffin has troubles arising once again at USC. Current Athletic Director Pat Haden wasn't around when Kiffin was hired, and has kept hush about Kiffin's job status thus far, but that could change in the next three months.
In a loss last Saturday to conference foe Oregon, a student manager was found to be deflating footballs on the USC sideline. Kiffin in a press conference acknowledged that the manager was "working alone" and was fired in the process. Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio and host of SportsNation on ESPN, had callers and emails from student managers around the country on Thursday, and most of them all agreed that the manager surely wasn't working alone.
Then their was the jersey exchanging incident against Colorado earlier this season, where the punter traded jersey's with the back-up quarterback so they could convert two point conversions. This practice isn't exactly illegal, but it is more of a football etiquette issue, and Kiffin has exemplified that he has none. Knowing Kiffin did the jersey exchange versus a doormat team like Colorado makes it all the more downright sickening.
Kiffin has shown that he is a young, smart coach who will be in coaching for a long time at some level. But it seems everywhere he goes, controversy follows him. He's shown he can win on the college level with an overall record of 31-16 between USC and Tennessee. His record while with the Raiders was 5-15 in two seasons before being replaced by Tom Cable. Kiffin has USC off to a disappointing start this year with a 6-3 record, and a shaky defense that is coached by his father Monte Kiffin.
It may be the hardest thing for Kiffin to do, but if he wants to keep his job in SoCal after this season, he'll most likely have to give his father the boot. His dad has been coaching football since the 1960's and will go down as a pioneer on the defensive side of the ball, but his schemes aren't working anymore. They've held opponents to 24 points a game on the season, which puts them at 49th in the country. But, they allowed a subpar Syracuse offense to put up 29 points, Arizona hung 39 on them and Oregon last week put up 62. Granted, Oregon would give any defensive coordinator headaches, but the defense needs a facelift.
Pat Haden will have a decision to make at the end of the season on Kiffin, who is making just over $4 million this season. They have Arizona State at home, travel to cross town rival UCLA and then face Notre Dame at home. If they lose two or more of those games, Kiffin may likely be given the boot after the season. USC is finished with its sanctions that came down from the Reggie Bush booster incident, and will likely be able to land a top tier coach if they do in fact fire Kiffin.
Regardless of what happens at the end of the season, Kiffin will be a coach at the start of next year. He's proven he knows how to coach football, and he will be courted by other programs at both Division I and NFL levels. Whether some teams will shy away from the controversy laden coach remains to be seen.