Time to answer some reader questions with recruiting and what’s really wrong with the team this season the main topics.
what impact, if any, will the disappointment of this season have on recruits? and to a further extent, do you personally know of any recruits who are rethinking their commitments?
A: Right now, no one has officially decommitted. Losing has not changed anyone’s mind but it makes it easier for those wavering to go elsewhere. Defensive ends Jason Hatcher and Torrodney Prevot are not 100 percent committed and being aggressively pursued by out-of-state schools. Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes is also looking at Oregon, and to a lesser extent, UCLA. And wide receiver Sebastian LaRue looks like he will play elsewhere because he wants to play wide receiver. But USC’s 7-4 record doesn’t make a difference in his case.
Vanderdoes would probably go elsewhere if Ed Orgeron were to leave after the season.
Q: Vladimir Smackula
Vulfman, vhat a crazy year!! I am thinkink vee need a lighter qvestion!
Vee all know zee Barkley haff numerous nicknames, but vhich vun is your faworite?
Honey Boo Boo
the Pious Passer
Mr Unfinished Business
AH! AH! AH!
Answer: From an originality standpoint, I’ll go with the Pious Passer.
Scott — Your criticisms of the Kiffins and Matt Barkley are either accurate or at least essentially fair. But they can’t be responsible for all the team’s problems. Can you detail other players and/or coaches who have seriously underperformed as well? Please include both on-field and off-the-field information. Many thanks in advance …
A: There is a definite chemistry problem this season, which applies throughout the team, not just to the marquee players. I know of rifts between Lane Kiffin and players and also between individual players.
The penalty problem also shows the lack of discipline that exists.
I would say another problem is the departure of linebackers coach Joe Barry. He was a strong voice on defense, willing to stand up to Monte Kiffin and respected by the players. That void was never filled. I also think some of the gimmicky stuff done on special teams is starting to wear a little thin on the players in Year 3.
I believe Monte Kiffin will be replaced after the season but it is too simplistic to place all the blame on him. An offense scoring 14 points against Stanford had nothing to do with him. Or 21 points against UCLA. This was a program-wide season of underachievement.
Q: The Ghost of John McKay
Is Kiffins character and reputation such that he has a hard time attracting good assistants to work for him?
A: I would put it this way: He does not go out of his way to establish relationships in the coaching community, which makes it difficult to hire when a position opens up. An offensive coordinator does not want to come to USC unless he can call plays. And the defensive hires tend to be limited because Monte Kiffin does not want coaches that will challenge him.