Answer Thursday!

Is USC’s defense or Lane Kiffin’s playcalling the key to 2013? I address that in this segment.

SCFTBL1 said:
Q: Is there any real pressure from the USC administration on Pat Haden to demand the release of the NCAA emails? I’m sick and tired of his inaction and feel his job should be in jeopardy.
A: I think USC is going to wait and see what happens during the legal process and then decide how it will act. Above all, USC does not want to confront or conflict with the NCAA, which I believe is the source of your frustration.
The past three years it was obvious USC just wanted to serve its sanctions and then move forward.


Q: 2nd year in a row Scott, top linemen have turned their backs on Kiffin, even with Orgeron’s once golden reputation. We were told this wouldn’t happen again after last year’s recruiting letdown. I think the main issue though, Kiffin doesn’t put a strong enough emphasis on defense. Teams with strong front lines seem to better control the game, even spread offenses with running QBs have trouble with a big-physical lines. Yet, with Kiffin’s weak game-management included, it just magnifies the Trojans inability to get any control of a game to put it away. I think this is very obvious.

A: One could say the hiring of Clancy Pendergast answers your concerns. I wonder if it will be enough, though. There is good personnel but I think you have a point when it comes to Lane Kiffin’s love of offense, with him being the offensive coordinator. Or at least the playcaller.
That probably hurt the defense a bit the past few seasons in recruiting. And now you can see that transfers like Delvon Simmons are coming in because the defensive line needs help and lost out on some top recruits.
The most important factor right now is that guys like Simmons won’t play for Kiffin if he doesn’t win this year, so Pendergast might be the real key to the season, otherwise Kiffin’s playcalling will be a key and how many fans want that to happen?

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  • Ben Factor

    To dtksr1:

    Personally, I didn’t see ALL the ripple effects of the sanctions until USC had a bad season. For that season, I place 60% of the blame on the sanctions, and 40% on the two Kiffins–Lane’s insularity, inflexibility, and inexperience, and Monte’s unfamiliarity with the detailed needs of coaching defense in college.

    Per the last blog, LK has the most precarious position in college football. Recruiting is all about stability. In addition, UCLA is favored to with the Pac-12 Southern Div…or ASU.

    Why pick on Orgeron? I don’t know enough to defend or attack him versus alternatives in the marketplace, but he’s a subordinate issue in USC’s difficulties.

    Tell me the rationale for committing to USC in June 2013. If USC over-delivers on expectations, then let’s talk about the 2014 class. Right now, that’s on hold.

    The roster is what it is for 2013. There have been some policy and strategic changes, and others have been discussed. If you’re feeling pessimistic about 2013, you’ll find supporting arguments. But we’ll just have to see how things turn out. As disappointing as 2012 was, the last half of 2011 was equally exhilarating. As Chris Berman says: “That’s why they play the games.” šŸ™‚

    • gotroy22

      The last half of 2011 we had a seasoned junior quarterback and two outstanding receivers leading the team. This is a rebuilding year at best.

    • JayJR


      I don’t see how last year’s implosion can be pinned on the sanctions at 60%.

      I’d put it more like 40% on Monte’s approach to defense, 30% on Lane’s job as OC during the games lost, 20% on Lane’s job game planning leading up to the losses, 8% on the team being over confident and under prepared on game day… and 2% on the overall impact of the sanctions.

      If this coming season was a down year, I would point to the sanctions, but not last year.

      I am actually more concerned about the impacts of the scholarship limits on the 2014 season if they need to fill more than the 15 allowed in order to get the team to the 75 limit for August 2014.

    • David Keeling

      I am not picking on coach O. I think he has been a loyal soldier for LK even though from where he came from, he knows defenses win games & championships. As for Kiffin, all the pieces on the offense are not there like the past 2-years. Kiffin has been trying to outscore the other side the way he slung the ball up & down the field with Barkley. He really didn’t concern himself with the defense. Now he really has to. Because if new DC Pendergast doesns’t come thru for him the 1st half of the season, when the new QB will probably start to mesh better, Kiffin will be halfway out the door with losses. I don’t need Chris Berman to tell me this…

      • Ben Factor

        All true. If Kiffin knows what’s good for him, he will get more involved with the defensive players and coaches, so they can all set objectives together, assess performance together, and agree on adjustments. Furthermore, he will focus on more rushing and more time of possession, to keep the defense rested and sharp. I don’t care if he has Tom Brady at QB, that’s still what he should do.

        I do not disagree with the inference from your initial comment. Look at the championship college programs. They run the ball a lot, whether they are pro-style or spread. In the NFL, the draft limits team-to-team differences in talent, so scheme is supreme. In college, a USC plays all 4-stars and 5-stars, and plays 9 or more games against mostly 3-stars. You’re bigger, faster, quicker, and stronger at almost every position. You can’t be utterly predictable (on offense or defense), but neither do you have to be too clever by half. Push them around, man against man.