USC Morning Buzz

KIFFIN.WITTEK

Here are five key questions as USC holds its first practice today:

1. Who will start at quarterback?

Cody Kessler enjoyed the best spring of any quarterback. Max Wittek has the strongest arm and started two games last season. That is the dilemma for Lane Kiffin, who likes Wittek’s physical attributes. Freshman Max Browne is also available but needs more time to learn the offense.

2. What’s up with the secondary?

It was a near-emb arassment during spring practice. But safety Josh Shaw should move to cornerback and Dion Bailey will play safety, which might make this a better-than-anticipated group. The player to watch is freshman safety Su’a Cravens, who is an extraordinary playmaker.

3. Has Lane Kiffin really learned anything?

Kiffin spent the off-season trying to soften his image then promptly announced he would close practices during the regular season. More important, does the team listen to him? He lost the locker room last year and a key to this season is whether the Trojans actually respond to him.

4. Can USC stop the spread offense?

Defensive coordinator Clancy Pedergast was hired just to stop the Pac-12’s high-tempo spread offenses. His 5-2 formation needs to do that or it could be another tough season for the defense. At least he will make things simpler than his predecessor, Monte Kiffin.

5. Is the offensive line really better?

Kiffin blamed the offensive line for last season’s woes, which is easier than blaming his playcalling. He wants it to be more physical and with Max Tuerk a year older, that should be possible. But what is going on at right tackle? Kiffin made sure to note two-year starter Kevin Graf is a co-starter on depth chart with unused Chad Wheeler.

 

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  • L’Angelo Misterioso

    6. Has a coach ever lost a team and then gotten them back ?

    • Saul Goodman

      No

  • SCFTBL1

    7. How many coaches has lost their alumni support and held their job?

  • Trojan Hoarse

    8. Will Kiffin finally accept Wolf as one of his Facebook friends?

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      Kiffin has no friends, so Scott would be his first.

  • TrojanFamily

    This is a serious question…how many wins does everyone think Kiffin needs to keep his job? 7-6 won’t cut it to be sure, especially with losses to Notre Dame and lowly UCLA. Does Kiffin need 10 wins with a bowl win ? If the team struggles with a new QB early but hits its stride in November and finishes strong (say 8 wins but 5 in a row at the end) will Kiffin be back? Another loss to UCLA as to doom him regardless in my book.

    To me, 9 with a bowl win is a tough call, 10+ he stays, 8 goes except maybe with a huge run at the end. 7 or less and Chris Petersen is the new USC coach with a $4-5 million contract….

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      Petersen ain’t leaving Boise, trust me, he’s not leaving Boise

    • ThaiMex

      Maybe you should see if you can get him a pair of those “MAGIC UNDERWEAR” you guy like to wear, and MAYBE that will “SAVE HIM”.
      fit UN torgan!

      • TrojanFan

        “you guy like to wear”….what?

        Dementia is some nasty stuff

    • ted

      I’d say 9 with win over ND and Ucla…but that would be the wrong choice. They need to fire Kiffin because he is not a good head coach, he alienates players, coaches and fans. If southern has has 9 to 11 wins, it will be in spite of Kiffin not because of.

  • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

    El Lobo Macho, tu eres en FUEGO, este dia hombre!!!
    (wolfman, you are on FIRE today, brother!!!)

    LOVING your diabolical mind games!! first you take the Dummies down memory lane yesterday, then today you slap them in the face with cold, hard REALITY!!!

    even the picture of Kiff doing his best McKayla Maroney during a loss and the #13 jersey portends pure DOOM for the trOXans!!!

    this is basically the SAME TEAM as last year, only substitute the Pious Passer with a Don Knotts caricature, and that’ll be your QB!!!

    my prediction? Paaaaaaaain!!!!!

    • TrojanFamily

      Chuckles, please shh. The adults are talking today.

      • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

        you mustta heard that a LOT as a kid!!

        besides i was addressing the wolfman!! not trying to interrupt your pity party!!!

        didn’t anyone tell you the CADRE OWNS this blog, Dummy??

        now YOU pipe down or one phone call gets you a 72hr suspension!!

        • TrojanFamily

          Someone is throwing a tantrum. Does he need a nap and his sippy cup?

          • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

            and a diaper change, please.

            i’m AAAAAAALL outta bubble gum today!!!!

          • Joe Blow

            I didn’t know PIGS chew gum

          • https://www.facebook.com/charles.bucket.3 Charlie Bucket

            ask you wife, they wear condoms in rare cases too!!

            ; )

            RIP ‘Lil Porky
            (2009 – 2013)

          • TrojanFan

            Demented charlie, this is what your wife looks forward to every nights 8=D(actual size)…..Dude, you really are hung like a pimple, hate to be you!….hahaha!!!

          • TrojanFan

            Why don’t you offer up one of your Depends….ouch!!!

          • ThaiMex

            Thanks for reminding me Chucker…..Question for Family Guy… Do you wear “Magic Underwear?”

            fit UN torgan

        • TrojanFan

          bucket and his 15 other user names make up the cadre. What a fucing TOOL.
          That dementia is some nasty stuff!

          • ted

            why were you missing for couple of days? you were banned?

          • TrojanFan

            I took a staycation over at the world famous Red Rock Resort, a few whales flew in……Life is good!!!

            Please pass this on to all cadre members, false rumors have been flying around…..thanks

          • ted

            You were at the commerce casino and you were being held cause you couldn’t cover your losses?!? come on man straight answer?

          • TrojanFan

            I live in Vegas…..plus, I wouldn’t shlt my favorite turd!!!

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      Tu pinchy pendejo
      ( you f’ing faj )

      • Guest

        Sherry

    • TrojanFan

      Your mother said, the meal ticket has expired and you need to find a job’

      …..and painting the walls is not a job,idiot

      Make sure you brush your teeth before you leave the basement, gingivitis is some nasty stuff also

    • ted

      Actually the correct translation would be “The Macho Lobo, you are on Fire, this day Man”

  • Cheap seats

    Are those really “answers” to 3 & 5?

    Scott keeps insisting its play calling — I’m just glad come bloggers aren’t coaches.

    Also, his answer to the secondary question makes me believe he doesn’t watch practices but merely shows up at the tail end of practice to pretend to his bosses he’s there.

    • L’Angelo Misterioso

      He doesn’t go to practice since he was banned, neither did the LA Times nor OC Register writers, do you read this blog on a daily basis ? If so, you would have seen this already

      • Cheap seats

        I thought he was allowed back at practices?

        Kiffin even made a joke about it last spring during a presser.

    • gotroy22

      Are you The Fat Booster?

      • Cheap seats

        No.. I’m not fat by any means..lol. I think I know who you’re talking about tho

  • gotroy22

    6. What will be the team’s reaction after the first loss?

  • socaldude

    Reports are that Wittek has already broken 3 classroom windows in passing drills today. Kiffen immediately named Wittek the starter after Max gave Kiff a Mater Dei T-shirt.

  • Ben Factor

    I WELCOME CRITICAL COMMENTS TO THIS POST

    I think that the most important question among the controllable issues is whether Kiffin has learned enough to be a more constructive influence over the quarterbacks, the OL, and the secondary and defense in general.

    1. Last year, he was not a proactive, effective leader in dealing with offensive problems, many of which emerged early in the year: failure to pick up yards on the ground when needed; failure to give MB the time he needed to go through his reads; failure to curb excessive penalties; as a result of the first three failures, failure to convert on third down; less effective offense in the second half, suggesting a failure to anticipate defensive adjustments and counter them; too many turnovers.

    Regarding the defense, it was obviously a problem, and he didn’t get that involved in any solution.

    Most of these failings were not directly related to the play-calling. However, proactive experiments were required to solve the problems, and Kiffin respond promptly and effectively. I suggest that one reason was that he was preoccupied with game plans and play-calling, instead of being the CEO of the team.

    The CEO must consistently ask herself/himself “What needs to be done?” Her/his eye must be on problems that emerge, as well as opportunities. In general, that requires a broader perspective and some separation from daily operations.

    I question whether Lane Kiffin has the management skill and discipline to simultaneously be the real OC, and to sustain the broader perspective and separation that it takes to succeed as CEO. He has not shown me, at least, that he can handle both jobs. True, he did pretty well at it down the stretch in 2011, but he has completed three full seasons, not one season.

    Yet, Kiffin chose not to hire a big-time, experienced OC, and then, after many months of “deliberation”, he chose to call plays again.

    So, in making those two choices, did Kiffin show that he has learned a lot?

    2. Kiffin gave an interview in which he stated that USC’s current second string is about equal to Pete Carroll’s 3rd string. That was a questionable comment to make in an interview. It was bad for team morale. It sidestepped the fact that Kiffin recruited almost all of this USC team, and that USC enrolled about 55 4-star and 5-star players since 2010, and will not play any Pac-12 team in 2013 that enrolled more than 30.

    He then gave an interview in which he suggested that he may support rule changes to slow down hurry-up offenses, in order to reduce player injuries. Kiffin has to confront a lot of hurry-up offenses in the Pac-12. It’s inconvenient for him, because his defense doesn’t practice against a hurry-up offense. However, as I understand it, there are no reliable studies that show that the hurry-up leads to more injuries. Then, why comment in that way on that subject? Why not call for a comprehensive study? David Shaw faces the same challenge that Kiffin faces. I don’t think he has followed Kiffin’s lead in his public comments.

    So, do Kiffin’s recent public statements reflect that he has learned a lot?

    3. One area in which Kiffin does display change and learning is in reinstituting physical practices. We’ll see soon if that will continue, and if it has made a lot of difference in performance.

    4. The season hasn’t even started. I think the fair way to judge Kiffin will be whether, in the context of the smaller roster, the team looks well-coached and well-prepared, whether it responds favorably to the unexpected in the heat of battle, and whether the problems that will inevitably arise are creatively addressed. Maybe Kiffin didn’t really need to learn a lot to achieve that. That would be good, because even though we’re very early in the game, it’s not obvious that Kiffin is a lot further along the learning curve. We shall see.

  • B.Miller

    I have a question.. Will Wolf learn his lesson and give the Kiffin bashing a rest? ..
    ITS OLD!