USC Football: Monte Kiffin Needs to Retire, Defensive Schemes Outdated

Amy Lamare@GridironGoddessSenior Analyst INovember 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Assistant head coach Monte Kiffin on the sidelines during the USC Trojans spring game on  May 1, 2010 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images


Well, duh. Yes, Monte Kiffin absolutely does need to retire. Shall we count the reasons why?

USC’s loss to Oregon on Saturday set two dubious records.

  1. It was the first time 62 points had been hung on USC EVER. Let’s digest that for a moment. This is a program that has been in operation since the 1880s.
  2. Oregon’s 730 yards of offense were the most EVER allowed by a USC defense. See my previous comment about how long the history of the Trojan football program is. We're talking roughly 130 years, folks.

Do you still think Monte can handle a modern college football defensive scheme? I don’t.

And let’s get one thing straight—I fully understand that Ed Orgeron is the defensive coordinator, but that is a title in name only. Monte Kiffin calls the shots.  Someone needs to bring an optometrist up to the press box and have his eyes checked because based on the defense he is running, he can’t actually see the field and the game that is happening on it.

Look at the Trojans’ three losses. They all came down to defense. While USC has issues on offense and with the play-calling, ultimately these losses have to be hung on Monte and the defense. They cannot stop anything.

Here’s a little tidbit for all y’all: Lane Kiffin is now 1-5 all time against teams ranked in the top 10

I’m not saying Lane needs to go…yet. However, changes do need to happen and they absolutely must start on the defense.

Here is a link to a 2011 article in the LA Times talking about defensive issues. This is nothing new. It must stop. It is unacceptable.  This is USC, not Indiana. These are the Trojans, not the Vandals. The Trojan Nation does not suffer mediocrity for long. The 1990s happened—and Trojans do not want to revisit that sort of era of losses, mediocrity, fan attrition and poor attendance. As one of the premiere programs in college football, the University of Southern California simply cannot afford the losses, the porous defenses, the out-of-touch defensive architect.

Yes, I did just call Monte Kiffin out of touch. How could anyone think anything else?

Monte might have been a defensive genius, but his day has long since passed. The Tampa 2 was revolutionary more than 20 years ago, but it is not today, and it is clearly not working for USC in the Pac-12.

It reminds me of when John Robinson came back to USC in the 1990s. Surely, he was revered as one of the greatest coaches USC had ever had—his teams in the 1970s were epic, the stuff of Trojan legends.

Then he came back to Troy and tried to run the same sort of 1970s style Pac-10 ball that he had had so much success with. Except it wasn’t 1974 anymore,  it was 1993-97, and I won’t revisit the Trojans’ record in this time frame as it is still a sore spot with much of the Trojan Nation. (This was mentioned today at a party I attended: “We got through the 90s, we will get through this.” The resignation among fans old enough to remember the Paul Hackett and John Robinson years runs deep.)

No one is disputing Monte Kiffin’s place in the football history books as a  defensive genius.  However, he needs to step down, and USC needs to bring in an innovator who can develop the next great defensive scheme at USC.  The fact is that Monte’s schemes stopped being innovative when they became so widely copied. USC’s opponents do not have to prepare any complicated or special plan to combat this USC defense because it is exactly like so many other defenses out there.

It is time USC stopped relying on old stalwarts and sought out the next innovator. USC needs a Pete Carroll type, an Urban Meyer type, a Nick Saban type.

Fact is, this current USC defense is the most porous in over 50 years. USC’s official statistics date back to 1955 despite that being more than 60 years into the program.  This season, USC’s defense is allowing 406.4 yards per game on average, which is higher than the previous record of 400 yards allowed in 2010. Notice who the coaches were for both those seasons. Monte must go.

Lane Kiffin has talked to the media since Saturday’s game about needing to make changes, but what those changes might be are not clear, and it is unlikely to come anytime soon.

USC’s next three opponents have all averaged more than 400 yards per game this season.  USC, to remind you, gave up an astounding 730 yards to Oregon.  This is not acceptable.

It is my feeling that this is not USC’s last loss this season. Teams have the recipe to beat USC, and it doesn’t matter how many points USC puts up (and thank Barkley for those 50+ points, right?!)—if the defense can’t stop a caterpillar making its way across the field, then it cannot stop ASU, UCLA or Notre Dame.

That said, if USC wins out, the Trojans would go to the Pac-12 Conference championship game on November 30 to face (most likely) Oregon again.

This is a piece about the USC defense, but let’s not forget that USC played Oregon closer than any Ducks opponent this season and put up more points with the 51 and yards with 615 than any other team.

So there’s that, Trojan fans. USC lost, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. (My God, the resignation runs deep.)

Sadly, USC’s defense IS that bad. It is very defensible and not at all dynamic or innovative.  Without major changes, not only will the Trojans lose at least one more game this year, but the coming years of scholarship reductions look very grim indeed.