USC Football: Injury Issues Putting Lane Kiffin In a No-Win Situation.

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IApril 7, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans reacts to the touchdown of Silas Redd #25 for a 7-0 lead over the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Another practice, another name added to the injury roster.

The latest victim, 5-star true freshman Su'a Cravens, went down with a knee injury, and head coach Lane Kiffin announced that he will miss the rest of the spring practice session.

Cravens joins 21 other missing Trojans from the practice session, as Kiffin and his staff somehow try to balance the need to go hard in practice with the notion that he is running out of healthy bodies from a depleted roster to do so.

Hampered by the continuing NCAA sanctions which have reduced USC's roster to 75 scholarship players, the Trojans head coach is essentially operating with 32 less players than he might otherwise have if circumstances had not reduced their availability.

Of course, Kiffin will find little in the way of sympathy from a disgruntled Trojan fanbase.

Instead of acknowledging the difficult position their embattled head coach is in, many fans will blame him for not having his players in proper shape or accuse him of not "tailoring" his practices to eliminate injuries.

By the way, many of those are the same fans who demanded Kiffin up the intensity in practice after complaining that USC wasn't "physical enough" in 2012.

He is damned if does and damned if he doesn't, but is this fair?

The fact of the matter is that Kiffin has no choice but to run his practices full bore and let the chips fall where they may.

Of course, this will result in injuries—as it already has—and the depletion of players from certain units will mandate a shift in practice philosophy from the coaching staff. But to run some units at half speed in an effort to preserve their health will only result in more injuries as players think more about being careful than the fundamentals that will maintain their well-being.

This is not to say that Kiffin won't make some changes, but they will be forced by necessity, not convenience.

Where a lack of healthy bodies circumvents rotations, Kiffin will have to modify his routine, but you can bet he won't like it one bit. And regardless of what he does, he will be criticized in some quarters by a fanbase that has no interest in fairness when it comes to their head coach.

This won't change until Kiffin takes himself out of the "no-win" scenario by providing an abundance of wins in 2013.

Because that is the only way he will win those fans over.

Fair or not.