I wonder if there's something to that peace of mind. Maybe it's something I can go back and do when I get older. I'm going to go coach high school.
It's just the game. It's the game in its realest sense and it's fun. Working with the kids and not all this other stuff. You go back and have fun.
College coaching is a grueling job. That's why the best coaches haul in seven-figure salaries. But people who are happy in their jobs usually don't fantasize about a lower-level job unless the stress of their job is getting to them. There is no escapism if one doesn't feel a need to escape.
Kiffin has to be feeling stress. All of those off the field distractions last year. That 7-6 record including a stunning loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. UCLA out-recruiting USC. The constant pressure to fix this year's team.
Each little incident associated with Kiffin last year wasn't a big deal. But Kiffin's public persona magnified everything. From Russo:
''That is frustrating because I know a completely different person from what a lot of people assume that he is,'' said Layla Kiffin, Lane's wife. ''But then you ask the team and you ask the parents that know him, and they all can say the same things I do. He is personable. And he is funny. And he's extremely smart. He's very gifted and talented at what he does."
Layla is right. Her husband is funny and personable. If only he showed that side of him more often when the mic is live and the camera is on. Then again, maybe no one would care about his inner glow and charm if the results on the field were different.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is cantankerous, impatient and unforgiving when dealing with the media. He's the living embodiment of a curmudgeon. He also wins and that's why nobody cares about his stiff personality.
He who has the most crystal balls rules the world and is excused for any perceived personality flaws.
Kiffin needs to beat Notre Dame, beat Stanford, beat UCLA and not lose to Utah State.
If Kiffin gets USC to the Rose Bowl, the yearly drama will be a sideshow for his critics and the most trivial minutia for Trojan boosters debating on whether or not they'll open their wallets and fork over big bucks.
A six- or seven-win season opens the door for more intense scrutiny. A 10- or 11-win season cancels out another deflate gate or jersey gate.
Kiffin may want to follow the mantra of his former employer, the Oakland Raiders' Al Davis.
Just win, baby.