Lane Kiffin Is the USC Trojans' Problem Now

Kevin ScottCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13:  New head coach of the USC Trojans Lane Kiffin speaks to the media during a press conference at Heritage Hall January 13, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

I think I've figured it out.  Lane Kiffin is a distant descendant of one Luke Skywalker.  Yes yes, that Luke Skywalker that we all pretended to be at some point.  

Watching Lane Kiffin's press conference tonight as he was introduced as USC's new head football coach, I couldn't help but realize he had pulled some sort of "Jedi mind trick" on all of us.  

Is that what Kiffin looked like to everyone but us the whole time he was at UT?  Holy nervous shakes Batman.

It was clear in the presser that the media is Los Angeles is not soft media Kiffin became accustomed to in Knoxville.  No, these guys are pros.  They are going to ask the tough questions, and they are going to ask them until they get an answer or until the guy running the show shuts them up to protect you.

If you lie and it's obvious, they'll ask again.  Your half-hearted, half-true answers apparently don't work in LA, Lane—a place you seem to believe is "home."

T.J. Simers of the LA Times got into a great exchange, exposing conflicting statements Kiffin had made in his answer to an earlier question about Orgeron calling UT recruits while Kiffin met with the team.

Lane's initial answer was, and I'm paraphrasing, "I just got here. I haven't talked to him yet, but I don't believe that's accurate from what I've been told." 

Simers, like anyone else with common sense, was confused at which part was true.  Was it that you haven't talked to anyone?  Or is that you have talked to them, and you believe it's not accurate?

Of course, Kiffin danced around the question until USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett cut Simers off, basically coming to save the day for Lane.

Now, those of us in Tennessee know Lane's answer to that was an outright lie.  Several published reports and eyewitness accounts have confirmed that early enrollees got phone calls from Ed Orgeron during the final team meeting and held the phone asking Lane what was going on.

He knew.  He lied.

Kiffin was also asked by a reporter about the outrage of the Vols faithful.  Kiffin's answer to this, again paraphrasing, was that was an indication to him that obviously he was doing something right or they wouldn't care if he left.

Give me a freaking break, you smug little punk.

People are enraged because this isn't Hollywood in Tennessee.  You were handed the reigns of a proud program with a proud tradition, a tradition of longevity and integrity in their coaches.

People are enraged because you went about it the wrong way.

Most of us, especially me, could have handled it if Kiffin stood in front of a camera and group of reporters and just said, "Listen, the bottom line is that USC is my dream job, and I have to take it, I just can't pass it up," and stood there and answered questions.

We could have taken it if you hadn't had Monte and Ed Orgeron in LA, recruiting for USC before they turned in their resignation to UT or announced the move, which was a major slimeball move.

Most of all, Lane, we could have taken it if for once, you'd have respected the UT program and fanbase enough to face us, instead of getting out of town as fast as possible and in the dark of night.

Many Vols fans spent countless hours defending Kiffin to their SEC rival fans.  Though there were plenty of warning signs, UT fans stuck by Kiffin and supported his every move, which to me is the ultimate show of respect.

What did those fans get in return?

A coach that didn't show any respect back.  A coach that intentionally tried to cheat and screw the program by having Orgeron tell early enrollees not to go to class, but to come to USC.

UT got a coach who, in his presser, made UT sound like a kiddy school by saying "we don't need to grab attention because we've already got it."  

USC is a great program, and in the minds of most, is a step above UT, and that's not really even arguable.  But the gap isn't that big.

Many of us have spent the last year blinded by hope, by empty promises, by carefully laid plans.

USC, I hope for your sake you are able to keep your eyes open.  It seems the media out there will somewhat keep Kiffin honest, but I hope for your sake, your fan base isn't fooled like UT's was.

Lane Kiffin is a liar.  He will lie at all costs, he will say whatever he needs to say, he will do anything it takes to benefit Lane Kiffin.

After watching him stand there tonight, shaking and nervous when the tough questions came, and needing Garrett to protect him, my eyes have been opened to what Lane Kiffin really, truly is.

Lane Kiffin is your problem now, USC.