Tackling Teammates: Lane Kiffen Is Hurting USC's Attempt at Redemption

Connor SchickelContributor IJuly 26, 2010

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

Lane Kiffin needs to keep his business out of the NFL.  

Kiffin has already failed at the professional level through his experiment with the Oakland Raiders.  He compiled a lowly record of 5-15 and on his way made a horrible name for himself.  After going 4-12, even Al Davis regretted the hiring of Kiffin and reportedly drafted a letter of resignation that Kiffin refused to sign.

In the 2007 season Kiffin was fired for disgracing the Raiders organization after going 1-3 and was called a liar by Al Davis. Then with a mere 2 weeks left in the NFL season, Kiffin took Raiders assistant James Cregg for his own coaching staff in Tennessee. He should have waited until the NFL season was over, because waiting another two weeks would not have affected his success in Tennessee.  

A few weeks earlier he had reached out to his father, Monte Kiffin who had been coaching the 9-3 Buccaneers.  After Kiffin announced he would leave for Tennessee the following season, he stopped putting effort into the Buccaneers defense and they fell apart falling 0-4 in the last month of play.  

Lane Kiffin hurt two organizations through his lack of tact in the 2008 NFL season. Now it seems he has done so to a third, the Tennessee Titans.  He lacked all tact by taking Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola to serve as USC's Offensive Coordinator without even asking Jeff Fisher if that was okay.

Now Kiffin has been called out by Jeff Fisher, who is one of the most respected coaches in the league.  Fisher called Kiffin unprofessional.

Kiffin has made a poor name for himself around the NFL and in the media.  His actions are not helping USC recover from the sanctions put on it that prevent it from going to the playoffs for the next four years.  

USC has been trying to repair the damage that it has done by returning Reggie Bush's Heisman Trophy and taking down anything that depicts the star-running back or O.J. Mayo.  They did this to try to appeal their ban from the postseason.  Perhaps Kiffin does not realize it, but he represents USC through his actions and his lack of professionalism is not going to strengthen USC case to return to the postseason any earlier. 

Kiffin also has a tarnished reputation in the NCAA because after one year as the coach of Tennessee he left for bigger dreams.  Now with the Kennedy Pola move he has spited Tennessee residents twice in less than a year.  He has also falsely accused Urban Meyer of cheating to get recruits.  And did similarly of the Georgia Bulldogs.  

Kiffin has lost all credibility in the eyes of the NCAA because of his rampant accusations. He also said (according to Chris Low) that if "recruit Alshon Jeffrey...chose the Gamecocks, he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players from that state who had gone to South Carolina .”  After these accusations came out, the Raiders said that these were just a typical behavioral trend that also occurred while he was employed by the Raiders. 

The point is that USC is shooting itself in the foot through Lane Kiffin.  He has made a horrible name for himself and has not been a good coach.  If Kiffin does not succeed—though success isn't really important to USC since it can't make any sort of playoffs—then they should fire him.  If he is even one game above .500, he should be gone.  He has immense talent around him, so he should be successful. If he is not, then he is just a potential liability, and another embarrassment for the already blushing sports program of USC. 

I don't imagine this is Kiffin's last bout involving a lack of professionalism or spouting off.  He is just a pampered little boy who thinks he is good because his daddy invented the formerly unstoppable Tampa 2.

To conclude, USC and Pat Haden must put Kiffin on a short leash—a very short leash. They must tell him to watch his actions and words because he is bringing unwanted attention to their program in a time that requires calm.