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How is SC’s future hinged on the Baxter decision?
Kiffin is showing that he is not a good manager of the talent bestowed upon him.
The running back by committee thing has never gone well. Hasn’t anyone called Head Coach at Southern Cal figured that out? The last time SC had a solid running approach was when Reggie Bush (yes, no matter what the ridiculous NCAA says, Bush was a Trojan and a damned good one. BTW: He was also the rightful Heisman winner. I’m pretty sure Vince Young doesn’t want some consolation offering of the trophy. Aren’t you?) was THE running back.
Now, I am not saying that anyone else has been as good as Bush. But neither has USC been left in want. Might I suggest that even under the Carroll regime, USC had a pretty similar prospect to Reggie Bush in one named Joe McKnight. He was 6’0” 195 pounds and had 4.4 speed. Even when splitting playing time at the position, McKnight had over 1,000 yards rushing his junior season. McKnight should have been the main man at tailback, period.
Earth to coaches: There is a reason guys come in at 5-stars, for the most part. And if they are working hard, as Baxter is and has been this year, even by Lane’s admission, they usually perform well for you and help you win. But playing mind games with these kids, telling them, “How much you play is up to you, not us as coaches,” in light of the fact that they have done all they could to prove themselves to you statistically and regarding their character, would even daunt a Heisman winner like Marc Ingram, if he had been subjected to such nonsense.
Speaking of Ingram, let’s look at ‘Bama as a case in point.
Richardson, this year’s guy at tailback, sat behind Marc Ingram last year. Okay, he got some reps in, but all knew that Ingram was the man. Now, as the hierarchy goes, it’s Richardson’s turn.
At USC, this year should have been Marc Tyler’s, but he blew that for now. That’s a given. So, Baxter stepped up to the challenge to become the heir apparent. He knew he was the prince and it was his time to reign. Instead, Kiffin nominates someone who is still a proletariat, not even adopted into the bloodline yet, in Morgan and McNeal and even freshman Carlisle (what!).
If the head coach cannot manage the easy decisions of the team without causing avoidable conflict, then he can get all the 5-stars he could ever want and still not have a winning corp.