Kiffin inherited a very tough situation, complicated by a perception problem. He suited up far fewer scholarship players than other teams last season due to NCAA-caused transfers and the loss of some key recruits, and he was forced to redshirt most of the freshman class due to future scholarship reductions.
The problem was so severe that the Trojans did not tackle during any practices, and they struggled to have enough players to prepare for other teams.
The biggest problem that USC faced last season was the fourth quarter, when their fewer players were exhausted, and the Trojans lost three games in nine seconds to slip from 11-2 to 8-5, including a key game where the Stanford clock operator cheated them out of a win.
This season there are more players, but half the scholarship players are redshirt or true freshmen. This has caused the offense and defense to play more conservatively than desired, although the passing offense is finally opening up.
However, it doesn’t matter that there are reasons the Trojans are struggling even though they are 4-1.
The loss against Arizona State was due to mistakes by experienced players in addition to the inexperienced ones. USC gave up over 40 points in both this game and the next one against Arizona for the first time in 119 years of playing football.
Kiffin is second-guessed and criticized no matter what he does or says. Many feel that he is just the gatekeeper until the NCAA probation and sanctions end in 2014.
So what are those five reasons that Pete Carroll could come back to coach the USC Trojans?