USC Football: 7 Potential Lane Kiffin Replacements
USC coach Lane Kiffin gets a lot of negative press and some fans want him replaced. Everything he does and says is scrutinized and publicized with the most negative spin by most of the media.
Of course, he provided the fodder during 14 months as coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, but that has not been the case as coach of the USC Trojans for the past 21 months except for joining some other Pac-12 coaches in criticizing the mistake-prone officiating.
Two top five recruiting classes in spite of the NCAA sanctions is one example.
The team improvement seen in the last three games with convincing victories against California and Notre Dame and a very close three-OT loss against No. 4* Stanford shows that the program is moving in the right direction despite the difficult circumstances.
However, while USC is one of the most storied football programs in the nation with 11 national championships and the most NFL players and Pro Hall of Famers, three more years of 10 scholarships reductions and a limit of 75 total scholarships are daunting for any college coach.
Who will replace Lane Kiffin as coach of the USC Trojans if the critics get their way?
*Week 10 AP Ranking
P.S. Here are the nine reasons that Kiffin doesn't need to be replaced.
Criteria for Selecting Candidates
Top candidates were identified and eliminated based on the probability of leaving their current job and their football philosophy and culture being compatible with the USC Trojans.
The following candidates were eliminated:
Mack Brown – Texas coach
Gene Chizik – Auburn coach
Mark Dantonio – Michigan State coach
Kirk Ferentz – Iowa coach
Brian Kelly – Notre Dame coach
Chip Kelly – Oregon coach
Mike Leach – former Texas Tech coach
Les Miles – LSU coach
Dan Mullen – Mississippi State coach
Gary Patterson – TCU coach
Bo Pelini – Nebraska Cornhuskers coach
Mike Riley – Oregon State coach
Nick Saban – Alabama coach
Steve Spurrier – South Carolina coach
Bob Stoops – Oklahoma coach
Kyle Whittingham – Utah Utes coach
Status: former coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans (1994-2010)
A Southern California native and former Trojans defensive back, Fisher’s resume looks as if he has been groomed to be a USC head coach his whole life.
There is no denying Fisher’s success as a head football coach; he is a rare breed, who is loyal and respected by his peers, making him a prime candidate for the USC gig.
Jack Del Rio
Status: current coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars (since 2003)
Another NFL head coach and USC alum, Del Rio was an All-American linebacker and MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl game.
He has had some success at the pro level, but is most known for his “keep chopping wood” mantra that resulted in his kicker taking a chunk out of his leg after Del Rio brought an axe and a tree stump into the locker room.
Del Rio’s history with USC and success in the NFL make him an excellent candidate.
Status: current coach of the Seattle Seahawks (since 2010)
Here are the five reasons that former USC coach Pete Carroll could return.
Status: current coach of the Washington Huskies (since 2009)
If only he had stuck around for one more year, Steve Sarkisian might have been handed the reins of the Trojans’ football program and be the current coach.
Unfortunately Sarkisian left in 2009 to become the head coach at Washington after being Carroll’s right hand man from 2005-2008.
It is hard to believe that Sarkisian would leave the University of Washington due to the success he is enjoying there; but, you never know, stranger things have happened.
Status: current Arkansas coach (since 2008)
Like Saban, Bobby Petrino isn’t well liked, but he wins everywhere he goes.
He helped elevate Louisville to new heights and now he is working his magic at Arkansas.
Petrino is one of the better offensive minds in the game and he always seems to have a quarterback near the top of the efficiency rankings.
Status: current coach Boise State (since 2006)
Petersen has taken Boise to new heights since he replaced Dan Hawkins in 2006. Few teams have dominated their schedule like the Broncos have since then.
His highly innovative offenses have enabled his teams to destroy opponents in conference and remain highly competitive, if not mostly successful, against more talented non-conference foes.
He’s doing all this with diamond-in-the-rough recruits in a state that isn’t exactly rich with prospects. Imagine what he could do with the quality of USC recruits.
Status: former head coach of Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-2008)
Gruden’s candidacy as a USC head coach prospect is purely speculative. In 11 seasons as a NFL head coach, he compiled a 95-81 record, but he did win a Super Bowl.
Gruden’s name seems to come up every time there is a coaching vacancy and he himself has stated that he will return only when the situation is right. What job is better than head coach of the USC football team?