Conflicting Reports Surround Kliff Kingsbury Joining USC as OC

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the field before the game against the Baylor Bears on November 24, 2018 at  AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Baylor defeated Texas Tech 35-24. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
John Weast/Getty Images

Former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury may be headed west.

According to Chris Trevino of 247Sports' USCFootball.com, Kingsbury "agreed in principle" to the offensive coordinator job under head coach Clay Helton. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported the deal has not been finalized because Kingsbury is still considering offers in both the collegiate and NFL ranks.

What's more, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports talked to Kingsbury's agent, Erik Burkhardt, who said, "It's premature to say that any decision (by Kliff) has been made."

This would be another significant change to the Trojans staff following a 5-7 season if it did happen, as Trevino noted the Trojans already parted ways with defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze, defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford and offensive coordinator/receivers coach Tee Martin. What's more, quarterbacks coach Bryan Ellis accepted the OC position at Western Kentucky.

Kingsbury finished a mere 35-40 in six seasons at the helm of Texas Tech even after a promising start in 2013 with an 8-5 mark and Holiday Bowl victory. The Red Raiders dropped to just 4-8 in 2014, and the 2018 campaign was their third straight with seven losses.

Defensive issues were largely to blame during his time as head coach, and the school fired him after losing its final five games this season.

However, Kingsbury is widely regarded as one of the best offensive minds in college football.

He was a co-offensive coordinator at Houston and offensive coordinator at Texas A&M under Kevin Sumlin before taking the Texas Tech job, and Trevino noted the 2016 season—when the Red Raiders led the nation in total offense—was the sixth straight time his offense finished in the top 11.

USC is one of the sport's blue bloods, and a 5-7 record with losses to UCLA and Notre Dame is not what fans wanted after the team won a Pac-12 title last season. Offense was a primary culprit for the struggles, as the Trojans finished a lackluster 91st in the country in points per game and scored just three against Stanford, 14 against Texas and 17 against Notre Dame.

Highly regarded freshman quarterback JT Daniels dealt with inconsistency and finished with 14 touchdown passes to 10 interceptions, but he may now have the opportunity to work with a former collegiate quarterback who has directed explosive offenses throughout his coaching career.

While Kingsbury didn't work out as a head coach for the Red Raiders, he has the chance to prove his ability as an offensive innovator once again at a high-profile position.