Having watched, via streaming video, Lane Kiffin’s introductory briefing at Southern Cal — delayed 45 minutes by L.A. traffic; imagine that — I’ve reached the following conclusion:
The man is misunderstood.
I’d thought he was a bigger jerk than he is an idiot. Turns out he’s just as big an idiot as he is a jerk.
His explanation for the rage expressed in Knoxville over his exit from Tennessee was epic in its denial: “As I look at the reaction, I said, ‘You know what? They’re upset we’re leaving because of what we’re doing. If we weren’t doing something right, they wouldn’t be upset.’ ”
I have sympathy for the folks in Knoxville. I have only scorn for the powers-that-be at USC. A proud program has given Eddie Haskell the keys to the family Bentley. They know full well what Kiffin is — he worked there, as you know — and hired him anyway. It will be great fun watching him destroy Troy.
And he will. He can’t coach. I’m not sure what he can do, but coaching isn’t it. And he’s so disingenuous he can’t separate reality from lunacy. He seemed to award himself victories over Florida and Alabama, when really all his team did was come close. (And against the Gators, not all that close — 10 points.)
Of his brief time at Tennessee, he said: “We had only one arrest incident. We improved by two wins. When I looked at the team [as he addressed the angered Vols upon his leaving], I knew it wasn’t even close to what it was 14 months ago.”
Let’s note that the arrest involved a handgun, a robbery outside a convenience store and Nu’Keese Richardson, the recruit over whom Kiffin accused Urban Meyer (wrongly) of cheating. Even the coach who knows no shame was moved to dismiss Richardson from the squad.
Let’s also note that the 2008 Vols were 5-7, but the 2007 Vols won the SEC East. It’s not as if the Big Orange had never won before Li’l Kiffy showed up and started committing his secondary NCAA violations. Speaking of which:
“It wasn’t a large amout of violations,” he said. “Not out of whack with the rest of the conference. [Georgia also had six in the past year, for what it's worth.] That said, we don’t want to have any. We want to have zero.”
This same Lane Kiffin stood before a Chick-fil-A Bowl luncheon crowd last month and winked at his bad-boy image. This same Lane Kiffin attributed his violations to the jealousy of rivals. This same Lame Kiffin stumbled badly when asked if henchman Ed Orgeron had indeed been calling Tennesee recruits to get them to switch to USC.
This same Lane Kiffin will have USC, already on the NCAA’s watch list after Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo and now Joe McKnight, on probation in two years. For this program to hire this scofflaw is to tell the IRS: “Hey, geeks — I dare you to audit my return.”
There are lots of odious folks in big-time sports, but Southern Cal just tethered the skunk of all skunks. I cannot imagine anyone entrustring a program to Lane Kiffin. And, once he wrecks Southern Cal, nobody else ever will.