Inside the Pac-12

January 13, 2010 3:06 PM

2010 A Big Year For Lane Kiffin

Lane somehow has coached the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Volunteers. Kiffin had no playoff appearances in the NFL. His record in Oakland was 5-15 when he was fired. At Tennessee Lane went 7-6 and was blown out 37-14 by Virginia Tech in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. The Vols also had some horrible losses this year. They fell 19-15 to UCLA and 26-22 to Auburn at home. One can make the argument that there was a lack of talent on the roster when Kiffin arrived and he did not have a QB that he recruited. The bottom line is Lane had complete control over his staff at Tennessee and should have won at least three more games this season. Kiffin picked Monte Kiffin as his defensive coordinator and Lane called the plays on offense. UT finished 5th in the SEC in scoring averaging 30.6 PPG. Defensively the Vols finished 6th giving up 21 PPG. Lane is bringing his Dad with him to USC and rumors are swirling that Kiffin is trying to pry Norm Chow from UCLA to run the offense for the Trojans. Lane is showing that he is smart enough to put together a top notch coaching staff that he believes will make the difference in a lot of their games.

Lane has not shown the ability to get great production out of his QB's. In Oakland in 2007 Josh McCown completed 58.4% of his passes, threw 10 TD's and 11 interceptions. Also under Kiffin's tutelage Daunte Culpepper completed 58.1% of his passes, threw 5 TD's and 5 picks. In his first year as the Volunteer's coach QB Jonathan Crompton was 9th in the SEC in passing efficiency with a 135.8 rating. To be fair to Lane, he did lose a lot of talent at the WR position to injuries before the 2009 season began. Lane did not get enough out of his prized RB recruit Bryce Brown. Brown finished the 2009 season with 460 yards, 3 TD's and a 4.6 YPC average. Trojan QB Matt Barkley has already been declared the savior and Lane is expected to keep it that way.

USC is not a rebuilding project. The Trojans have tons of talent already on the roster. QB Matt Barkley has already gone through the growing pains of his first year as a starter. RB CJ Gable has decided to stay for his SR. year and will team up with RB Marc Tyler to lead the Trojans rushing attack in 2010. USC returns experienced WR's in Ronald Johnson and Brice Butler. On the defensive side of the ball USC has two LB's that will be expected to have big years in 2010. LB Malcolm Smith (72 tackles) and LB Chris Galippo (70 tackles) both got extensive playing time in 2009 and they should be much better players after this year's off-season program. Jurrell Casey is one of the best DT's in the conference and he will anchor the middle of the USC defense in 2010. Casey finished the 2009 season with 59 tackles, 9 TFL and 4.5 sacks.

The Trojans have a lot of experienced players coming back in 2010 and Lane will be expected to guide them back to a Pac Ten Championship. If Carroll would have stayed the expectations would been to go to the Rose Bowl at the very least and Kiffin will be held to that standard. Heading into 2010 Oregon is probably the best team in the Pac Ten. Stanford blasted SC and the Trojans have to avenge losses to Arizona and Washington. The Pac Ten is very experienced at the QB position with players like Jake Locker, Andrew Luck, Nick Foles and Kevin Prince. The Trojans will be challenged on a weekly basis in the Pac Ten. At the end of next year Lane will not be able to use a lack of talent as an excuse for not winning the conference. With coaches like Monte Kiffin and maybe Norm Chow on the staff a lot of wins will be decided on the decisions that Lane Kiffin makes on game day in 2010.

A Member Of