Hello! Yes, it’s been a long time since I blogged. When I started this blog I thought I’d blog more often. Like after every game or at least after most games. But I discovered it’s not always fun to write about USC football when we’re not doing well and since I don’t get paid to do this I only write when I feel like it. Apologies to the one or two people out there who care enough to notice I how long it’s been! ;-)
The subject of this blog is Lane Kiffin and the opening day quarterback situation. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably be surprised by what I’m going to say. For those who don’t follow me on Twitter I’ve been highly critical of Kiffin. He’s the wrong man for the job. He just is. He’s a vestigial appendage of the Garrett era; Pat Haden never would have hired Kiffin.
So a few days ago Kiffin announced that he will play two quarterbacks in the opening game against Hawaii. I had the same knee jerk reaction a lot of you did when you heard this. Two quarterback system??? NOOOOO!!!!!!!
In the following days Kiffin clarified that he would not be implementing a two quarterback “system.” It’s not going to be a revolving door of quarterbacks from play to play or even from series to series. But Kiffin has still refrained from naming a starter. And he has done this much to the chagrin and the displeasure of many fans and members of the media.
In fact yesterday Kiffin said that he will inexplicably make naming the starting quarterback a game time decision! Say what? Having Cheerios or Fruit Loops for breakfast is a game time decision. Naming your starting quarterback should NOT be a game time decision. FIRE KIFFIN!
Not so fast my friends… It’s not as inexplicable as you may think. What is Kiffin supposed to do when neither player has established himself as the clear frontrunner? Neither guy has seized the day? Neither guy has forced Kiffin’s hand. Neither guy has raised his level of play to be the clear #1?
Kiffin could do the socially acceptable thing and just pick someone to avoid controversy. Then what? Cross his fingers? His job is on the line here and there are a lot of people who demand to see an improvement from last season’s debacle.
If Cody Kessler and Max Wittek are that evenly matched, and Kiffin plans to play both guys anyway, why not just flip a coin and name a starter to appease people and minimize scrutiny? I suppose there’s no reason not to, I mean the “starter” doesn’t have to take more than one snap. He could name a starter just to get people off his back but the title of starter is a pretty big carrot and I’m guessing Kiffin is using that to keep the guys motivated, working hard and challenging each other.
The way I see it Kiffin doesn’t want to reward mediocrity. Or maybe he doesn’t want to settle for mediocrity. To me this raises a red flag for the season. We’ve kinda grown accustomed to having highly touted quarterbacks who take the bull by the horns and carry the team on their backs. It’s starting to feel like the other aspects of our game are going to have to step up and carry the team if we’re going to be successful this year. No reason it can’t happen but it’s not what we’re used to lately.
So I’m going to give Kiffin a pass here. In fact, I’m going to go one step further and give him a pat on the back for going out on a limb. A lot of us have been critical of Kiffin. Questioned his decisions and lambasted his football acumen. But as flawed as Kiffin is, he’s not a complete imbecile. (I know some of you will beg to differ on this point.) Anyone who knows anything about football knows that five days before the opener you should know who your starting quarterback is. So Kiffin must have a good reason for taking this extreme course and maybe he should be rewarded for his bravery under fire.
Kiffin knows this isn’t going to be a popular decision but he’s sticking to his guns. He knows it can’t make his reputation any worse but it is jeopardizing what little job security he has left. If things don’t go well this season a lot of people are going to point to this controversial decision and say that it’s just more proof that Kiffin is in over his head. They’re going to say that he doomed us before the season even started.
I personally don’t see it that way. Kiffin may in fact be in over his head but if in his opinion neither player is performing like the #1 quarterback then maybe neither player should be the #1 quarterback.
Of course most of this is speculation. I’m making a lot of assumptions and I could be wrong. It’s possible that Lane Kiffin really is bat shit crazy. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.