The headline reads – Monte Kiffin Resigns as USC Defensive Coordinator – but don’t let the spin mislead you. The elder Kiffin was fired by his own son, USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin. After a disastrous season where the Trojans yielded 178 points while losing four of its final five games this season, plummeting out of the Top 25 after beginning the year at No. 1, Lane Kiffin was left with no choice.
Kiffin, who is 72-years old, is best known for constructing and orchestrating the Tampa-2 defense during his 13-year tenure as the Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator. Kiffin left the NFL to team up with his son at the University of Tennessee during the 2009 season, and then headed to USC as best man after just one year when Lane Kiffin bolted to USC, leaving the Volunteers at the alter…
The problem here was an obvious one. Monte Kiffin’s defensive schemes were carved up against spread formations and high-octane offenses so prevalent in CFB and particularly in the Pac-10. To suggest that his bend-but-don’t-break philosophy with limited blitzing and a focus on protection against the deep pass was not effective is a gross understatement. In a nut shell, the cautious principles the Tampa-2 are built upon didn’t work with the personnel USC put on the field against the offenses it faced.
Defensive Beat Down
This year’s defensive lowlights were most pronounced in some of USC’s most high profile games. In USC’s loss to Oregon on Nov. 3, USC gave up a school record-worst 62 points, 730 yards and nine touchdowns; the worst defensive game in the history of the school. They’ve been playing football at USC since the 19th century! The week before that they gave up 613 yards in a 39-36 loss to Arizona. Adding insult to injury, before USC’s loss to Notre Dame on national TV where it allowed the Fighting Irish to score on its first three possessions, UCLA embarrassed its crosstown rivals with 513 yards of offense during a 38-28 victory on Nov. 17; including giving up 171 yards rushing to Bruins’ RB Johnathan Franklin, the most in the rivalry game in a quarter-century.
Kiffin issued a statement claiming that he is resigning because he wants to return to the NFL and will stay on to coach the Trojans bowl game next month. The facts couldn’t be further from the truth. Lane Kiffin fired his father as a mandate from USC in order to keep his own job.
Monte Kiffin will be searching for a NFL job as a 73-year old looking to coordinate defenses against kids coming into the league who just torched the defenses he designed to try to stop. Who the heck would possibly hire him?
Best wishes in your retirement years Monte…