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Posts Tagged ‘Lane Kiffin’

U.S.C. Error Shows Need for Injury Reports

Earlier this week, U.S.C. announced that Scott Wolf, who covers Trojans’ athletics for the L.A. Daily News, was barred from attending two weeks of practice and would not be credentialed for U.S.C.’s home game against California on Sept. 22. Why? Because Wolf, doing his job, reported on an injury: Andre Hedari, per Wolf, will miss about three weeks to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. U.S.C. didn’t like that; U.S.C., like many others, has a policy that forbids media members from reporting “on strategy or injuries that are observed during the course of watching that practice or result from that practice.”

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    No. 5: U.S.C.

    Is that all you got? U.S.C. took your best shot, wiped its lip, shrugged it off and kept on moving, strolling past the overly harsh ruling heaved its way by the N.C.A.A. and coming out clean as a whistle on the other side. Sanctions, penalties, crippling sanctions and penalties? Please. U.S.C. is in a better place today than it was before the N.C.A.A. misguidedly threw down its hammer, if you can believe that. The level of swagger is at 2005-like levels. The quarterback is the best in the nation. The backfield has two 1,000-yard rushers. There are two 1,000-yard receivers. The back seven on defense is ferocious. It’s glory days all over again, even if the Trojans were just put under a two-year cloud, and this program shows no sign of letting up now that all systems are officially go. U.S.C. is back, ladies and gentlemen. That the N.C.A.A. tried and failed to take the Trojans down a peg only makes this renaissance all the more sweet.

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      All These Coaches Want For Christmas Is…

      What I’m expecting for Christmas: socks, books, a sweater and an assortment of home goods. What I want for Christmas: toys — I think I still want toys for Christmas. What I’ll get for Christmas: socks, books, a sweater and an assortment of home goods. I still remember when I got laser tag as a kid; that was special. Now? It’s still special, but more so for the family time than the presents. So I’ve grown up — or grown old, or some combination of the two. And you can’t always get what you want: just ask some of college football’s best coaches, who asked for something they really want and need for Christmas but will likely end up with socks, books — maybe not books, actually — a sweater and an assortment of home goods.

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        A Look Back at the One-and-Done Coach

        With the move official, let’s put Todd Graham’s second one-and-done stay into a historical perspective. Among the current 120-strong group, there are only two other head coaches with one such tenure, let alone two. This list doesn’t include those coaches currently in their first season at a specific program – coaches like Colorado’s Jon Embree, in the first year of a newly-minted contract. No active coach, other than Graham, has had two one-year stints.

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          Heaps’ Transfer Might Lead to Leach

          On paper, Washington State should be Jake Heaps’ preferred landing spot. The former starter at B.Y.U., Heaps declared his intention to transfer earlier this week, making official what most believed would come to pass over most of the second half of the regular season. Heaps, who started most of his true freshman season and the first five games of 2011, lost control of his starting job in the second half against Utah State, a game the Cougars would come back and win late under Riley Nelson. Even after playing reasonably well in Nelson’s stead as an injury replacement in November, the writing was on the wall: Heaps, if he wants to start, needed to play elsewhere.

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            This Is Strange: Happy Birthday, Britney

            A lot of strange things have happened since August. Texas A&M, after making some hints over the summer, left the Big 12 for the SEC. Over the last 24 hours, the university has dismissed its football coach and its athletic director; Bill Byrne followed Mike Sherman out the door this afternoon. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are heading to the A.C.C., West Virginia to the Big 12, eventually. The Big East will soon feature teams from Texas, if not San Diego. Two SEC teams — two that met in the regular season — will meet for the national title.

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              Good, Bad, Otherwise: You’re Fired

              Lane Kiffin has one. Of course. So does Dabo Swinney. And Paul Rhoads, strangely enough. Mike Riley has one! And you know Ron Zook is represented. Kirk Ferentz might have one, had Iowa not jumped in ahead of the curve. I’m talking about www.fire_____.com, the ubiquitous coach-unfriendly Web site typically purchased by an intrepid, capitalistic fan in the days following a coach’s hiring and either maintained or left to languish depending on the ensuing results. Careful research — spanning several minutes surfing the Internet — has yielded the following conclusion: bad coaches get them, good coaches get them, nice coaches get them and mean coaches get them. So there’s little rhyme or reason to the whole thing.

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                Can’t Spell U.S.C. Without Us

                Think things were tough at Tennessee? Kiffin has his hands full at U.S.C.

                To quote The New York Times’ Pete Thamel, “considering U.S.C. an underdog would have been like lumping the Yankees with the Kansas City Royals or worrying that LeBron James was being hindered by a lack of exposure.” That was then, prior to the N.C.A.A. sanctions, the coaching change and the disintegration of U.S.C.’s aura of invincibility. Much has changed since early January, when Pete Carroll’s departure was met with surprise — not because we all knew he was bailing, but because, in our mind, he left the premier job in the country. His replacement, Lane Kiffin, will have far less: fewer scholarships, less talent and the subsequent lack of depth. His only hope might be to rally his troops around the idea that there’s “us,” then there’s “them.”

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.