Early Sunday morning, the news broke that USC’s Athletic Director, Pat Hayden, had lowered the boom and fired head coach Lane Kiffin. This dismissal is not unexpected, but it most certainly is not smart.
As the Trojans dropped to 3-2 on the season with a 62-41 loss to Arizona State, Kiffin’s team allowed the most points in program history to the Sun Devils. With USC managing to score 41 points, none of which came as a direct defensive score, the offense was clearly finding ways to score. The defense, however, gave up a slew of touchdowns as Arizona State simply ran all over the Trojans.
With eight more games remaining in USC’s season, the Trojans will now have to play without their offensive leader and will struggle to rebound. Mid-season firings are rarely the answer to turning a team’s season around as the replacement generally comes from within the already struggling program. USC’s case is no different as most reports are saying defensive line coach Ed Orgeron will take over as the interim coach of the Trojans.
Although Orgeron has been a head coach in the past – he led Ole Miss to a 10-25 record in three seasons – he comes with a mostly unimpressive resume. The chances that Orgeron has what it takes to turn this team around are slim to none. The Trojans will likely finish the season worse off than they would have under the charge of Kiffin.
With tough games for the rest of the season including games against number five-ranked Stanford and 12th-ranked UCLA, the Trojans will fight to the finish, but will falter without Kiffin. The firing will lose the program some top recruits and priceless respect in the eyes of the rankings voters. USC would have been smart to let Kiffin finish out the season while searching for their replacement for next season.