He has extensive coaching experience, including being the one-time head coach of one of the worst teams in the NFL at the time he became their coach. He has multiple championships, and has coached legends in his time. You may think I’m talking about Gary Kubiak, head coach of the Houston Texans. However, I’m actually talking about Lane Kiffin, former head coach of the USC Trojans and Oakland Raiders before that.
Kiffin, son of defensive guru Monte Kiffin, started as a graduate assistant at Colorado State University. He worked for a year as a quality control assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and then was hired by Pete Carroll as a tight ends coach. He moved up the ranks, and eventually became their offensive coordinator in the 2005 season (when Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, LenDale White and Dwayne Jarrett all had crazy seasons).
He stayed there through the 2006 season, and then jumped ship for the ranks of the NFL. Al Davis hired Kiffin as his head coach, making him the youngest NFL head coach at the time. It didn’t end well, and after a year and a half, he was fired and became the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. But this didn’t last long either, as Kiffin left Tennessee immediately when the head coaching job opened at USC. Kiffin coached there until this morning, when he was pulled off the team bus and fired after a 28-15 record and a ridiculous blowout loss to Arizona State.
There are all sorts of opinions on whether or not Lane Kiffin should have been fired, but the most important thing in this argument is that he was fired. That’s important because Kubiak, though nowhere near the scumbag that Kiffin has been in the past, is starting to hear some comments about his coaching tenure not lasting much longer. I don’t think “Kubes” will be fired anytime soon, but there are still some lessons he can learn from Kiffin’s mistakes if he’d like to extend his career.
Kiffin’s biggest mistake at USC and his other gigs was that he alienated people left and right because he did things his way, and didn’t think he had to answer to anyone. Kubiak has started to do that with his offense, not changing the schemes that he has run since his days offensive coordinating the Denver Broncos. Rant Sports writer Mike Kerns has written about his frustrations with Kubiak’s refusal to adjust his offensive play calling in game, and I absolutely agree that this is a problem. Yes, the Texans bounced back significantly from their trouncing by the Baltimore Ravens, but we saw in the second half against the Seattle Seahawks that “Konservniak” refused to adjust his scheme in the fourth quarter after the ‘Hawks defense started figuring them out.
Other mistakes Kiffin made include lying to his players, lying to his coaching staff, and lying to his bosses about what he was doing and where he was taking the program. I don’t think Kubiak has made this mistake, or will anytime soon. But it’s always a good reminder that the more you lie about something, the thicker the web becomes around your own neck.
Kubiak is a better coach than Kiffin could ever hope to be, and a better person in general. Even so, Kubiak should keep in mind that every coach has only so many chances before his number is up and the franchise moves on. As long as Kubiak improves from the somewhat difficult start to this season, I don’t see him going anywhere anytime soon. After all, there aren’t many other options available right now.