If USC fans had not doubted head coach Lane Kiffin’s decisions in the 2012 season, they undoubtedly are now. One fan went as far as to dub the coach “Loser-Lane” Kiffin.
“Loser-Lane” proved his name in the No. 25 USC Trojans loss to unranked Washington State Saturday night. Washington State defeated the Trojans 10 to 7. The Cougars had not beat the Trojans since 2000.
“This was one of the great defensive battles. It was back-and-forth. It was a very exciting game even though there wasn’t a lot of points,” Washington State coach Mike Leach said to an ESPN blog.
Each team’s defenses totaled five sacks, five turnovers, and 18 tackles for a loss. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, Damante Horton, had two interceptions and returned one 70 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. The game may serve as a turning point for Leach’s era but adds to Kiffin’s downward spiral at USC.
Both team’s quarterbacks performed poorly in the game Saturday. Expectedly so for USC, since Kiffin had still not named a starting quarterback. Critics feel that USC’s loss is largely attributed to Kiffin’s play calling and the quarterback experiment. Kiffin’s decision to not select a quarterback for USC’s first two games may have caused the lowest passing totals USC has seen in over a decade.
Monday, Kiffin announced that Cody Kessler will start at quarterback in USC’s next matchup against Boston College. Kessler was selcted over true freshman Max Browne, ranked No. 2 QB in the 2013 class and Max Wittek, who was ranked No.3 for QB recruits in 2011.
The question of if Kessler can step up to the point of leadership within less than a week remains. USC players will now look to Kessler for direction and confidence.
However, Kiffin ultimately holds the cards. He must now trust Kessler’s abilities and judgement. Kiffin has reportedly not allowed Kessler to pass downfield, despite his talent and arm strength.
USC fans have now expressed their opinions and attitudes about Kiffin’s decisions as head coach loud and clear. The stakes for Kessler are high but higher for Kiffin. In USC’s first two games this season, the longest pass was 19 yards. It’s about results, and the results Kiffin has yielded just won’t cut it for USC fans.