USC Football: Is It Time for Monte Kiffin to Go?

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterNovember 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Head coach Lane Kiffin (R) and his father and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin of the USC Trojans  talk during warmups for their game with the Virginia Cavaliers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

USC's defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has had a bad week. Actually, he's had a bad couple of years.

Kiffin's bend-don't-break defense has looked more broken than rotting drywall in the past two weeks and its stench is starting to permeate the USC fans' nostrils. 

The 588 yards the Trojans' defense gave up to Arizona two weeks ago was alarming. It was a warning sign. Yet nothing was fixed.

The Trojans gave up 730 yards in its 62-51 loss to Oregon on Saturday. The last time USC gave up that many yards and that many points was...never. 


Two games where the Trojans yielded 101 points is unheard of but yielding an average of over 406 yards per game with a defense littered with four and five-star recruits is downright unfathomable.

We all criticize West Virginia's porous defense, but here is a mind-boggling perspective: The Mountaineers are only giving up about 76 yards more per game than the Trojans.

In the Pac-12, USC's defense is ranked No. 8. 

How much worse can it get? Plenty.

Max Redfield, a four-star safety out of Mission Viejo (CA), just decommitted from USC and opened up his recruitment. Redfield is reportedly considering Oregon—the team that just rolled over USC—and Notre Dame—the team with the nation's tenth-ranked total defense. 


When USC starts losing blue-chippers out of its own backyard after losses, that doesn't mean the kids are fickle. It means they don't like what they're seeing. The writing is on the wall.

The talent is there but the leadership from the top is not. The schemes aren't working and dammit, USC can't stop the run.So far, 426 rushing yards is the benchmark by which USC's future opponents will be judged. Can anyone else top that? 

Do USC fans really want that question answered? I think I see a Bruin fan in the back of the room with his arm raised. 

Ed Orgeron carries the defensive coordinator title, but assistant head coach Monte Kiffin is the conductor of this orchestra because this defense is his defense. 

Orgeron is a great recruiter and his defensive line has played fairly well despite its lack of depth. The problem is Kiffin's Tampa 2/Cover 2 defense. It's designed to give up yardage but not scores—unfortunately, giving an offense like Oregon's a chance to get more yardage results in more scores.

The biggest issue right now is that Lane Kiffin may have to fire his own dad. The younger Kiffin hasn't exactly been embraced for style points when it comes to job changes but firing his own dad may finally put him up there in the untouchable status—the Thanksgiving dinner table could get a little chippy.

The media will crucify him, Trojan fans will probably embrace him and, despite this being the right thing to do, the younger Kiffin will get blasted by his haters. That's the risk you take when you hire not only your dad, but a very likable man.

Monte Kiffin is a neat guy and it's a heartwarming sight when he plays with his grandchildren on the field after a Trojan practice—they probably wish they could spend more time with grandpa. 

Right now, so do a lot of Trojans.