An Attempted Defense of Lane Kiffin

Posted: August 17, 2012 in ALL II
Tags: , ,

I’m just bein’ prolific, right now don’t need no Mrs./ I got a rack of Trojans, no ring, my Lane Kiffin. – Wale, “Barry Sanders”

Aside from being the best sports song in many years, this line about Lane Kiffin is hilarious.  Kiffin, entering his third season with the USC Trojans, has been embroiled with controversy this offseason, a near constant state of affairs for the boisterous young talent throughout his young career. Most recently Kiffin took heat for apparently lying about his voting habits (this is an election year) regarding the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.  When asked about Rich Rodriguez voting USC number one, Kiffin responded “I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that.”

At this point, the story gets murky depending on who you ask and how much you weigh history.  Not to break any major stories here, but Lane Kiffin is a jerk.  He likes to poke the bear and shoot off at the mouth.  Fans of his (translated to mean fans of the team he is coaching at the time) find it refreshing to see someone not kowtow to the greats and to speak his mind like…well…a fan.  Others describe it as youthful ignorance; understandably so as Kiffin (37 years old) was the youngest coach in NFL history and currently the youngest coach of any BCS team.  Remember when he was introduced at Tennessee after going 5-15 over 20 games with the Oakland Raiders?  People absolutely hated him taking a shot at Florida.  Everyone except Volunteers fans and people sick of the great Urban Meyer.  I loved it!  Can’t stand Florida, Tebow, and Meyer, so he was a welcomed relief.  The flipside is him leaving for University of Southern California kind of makes him look like an awful guy.  I’d argue not as awful as this guy, or this guy, or this guy, but still awful nonetheless.

Back to August 2012 and Lane Kiffin’s admission of what he would not do.  Well, the USA Today decided to publish Kiffin’s vote.  Usually, USA Today’s Coach’s Poll votes are kept confidential until the final vote of the season but Kiffin’s “volunteer[ing] false or misleading information” gave then the initiative to refute his statement.  To protect the poll’s integrity.  HAHAHAHA.  (Aside: The poll is a joke and will be forever because coaches dictate their own future…do better.)  By the way, Kiffin voted USC number one.  Which is fine because they have a good team but looks bad when you said you would not do it.

Kiffin explained that if he was in “RichRod’s” position, he would not vote USC number one due to their lack of scholarships compared to other programs.  Now, given that Lane Kiffin is shady and a jerk people immediately called into question his integrity.  If you look at his history, especially his propensity to take shots at others, I think he genuinely meant that if he was in another person’s shoes he would act differently.  The immediacy of the reaction is Exhibit A for your reputation staining what you do going forward.

Still, Kiffin is always the brunt of criticism.  While everyone excitedly waited to pursue Penn State recruits following NCAA sanctions, Kiffin landed the top prize only to be met with snide criticism from, everyone.  Cue up Deadspin and the New York Times to ridicule Kiffin’s poaching to talent.  Does one need to remind everyone that Kiffin was not the Head Coach or in a real meaningful position during the time USC violated rules?  Is he not supposed to improve his team if he could despite its past transgressions?

Ehhh, I like Lane Kiffin because he does bring a certain brashness that is reserved for “winners” despite not being a career “winner.”  He is the youth movement: arrogant, direct, and often times controversial.  I liked Kiffin before he coached my favorite team and love him even more now.  And he is winning which is an added bonus. (Who could win with the Raiders and Volunteers in the mid-late 2000s?  Exactly!)  All I ask is give the guy the same type of treatment reserved for others before defaulting to disliking him because he is a jerk.  Please and Thank You.


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