AHMB picked up on the L.A. Times interview with Pat Haden before I finished reading it. His analysis,"Southern Cal's Pat Haden Goes All-In With Lane Kiffin: Hillarity Ensues," is highly recommended reading for all of Bruins Nation.
But Ethical Pat's comments are so delicious that Trogan-to-English has to weigh in, too. Bold material is from the story; regular type is the translation.
"The sky is not falling, in spite of what some people read and think and write."
But our athletic program is imploding, that's for sure.
Water polo and women's tennis won championships.
And not one of our alumni gives a hoot.
The athletic department enjoyed a record year for fundraising.
And had an awfully poor Return on Investment.
USC athletes... completed the best academic semester in school history.
And, no surprise, a terrible year in football. I will continue to stress the fundamentals: skip class, download papers, have tutors take tests for you; just stick to practicing pigskin.
"I know a bunch of people out there -- all they care about is football."
And I totally get that. It was that way when I played, and before then, and ever since. All the high rollers with the big money feel that way. And believe you me, our university president understands that nothing else matters here.
"But... I love them all. I love all 650 athletes."
Though I only care about footballers.
"And so the state of USC athletics is excellent."
As demonstrated by our epic football collapse, dismissing the basketball coach, and for the first time I can remember getting some non-gushing press from the Times.
"... there's no reason that Lane Kiffin shouldn't be our coach."
Because he knows all the details of our misdeeds over the past decade,and if he spills to the NCAA, we get the death penalty. Also, Jim Mora gave Lane's retention the highest endorsement.
...the Trojans "played horribly a couple times..."
Make that a bunch of times.
...and "got shredded on defense a couple times..."
Make that several times. And we gave up the most points in a game and the most yards in a game in school history. So I made Lane sack his old man.
... and "turned the ball over way too much."
By our top-IQ Heisman quarterback, who in the UCLA game alone twice threw the ball to the wrong team with no Trojan anywhere close to the play.
"These are things that all can be fixed," he said. "And they all can be fixed by Lane Kiffin."
Whoever breaks something is always the best person to fix it.
So, too, he says, can "some of Lane's slip ups..."
But not all of them. Lane is a slip up waiting to happen. He makes mistakes, fine. He cheats, great. But he's got to stop getting caught. He needs plausible deniability like Pete Carroll had.
"His reputation... it's going to be really hard to sanitize that over time unless he kind of wins a lot of games and does things right..."
If he wins, we don't care what his reputation is. Just like Carroll, Leinart, Bush, McKnight, all the rest. Just win baby.
"He's anti-Teflon... stuff sticks to him that doesn't even belong on him."
But on the other hand, he hasn't been found out for half of what he's done. So it kinda balances out.
Asked to list three of Kiffin's strengths, Haden offers work ethic, recruiting, and play-calling.
Work ethic, it's as strong as Ted Tollner's and Paul Hackett's was, so that doesn't mean anything. Recruiting, especially illegal recruiting, illicit offers, badmouthing opposing coaches, now that is what we want to see. Play-calling, well not so much in losing to Arizona by running out of time for a tying field goal by forgetting that it's okay to spike the ball.
Here's hoping the Times interviews Lane next week, then Max "I am the greatest" Wittek the week after.