ICYMI Lane Kiffin (presumably after a long and exhaustive search (?)) recently announced the promotion of his quarterbacks coach Clay Helton to offensive coordinator and also announced the hiring of three assistant coaches in a complete staff reorganization. The OC Register has this overview:
-- Polamalu's former roles of offensive coordinator and running backs coach are now being filled by Helton and [Tommie] Robinson, respectively.
-- Helton was formerly the passing-game coordinator. Robinson now holds that job.
-- Scottie Hazelton was formerly linebackers coach. [Mike] Ekeler now holds that job.
-- James Cregg was formerly the offensive line coach. He will still coach offensive linemen, but essentially as an assistant to [Mike] Summers.
-- Monte Kiffin was formerly assistant head coach. Ed Orgeron, formerly the defensive coordinator, now holds that role, and Clancy Pendergast is the new defensive coordinator.
-- Marvin Sanders was fired as secondary coach, and Pendergast (presumably) will also coach the secondary.
-- Graduate assistant Justin Mesa previously coached tight ends. [John] Baxter will now fill that role and will remain special-teams coach.
Okay. Ted Miller tried to make sense of all this on ESPN's Pac-12 blog:
Yes, if you were a cynical sort you could say the USC staff has become bogged down in semantics. That also could fall into the realm of Lane Kiffin focusing too much energy on things that matter not a whit and don't help you win football games.
The Pac-12 blog feels if you have a budding assistant coach who wants to be called something that makes his job definition less accurate -- a running backs coach as passing game coordinator? -- you should not hire him.
This staff also is imbalanced with six titled coaches working on offense and three titled coaches on defense -- presumably Pendergast will coach the entire secondary. That means graduate assistants will be called in -- again -- to fill important gaps.
Of course, it could work. Perhaps Kiffin has a well-planned vision of how this will all mesh together in 2013 and onward and cool his decidedly hot seat.
I think Miller and others are being too hard and cynical with Lane. Kiffin is actually not a bad play caller. Going back to Southern Cal's 10 win season two years, Kiffin showed a good mix of aggressive play calling, which seemed to integrate Trojan's young, explosive talent into their offense. Who knows he could find his rhythm back next season?
We will see how this all works out I guess. In the meantime, no need to pile on Kiffin as he tries to hang on for few more years.