Boom. Lane Kiffin is out at Southern Cal in a swift blow by Pat Haden, with Lane literally frozen out, left stranded at LAX while the Trojans rolled back to South Central without him. Brutal. I wonder if he'll get to keep the visor, and what his Trojans will play for now. And with UCLA so far rolling (having yet to really fire on all cylinders), things aren't looking so great for the Trojans. Yet, despite the inevitable bleakness that accompanies a mid-season head coach firing, it seems Pat Haden is moving quickly to secure the Trojans next head coach. I'm sure there will be more to follow, but let's turn to the various bits and pieces of football related news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with our own Bruins, senior DE Cassius Marsh was the focus of a recent profile in the Los Angeles Times, with the paper calling him UCLA's "renaissance man," with offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone paying the big man compliments for his athletic prowess as the power-set goal-line TE.
- Turning to our Bruin running backs in the NFL, Johnathan Franklin has an extra week to work on his fumbling issues with Green Bay out of action this weekend, on their bye week, while Maurice Jones-Drew continues to struggle (13 carries for only 23 yards on Sunday against Indy) behind his flailing offensive line.
- Flipping over to our cross-town rival, it seems that the rest of the country is catching on to what we were saying weeks ago: that the lofty and unrealistic expectations at Southern Cal will make the job unattractive to many candidates, with ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski the latest to question how attractive the Trojans' job will be, especially given the current coaching hot seats at Texas and Nebraska.
- Speaking of which, the Los Angeles Times chimed in, noting how unreasonable it was to expect Kiffin to succeed given the situation he inherited at Southern Cal: a roster soon to be decimated by graduations, injuries, and (of course) the scholarship reductions earned during the Pete Carroll era.
- Looking at the Southern Cal coaching situation, a handful of names keep appearing and it increasingly looks like Jack Del Rio or Steve Sarkisian will be seriously pursued and considered for the head coaching job at Southern Cal, neither of which would be a surprise given both men's prior connections to Southern Cal.
- Sticking with the Trojans' coaching search, it seems that Pat Haden made a decisive, quick decision, although one we suspect he wouldn't make without already having a replacement in mind. The widespread favorite so far seems to be former Jaguars' head coach and Southern Cal alum Jack Del Rio is the odds-on favorite to land the gig in South Central, with CBS Sports naming Del Rio (along with the Rams' Jeff Fisher) as likely replacements.
- Don't believe me about the odds? Vegas has the odds right now and Del Rio (1-2) is far-and-away the favorite to take the reins in South Central, with Sarkisian not far behind at only 5-1. Even our own Rick Neuheisel made the list (sure, at 1000-1, but he did go to Southern Cal for law school after all, so why not?)
- In fact, speaking of Del Rio, Larry Brown Sports is reporting that he was spotted at LAX on Sunday, which would make a lot of sense. It's not like Del Rio is in Los Angeles scouting out next week's opponent for the Broncos. Given how quickly Haden moved on
Daniel ToshLane Kiffin, the timing of Del Rio's visit to Los Angeles seems to make fit pretty well with the speculation that he is the next Southern Cal head coach.
So, with our Bruins not in action this weekend, it's a quiet football weekend for the UCLA faithful, as we sit in bemused wonderment at the complete meltdown happening across town. For now, we have to wait and see when Haden makes it official that Del Rio is taking over: after all, the last time they hired a defensive-minded guy from the NFL with little college coaching experience, it worked out okay, right? Let's begin the Del Rio official announcement countdown clock today.