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Monday, January 22nd 2007

Hey, Hey Goodbye

After QB Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian turned down an actual offer (wasn’t just interviewing) to coach the Oakland Raiders, Lane Kiffin, the other Co-Offensive Coordinator, has agreed to take the job.

Or so reports NFL Network and others (including Fox Sports Radio where I heard it) who have picked it up. Here is USCFootball.com’s write up.

You can’t blame a guy for seeking a head coaching position, but it has looked like he was eager to get out of dodge this offseason. He’s interviewed for numerous positions and preemptively said of at least one, the University of Minnesota coaching job, that he would take it if offered it.

Don’t want to speculate, but it can’t be fun to be the most hated man on a very successful football team.

Kiffin has taken tremendous criticism trying to fill the shoes of Norm Chow. Including plenty from me and other “amateur pundits.” But USC fans are fickle, over on USC’s Rivals site, when Sark looked like he would take the Raiders job the fan base had at least a mini-freak out. Sark has taken some criticism too for the offense (although he isn’t the play caller during the game), but when it looked like he was actually leaving people had some regrets.

Maybe we’ll miss Kiffin as well.

While Sarkisian would’ve been the bigger loss in this department, there’s no doubt Kiffin is/was a great recruiter. Not only will someone have to step up next year, but this announcement that he is leaving so close to signing day will hurt this year.

While USC will probably finish with a top 5 class, the Trojans have traditionally “closed” well in the Carroll era. This year is looking rockier, with the nation’s #1 offensive line recruit committing to USC and then recently decommitting (p.s. I hate Urban Meyer). With that merely as an example it is possible Kiffin’s slide out the door will have a negative impact as signing day draws nigh.