Notre Dame v USC

Lane Kiffin tells AP he’s pondered coaching a smaller program or high school


Lane Kiffin returned to USC in 2010 to become the Trojans’ head coach following a one-year stint at Tennessee, but the dream job Kiffin accepted hasn’t exactly gone smoothly.

Sure, there are the NCAA sanctions he inherited, which include scholarship reductions and previously banned the program from going bowling, but the 7-6 record USC finished the 2012 season with after being the preseason No. 1 team raised questions if 2013 would be the last year Kiffin coached the Trojans. And that came just one year removed from going 10-2 with no hopes of a postseason. Then there was the heavy staff turnover this offseason that saw Kiffin’s own dad, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, depart — likely as an act of falling on the proverbial sword for his son.

So, yeah, it hasn’t always been an easy go for Kiffin, who enters his fourth year with USC. In an interview with Ralph Russo of the Associated Press, Kiffin admits as much by joking, although with perhaps some sense of seriousness, that he’s already pondered what life would be like on a smaller stage. From the story:

“I did think the other day what it would be like to be a high school head coach or to be at a small school,” Kiffin said. “I thought about it the other day. The first time. I wonder if there’s something to that peace of mind. Maybe it’s something I can go back and do when I get older. I’m going to go coach high school.

“It’s just the game. It’s the game in its realest sense and it’s fun. Working with the kids and not all this other stuff. You go back and have fun.”

But Russo brings up a good point about Kiffin later in the piece: “When it comes to turmoil, Kiffin seems to either walk into it or create it. It’s a talent that has made him maybe the most vilified man in college football today.”

Kiffin knew what he signed up for when he took the job three years ago. He was already going to be under the Los Angeles media market microscope anyway, and with his, shall we say, “demeanor”, he’s going to get even more attention. I’m sure USC is still Kiffin’s dream job and anything he says about leaving the bright lights of L.A. is mostly jest, but those comments reveal some of the pressures of coaching at a big-time program.

The theme of Russo’s piece is that Kiffin and USC are hoping for a drama-free 2013. The only way that happens is if he wins.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
Associated Press
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury

Report: Maryland plans to fire Randy Edsall following Ohio State game

COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Randy Edsall of the Maryland Terrapins looks on from the sidelines during the second half of their 28-0 loss to the Michigan Wolverines at Byrd Stadium on October 3, 2015 in College Park, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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If one report is accurate, this weekend’s game against Ohio State will be Randy Edsall‘s last at Maryland.

Citing multiple sources close to the situation, the website is reporting that Edsall “is unlikely to survive as Maryland’s football coach” beyond this Saturday’s game against OSU.  The site writes that, “[b]arring an unexpected last-minute reversal, Maryland will part ways with Edsall when the floundering Terps enter their mid-season bye week.”

Just this past June, Edsall was on the receiving end of a three-year contract extension from the school as the Terps were coming off a 7-6 campaign in their first season in the Big Ten. This year, however, they’re gotten off to a 2-3 start, including losses the past two games to West Virginia and Michigan by a combined score of 73-6.

Edsall is in the midst of his fifth season in College Park, and the overall results have been decidedly disappointing. Under Edsall’s direction, the Terps have gone 22-33 overall and 10-23 in conference play (6-18 in ACC, 4-5 in Big Ten). Edsall is 0-11 vs. ranked teams in that span.

This is far from the first time Edsall has been rumored to be on the hot seat, but this is by far the closest he’s come to the coaching gallows.

As for the financial ramifications of a dismissal? That new deal signed earlier this year ensured that the hit the school would absorb would be, relatively speaking, mild. From the report:

Edsall’s contract was extended for three years in June — a move aimed at stabilizing his public standing, especially with high school recruits — but just $500,000 of the $7.5 million was guaranteed money; by firing Edsall before his original deal ends Jan. 15, 2017, the school will have to pay him for the remainder of this season and an additional $2.6 million: $2.1 million for next year’s salary and that half-million buyout.