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Contrite Kiffin speaks, cops to making mistakes

USC v Arizona State Getty Images

For those looking for Lane Kiffin to lob potshots at USC in general and Pat Haden specifically in his first public comments since his canning two weeks ago, you came away sorely disappointed.

In a one-on-one interview with Chris Fowler on ESPN‘s College GameDay pregame show, Kiffin came off as, well, the anti-Kiffin most people had come to know and loathe: contrite, introspective and damn-near human.  Yes, it was the first PR step in the Rehab Kiffin’s Image Tour, but the former Trojans head coach seemed like a man who had been humbled, and one who intimated he may have needed the humbling the messy divorce brought about.

“Different things that I’ve done that I wouldn’t do again have followed me,” Kiffin said when asked about the missteps in his coaching past, from the vitriolic way he was fired by Al Davis in Oakland to the one-and-done at Tennessee to his three-plus years at USC. “I’ve made a bunch of (mistakes). … It fell apart there toward the end and obviously I’m to blame as the head coach,” Kiffin added.

Perhaps the most poignant moment of the interview came when Kiffin was asked about watching Thursday night’s USC-Arizona game with Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian.

“It was hard.  It was like watching someone else remain your kids,” the 38-year-old Kiffin said.

Of course, there were still some Kiffin-esque moments that slipped through the carefully-crafted PR image.  He mentioned the NCAA sanctions that have hamstrung the football program as well as curiously stating that Haden “has a lot of people to answer to,” intimating that the athletic director’s hands were tied and that the final decision came from boosters; that, though — at least the latter part — might actually be the case.

Kiffin also deftly sidestepped questions about the circumstances surrounding the details of his firing, dancing around the speculation that he was pulled off the bus and fired in the parking of a private terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

It’s hard to tell what the future holds for Kiffin after voluntarily or involuntarily leaving three high-profile jobs the past five years, leaving each situation worse off than it was when he got there.  As Kevin Harvick once said of Jimmie Johnson, though, Kiffin seems to have a lucky horseshoe crammed up his backside and always lands on his feet with a seemingly better job.

This time around feels different, however, and Kiffin’s best course of action might be to take a coordinator job somewhere while he revamps and retools and rebuilds an image that’s been battered and tattered over the past half decade.  Or he’ll become the next POTUS.  One of the two.

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10 Responses to “Contrite Kiffin speaks, cops to making mistakes”
  1. dkhhuey says: Oct 12, 2013 11:32 AM

    Interesting interview and I must say, getting fired from USC appears to have bitch slapped Lane into being a bit more grounded. We shall see over the next few years if it sticks.

    On a side note – the funniest sign from College Game Day thus far: Phil Knight wears jorts!

    Just plain hilarious!

  2. dhardy8207 says: Oct 12, 2013 11:57 AM

    Nothing like a little “You’re out of here” lingo to bring one off their high horse…

    I agree that he needs to take a lesser than high profile gig and fly under radar for a few years.

  3. cometkazie says: Oct 12, 2013 12:55 PM

    It will be interesting to follow him.

    He obviously has talent and in young enough for working several decades more.

    I assume he will be paid several million dollars a year until his U$C contract runs out.

    Best bet is to lay low, take a coordinators job, and stay below the radar for five years or so.

  4. tunatown1 says: Oct 12, 2013 1:18 PM

    If you google “psychopath”, you understand his actions very well.

  5. ezwriter69 says: Oct 12, 2013 1:23 PM

    No quick fix for being a bleephole, and by all reports, the main problem is that he treats EVERYONE like bleep. Arrogance isn’t cured by failure, this dude is who he is… and who he is does not include being able to lead ANYONE. People won’t follow those who treat them like bleep. Anyone who hires Kiffin is going to get the exact same results. Failure, and an overpowering aroma of bleep.

  6. ezwriter69 says: Oct 12, 2013 1:26 PM

    cometkazie, when and how have you seen talent in Kiffin? Talent for what, exactly? Failing under the very best possible conditions and circumstances? Offending pretty much everyone who’s ever met him? Being the only guy on earth Tony Dungy for bleeps sake has nothing good to say about him? Having had three teams in a row flat out absolutely quit on him? Talent, seriously? His problem is, now people KNOW him… in his case, a fatal flaw.

  7. soundsofsuccess7 says: Oct 12, 2013 2:51 PM

    He’s actually a decent guy and pretty intelligent person, contrary to the media’s portrayal of him.

  8. normtide says: Oct 12, 2013 4:05 PM

    Don’t kid yourself, he will get another HC job. Probably at a mid-major or a lower tier AQ job. Kansas, I’m looking in your direction.

    The thing is, coaches evolve. Maybe he can take this as a lesson learned and have a great career.

  9. cometkazie says: Oct 12, 2013 4:33 PM

    EZ: Someone thinks he has talent, or, at least, potential.

    I’m with Norm, also.

    For his sake, perhaps he will learn.

    It will be interesting to follow.

  10. Deb says: Oct 12, 2013 10:25 PM

    Agree with ezwriter’s initial post regarding no quick fixes for bleepholes. I doubt Kiffin’s arrogance and deviousness have evaporated over the last couple of weeks. It’s not for me to judge the depth of his contrition, but I will suggest that skunks don’t lose their stripes.

    However, I also agree with cometkazie that he’s demonstrated a talent for offense that will see him land somewhere … though I hope not in the White House (Funny, JT ;) ). It probably would be best for all if he wound up running an offense in the NFL. He doesn’t seem suited to running a college team. He needs supervision.

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