"He's always calculated and always has been," says Trent Dilfer, a football analyst for ESPN who quarterbacked the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl title. "There's not much Lane's done that wasn't thought out."
At USC, Kiffin has promised to run "an extremely clean, disciplined program." He attended the school's hearing before the NCAA infractions committee last month and has thus far quietly awaited a ruling on possible sanctions that could keep his team out of bowl games and reduce scholarships.
Lately, however, there have been hints that "businesslike" might stray into business as usual.
Less than a month after saying the Trojans didn't need to grab attention, Kiffin offered a scholarship to a seventh-grade quarterback.
That came a day after he took a shot at crosstown rival UCLA, saying, "I guess we waste time" trying to recruit players who sign with the Bruins.