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USC's Lane Kiffin does not plan to change offensive coordinator

The Trojans coach says there will not be a different coordinator next season. Kiffin says he will not start conducting interviews for a defensive coordinator until after USC's bowl game.

December 17, 2012|By Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times
  • USC coach Lane Kiffin walks away from Max Wittek and Cody Kessler as they warm up before the Trojans' loss to Notre Dame, 22-13.
USC coach Lane Kiffin walks away from Max Wittek and Cody Kessler as they… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Lane Kiffin has said repeatedly that every aspect of USC's football program would be evaluated after the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech.

But one job apparently will remain unchanged, despite the Trojans' 7-5 regular-season finish.

Asked after Sunday's practice whether there would be a different offensive coordinator next season, Kiffin said no.

TIMELINE: College football 2012-13 bowl schedule

That means running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu will continue to be titled offensive coordinator, though the unit has been directed by Kiffin, who also serves as play caller.

With Monte Kiffin stepping down after the bowl game and Ed Orgeron taking on the title of assistant head coach, Kiffin is searching for a defensive coordinator.

Kiffin said Sunday that he would not conduct interviews for the position until after the bowl game.

Woods watch

The Sun Bowl could be Robert Woods' final game with the Trojans.

The junior receiver is awaiting an NFL draft evaluation from the league and will decide in January whether to return for a final season.

Woods caught a Pac-12 Conference-record 111 passes and was a Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2011. But sophomore Marqise Lee had 112 receptions and won the Biletnikoff Award this season while Woods caught 73 passes.

Woods said he would consult with coaches, his parents, teammates and others before making a decision about his future.

"It hasn't hit me yet," Woods said of the possibility that the Sun Bowl might be his last game. "I'm still grinding and focusing on this team. We'll just see how it factors out at the end."

Farmer makes move

Receiver George Farmer caught only one pass in nine games, but he has impressed coaches and teammates with his performance during bowl workouts.

Kiffin lauded the 6-foot-1, 205-pound sophomore Saturday. Quarterback Max Wittek did the same Sunday.

"I think he's starting to really realize how big he is, how physical he can be and what he can do to defenders," Wittek said. "He's definitely starting to come on really strong."

Farmer, a high school teammate of Woods and Lee, said early-season injuries are behind and he is focused on improving.

"Every athlete goes through adversity, whether it's injuries, playing time or whatever — it's just how you fight through it," he said. "I just look at it as an opportunity, a steppingstone in my life, to just come out here and get better."

Quick hits

Quarterback Matt Barkley was again absent from practice. Kiffin has said Barkley is not expected to practice until the Trojans travel to El Paso on Dec. 26. ... Linebacker Dion Bailey, a third-year sophomore, will return next season but said he had requested an NFL draft evaluation as a strong safety. The 6-foot, 210-pound Bailey moved from safety to linebacker after the 2010 season. He said he had preliminary conversations with coaches about returning to the secondary in 2013, and would further explore the possibility after the bowl game. "It's definitely a move that would help me, financially, at the next level," Bailey said. "I'm just trying to brighten my future, open my options and show … my versatility."… The Trojans are off until Wednesday.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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