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Monte Kiffin resigns as USC's defensive coordinator

November 29, 2012|By Mike Hiserman
  • USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin runs to his position during practice this summer.
USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin runs to his position during practice… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Monte Kiffin, the much-maligned defensive coordinator of USC’s football team, will resign his position after the Trojans’ bowl game.

USC made the announcement in a news release Thursday evening, saying Kiffin was leaving “in order to pursue opportunities in the NFL.”

Kiffin, 72, is the father of USC head coach Lane Kiffin.

“I respect my father’s decision and his desire to return to the NFL.," Lane Kiffin said in the release. "We are very appreciative of the hard work and effort that he put in at USC these past three years.  He has a tremendous passion for coaching young men and he is a phenomenal recruiter.”

Monte Kiffin has coached football for 47 yeaers, including 26 in the NFL. He worked for 13 playoff teams and was coordinator of Tampa Bay’s 2002 Super Bowl champion. He joined his son in the college ranks in 2009, when Lane got the head coaching job at Tennessee. They worked together at USC the last three seasons.

“I wanted to make this announcement now so that our players who are preparing for the bowl game and our recruits who will be visiting campus are aware,” Monte Kiffin said in a statement released by the school. “I really enjoyed my time at USC and the opportunity I had to work with our players and coaches.  The chance to work for my son, Lane, was unique and memorable, but we always treated each other professionally on a coach-to-coach basis.

“Although things didn’t always go as well as we would have liked this year from a defensive and win-loss standpoint, I will leave USC with the utmost respect for the university, the Trojan family and, most importantly, the players I had the good fortune to coach.  I see great things ahead for the USC football program.”

USC started the season as the top-ranked team in the country in the Associated Press media poll, but the Trojans lost four of their last five regular-season games to finish with a 7-5 record.

Bad defense and penalties were at the core of USC's decline.

The Trojans had a 6-1 record and were ranked 10th until losing to Arizona, 39-36, on Oct. 27 in a game in which they gave up 588 yards. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott passed for 369 yards and ran for 100 while Ka'Deem Carey bulldozed through USC defenders for 139 yards.

And it only got worse for the defense.

Next up was Oregon, with its up-tempo spread offense, and the Ducks left USC looking totally defenseless in a 62-51 win at the Coliseum.

Oregon shredded the Trojans for 730 yards, including 321 yards rushing by Kenjon Barner, who gained many of those yards before he was so much as touched by a USC defender.

The points and yardage by Oregon, and the rushing yardage by Barner, were all records for a USC opponent. And USC has been playing football since 1888.

USC also proved vulnerable in its last two games as UCLA snapped a five-game losing streak against the Trojans by winning 38-28 as Johnathan Franklin ran for 171 yards. Then, last Saturday against Notre Dame, USC stumbled again in front of a huge national television audience as an anemic Fighting Irish offense scored on its first three possessions.

The Trojans are expected to be invited to participate in the Sun Bowl, which is on New Year's Eve in El Paso, Texas.

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