It was an ignominious start to the Lane Kiffin Era at USC as assistant coach Ed Orgeron is already embroiled in a recruiting controversey.
For the record, I don’t think the Orgeron affair amounts to much of anything and it appears no NCAA rules were broken. But this isn’t exactly the smoothest way to get going on the PR side of things, is it? Nor does it paint USC in a good light as its coaches try to poach Volunteer recruits while they prepare to enroll in school. Heck, by these actions, you would think USC has a talent deficit or something. In reality, the Trojans could bring in zero recruits this signing period and still boast enough talent to field two 9-3 teams.
What’s even more interesting, however, is how the Norm Chow-to-USC deal has fallen apart. When this whole Kiffin-as-head-coach scheme was introduced, the idea of a ‘Dream Team’ of coaches that included Chow, Orgeron and Monte Kiffin was used as sweetener to cushion the proposal that Kiffin, Jr., take over for Pete Carroll. By itself, the idea of Kiffin as USC coach would’ve been laughed away as a major joke. But with that All-Star staff, it was deemed okay.
But now Chow is gone, no doubt because of Kiffin’s reluctance to give up control of the USC offense. When asked at his press conference who would call plays, Kiffin in essence said that he would call the plays.
Those quotes, which were seen on television by millions (I presume), are nowhere to be found in the official press conference transcript. Soviet historians would be proud.
It’s clear that Kiffin never intended to make Chow the USC offensive coordinator. Nevertheless, the promise of Chow’s return was used as an enticement to soothe Trojan fans who, like Volunteer fans before them, ended up buying a bill of goods.