USC Coach Fired Isn't Lane Kiffin But It Should Be, Trojans Coach On Hot Seat For 2013 After Disappointing Season As Frank Cruz Is Dismissed (Commentary)

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Feb 14, 2013 09:16 AM EST
USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin
USC baseball coach Frank Cruz was fired on Wednesday after the school determined he violated NCAA rules and the news should put all other Trojans coaches on notice, including football coach Lane Kiffin."

USC baseball coach Frank Cruz was fired on Wednesday after the school determined he violated NCAA rules and the news should put all other Trojans coaches on notice, including football coach Lane Kiffin.

The Trojans came into last season as one of the top teams in the nation, but were a big disappointment, finishing 7-6 after losing 21-7 in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech. The team went just 5-4 in the Pac-12 and did not perform up to expectations.

Kiffin is on the hot seat for 2013 as Pat Haden will be looking for stark improvement for a team that finished just over .500 and had top talent at all positions. Marquise Lee and Robert Woods were fantastic for the Trojans, but the roster will need to find more playmakers or it could cost Kiffin his job.

The coach has done a good job navigation the waters during the team's probationary period after the Reggie Bush scandal, but since the team was finally eligible to play in a bowl game last season the school was expecting a BCS berth, not the Sun Bowl.

The Trojans ranked 32nd in passing yards and 73rd in rushing yards, scoring over 30 points per game. The defense was a letdown, allowing nearly 25 per game, including when the team have up 62 points to Oregon and 38 in a loss to UCLA.

Kiffin is controversial figure due his brash antics with the media and other coaches and though he has proven to be a top recruiter, this year USC was hurt by their bad play and they did not get as many five-star recruits as they have in the past. The team is still dealing with scholarship limits and if there isn't significant improvement Kiffin could be out of work by December.

Kiffin had stints at Tennessee and the Oakland Raiders, but USC has been his most consistent job and now that Matt Barkley will enter the draft he also needs to find a new quarterback.

USC entered the season as the number one team in the Associated Press Top 25, but were a huge disappointment, going only 7-5 in the regular season. The team was expected to contend for a national championship and quarterback Matt Barkley was expected to compete for the Heisman, but neither happened as the quarterback was injured.

The team was playing well through October with a 6-1 record, but suffered a big stumble in a 39-36 loss against Arizona on Oct. 27. The Trojans gave up nearly 600 yards and allowed Arizona quarterback Matt Scott to amass 469 rushing and passing yards on his own.

Barkley was hurt against UCLA and did not play the rest of the season. The Trojans defeated Arizona State 38-17 on Nov. 10, but dropped the previous two games against Arizona and Oregon.

Against the Ducks on Nov. 3, the Trojans had one of their worst defensive performances, giving up 62 points and over 700 yards to Oregon, both school-records. The Trojans had trouble stopping everything, especially the rushing attack. The team gave up 321 rushing yards to Kenjon Barner, including five touchdowns.

The defense was one of the biggest issues for USC this season. The Trojans are ranked 46th in the nation in points against, giving up 24 per game, and have given up 60 points in the past two weeks in losses to UCLA and Notre Dame.

The USC defense struggled in 2010 in Monte Kiffin's first season, but the team worked to make adjustments.

According to the Los Angeles Times, "In 2011, the Trojans gave up a combined 84 points in consecutive games against Arizona State and Arizona, spurring calls for Monte's ouster from Trojans fans. USC, however, rebounded to finish 10-2, capping the season by winning at Oregon and shutting out UCLA, 50-0."

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