To everyone — the pundit, the avid fan, the man who sells you bacon-wrapped hot dogs on Exposition Boulevard — Lane Kiffin represents a number of things.To some, he’s a perpetual brat.To others, he’s a Trojan prince, leading USC back from NCAA sanctions.Growing up · Though the fourth-youngest head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Kiffin has experienced his share of controversy. – Razan Al Marzouqi | Daily TrojanTruth, in turn, becomes muddied, and it’s understandably challenging to decipher fact from fiction. Just who exactly is the Trojans’ third-year coach? Do the stereotypes stick? Is he actually that arrogant? Is he actually the boy wonder?But answering just yes or no to such sweeping generalities would be dishonest and unfair. I can’t pretend to respond to either, exactly. Many of us cover Lane Kiffin, but how many of us truly know Lane Kiffin on any sort of personal level?I have interacted with him enough to express a few opinions confidently. For starters, I’ve found him to be thoughtful and calculated — he doesn’t do or say things for the sake of simply doing or saying them. And two, he carries a better sense of humor than he’s given credit for. I like that.But as many will inevitably point out, that doesn’t mean his record is spotless.More or less, he comes across as incredibly stubborn.This is one flaw that has been accentuated in recent weeks, as USC stumbled at Stanford, 21-14, and four days later, he infamously stormed out of a press conference after 29 seconds following a question about the return of an injured player.“Kiffin is a talented, aggressive recruiter and a decent football strategist whose spoiled-brat arrogance constantly undermines his efforts to become a great coach,” wrote Grantland’s Shane Ryan last month. “He stretches rules, misreads interpersonal situations, and issues the wrong kind of challenges to his enemies. People excuse these as the follies of youth, but that’s a cop-out; they’re the follies of character, and maturity isn’t always related to age.”Yup, there are flaws. Ryan chooses the term “spoiled-brat arrogance,” which leans toward hyperbole but is unmistakably rooted in reality. Football coaches tend to be stubborn-minded, petty people. They’re often micromanagers. And Kiffin is a football coach, after all.But the funny thing is, No. 13 USC reversing course this season and meeting its Coliseum-sized preseason expectations largely hinges on whether Kiffin, 37, can still grow as a coach and become less stubborn, and more mature.Friday indicated this might be possible.Toward the end of his team’s bye-week practice at Howard Jones Field, Kiffin, fielding questions from a smaller contingent of reporters, at last admitted a rather obvious but important point. As the team’s offensive play caller, he called a subpar game in USC’s mid-September road loss to Stanford — in case anyone wasn’t aware.“You’d love to have it back but you can’t,” he said. “In coaching, you’re just like players. Every game is not the same. You’re going to have some games where you make some better calls and get in a rhythm. I didn’t feel like I did really well in that game with our players.”He took blame, and it was refreshing.What makes this noteworthy is that it was a public admission. For a while now, Kiffin has received a substantial amount of criticism for a failure to take ownership — at least publicly — for events that have transpired during his tenure, including the Stanford game. Usually, he has deferred, highlighting a particular play or circumstance.But Friday’s admission suggests a lot.It suggests the “arrogant” coach might be open to honest, self-evaluation. It suggests the coach is receptive to criticism. It suggests the coach can still reflect and look to better himself.That said, none of the aforementioned possibilities might be true. But I want to be fair and at least give him that chance. Cynicism shouldn’t be our guiding principle. As much time as we’ve invested in thinking about Kiffin, he still hasn’t reached the age of 40 and has only been a head coach for a total of 62 games.That’s relatively young, which begs the question whether he has room to grow.The Trojans’ success over the remaining two-thirds of the season will be tied to his ability — or inability — to do so. “The 19th Hole” runs Tuesdays. If you would like to comment on this story, visit DailyTrojan.com or email Joey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack 2 Marcus Rashford has started just once for Manchester United this season impact silverware Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? RANKED Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade highlights Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures Latest Football News Rashford has thrived as a central striker for England in their last two games, scoring against Spain and Switzerland, but has been regularly deployed out wide at United – or left on the bench – by boss Jose Mourinho.With Romelu Lukaku the clear number one choice up front for United, Carragher reckons it may now be wise for the starlet to move on.“The problem he’s got, and it’s the same for every young striker at big clubs, nothing’s harder than that position,” Carragher said, speaking on Sky Sports.“Romelu Lukaku is in front of Rashford and I don’t see Rashford displacing him as long as he is there.“But remember when Lukaku was at Chelsea and he had to come away and go to Everton. Then he ended up as top scorer and got his move to Man United.“Possibly Everton is the sort of club you are looking at, just below the top six, for someone like Rashford, similar to what Lukaku did. smart causal 2 “You know you are going to play every week as the centre-forward and you know if you have a couple of games where you don’t score then you are still going to play the next week.“Last season after they played Brighton away, Mourinho had a little pop at him and Lukaku went straight back into the team. That’s the problem you will always have.“Does he have to leave United? I think so. Is he good enough to displace Lukaku? Is Rashford good enough to be Manchester United’s centre-forward for them trying to win the Premier League or the Champions League? He may not be.“It gets to the stage where you want to play every week. Will he be an England regular or be Manchester United’s real centre-forward where you know, when the team is picked every week, that he is in it. Will it ever get to that stage?“In that position you have got to be world class. Rashford is not world class yet, but he might be at 23 or 24, as Lukaku has done. He looks like one of the best strikers in the world.“Rashford may have to move away to come back to one of the top teams.” MONEY England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won possible standings Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more REVEALED Marcus Rashford has five goals for England in 27 appearances Rashford has started just once for United this season but Carragher reckons he should be in England’s strongest starting XI, ahead of Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling.“I felt at the World Cup, Sterling was virtually playing as a centre-forward,” he said.“My feeling at the time was you might as well play a centre-forward there. We have seen that Rashford is going to score more goals and is going to be a bigger goal threat – and this team doesn’t score a lot of goals.“It scores a lot of goals from set pieces and I don’t know how long that can continue. Without Harry Kane, when you see the squad, there’s not many goals there at all. Rashford gives you goals.” Marcus Rashford has been urged to leave Manchester United by Jamie Carragher.According to the former Liverpool and England star, the 20-year-old needs to play week in, week out in his best position and would be better off joining a club like Everton.