Coach Meyer: Kiffin, Carroll Trending Badly

With Ron Meyer


Before the season started, I promised to keep an eye on the USC college program and the Seattle Seahawks NFL franchise because of coaching changes in the offseason. Pete Carroll left USC to join Seattle. Controversial Lane Kiffin took his place with the Trojans.

This seemed like a great time to catch up because Southern Cal is in a big TV game with Arizona Saturday Night on ABC, and Seattle has a huge divisional war Sunday with Arizona in a game that will strongly impact a tight NFC West race.

For much of the year, these new faces in new places were holding their own with their 2010 challenges. USC was 4-0 in September, and offering some promise that they'd be a force in the Pac 10 even if they weren't eligible to win the title this year. Seattle leapt out to a 4-2 start that saw them leading their division by a comfortable margin.

Recently though, things have been trending in the wrong direction.

  • Seattle (+1.5) lost at Oakland 33-3, missing Vegas expectations by four touchdowns.
  • Seattle (+7) lost to the NY Giants 41-7, again missing the line by about four touchdowns! (That's an 84-10 loss the last two games in a league of parity!)
  • USC (+6.5) lost to Oregon 53-32, missing Vegas expectations by about two touchdowns in a spot where many pundits had called for an outright upset.
  • USC (-5) only beat Arizona State 34-33 in a game they were lucky to win straight up.

And, when you dig deeper, things look even worse:

  • Southern Cal ranks 97th in the nation in total defense, and 114th in the nation in pass defense this year, which should NEVER happen at a college football program that can recruit athletic superstars like USC. Southern Cal may be 6-3 for the season, but they're just 3-3 in the Pac 10 and are well below the past standards of the program.
  • Seattle ranks 30th in the NFL on offense this year, and 27th in defense...even though they've played one of the weakest schedules of anybody. Seattle may be 4-4 in the standings, but they have the stats of a 2-6 or 1-7 type team.

It's hard to give Carroll and Kiffin F's on the report card because they're still in the mix. Southern Cal is likely to finish with a bowl eligible record even though they're not allowed to play in a bowl this season. Seattle could still win the woeful NFC West and make the playoffs. Still, can you give out better than a C-minus or so when you look at the stats and caliber of opposition? Could things turn into an F later this year or next year if the players start to tune out their coaches?

I've coached and had success at both the college and pro levels. I'm one of the few voices in the industry qualified to evaluate and discuss what's happening with Carroll and Kiffin. To me, we're looking at this:

  • Kiffin has a ceiling that isn't like to be championship caliber until he matures. He has a brashness that rubs other coaches the wrong way...which means he's ALWAYS going to be getting the best efforts from other teams. He's just not good enough yet to thrive at this level with his personality, or his X's and O's. Will USC be happy with a 7-5 type team every year? Maybe 8-4 if they schedule soft in September? I have great respect for Kiffin's long term potential because of his passion for football and his competitive fire. I think he's been hired up the ladder too quickly for his own good.
  • Carroll has established that he can win championships at the college level (though his programs have a knack for creating questions about how star players are recruited), but he's yet to establish respect in the pro's. I think the bad stat averages are a better indicator of Carroll's standing right now than the misleading 4-4 record against a soft schedule. I thought this was a longshot hire when it happened. Nothing's changed my mind. Carroll is a great college coach. Nothing wrong with that. He also has a ceiling at his current level that will probably be less than what fans had hoped for.

Does that mean I'll be betting against USC and Seattle this weekend? You'll have to sign up for my service to find out! I could easily have side or total plays in their games Saturday and Sunday...but it's a jam-packed card with a lot of great options. The best way to follow a winning coach is to purchase my game day releases here at the website a few hours before kickoff. Seasonal packages are also available. If you prefer talking to a human rather than typing on a computer, call my office at 1-877-540-8787.

I will have major releases both Saturday and Sunday. I'm confident you won't be giving me a C-minus or an F on your report card. I've been named COACH OF THE YEAR at both the college and pro levels. I know what it takes to win. I'm ready to show you why it's time to put A COACH IN YOUR CORNER!


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