Most of college football’s preseason hot seat coach rankings list USC coach Lane Kiffin at the top or in the top five. But if you believe athletic director Pat Haden, there’s no reason for Kiffin to worry about his job security.
In a video posted by USC, Haden details the state of USC football, which is especially important timing with Pac-12 Media Days coming up on Friday.
During Haden’s remarks, he specifically addresses Kiffin’s status:
“I anticipate the media will ask me if our football coach is on the hot seat this year. Here is my answer, and will be my answer whenever I’m asked. He is not.”
Haden also comments he is “behind Lane Kiffin 100 percent.”
Of course, if USC’s season completely goes awry, it’s hard to believe Haden would keep Kiffin around.
However, the Trojans have the talent to win the Pac-12 South and won’t play Oregon or Washington in crossover play with the North.
While Kiffin has been a lightning rod for criticism, it’s also important to remember USC is still dealing with NCAA sanctions and is expected to have just 70 scholarship players on the roster this year. While the 7-6 record was a disappointment last season, the Trojans did go 10-2 in 2011. There's no question Kiffin deserves blame for what happened last year. But let's also remember he's not working with a full roster, and depth during the season has become a huge issue.
Kiffin has the potential to be a good coach, and credit to Haden for letting him grow into the job, as well as getting out front of the potential barrage of hot seat questions.
If USC goes 8-4 or 9-3, then some of the talk about Kiffin being on the hot seat will subside. However, a 6-6 regular season certainly wouldn’t sit well with many in Los Angeles, regardless of what Haden says in July.
Here’s the full video of Haden’s comments: