Spring ball begins March 5.
Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin completes staff overhaul.
The Trojans signed six players to national letters of intent on Feb. 6
Four are 5-star players, the others are 4-star.
He coordinated some of the top defenses in the NFL and in college the last nine years.
No. 19 USC 38, Arizona State 17 - AP Photos
No. 18 USC vs. No. 2 Oregon - AP Photos
No. 10 USC vs. Arizona - AP Photos
Matt Barkley threw for 298 yards and six touchdowns.
USC head football coach Lane Kiffin is regarded as one of the game's brightest young coaches. At just 37 (he is the fourth youngest current FBS head coach), he already has been a head coach at football's top levels, both professionally and collegiately. He is known for his high football IQ, as well as for being a master playcaller, a vibrant leader and a superb recruiter.
The one-time Trojan offensive coordinator who then became the head coach of the Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Volunteers returned to the USC program on Jan. 12, 2010, when he was named its head football coach.
His 2-year record at USC is 18-7 (.720) (and he is 25-13, .699, in 3 years as a college head coach). Only College Football Hall of Famers Howard Jones and John Robinson (with 19 wins) had more victories in their first 2 years as a Trojan head coach. Among Kiffin's signature USC wins were road victories at No. 18 Arizona in 2010 and at both Notre Dame and No. 4 Oregon in 2011. Four of his USC losses came on opponent scores late in the game (2 on field goals at the gun, 1 in triple overtime and 1 on a TD with 2:23 to go).
In 2011, he led USC (in its second year of a post-season ban) to a 10-2 overall record, a first place finish in the Pac-12 South Division at 7-2 (Troy beat both representatives in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Oregon and UCLA) and a No. 6 AP ranking (its highest finish since 2008). USC's 2011 win at Notre Dame made him the first Trojan head coach to win his first away game against the Irish and its 50-0 victory over UCLA was the third largest margin in the series' history. He was the 2011 CBSSports.com and CollegeFootballNews.com Pac-12 Coach of the Year, and the Los Angeles Sports Council L.A. Sports Awards Southern California Coach of the Year. His offense produced a 3,500-yard passer, a pair of 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher. USC's passing, total offense and scoring averages increased from 2010. The Trojans were sixth nationally in passing efficiency and in the nation's Top 25 in passing, scoring and total offense. USC's yards-per-play average (6.5) was the third highest in school history, while its averages for total offense (456.8) and passing offense (294.2) were the fourth highest and its scoring offense average (35.8) was the fifth highest. Troy's 8 sacks allowed were the fewest at USC since records were kept in 1987 (despite not starting a senior on the offensive line) and ranked the Trojans second nationally in 2011. On the other side of the ball, the Trojans improved from the previous year in rushing, total and scoring defense, with the rushing defense (111.4) and sack averages ranking in the national Top 20. USC held 8 of its 12 opponents to 17 points or less. USC led the Pac-12 in fewest penalty yards and was in the league's Top 3 in third down conversions, time of possession, first downs and red zone defense. And, for the second consecutive year, USC blocked 7 kicks. Kiffin's 2011 Trojans had 3 All-American first teamers (Matt Kalil, Robert Woods, T.J. McDonald), 7 All-Pac-12 first teamers, the Pac-12 Morris Trophy winner (Kalil), the Pac-12 Freshmen Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year (Marqise Lee and Dion Bailey) and 5 Freshman All-American first teamers, plus finalists for the Biletnikoff (Woods), Hendricks (Nick Perry) and Manning (Matt Barkley) Awards. Barkley set the Pac-12 season record for TD passes and the USC season mark for pass completion percentage, as well as school game standards for completions, pass yardage, passing TDs and total offense. Woods set the Pac-12 season receptions record and USC game receptions mark, while Woods and Lee combined for more receptions and receiving yardage in a season than any other Trojan duo (they also were the first pair of Trojans to both catch at least 10 passes in the same game). Lee's 11 TD catches were the most by any freshman in the country in 2011 and Randall Telfer's 26 receptions were the most ever by a USC freshman tight end. Bailey and Hayes Pullard were the first Trojan freshmen to lead the team in tackles.
In 2010 in his first year guiding USC, Kiffin led Troy to an 8-5 overall record (2 of the losses were on field goals at the gun in consecutive games and another came on a touchdown with 2:23 to play) and a third place tie in the Pac-10 at 5-4. He inherited a USC team that was ruled ineligible for post-season play because of an NCAA penalty for violations dating to the previous coaching regime and was short on personnel because of players who transferred once the penalty was announced (Troy had just 72 scholarship players, 13 shy of the NCAA limit). Despite this handicap, only Howard Jones in 1925 and John Robinson in 1976 (both with 11 wins) won more games in their Trojan coaching debut. Kiffin became the first USC head coach since Jess Hill in 1951 to begin his Trojan career with a 4-0 mark. With Kiffin calling the plays, the 2010 Trojan offensive numbers improved from 2009: total offense (431.5, +42.4), rushing offense (189.3, +22.5), passing offense (242.2, +19.9) and scoring offense (31.0, +4.5). USC averaged 6.0 yards per play in 2010, its sixth highest ever, and the Trojans twice had 600-yard offensive outputs. In 2010, offensive tackle Tyron Smith won the Pac-10's Morris Trophy and wide receiver Robert Woods was the Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year (and a Freshman All-American first teamer). Smith was a first round pick in the 2011 NFL draft and was among a national-best 9 Trojan draftees.
Kiffin came back to Troy after guiding Tennessee to a 7-6 record in 2009 in his only season there. The Volunteers finished second in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division at 4-4 and played in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Four of Tennessee's losses were by 10 points or less, including a 2-point road loss to eventual national champion Alabama and 10 points at then-No. 1 Florida. His Vols offense jumped at least 34 places in every national statistical category over the 2008 figures, while the defense was in the nation's Top 25 in pass and total defense. He was the youngest active head coach in the NCAA FBS ranks while at Tennessee.
Before that, Kiffin was the head coach of the NFL's Raiders for 2 years (2007-08), where at age 31 he was the youngest head coach in the NFL's modern era. He was 5-15 with the Raiders (4-12 in 2007 and 1-3 in 2008). His first year, Oakland's offensive numbers improved significantly from 2006 (its scoring offense improved by 7.2 points per game as the Raiders threw 10 more TD passes and its total offense went up 48.6 yards per game, including 35.5 rushing).
Kiffin spent 6 seasons (2001-2006) as an assistant at USC under Pete Carroll. He was the tight ends coach in 2001, then handled the wide receivers the next 5 years. He added the duty of passing game coordinator in 2004, then was promoted to offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator in 2005 and 2006.
He coached a trio of All-American first team wide receivers in his first stint at USC: Mike Williams (2003), Dwayne Jarrett (2005-06, USC's first 2-time All-American wideout) and Steve Smith (2006). Jarrett set the Pac-10 record for career touchdown catches (39) and the USC career mark for receptions (216).
While the offensive coordinator in 2005, USC's offense was in the national Top 6 in every statistical category, including tops in total offense (579.8) and second in scoring offense (49.1), and set Pac-10 records for total offense yardage, first downs, points scored, touchdowns and PATs. The Trojans scored 50 points a school-record 7 times. USC became the first school to have a 3,000-yard passer, a pair of 1,000-yard runners and a 1,000-yard receiver in a season.
In 2003, Williams set USC career (30) and season (16) touchdown reception records, while fellow wide receiver Keary Colbert set the school career reception record (207). In 2002, Williams and Colbert became USC's first pair of 1,000-yard receivers in a season and wide receiver Kareem Kelly became the Trojan career reception leader (204). Williams, Jarrett, Smith and Colbert all played in the NFL.
Quarterback Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy in 2004 while Kiffin was the passing game coordinator and tailback Reggie Bush was the 2005 Heisman winner (later vacated) with Kiffin as the offensive coordinator. While serving as USC's recruiting coordinator, Troy's recruiting classes in 2005 and 2006 were ranked by some as No. 1 in the nation. He was named one of the nation's Top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com in 2005.
Kiffin was a member of USC staffs that helped the Trojans win a pair of national championships (2003-04), post a 65-12 record (14 wins and 1 loss were later vacated due to NCAA penalty) and appear in a bowl game each of his initial 6 seasons: 2001 Las Vegas Bowl, 2003 Orange Bowl, 2004 Rose Bowl, 2005 Orange Bowl (BCS Championship Game, later vacated), 2006 Rose Bowl (BCS Championship Game, later vacated) and 2007 Rose Bowl.
Before coming to USC the first time, Kiffin was the defensive quality control coach for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000 (he worked with the secondary).
He began his coaching career at Fresno State, his alma mater, where for 2 seasons (1997-98) he worked with the quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs as a student assistant.
He then was an assistant at Colorado State in 1999, working with the offensive line. The Rams played in the Liberty Bowl that season.
Kiffin was a quarterback at Fresno State for 3 seasons (1994-96). He earned his bachelor's degree in leisure service management from Fresno State in 1998.
He prepped at Bloomington (Minn.) Jefferson High, where he played football, basketball and baseball.
He was born May 9, 1975. He and his wife, Layla, have 2 daughters, Landry, 6, and Presley, 5, and a son, Knox, 3.
His father, Monte (now USC's assistant head coach), has 46 years of coaching experience on the collegiate and NFL levels, having been on the staffs of programs that won 2 national championships (at Nebraska) and a Super Bowl (Tampa Bay Buccaneers). His brother, Chris, was a defensive lineman at Colorado State (2001-04) who was then an offensive intern at Nebraska and in 2010 was a defensive assistant at USC (he now is the defensive line coach at Arkansas State). His father-in-law, John Reaves, was a former quarterback at Florida and 11 years in the NFL (Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Oilers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and 3 years in the USFL (Tampa Bay Bandits) who then was an assistant coach at Florida and South Carolina. His brother-in-law, David Reaves, was a quarterback at Appalachian State and then an assistant at South Carolina, Tennessee and now New Mexico. Another brother-in-law, Stephen Reaves, played quarterback at Michigan State and Southern Miss and for the CFL's Toronto Argonauts (he now is an offensive assistant at USC).
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT LANE KIFFIN
Steve Greenberg, Sporting News: "He performed as well as any coach in America in 2011."
David Leon Moore, USA Today: "Lane Kiffin is just flat out getting it done, in recruiting, in organizing and in play-calling. The coaching has been excellent. When a team gets better and better and better all season, that says a lot about coaching."
Ted Miller, ESPN.com: "USC returned to the nation's elite in Year Two under coach Lane Kiffin. With no hope for a conference or national title or even the postseason (in 2011), Kiffin had the Trojans playing their best football."
John Taylor, NBCSports.com: "Considering the sanctions with which Kiffin and the football program had to deal, the coach that everybody loves to hate has done an outstanding job."
Richard Cirminiello, CollegeFootballNews.com: "Troy is back. And much faster than anyone could have imagined. USC is on the verge of reclaiming its old familiar spot as a Pac-12--and national--contender following a month (November 2011) of domination that'll go down as one of the most crucial in recent program history. With nothing tangible to play for, such as bowl berths or hardware, the Trojans used November to build a head of steam, and recapture some of its lost swagger in the wake of the sanctions levied by the NCAA...Lane Kiffin has earned his share of criticism over the years for some of his on-field and off-field antics, but not this season. The coach did a fantastic job of keeping his kids focused amidst distractions, and got them to buy into the long-term mission of the team."
Bruce Feldman, CBS Sports: "Despite the shadow of the NCAA sanctions and no post-season bowl hopes, USC has been rolling in 2011, picking up momentum. They ended Oregon's 21-game home winning streak, which had been the longest in the country. The Trojans finished the season hammering UCLA 50-0, meaning they beat their two archrivals by a combined score of 81-17."
Former UCLA head coach Terry Donahue: "I know there's a lot of controversy around Lane, but people don't have the proper appreciation of his ability to coach. He's a very fine young developing coach and I thought his 2011 team showed really strong progress."
Tom Lemming, MaxPreps.com: "He's personable and the players absolutely love him. He works as hard as any coach in the country."
Matt Hayes, Sporting News: "Kiffin has more than proved he can develop quarterbacks and expose defenses as a play-caller."
Greg Biggins, ESPNRise.com: "To the recruits and parents we've talked to, USC hired Vince Lombardi."
USC quarterback Matt Barkley: "I think it's really good USC has someone who knows Trojan football and the traditions and knows how we rock."
Grant Tunkel, Daily Trojan: "The Kiffin hire was exactly what USC needed to continue the legacy that Pete Carroll built. Hiring Kiffin provides the Trojans with a perfect mix. He is enough of a link to the Carroll era to instill continued confidence in the program from the start, but he's still his own coach with the drive to succeed. He knows the landscape well. He brings with him the mentality necessary to succeed at an elite program. He is young and charismatic, making him the perfect choice to connect with current players and recruit new ones."
Former USC and current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll: "It's good that USC acted quickly to get a coach connecting with our history. Lane's going to do great."
Former Tennessee head football coach Johnny Majors: "I was around him at Tennessee. I watched practice, talked to the squad a couple of times, and spent some time in his office. And I believe he is a very good football coach. He's very aggressive and well organized. He's demanding and he and his staff attacked recruiting very aggressively. I think he is going to be very, very successful in the long run."
Former USC All-American and current NFL wide receiver Mike Williams: "God is shining on the Trojan faithful. I couldn't imagine a better pick. I think Kiff is the closest thing you can get to what Coach Carroll brought. It's a no-brainer."
Former USC and NFL wide receiver Keary Colbert: "He's just like Coach Carroll. He's high-spirited and likes to have fun."
Allen Wallace, Scout.com: "Kiffin is one of the best evaluators of talent I've ever come across. He likes to work very hard. I can't imagine a better choice for USC."
Tennessee linebacker Nigel Mitchell-Thornton: "I liked his oomph, liked that energy. He definitely threw you out there on the field and let you compete, which a lot of us liked."
Former USC athletic director Mike Garrett: "I was able to watch Lane closely when he was an assistant with us and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. He brings a lot to the table. He has a coaching background both in the pros and in the best collegiate conferences. He has a great command of the X's and O's. He is familiar with the Trojan landscape and will be a great representative of our university. He keeps the game fun. And, very importantly, he has proven to be one of the finest recruiters anywhere."
YEAR-BY-YEAR WITH LANE KIFFIN
*2 wins in 2004 and 12 wins and 1 loss in 2005 later vacated due to NCAA penalty (revised record: 11-0 in 2004 and 0-0 in 2005)