How sweet is the deal without Norm Chow?
The possibility of adding Norm Chow to the new coaching staff only escalated the excitement over the new hire. Combining an offensive wizard with a defensive genius, along with two of the top recruiters in the country, the future appeared BCS crystal clear. But Norm is still sleeping with the enemy, committed to UCLA, and obviously not tempted enough by anything the Trojans had to offer.
USC suddenly became a student submitting a wonderful project for evaluation, only to receive a lesser grade for an incomplete assignment. But how much does it decrease the grade, when you go from Chow to Kiffin calling plays? Statistically, there is little drop off, if any at all. In fact, on paper, some may consider it an improvement. And if this is the case, why is the consensus regarding Chow’s absence as a downgrade? Is it just the name?
There are many supporters of the Empire (You know who you are) that laid blame on Lane Kiffin for the 13-9 loss to UCLA in December of 2006. That defeat wasn’t only painful because of the rivalry, it also denied the Trojans a fourth opportunity in as many years to compete for a National Championship. In this game, Kiffin was clearly outcoached by Dewayne Walker, who appeared to know USC’s intentions based on formations alone. Kiffin was never forgiven, which was evident in the lack of mourning when he left USC for the NFL.
In truth, what many didn’t realize or care about, is that Lane Kiffin once led one of the most prolific offenses in school history. In Norm’s final season as a Trojan, USC ranked sixth in the nation in scoring (38.15 ppg ). Kiffin took over the play calling in 2005, and the Trojans jumped to first overall in total offense, and second only to Texas in scoring (49.08). A lot of this can be credited to the return and maturity of star players to a loaded roster, but their coordinator still has to scheme against his defensive counterparts. In a Rose Bowl loss to Texas, USC managed 38 points against a stingy Longhorns defense that was only allowing opponents an average of 17.6 all season. Those things aren’t remembered in a loss. The failure to pick up two crucial yards on fourth down is.
Lane Kiffin may not be Norm Chow, but at the same time, he’s not Jeremy Bates. That alone is an upgrade. Chow running an offense is additional sugar for a staff, where Kiffin is more comparable to saccharin. Both will increase the sweetness of your beverage, but one has an aftertaste and poses potential health risks. The artificial sweetener may not be the best choice, but it’s an improvement over the bitter taste in our offensive cup that we’ve sipped on for the past year.