Kiffin targets New Orleans in ‘yes man’ search
USC introduced Lane Kiffin as the new head football coach on January 13th. In the days that followed, he quickly assembled a staff, and through recruiting, added players to the roster. But there is one large hole that remained to be filled, and that’s the position of offensive coordinator.
Nearly 40 days had passed without the mention of a name, and I speculated that the coach was either waiting on a potential hire to complete his recruiting assignment at another college or that person was working the sideline of a team deep in the NFL playoff mix. It appears to have been the latter, with one name suddenly surfacing.
A report by ESPN’s Bruce Feldman claims that Kiffin has contacted Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson in hopes of filling the vacancy. Johnson has been developing receivers for Drew Brees since 2006, but is better known in college football for his recruiting skills. Before joining the Saints staff, he held the same position for ten years with the Miami Hurricanes. In fact, he’s spent his entire career coaching receivers, and has never called plays for anyone.
Knowing the target and surrounding facts, I would assume that it’s the recruiting expertise that is the draw, since he’s never been offered a job other than position coach in more than 20 years in the game. You couple this with Norm Chow rumors and Kiffin’s own remarks on radio about that potential hire, and it would appear even more that he’s searching for a “yes man” to hold the coordinator title without performing duties as such .
When Kiffin said publicly that he would call plays, even if Chow was hired, it meant either one of two things. One, he truly meant that, and regardless of who Mike Garrett and others had predetermined to work as his sidekick, he was going to run the show and lead that offense. Or two, he just doesn’t want to work with Chow, and what better way to squash his interest in USC than to let him know he’d be nothing more than a nonfunctioning icon in the Coliseum booth.
We’ll never know the true meaning of Kiffin’s words, until the position is filled and we learn the duties of the new coach. But as for now, Johnson appears to be the target, and the first name to emerge since Chow rumors were silenced.