Lane Kiffin’s gone, but Brian Kelly says USC hasn’t changed much
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media October 15, 2013 10:11PM
Southern California interim head coach Ed Orgeron, right, celebrates a touchdown with running back Silas Redd during the first half of their NCAA college football game against Arizona, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Updated: October 16, 2013 8:12PM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — There weren’t many more divisive figures in college football than Lane Kiffin.
The very mention of his name sparked debate. And that’s putting it kindly.
USC fired Kiffin on Sept. 29, a few hours after the team’s 62-41 loss at Arizona State the previous evening.
Notre Dame isn’t anticipating wholesale changes from the Trojans in Ed Orgeron’s second game as interim coach. The teams — both 4-2 — play Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
“He’s not going to go in there and scuttle the offense and defense and special teams,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.
“There’s an offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator for a reason. There will be some slight variations, and we’ll have to be prepared for that. They’re going to be who they are six, seven weeks into the season.”
Kiffin had a 28-15 mark with USC. But the Trojans lost seven of his last 11 games.
USC stretched the field last Thursday against Arizona, scoring touchdowns on passes of 62 and 63 yards in a 38-31 victory in Orgeron’s debut.
“I just love the attitude of our team, being with them, seeing them having an excitement about themselves,” Orgeron said during the Pac-12 teleconference. “Just to represent USC is an honor. I’ve been here for a long time. I just felt at home on the grass at the Coliseum.”
Orgeron has spent 11 seasons on USC’s staff (1998-2004, 2010-present). He also went 10-25 in three years as the coach at Mississippi (2005-07).
“Ed is a veteran football coach,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘He’s certainly somebody that is familiar with all of his players. He’s got them playing with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm.”
Orgeron said the victory against Arizona provided a boost.
“There was a lot of energy going on [at practice Monday], and there is a lot of confidence on our football team, which is growing,” he said. “It’s not where it needs to be. Obviously, there are some things that need to be fixed, but the guys have had a great mind-set for the last two weeks.”
The Irish also feel revived after their bye.
“Their minds are clear and focused,” Kelly said. “We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves and our preparation, and we’re really focused on playing well Saturday against USC.”