USC vs. Washington: Lane Kiffin plans to keep calling plays on offense

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin continues to be the offensive playcaller but will also make a more concerted approach to coach the team.

USC head coach Lane Kiffin has generally enjoyed some good moments as offensive coordinator for the Trojans, as his team has had some great games, like beating Oregon in Autzen or routing UCLA 50-0. However, there have also been plenty of inconsistent games at the same time, like upsets to Arizona State and Oregon State and losing to Stanford three years running.

After a third straight loss to Stanford, Kiffin briefly considered relinquishing playcalling duties to focus more on managing the team as a head coach. He ultimately decided against it, but that doesn't mean Kiffin won't be taking a more dutiful approach toward managing his players. Pedro Moura of ESPN Los Angeles files this report.

"At the end of the day, at this time, I've just felt it's too valuable for the relationship that play-calling helps me develop with our offensive players -- specifically our skilled players and the quarterback," Kiffin said Wednesday. "I think there's a lot to that."

Kiffin's relationships with Matt Barkley, his signal-caller, and star receivers Marqise Lee and Robert Woods have been productive, by and large. But in operating as coordinator as well as head coach he has meant sacrificing some things as well. He has said he felt too focused on fixing his play-calling at halftime of the Stanford game, for example, and not focused enough on motivating his players.

Now, he's making a more conscious effort to do both.

Kiffin and the Trojans do have some tough stretches ahead. USC will have to battle Arizona State for the Pac-12 South crown, will have tough road trips to Arizona in the near future and Washington this week, have difficult battles ahead with resurgent UCLA and Notre Dame, and we haven't even mentioned Oregon. He'll need to be at his best if he expects to keep the Trojans on the path to the Rose Bowl.

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