- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Shortly after USC’s 62-51 loss to Oregon in November -- and four games before the end of the season -- the mastermind of the Trojans’ defense, Monte Kiffin, informed his son he would be stepping down at the end of the season. Lane Kiffin revealed that detail to ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday.
“He said, ‘Hey, I just want you to know, you’re not going to have a tough decision to make after the year,' ” Lane Kiffin said. “He was like, ‘Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.’ "
Monte Kiffin, 72, resigned in December and was hired a month later to be the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys. Before joining Lane at Tennessee four years ago, Monte Kiffin was credited with creating some of the best defenses in NFL history while with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
USC hired former Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, hoping his schemes have better success than Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 defenses against spread and multiple-look offenses.
“When you come to this conference now, you see things you don’t see in the NFL. That’s not an easy thing to do,” Lane Kiffin said. “If you’ve gone 25 straight years of playing this certain scheme, now all of a sudden you play someone totally different, those rules and things suddenly don’t necessarily transfer over.”
Lane also said his father never could quite adjust to the NCAA rule limiting players’ contact with coaches to 20 hours.
“He’s an old-school coach now. He sleeps in the office. He doesn’t understand what a vacation means,” Lane Kiffin said. “He needs more time with the players because there are so many little rules in his defense to teach the guy. I don’t think we played really fast on defense, and that’s because we were thinking too much.”
4dChantel Jennings and Kevin Gemmell