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Tuesday, August 14, 2012
3-point stance: Kiffin's greater truth

By Ivan Maisel

1. Two decades ago, when the NCAA cut back from 95 scholarships to 85, Florida coach Steve Spurrier opined that he believed the limit could fall to 75. Now that No. 1 USC is limited to 75 by an NCAA sanction, I asked Spurrier, now at South Carolina, if he still felt the same. “If you’ve got 75 really good players,” Spurrier said, “and you’re at a state university where you can get a walk-on scout team, you could easily do that.” Alas, USC is a private school, and head coach Lane Kiffin estimated that maybe two of his walk-ons could play back-up on special teams.

2. Kiffin self-inflicted a wound for saying last week that he didn’t vote USC No. 1 in the USA Today coaches' poll when he did. USC made it worse by claiming the newspaper damaged the integrity of the poll for revealing Kiffin’s lack of integrity. But in the end, Kiffin earned redemption. When he said that the coaches’ vote “doesn’t make sense” because good coaches “don’t watch other games,” Kiffin spoke the greater truth about the integrity of the coaches' poll.

3. Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips, who announced his retirement last week, has had serious health issues since undergoing back surgery in 2008. Phillips could raise money like a modern-day AD (look at the facility upgrades at Clemson and Oklahoma State, his previous job) yet he knew what a head coach looked like. At one point last season, he had hired the coaches of the three of the top five teams in the nation (Les Miles and Mike Gundy, both of whom he hired in Stillwater, and Dabo Swinney).