USC coach Lane Kiffin hears the negative chatter. And guess what? He knows much of it is justified.
The first step toward solving a problem is admitting you have one. Kiffin sat down with ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski for a lengthy interview, and he admitted that he deserves much of the criticism for the Trojans' 2012 implosion.
From the article:
"Why do I feel like I'd be the most polarizing figure?" said Kiffin, phrasing his own question. "I would say it's got to be a combination of things. It's got to be mistakes I've made as a young head coach going all the way back to Oakland … to mistakes at Tennessee, to mistakes here. So you're going to pay for mistakes you make along the way, whether you did them on purpose or not."
Wojciechowski points out that 76 percent of respondents to an Los Angeles Times poll believed Kiffin should not be back in 2013. He also noted that's more about wins and losses than all those minor but embarrassing kerfuffles that seemed to consume the season.
Kiffin knows he needs to make changes. He needs to avoid the avoidable PR gaffes.
But, really, there's only one measure for USC football: Winning.
The reality of the situation is this: even with Haden's support, Kiffin likely has to win at least eight or nine games next season -- and they have to be the right eight or nine. No more oh-fers against Notre Dame (the 2013 game is in South Bend) and Stanford and UCLA (both in the Coliseum next season).