Kennedy Polamalu is out as USC's titular offensive coordinator, which will reignite speculation that coach Lane Kiffin might relinquish offensive play-calling responsibilities as he overhauls his staff.
Polamalu, a former Trojans running back and highly respected assistant known as an outstanding recruiter, is the fourth coach to leave the USC staff after a disappointing 2012 season, joining defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton and defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders.
Most of the reorganization took place on defense, where former California coordinator Clancy Pendergast has been hired to clean things up.
While the Trojans' offense was often potent, it also was inconsistent, which was surprising considering its A-list, veteran talent. Further, there were several head-scratching games and possessions, most notably a bumbling goal-line sequence against Notre Dame that won't be brought up because that would be cruel to USC fans.
There's a strong undercurrent of feeling around the program that Kiffin needs to give up calling plays so he can be more hands-on with the overall management of his team. While Polamalu didn't call plays, his departure leaves an offensive vacancy so a potential play-caller could be hired, though it's also likely there will be further shuffling of responsibilities on the staff.
The question is does Kiffin have a plan? This is not the ideal time to be hiring coaches, and USC is less a destination job now because Kiffin is decidedly on a hot seat heading into 2013. While the money Kiffin can offer will be good, job security will be a question.
Here's some interesting speculation on what Kiffin might do.