You have to give Lane Kiffin credit for one thing: He's not taking USC's disappointing 2012 season sitting down. The Southern Cal coach announced the final three hires in his staff shakeup Saturday, adding offensive line coach Mike Summers, running backs coach Tommie Robinson, and linebackers coach Mike Ekeler. The hires complete a two-month process in which Kiffin fired his offensive coordinator, let his legendary father go back to the NFL, and released his secondary coach.
Mike Summers, who will act as both offensive line coach and running game coordinator, was a Bobby Petrino mainstay at Arkansas, Louisville, and Atlanta, and had joined Petrino's staff at Western Kentucky before Kiffin came calling. He had been offensive line coach at all three locations. He will join forces with the much-maligned James Cregg, who was retained to coach the Trojan offensive line.
Robinson spent the last three years as running backs coach for the Arizona Cardinals. He has also acted as running backs coach at Miami, Oklahoma State, Utah State and Memphis, and coached wide receivers for the Dallas Cowboys, Georgia Tech and TCU. Robinson will act as both running backs coach and passing game coordinator.
Ekeler replaces linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton, who left USC to become defensive coordinator at Nevada. Ekeler had been co-defensive coordinator at Indiana the last two years, with stints as an assistant at Nebraska, LSU and Oklahoma.
The final USC staff shows that Kiffin is emphasizing offense. It includes six offensive assistants, including an offensive coordinator, passing game coordinator, and running game coordinator, as well as two offensive line coaches. John Baxter, who has been special teams coordinator and associate head coach to Kiffin throughout his time at USC, will now also coach tight ends. Quarterbacks coach Clay Helton adds offensive coordinator duties.
On the other side of the ball, just three assistants will handle the Trojan defense. Former Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast replaces Monte Kiffin and will also coach the secondary. The only remaining Trojan defensive assistant is defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, who doubles as recruiting coordinator.
2013 could be Kiffin's last stand. His new staff selections show he intends to go out with guns blazing.
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