|"Boys, half of you won't make it out of this alive." (Photo: USA Today Sports)|
The offseason purge at USC continued Friday, as reports surfaced that embattled head coach Lane Kiffin had given offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu his walking papers.
If you're keeping score at home, that would make four assistants who have exited the Trojans staff since the end of a disappointing 7-6 season. Polamalu, a USC alum, joins Kiffin's dad and ex-defensive coordinator, Monte, linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton and defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders. Whispers about defensive line coach and Cajun recruiting dynamo Ed Orgeron possibly being on his way out have surfaced, too.
The bloodletting on the defensive side of the ball makes sense. For all the talent in Troy, the D has underachieved since Kiffin was hired in 2010, consistently finishing in the middle of the Pac-12.
Polamalu, however, makes the first member of the offensive staff to go. From the outside, it's a curious choice. With Kiffin calling the plays, Polamalu served as offensive coordinator in name only, primarily taking responsibility for coaching running backs.
Polamalu also has more than his fair share or recruiting skins on the wall. According to Rivals.com, he recruited five-star prospects Ty Isaac and Su'a Cravens in the Trojans' latest class. He also landed touted wide receivers George Farmer and Marquise Lee in his three recruiting cycles under Kiffin's watch.
In other words, Kiffin just dumped a top-notch recruiter two days after locking up his latest class. That feels like a Machiavellian move by a coach who knows he needs to produce.