Lane Kiffin isn't doing himself any favors with unconventional decisions that are only drawing more attention to the Trojans' struggles.
It might be a little early to refer to Kiffin as embattled, but he's well on his way after losing at home 10-7 to Washington State last week in one of the worst performances from a USC offense in memory. Fans called for his firing from the stands during the loss to the Cougars.
Add that to the ongoing quarterback controversy dogging the program for months, in part because of the way the coach has handled it, and Kiffin has his hands full.
But instead of handling the situation in a straightforward manner, as most coaches do, by answering questions about quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek and what he sees as their strengths and weaknesses, Kiffin chose to announce Kessler as his starter going forward during his weekly school-produced video.
"I'm not going to get into, for protection of the guys, this guy did this, this guy didn't do that," Kiffin said. "We made a decision to go with Cody and we're excited about how well he's going to play Saturday (against Boston College)."
This comes on the heels of telling the team Kessler would start against Washington State six days before the game and putting players in the awkward position of not revealing that information in interviews leading up to the game.
Kessler and Wittek combined to complete 11 of 21 passes for 54 yards and two interceptions. USC averaged less than five yards per completion. To his credit, at least Kiffin didn't sugarcoat how bad the Trojans were in the passing game in the loss to Washington State.
"We were just totally inept in the passing game," Kiffin explained in the video. "As bad as it can possibly be."