With anger about last week’s loss to Washington State still reverberating throughout USC’s fan base, Coach Lane Kiffin attempted to lighten the mood Wednesday.
“We have made a decision,” Kiffin said after directing a security worker named Reggie to join him in front of reporters after practice. “We’re not going to let Reggie call plays anymore.
“It’s been him the last two weeks calling the plays. So we feel bad for Reggie, but he’s moving on from it. It wasn’t a very good performance by him.”
Kiffin’s stab at humor drew laughs but it won’t ease the pressure entering Saturday’s game against Boston College.
USC fans at the Coliseum booed Kiffin’s play-calling and called for his firing during the Trojans’ 10-7 loss to Washington State.
“No one’s more miserable than myself,” Kiffin said. “So it’s our job to get it fixed.”
Kiffin reiterated that the Trojans would be 2-0 instead of 1-1 if the passing game had been serviceable against Washington State.
USC passed for only 54 yards against the Cougars.
“The sky is not falling,” Kiffin said. “We had the worst passing performance you can ever have in the history of football. We ran the ball well, played lights-out defense.
“So, if just that one thing is just OK, we’re obviously in a totally different position.”
Kiffin and several players said the team did not have a players-only meeting after the Washington State loss.
All-American receiver Marqise Lee told reporters after the game that players intended to meet without coaches on Sunday. On Sunday evening, Kiffin said he could not confirm a meeting took place. After practice Tuesday, Lee confirmed that players met without coaches and that Kiffin did not know about it.
Reports of Lee’s comments, and suggestions of a disconnect between Kiffin and his players, flamed across social media.
“I don’t know why Marqise said that,” Kiffin said, adding that Lee told him he got “a little flustered” in front of reporters. “In his mind, a couple guys sitting around at the house talking is a players-only meeting.”
Earlier Wednesday, linebacker Devon Kennard and Lee posted messages on their Twitter feeds explaining there was no meeting.
“I woke up in the morning, saw all the chaos and then posted my first tweet,” Kennard said.
Offensive players are not made available to the media on Wednesdays. Lee’s Twitter message read: “There was not a ‘players only meeting’. Just regular get together with a few players about staying positive and moving forward #FightOn!”
Said senior safety Dion Bailey: “It got completely blown out of proportion because Marqise said it.”
Kiffin indicated that tailbacks Justin Davis and Javorius Allen would play more against Boston College…. Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig, who played at Pasadena La Salle and San Clemente high schools, was recruited by Kiffin when he was coach at Tennessee.