It appears USC coach Clay Helton’s plan to improve his program includes bringing on one of the best offensive minds in college football as his offensive coordinator.
Multiple reports Thursday said that USC has agreed to a deal in principle with former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury to lead the Trojans’ underachieving offense. A USC spokesman said that there was no announcement about the coaching staff.
Kingsbury, 39, went 35-40 in six seasons as head coach at his alma mater. His offenses were consistently prolific running Kingsbury’s take on the “Air Raid” system he learned as a player from then-Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. Kingsbury was Leach’s first starting quarterback at Texas Tech as he installed his system with the Red Raiders.
Kingsbury bounced around the NFL and the Canadian Football League before starting his career as a coach as a quality control assistant at the University of Houston in 2008. By 2010 he was co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2012, he took over as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M and coached Johnny Manziel to the Heisman Trophy that season.
The next year, Texas Tech brought him home to Lubbock as head coach.
During his time at Texas Tech, he tutored numerous quarterbacks who are now NFL starters, including the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield (who later transferred to Oklahoma and won the 2017 Heisman).
Bringing on Kingsbury would represent a bold move by Helton, a sign that he is willing to make major changes to the Trojans’ offense to move the program forward after a 5-7 season.
Kingsbury’s wide-open spread system would have talent to work with in quarterback JT Daniels and wide receivers Michael Pittman Jr., Tyler Vaughns and Amon-ra St. Brown. Running back Stephen Carr is a talented player who has yet to show it consistently at USC.