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USC Sports

Lane Kiffin praises Cody Kessler for perseverance through turmoil

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Then-USC Coach Lane Kiffin talks to quarterback Cody Kessler on Aug. 17, 2012.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin developed quarterback Blake Sims last season and got the best out of Jake Coker in the Crimson Tide’s Cotton Bowl victory over Michigan State that propelled Alabama to Monday night’s championship game against Clemson.

Kiffin was fired as USC’s head coach five games into the 2013 season after a loss at Arizona State.

Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler had completed 20 of 29 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions in the 62-41 loss.

Kessler would play for five coaches during his USC career. He finished with 88 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions.

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“That’s a difficult situation,” Kiffin said, adding, “For Cody to have all those different play-callers and all the stuff going on.”

Kiffin said Kessler persevered despite depth problems that resulted from NCAA sanctions that caused USC to lose 30 scholarships over three years.

“When you’re on sanctions, you play offensive linemen that should not be playing yet because they should be redshirting and developing,” Kiffin said. “That’s not fun to be the quarterback behind that. It shows how good Cody is, how strong he is, to go through all that and still play as well as he did.”


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