Kiffin Expreses Further Disappointment in Officials
UPDATE: USC coach Lane Kiffin has been "reprimanded and fined" for his comments, the Pac-12 announced Monday night.
ORIGNAL POST: USC coach Lane Kiffin continued to express his extreme disappointment with officials following the Trojan's devistating loss to Stanford on Saturday.
In his weekly conference call with reporters Sunday, Kiffin said he "was basically lied to" by Pac-12 referees on the last play of regulation.
"I was just really disappointed in the communication process," said Kiffin. "With what was going on and what was told to me. And unfortunatley that didn't happen."
With nine seconds left and the game tied, the Trojan's had the ball on the Stanford 40 yard line - just a few yards shy of being in range of kicker Andre Heidari. USC ran a screen pass to Robert Woods, trying to get a few more yards up the middle of the field so they could call timeout. But Woods bounced the play off towards the far sideline and was ruled out of bounds with no time left on the clock.
The play was reviewed, and it was determined that Woods was tackled in bounds, with one second to go on the clock.
Kiffin said he was told by an official that if replay determined Woods was down in bounds with time still on the clock, USC would be granted a timeout.
"And they come back over and completely went against it," Kiffin said Saturday. "So I’m extremely disappointed in that. That’s not an opinion, I’m not complaining about it. I’m just giving you the exact facts of the situation. Really disappointed in that."
Kiffin informed the media yesterday that he had spoken on the phone with Pac-12 officials several times since the end of Saturday's game, including once in the locker room immediately following.
"I called them from the locker room," said Kiffin, "to express what happened and what was communicated to me. And how I was basically lied to."
After the game, head referee Michael Blatlan released the following statement: "Through review, it was seen that the knee was down and time had expired and therefore we were headed to an overtime period. Any coach can ask for a timeout, but he doesn’t get one until an official grants or signifies it. I was not part of any conversation with regards to a requested timeout."
Kiffin said he was told by an official that "if there was one second (left), (he) wouldn’t have had enough time to call a timeout,” a statement with which Kiffin strongly disagreed.
Kiffin also expressed disagreement with several other calls that occured late in the game. He specified a taunting penalty on Marqise Lee following a touchdown, the targeting call on T.J. McDonald that gave Stanford a crucial first down on their final drive instead of a decisive fourth-and-seven, and a holding call on the Cardinal in the second overtime where the ball was spotted a full eight yards forward from where it should have been.
Regarding the Lee taunting penalty, Kiffin defended his true freshman wideout.
"I don't think Marqise was really trying to taunt there," explained Kiffin. "I don't think he was trying to do anything malicious. I think that was just his excitement. And so those penalties are unfortunate. I wouldn't want that penalty called the other way. Let the players play the game."
Regarding McDonald's targeting penalty, Kiffin expressed perplexity as to what exactly he should tell his junior safety following a penalty like that.
"He didn't hit with his helmet," Kiffin said. "I just don't know really how you coach out of that... I don't even know what to say to him. 'Don't hit the guy'?"
Kiffin's funniest explanation was regarding the ball spot following the holding penalty, where apparently even his two-year old son could figure out where the ball should have been placed.
"I had a conversation about it this morning at breakfast," said Kiffin. "I had breakfast with a buddy of mine named Knox. And so I say to Knox, 'If there's a 10-yard holding penalty that takes place on second-and-five at the line of scrimmage, does it go to second-and-seven or second-and-15?' And Knox said, 'It goes to second-and-15.' Well somehow it went to second and seven.
"And just so you know Knox is two years old."
Kiffin said the the Pac-12 has told him they will review the game and his comments today.