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Persistent Raiders Ransack Carroll's Coaching Crib

Shunned by 32-year-old college position coach Steve Sarkisian over the weekend, the Oakland Raiders instead settled today for Sarkisian's nominal higher-up at USC, 31-year-old offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, whose NFL coaching experience - aside from the being the progeny of prototype rumpled codger savant Monte Kiffin, innovator of the "Tampa Two" employed by Chicago's Super Bowl-bound defense - was as "defensive quality control coach" in Jacksonville for part of the 2000 season. If nabbing the young quarterbacks coach from SC to run a heavily-scrutinized pro team was cool with Oakland, just imagine how much better the coordinator of the entire Trojan offense will be! And he's even younger!

In fact, Kiffin will be the league's youngest head coach since the end of the "player-coach" era, though Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher were hardly older when hired by the Raiders and Steelers, respectively. Both of them, however, were at least somewhat experienced within the NFL, which Kiffin is not, though that didn't help legacy bust Dave Shula (the previous standard bearer of youthful hires at age 33 in 1992) in Cincinnati. Eight players on the current Raider roster are older and far more experienced on the pro level than the team's new leader, who has only one year on head case quarterback Aaron Brooks. Luckily for both of them, that year was spent studying the zone blitz with Pete Carroll through oracle bones translated by long-bearded Tibetan monks in Himalayan seclusion.


If you can't lure the proven pro magic, get his assistants. Just be sure to check their ID before any locker room champagne celebrations.
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Other college/NFL coaching rumors: Charlie Weiss and Bob Stoops schedule midnight chickie run for opening in Dallas, pinks.