Ex-Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury joins USC as offensive analyst

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Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been named a senior offensive analyst at USC, head coach Lincoln Riley announced Tuesday.

"He's going to be invaluable to have on the staff," Riley told ESPN's Pete Thamel. "It was the right fit for him and us. He knows a number of the staff guys, there's a familiarity and a comfort level there."

Kingsbury, 43, was fired by the Cardinals in January after a 4-13 season. He went 28-37-1 in four years with Arizona, making the playoffs once.

Joining Riley's staff at USC will mark a return to the Trojans for Kingsbury. In December 2018, then-USC head coach Clay Helton hired Kingsbury to be the school's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before Kingsbury departed for Arizona in January 2019.

Kingsbury spent six seasons as Texas Tech's head coach, going 35-40 from 2013 through 2018 and guiding the school to three bowl games. He also spent two seasons as Houston's co-offensive coordinator and one season in the OC role at Texas A&M.

Kingsbury has experience working with some of the top quarterbacks in college football, as he coached Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech, Johnny Manziel during his Heisman Trophy season in 2012 at Texas A&M and Case Keenum at Houston.

At USC, Kingsbury will have the opportunity to work with reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams, a junior who will be one of the top prospects in next year's NFL draft.

Riley told ESPN that even in his five seasons at Oklahoma, he did not have anyone in a similar senior offensive analyst position on his staff until last year, when Will Harriger filled the role with the Trojans before leaving for the Dallas Cowboys. Riley said he'd talked to numerous people about replacing Harriger before floating the idea to Kingsbury, who stopped by USC a few weeks ago.

Kingsbury cannot actively coach or instruct players, but will help the Trojans game-plan, lend another set of eyes to the quarterbacks and be a resource for players and staff, according to Riley, who added that he was hoping the NCAA would have passed a rule it has been discussing in recent months about allowing more coaches to work with players on the field, following the NFL model.

"We were certainly hoping that this rule was going to change," Riley said. "I'm still baffled why it didn't."

Kingsbury's contract with the Cardinals ran through 2027, as he got fired 10 months after signing a six-year extension. That means that the vast portion of his income is still expected to come from the NFL.