Kiffin: No more apologies

 

 

Destin, Fla.—Lane Kiffin did apologize for using the word “cheat” and Urban Meyer in the same sentence back in February. He was wrong and the SEC commissioner let him know it with an official reprimand.

But the new Tennessee coach ain’t apologizing for anything else and here’s why: Given the realities of the football program he inherited, Kiffin believes he was just doing what he had to do to jump-start the process of making the Volunteers a contender again.

“Do I love everything I had to do to get us to this point? No I don’t but my job is not to love everything that I do,” Kiffin said as he met with the collective SEC media for the first time on Tuesday. “My job is to do the best thing for our university and the best thing for our people.”

Kiffin, 34, has ruffled more than a few feathers since joining the SEC coaching fraternity last December. The episodes have been well documented so we won’t review them here. But here at the annual SEC spring meetings, where he sat down with his fellow coaches for the first time on Tuesday, Kiffin said his aggressive approach to date is simply what the job requires.

“I think as you look at this job (Tennessee) you have to have a national presence,” Kiffin said. “We’re not fortunate enough to be able to sign 23 or 25 players from our state. When you become a head coach, you take a specific plan into a job. This one, as I looked at it, needed to have a spark immediately as far as exposure.”

Kiffin’s point was that he had to do some unconventional things to get Tennessee noticed nationally. Some of his controversial decisions drew scorn in the national media and from fellow coaches. Kiffin had a little dust up with Steve Spurrier, who wondered if Kiffin had taken his NCAA recruiting test before calling prospects. Turns out he had taken the test and Kiffin wondered if he was going to get an apology. The two rode in an elevator on Tuesday and patched it up, but not before Spurrier reminded the young coach that he never accused him of cheating. He simply asked the question.

Kiffin and Meyer? That relationship is going to take some work and, given the jobs they hold, will remain chilly. Meyer said the key to the situation is to be “professional.” But he also admitted that it wasn’t easy.

But here’s the reality: While Kiffin’s style in the past six months has gone against the grain, it also made Tennessee the most talked-about 5-7 team in college football. And six months into the job, Kiffin said, the plan is working. Tennessee closed fast in recruiting, signing a Top 10 class that included running back Bryce Brown, rated by some services as the No. 1 player in the nation.

“If you look at the plan over six months you’d have to say it is going extremely well. There aren’t any six-year plans anymore,” Kiffin said. “None of you guys are going to write ‘Well, they will be good six years from now.’ To sit back and say we’ll take it easy and sit in the weeds and say someday we’ll sign a Top 10 class….we didn’t have time to do that.”

Kiffin said that he hopes the other coaches in the SEC understand that every job is different. What might work at one place may not work at another. His job is not to make friends among the SEC coaches or the media.

“I was hired to satisfy three groups of people. No. 1 is our people, our fans, the people of Tennessee. I think they are extremely excited. We had the second largest attendance we’ve ever had for a spring game.

“No. 2, our own players. I think some of the things that we’ve done puts it back on your own players. They know you’ve gone out and said some things about what you’re going to do and what you’re going to accomplish. When you’re working out with your players at 5:30 in the morning they come up to you and say ‘Thanks for doing that coach. It makes us want to work that much harder because we’ve got your back.

“No. 3 is recruiting because it’s the lifeblood of the program. I don’t think if you took a conservative approach—whether you thought it was right, wrong, or indifferent—I don’t think there is any way you sign that class and there isn’t any way you sign the No. 1 player in the country. There are some things that have to be done specifically for this particular job.

“As you look at kids today they respond to confidence a lot. Guys that we’ve signed talk about the confidence they feel from the staff. We’re not backing down and kids like that. They like the energy around our program.”

Before his first face-to-face meeting with Meyer since the comments in February, Kiffin was asked if he felt the need to apologize again.

“I really haven’t thought about it. I would expect everybody to understand that we all have a job to do,” said Kiffin. “But I did request that coach Meyer and I would get adjoining rooms (at the hotel).”

He was kidding. At least I think he was.

This is going to be an interesting fall.

 

 

184 comments Add your comment

ehyoutiger

May 27th, 2009
8:22 am

That Kiffin sure does like to hear himself talk.

Anonymous

May 27th, 2009
8:39 am

The high-minded rationalizations of a jerk.

Corrine Brown (D) FL

May 27th, 2009
8:46 am

It is Clear…that Corch Urban Meyers is not gonna take no jive off that Lance Cliftons from tennseee.

Go Gator! 1,2,3,4,5

Old Dawg

May 27th, 2009
9:17 am

Let’s see how much confidence Kiffin instills in his players when the Gators light up the Vols for more than 60 points.

First lesson of coaching: no bulletin board material shall be spoken by coaches or players!

D-MAN

May 27th, 2009
9:23 am

I think ol Kiffin is gonna get the beatdown of a lifetime with Florida and Alabama…I think the players will want to give that to their coaches…anything less would be considered a Tenn victory in Urban and Nick’s mind. Everyone expects Tenn to lose these games so in order to make them meaningful, I think Meyer and Saban will want to crush the Vols. We’ll see!

DawgGirl32

May 27th, 2009
9:24 am

“Do I love everything I had to do to get us to this point? No I don’t but my job is not to love everything that I do,” Kiffin said..

And that’s where he and Mark Richt differ. Mark Richt isn’t going to compromise anything just to make some noise.

Maybe Next Year

May 27th, 2009
9:24 am

Lane Kiffin: All that sound and fury, signifying nothing.

RxDawg

May 27th, 2009
9:27 am

I see some timeouts at the end of a blow out loss in UT’s future.

[...] isn’t exhibition season.”Tony Barnhart of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution expects the relationship between Urban Meyer and Lane Kiffin to remain chilly.Nick Saban isn’t going to join the Twitter crowd.  “I can’t [...]

m

May 27th, 2009
9:39 am

Lane Kiffin fits in well in the sec…he is all talk, just like the rest of the sec…the chan gomer gailey of conferences.

DirtyDawg

May 27th, 2009
9:40 am

DawgGirl…I love CMR and wouldn’t trade him for any of these $3 million – plus a year guys, but I think you’d have to say that our little ‘end-zone’ celebration year-before-last in Jacksonville was something of a compromise in the name of something. Hated to bring it up, but it was just a matter of time before some gaytor chimed in and made light of it…and, of course, the subsequent ‘even-getting’ from last year.

GeoffDawg

May 27th, 2009
9:41 am

Didn’t Kiffin qualify his apology as “if I offended” and didn’t he also fail to apologize personally to Meyer? That doesn’t come across as overly sincere and signifies that he has yet to actually start apologizing for anything.

Whatever

May 27th, 2009
9:42 am

Any writers buying the fact that he had this grand plan and all of the things that have happened were just part of that grand plan are idiots.

How is it a good thing that they’ve had numerous secondary violations, been forced by the league to issue an apology for accusing a rival of cheating and been a part of some less than cordial back and forths with the media, other rival coaches and former recruits? I’ll grant that they work hard and have brought a new energy to that program. What new coach wouldn’t have done that? They have a nice little tradition to offer as well as a lot of opportunity (i.e. open positions) on top of some of the best facilities in the country. Of course they’re going to get some good players. It just doesn’t seem like they’ve gone about their business in the most professional and classy manner as they could have.

Oh yeah…they also don’t have a quarterback to speak of on the roster (or matriculating) and I think anyone who follows college football understands how important a good, experienced QB is to the college game.

GeoffDawg

May 27th, 2009
9:42 am

m – the difference between chan gailey and the SEC is that the SEC wins. It’s quite simple really.

rok dawg

May 27th, 2009
9:43 am

Tony:

Kiffen has every right to run his program by running his mouth. But he (and his fans) will soon become painfully aware of how seriously other coaches and their fans take football in the SEC. This is not the PAC 10.

When Kiffen gets humiliated by 40 in Gainesville, and Meyer stops the clock with 30 seconds left to let the Florida band play Rocky Top, we will find out if Kiffen man enough to take a beating. My guess is he is not prepared for what is coming his way in Gainesville (any many other places) this year.

[...] Barnhardt:No more apologies I hesitate to post yet another article about Lane and his new SEC coaching buddies’ feelings for one another, but Barnhardt really does sum things up nicely… AJC:Kiffin [...]

Miles

May 27th, 2009
9:45 am

Kiffin’s hiring at Rocky Top is to the SEC what Michigan’s hiring of Rodriguez was to the Big Ten…an apparent sinking ship…MAYDAY!

GeoffDawg

May 27th, 2009
9:45 am

BTW – as a follow up from what some other posters have been asking about over the last few weeks – what are the consequences of repeated secondary violations? I’m not saying that other schools don’t commit them as well, but historically, what will the NCAA do to repeat offender programs that seem to commit them with impunity?

Coach hom"O"

May 27th, 2009
9:47 am

It’s alright Lane. When UF and AL both embarrass the UT program on national TV I can still take my clothes off in front of all our young boys in the locker room. Heck, I could even get in the shower with ‘em if you think that would make ‘em feel better. Maybe cuddle with Crompton on the flight back home. Whatever it takes Lane.

Voice of Reason

May 27th, 2009
9:50 am

m- all talk and three straight National Championships. Moron.

Personally I agree with Kiffin’s approach. I wouldn’t want a UGA coach to take that approach but then again I wouldn’t want UGA to ever be in a situation of coming off a 5-7 season with a new coach. If not for his antics, who would be talking about Tenn right now and how many recruits would have given them a second look. Trash-talking is one of the majority of 18 year old boys favorite things to do. It is only reasonable that a trash-talking coach would pull some top recruits.

Lane "Shirt-Rippin" Kiffin

May 27th, 2009
9:51 am

Dang, I just traded in Layla’s Pontiac and all we got was a Burger King Whopper.

johnny reb

May 27th, 2009
9:54 am

My 2 cents: How many wins for the Vols this season? 4 or 5 tops? Kiffin will be gone in 3 years max and maybe only 2 years. The only quality coach on the team is Kiffin’s, dad (nfl not college experience.).

Voice of Reason

May 27th, 2009
9:55 am

oh, and what harm does some secondary violations (slap on the wrist) and having to issue an apology cause. None. He knows that. You can issue apologies all day. I formally apologize. There that was easy. Now lets go talk some more trash. And it has obviously been his plan the whole time. Not like he “accidentally” ran his mouth. He was always very aware of when he was on camera. If you DON’T believe it was a plan, you are an idiot.

Voice of Reason

May 27th, 2009
9:58 am

Yet, with all that said, I do still think UF will wipe the floor with them this year. But you can’t build a team in one season. How many teams do you know of that have been great or even very good with a new HC. Even the mighty Saban lost to UL-Monroe (or somebody like that) his first year.

Tide rising

May 27th, 2009
10:03 am

m,

Let me help you out with some little factoids that I looked up regarding ACC VS SEC play last year. The ACC eked out 3 wins over the SEC last year by 2,3, and 3 pts. They won 2 more by medium scores of 14 and 17 pts and they blew out the SEC one time when Tech beat the worst team in the SEC Miss.St by 31.

The SEC has 5 blowout wins over the ACC by the scores of 23.24, 31,34, and 35 pts. The only close game we won was when Vandy of all people beat ACC runner up BC by 2 pts.

The total point differential was a whopping 113 pts as the SEC outscored the ACC 318-205 in the 12 contests between the 2. A further examination of the bowl season reveals that the SEC went 6-2 while the ACC went 4-5. Oh, we also went 7-2 last year also. We’ve also won the BCS title 3 years in a row and 4 of the last 6.

But you can take solace in the fact that the ACC won its first BCS bowl game in something like 8 or 9 years when VT beat that powerhouse known as Cincinnati. I won’t embarrass you further by bringing up how many BCS bowl games the SEC has won in the last 8 or 9 years. Besides, I’m not sure that you can count that high anyway.

Technite

May 27th, 2009
10:04 am

So all of Kiffy Baby’s ignorant comments and actions are by design and part of a brilliant ‘master plan’. Even the most devout Vol fan wouldn’t buy that sack of dung. What he is saying is that it was all an act and the media was stupid enough to buy it and give him the attention he was looking for. Question is, How long are you guys going to continue to fall for that stunt since that is what he says it is? Interesting that he says he has no conscience when it comes to doing what it takes to recruit or win. Wow, what a guy to lead kids and for sportswriters to flock to.

VanDSIRROM

May 27th, 2009
10:05 am

You don’t spell ut with “c l a s s”…

baconboy

May 27th, 2009
10:07 am

I’m sure Pickett’s men had a lot of confidence in their leader too before they charged across the field at Gettysburg.

As a Gator this guy still reminds me more of Ron Zook than Urban Meyer. He might be a good recruiter, but I have serious doubts about his ability to get the most out of his players.

mrgungho

May 27th, 2009
10:12 am

Wow…I can’t wait for 9.19.09 matchup. It’s gonna be freaking awesome!

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 27th, 2009
10:16 am

OH SLAP!!!

DirtyDawg to DawgGirl32.

Loser Lane

May 27th, 2009
10:22 am

“Hey, Coach O, is the coast clear?? You don’t see that mean old man they call the Ol’ Ball Coach in the hallway, do ya???

Cuz

May 27th, 2009
10:23 am

Thanks Tony for the Daily Kiffin report. Tune in tomorrow. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Coach O

May 27th, 2009
10:24 am

“No, I don’t see him…now put your wig and dress on and come on out of your room”…

WTF???

May 27th, 2009
10:27 am

lol!!! Lance Clifton….

Layla Is A Gator!

May 27th, 2009
10:28 am

Will somebody please tell me whats going on down there in those meetings?? Between his sobbing, I couldn’t understand a thing lil Lane was saying late last night other than he just kept repeating… SOS!

WTF???

May 27th, 2009
10:29 am

Tide rising – 1
M – 0

G8R GRAD

May 27th, 2009
10:34 am

What a tool.

Gator Growl

May 27th, 2009
10:35 am

Looks like Urbans taking the high road on this one. Had a real stern look on his face and said he only wanted to talk about the Gators. I haven’t seen that look and tone since before last years Georgia game. This is gonna be brutal!

Anonymous

May 27th, 2009
10:36 am

WTF???:

“m” IS a zero.

CharlotteGator

May 27th, 2009
10:43 am

baconboy – Great comparison. He definitely does ring the Zook bell. Great recruiter and might steal a few wins like Zook (UGA in Jax, FSU in Tally, the Suckeyes in Columbus with Illinois), but you’re spot on in that he might not be able to get the best out of his players.

Overall, I like the responses from Saban, Petrino, and Urban at Destin and even some of Richt’s a few weeks back (about detail not about JAX). SOS is definitely funny, but those other 3 definitely mean business. Meyer talking about this being a livelihood and job and no joke, Petrino just wanting to get in and get out, Saban channeling his inner ‘old-school’ and even Richt’s prior comments about attention to detail, all point to coaches who should have successful seasons. I definitely think Ark and UGA will challenge FL this year and meeting Bama in ATL would obviously be huge.

m

May 27th, 2009
10:44 am

sec..greatest conference in the history of the world…yada yada yada
acc…worst conference in the history of the world…yada yada yada

2009 sec 6 wins…..acc 6 wins…exactly even.

How in the helle did the worst conference in the history of the world beat the unbeatable best conference in the history of the world????

You sec fans are so full of shiite that you couldn’t take another bite.

GeoffDawg

May 27th, 2009
10:48 am

I think Tide Rising’s already pwned you m. Feel free to leave now.

CharlotteGator

May 27th, 2009
10:49 am

So I normally like Richt and this isn’t really the point of today, but I had to ask if anyone else thought this Richt quote from yesterday might be a little disingenuous…I feel like he said a lot more than he is ‘remembering’ here. Not trying to start a flamefest or anything just curious what UGA fans think.

On FL/GA in Jax:
“Here’s the deal — I don’t know the answer to that, and I’m not going answer any questions on that because every time I say something it becomes a much bigger deal than it is,” Richt said at the SEC spring meetings. “All I can tell you is somebody asked me awhile back, do I think it as neutral? I said, ‘I really don’t think it’s neutral, no,’ but everybody wants to make a big stink about, ‘Should we change the game?’ and all that. I don’t care where we play the game, quite frankly.”

Don't You Get It?

May 27th, 2009
10:50 am

Don’t you see? “m” is actually a genius! He makes outrageous and moronic statements for the publicity so he can recruit other bloggers/posters and take over the AJC. After all, ANY publicity is good publicity! Must have gone to the UT school of public relations!

Roswell Ed

May 27th, 2009
10:51 am

This guy makes Lindsey Lohan seem some how well adjusted. What a nut!! See more Ed humor at libertarianhumor.com.

DawgGirl32

May 27th, 2009
10:51 am

Touche DirtyDawg. Can’t argue with you there. I think the difference though is that “celebration gate” wasn’t there to insult or disrespect another team or coach. The celebration was a way for the Georgia players to celebrate a touchdown as a team, not to insult Florida. It’s not like Richt told them to go and do the Gator chomp in the Florida players’ faces or something. Kiffin’s antics have been totally directed at the other teams and coaches. The celebration was definitely not Mark Richt-like, but I don’t know if he thinks he had to compromise his fundamental morals for that to happen. Maybe Kiffin didn’t feel like he compromised anything. I don’t know. My personal opinion is that if you’re doing a job where you have to do things you’re not proud of in order to get ahead, you might want to find another job. I think the interesting discussion this brings about, though, is where to draw the line. What is considered okay to do to hype up your players and what is just downright disrespectful? Obviously, I think there will be plenty of differing opinions there.

Bubbadawg

May 27th, 2009
10:54 am

That’s two reports from you Tony and we still haven’t gotten past Kiffen. Please tell me we won’t have another article about this. Surely there are other items to report on.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 27th, 2009
10:57 am

UF will beat UT…but not like the 49-10 NO QUARTER beat down they put on UGAg.

Meyer will try, but UT won’t be scared like UGAg was and is of UF. Yes they will be a bit DAZED AND CONFUSED but will still compete into the 4th quarter.

I’m thinking like 42-28.

DR

May 27th, 2009
10:59 am

What will Meyer do when boy wonder Tebow is gone?

Technite

May 27th, 2009
11:00 am

Bubbadawg, Kiffin says he says and does the things he is not proud of by design to get publicity for the UT program. The AJC writers are drinking that koolaid by the gallons. The articles won’t end till the media guys realize they are being played. Don’t hold your breath.