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

baconboy

May 27th, 2009
11:01 am

Ramble On… you are kidding right? Only two teams scored more than 20 points on Florida all of last year and we have our entire defense coming back — two deep. UT doesn’t have a quarterback. I’m just wondering if UT will even cross the 50 yard line except during the change of quarters.

Kiffinisatosser

May 27th, 2009
11:03 am

Lame is flying by the seat of his pants and using ex post facto justification to make it seem like a master plan. Please don’t insult us. “Kids respond to confidence”. And confidence is not “just” an attitude. Confidence comes from discliplined teamwork. Unfortunately, all of the shirt ripping confidence instilled by Lame and his moron posse will disappear the moment those guys have to fire a shot in combat. What a joke. Let the beat downs begin.

j

May 27th, 2009
11:04 am

Ramble On, to end your comment with the statement “I’m thinking…” is an oxymoron.

Monte Kiffin

May 27th, 2009
11:04 am

Lane, didn’t I warn you about lying to the press? Now clean up your room or else there won’t be any dinner.

Monte Kiffin

May 27th, 2009
11:06 am

Lane, just stop playing with Orgeron’s whoopee cushion…please.

Urban Warfare

May 27th, 2009
11:06 am

RAMBLE ON…I would agree with you if that game was being played at Tenn. But the game is at the Swamp and you’d better get your sound recording instruments ready up there at GT ’cause you’ll probably be able to hear it in Atlanta. Crompton will be cryin’ for his momma by the second quarter. And even Daddy won’t be able to help lil Lane.

baconboy

May 27th, 2009
11:07 am

As for what Meyer will do when Tebow leaves…as I recall Meyer won a national championship with Chris Leak as the starting quarterback.

Kiffinisatosser

May 27th, 2009
11:08 am

Could the Vols go winless in the SEC this year? I think they could.

ReptilesRule

May 27th, 2009
11:09 am

DR…same thing he did when Chris Leak left…

Volz4evr

May 27th, 2009
11:11 am

You guys need to leave Coach Kiffen alone. He ain’t even been in one game yet. He is already a suceess because he has rallyed the fanbase that was really laging. Smokey will shoot your eye out! GO Orange.

baconboy

May 27th, 2009
11:12 am

You know what I would do if I was Meyer? I’d invite every kid that Tennessess is recruiting in the state of Florida to make their official visit at UF on September 19. I’d also invite the mayor of Pahokee.

Volz4evr

May 27th, 2009
11:13 am

Oh and Urban myers is just lucky cause hes got Tebow.

Bamafan

May 27th, 2009
11:14 am

Good football coaches like Mark Richt and Bobby Bowden act like gentlemen and Kiffin acts like a
terrible 2 year old needing his azz whipped. Pete Carroll seems like a great guy in the media and why can’t boy blunder learn from him how to keep his freaking mouth shut!! All the SEC teams are gunning
for the vols this fall and I can not wait till the gators beat the holy stuffing out of the vols and the crimson tide will also!! YOU DON’T HAVE TO ACT LIKE A FREAKING JERK TO RECRUIT GREAT BALL PLAYERS!! ROLL TIDE!!

UGA'er

May 27th, 2009
11:14 am

Folks, I really wouldn’t be too concerned about what Kiffin says.He can say whatever he wants. Also, though…for the poster that said the Vols will only win 3 games or so. The way I see it is tthey should only lose 3 games or so.Think about it.Look at their schedule. I see Fla, Bama, and UGA beating them, after that I see them having at least an equal chance in the other just on talent alone.

Kiffinisatosser

May 27th, 2009
11:17 am

Bamafan, does your team’s history really suggest that your assertion about not needing to be a jerk to recruit is correct? Exactly

VOL FAN

May 27th, 2009
11:19 am

Does the AJC not have anything better to report than what Coach Kiffin does or does not do??? Get a life. Who cares what he says or does as long as he does the job he was hired to do. I would be willing to be that most of the coaches in the SEC have all done this before.

Gator Growl

May 27th, 2009
11:21 am

DawgGirl32 said it best…”if you’re doing a job where you have to do things you’re not proud of in order to get ahead [paraphrase: or saying thats what you're doing], you might want to find another job.”

AlwaysAVol

May 27th, 2009
11:22 am

Quick, no cheating. Who’s the coach for Mississippi State? Vanderbilt? Kentucky? Tennessee? Who has the shortest tenure? Who had the best recruiting class even considering the short time frame? Mission accomplished (to this point). But, show me in September.

TS

May 27th, 2009
11:24 am

I haven’t been to a game in Gainesville in three years (I’m usually at all our away games since they’re closer) but I will be in the Swamp that Saturday. Blitz Brandon Spikes the whole game!! I’m picturing one of the Spurrier-era 60+ point differentials.

Huh?

May 27th, 2009
11:24 am

This guy is a total idiot. He has no idea what the hell he is doing. The first step to solving that problem is admitting that you have no idea what the hell you are doing. This arrogant clown thinks he has all the answers. He’s been on the job what 5, 6 months? He’s already unlocked the secrets of successful recruiting in Tennessee. That is record time!!! And look at what all he’s done to get Tennessee “to this point?” Uh, what point Lane. Its freaking May dude. You haven’t even coached a damn game yet. What POINT are you talking about you clueless goob?

Its going to be fun to watch this guy fail. He’s asked for it.

Homey Schooled??

May 27th, 2009
11:29 am

Volz4evr…you must be a graduate of UT’s Advanced School for Grammar.

Kiffin = SEC Bait

May 27th, 2009
11:29 am

I have a question maybe someone could help me out with.

-Tennessee had a respectable program, why would they go out and hire a guy who is 5-15, and just got canned by “Old Al?”

I think Kiffin is turning on the old blue light special (in his case Orange). It is the Buy 1 Get 1 special. In his case he has bought two( He is gotten the Gators and Tide riled up). He is going to get a real beating by the Gators, Tide, SC GC and the Dawgs this season. I wonder if Kiffin’s term is just a filler between Fulmer who was well regarded and the future?

Nachos

May 27th, 2009
11:30 am

Florida and Alabama will destroy Kiffin’s mighty Vols.. but Lame Kitten will pull an upset and beat the 2008 #1 pre-season ranked Bullpuppies.

Coach "O"

May 27th, 2009
11:33 am

ARRRRRRGHHHHHHHHH get me another P B R baby kitten. and send layla over here too. coach “O” needs another lower body rubdown. ARRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH

Bill

May 27th, 2009
11:35 am

Tony-
I really disappointed. You wrote the P/R deal for Kiffin and you totally left out the real story…Spurrier getting in the face of Kiffin (almost made Lane cry). The stuff you wrote about was planned P/R nothing else I expected more from you.
Bill

Anonymous

May 27th, 2009
11:36 am

DawgGirl32:
“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.”

HUH? ! ! !
Dancing in the Gator’s faces isn’t demeaning or insulting?
Then why did the Dawgs get penalized for it? ! ! !

AtlantaVol

May 27th, 2009
11:39 am

Wow, I am very impressed at how Kiffin has fired up not only the Tennessee faithful but the entire SEC as well. How else would a Dawg fan be fired up about the defending national champion Gators taking on a team that finished 5-7 last year? It’s really interesting to see that many fans attacking a coach that hasn’t coached a game yet.

PaulC

May 27th, 2009
11:40 am

Florida didn’t need any bulletin board material to hang 59 on the Vols in 2007, so why anybody thinks the beating will be worse this year due to things Kiffin has said is beyond me. Gator fans take an important factor out of the equation, that being Kiffin’s players might have a little more motivation themselves. Here are the inarguable facts when you get past all the whining and BS from other college football coaches and fans: (1) Coach Kiffin’s antics produced a top ten recruiting class (and a great start to the 2010 class), (2) The Tennessee fanbase is much more motivated, (3) Kiffin cleaned house of unneeded players who can’t hack it, and (4) the players have bought into what this staff is doing more than they ever did under Fulmer. So, remind me again what it is that Vol fans should be worried about? Maybe its the NFL calibre staff he’s assembled. Should we be worried about Kiffin/Orgeron/Gran and all the talent they’re bringing in? Should we be worried that Kiffin has managed to overshadow both Meyer (who just won a NT) and Nick Saban? Keep talking, because with all the hype and attention you put on a game against a team that went 5-7 last year you’re raising the bar on what counts as an acceptable point spread in the game. The more you Gator fans bother to worry about UT, the more you raise our profile in the media, and with recruits. Better bring your A game.

Spur Dog

May 27th, 2009
11:43 am

You’re right Bill, I really took lil Lane to school yesterday after the meetings outside the elevators and not a word about here at the AJC. Chris Low on ESPN/SEC has a nice article on it though. Maybe someone here can provide a link.

judy watson

May 27th, 2009
11:48 am

i suspect spurrier had a tougher recruiting problem when he joined south carolina, but he didn’t resort to those tactics and cheap shots

Georgia Gator

May 27th, 2009
11:49 am

Hey PaulC,

Who’s worrying?

Gridiron Gator

May 27th, 2009
11:50 am

Hey PaulC…No, we’re gonna bring our A+ game if you don’t mind. Better bring your ear plugs, jock straps, and plenty of pain medication. And plenty of good ol Jack Daniels for after the game.

Urban Liar

May 27th, 2009
11:51 am

Can you believe that upstart greenie coach is getting more press than me or Ego Steeveo? Would I lie?

whitx2

May 27th, 2009
11:53 am

Lane doesn’t need to instill confidence in his players, he just needs to find a FG kicker that can kick 76 yard FGs. That way he want be shut out when he plays UF.

http://www.volnation.com/forum/tennessee-vols-football/72196-barnhardt-no-more-apologies.html

May 27th, 2009
11:55 am

Hop on the Lane Train or get run over baby.

Signed,

Al Davis

Satan Sabin

May 27th, 2009
11:56 am

It seems to me that Kiffin should look up to someone who is an ethical giant in his own mind—-like me! Have I ever lied to anyone? Well, for you who would question me, only a few dozen times.

Signed,
Legend in my own mind.

TX DAWG

May 27th, 2009
12:02 pm

The great coaches of the past (Bear Bryant, Tom Osburn, Joe Paterno) and today (Urban Meyer, Nick Saban, Pete Carroll) generated publicity by winning games and not by running their mouths. It must be difficult to be at a school where you can’t get good players by winning games and selling your school, and where you have to make an a$$ out of yourself to recruit kids. It must be great to be a Vol.

Brooks

May 27th, 2009
12:03 pm

All the Tennessee fans have on orange colored glasses. Kiffin is a loud mouthed, daddy got me my job, riding the USC coattails, in over his head coach. The first thing that made me know the guy is an idiot is when he let go Tajh Boyd and said he wasn’t the QB for his system. Jonathan Crompton is though. Yeah okay. I don’t care if you have Walter Payton in the backfield, if you can’t throw the ball then you are in trouble. The O-line for Tenn is looking thin and last time I checked Crompton was awful with a veteran O-line. The Big Orange lost to Wyoming in Knoxville last year and put 7 points on the board with a veteran line. You don’t bring in “big-time” coaches and an above average recruiting class and next thing you know you are going to beat Florida in Gainesville and Kiffin stated. Eric Berry only plays one spot. Rabid fan bases don’t win football games. Kiffin is a big time gamble on and off the field.

Georgia Gator

May 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

whitx2,

Now THAT’S funny.
I don’t care who ya are.

UT>UGA

May 27th, 2009
12:07 pm

AJC covers UT more than UGA. Gotta love it… lol

king gator

May 27th, 2009
12:13 pm

Didn’t they lose to Wyoming at home last year? Why do we keep talking about the Vols – they suck!

PaulC

May 27th, 2009
12:13 pm

Brooks,

You don’t put together a staff like Kiffin did if you’re in over your head. Tahj Boyd is injured and won’t play this year anyway. As bad as he is, I’ll take a healthy Crompton over a gimpy Boyd. Nobody said we expect to win immediately and most Vol fans are ready to give Kiffin until 2011 to produce a winner. In the meantime, he’s busy raising our profile and attracting the best talent in the nation. As far as Kiffin being a gamble, I think the bigger gamble was keeping Phil Fulmer.

whitx2

May 27th, 2009
12:16 pm

PaulC

UF could bring their scout team and beat UTHUG.

VanDSIRROM

That’s true. To mention class and UT in the same sentence is just wrong.

SecIsFootball

May 27th, 2009
12:17 pm

UT>UGA…..I can only imaging what the articles will look like in the AJC when UGA take UT behind the woodshed this year.

GeoffDawg

May 27th, 2009
12:19 pm

Anonymous – Georgia was penalized for excessive celebration which was expected and justified. However, it is possible to celebrate as a team without rubbing the other team’s nose in it or to put it into terms you might understand – what Urban Meyer loves to do regularly. They also drew a penalty when one player was seen dancing which could be construed as poor sportsmanship. However, one player dancing from the whole team on the field isn’t too bad and doesn’t exactly give the impression that CMR was intentionally trying to rub anything in or do anything other than motivate his own team. You sir, are a buffoon if you can’t see what a class act and decent person Mark Richt is. He may or may not be the top coach in the SEC but one thing he is not is a loud mouth, obnoxious jerk.

Round 1

May 27th, 2009
12:20 pm

Gen Neyland

May 27th, 2009
12:20 pm

Another day, another CLK topic. Y’all will get your opportunity to watch the Boggle in the Bog on CBS. Me, I’ll probably be back out in the yard by half-time…

PTC DAWG

May 27th, 2009
12:23 pm

I think Kiffin has accomplished his goal. He has everyone talking about UT. Like the old saying goes, any Pub is better than no Pub.

Their next few years should be interesting…

Mark S.

May 27th, 2009
12:23 pm

Gosh that guy is a moron. I give him 2 years, TOPS.

TS

May 27th, 2009
12:25 pm

Gee-offDawg,

I understood this real well last year– TIMEOUT! Meyer wasn’t rubbing your nose in it, he was just trying to get a couple more plays in for the third string.