Relax UT fans: Kiffin said he did nothing wrong

It was was busy weekend with training camp in full swing. So what did we learn?

1. Relax Tennessee fans. Kiffin said he did nothing wrong:  Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton acknowledged at the end of last week that the school may receive a letter of inquiry from the NCAA. My experience is when the school says a letter is coming, it’s probably already in the mail. Tennessee has already self-reported six minor recruiting violations by Kiffin and his staff. NCAA investigators looked into actions by the school’s recruiting hostess program when Kiffin was head coach for 14 unforgettable months. Kiffin left for USC last Janaury but he is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving.

We now know that NCAA investigators were on campus last spring talking to Tennessee  coaches who were part of Kiffin’s staff but remained in Knoxville when he bolted for the West Coast.

“I have great confidence in what we did there, that we didn’t do anything wrong,” Kiffin told reporters over the weekend. “Just because they’re looking into something doesn’t mean we did anything wrong.”

Well, if I’m a Tennessee fan I know I feel a lot better.

2.  SEC West,  ACC Coastal the best: I said in a speech last week that the two top divisions in college football this season would be the SEC West and the ACC Coastal. The first USA Today Coaches Poll proves that out. Four teams in the SEC West (No. 1 Alabama, No. 16 LSU, No. 19 Arkansas, and No. 23 Auburn) were ranked as were four teams in the ACC Coastal (No. 7 Virginia Tech, No. 13 Miami, No. 17 Georgia Tech, No. 18 North Carolina). The round robin in those two divisions will be appointment football this season.

For those of you who are keeping score at home (and I know you are) the SEC had six total teams ranked (No. 3 Florida and No. 21 Georgia From the East) while the ACC had five (Florida State of the Atlantic Division was No. 20)

3. Give Nick Saban credit. He’s consistent: When I met with Alabama coach Nick Saban back in the spring, he made the case to me that Alabama probably shouldn’t be considered the nation’s No. 1 team in the preseason. He made a very logical argument based on the number of starters he would have to replace on defense (9) and the fact that his special teams were simply decimated and he would likely have true freshmen at both kicking spots.

When the coaches poll came out Friday Alabama received 55 of 59 first place votes. One of the four coaches who did not vote Alabama at No. 1 was Saban.

Note: I’m putting the finishing touches on my preseason Top 25. We will release it over five days–five teams a day–starting on Monday, Aug. 16. The top five will be released on Friday, August. 20.

4. Is “grayshirting” fair to the kids? Kevin Scarbinsky wrote a thoughtful piece on the practice of  “grayshirting” players. It’s the practice of signing more than the allotted 25 players with the knowledge that it is a numbers game. If you sign 28 (which is the SEC limit) and all 28 qualify academically, three guys are going to get left without a scholarship. Those three have to pay their own way to school in the fall with the promise that a scholarship will await them in January.

Kevin believes that is not fair to the players and their families who sign in good faith. The counter argument is this is just part of doing business at this level of college football.

Seems to me that if the school is transparent and as long as everybody understands the risks involved up front, then the process is acceptable. If the player and his family are genuinely surprised when he doesn’t get a scholarship in August, then there is a problem. Read Kevin’s story and tell me what you think:

 http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2010/08/scarbinsky_late_grayshirts_a_b.html

5.  Be careful with that “we’re a better team” argument: I know what Florida’s Chris Rainey was trying to say when he told Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun that the Gators would be better off this season without all those “prima donnas” from 2009.

http://www.gatorsports.com/article/20100805/COLUMNISTS/100809707/1044?Title=Rainey-Gators-better-off-without-prima-donnas-

The point young Mr. Rainey was attempting to make was that this team does not have as many high-profile and NFL ready players as last season’s team, which lost quarterback Tim Tebow and five NFL draft choices from the defense. Because so many “name” players are gone this team has to bond in order to be better than the sum of its parts. I get that.

But also know that this was the argument that Georgia made in 2009 after quarterback Matt Stafford, the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and running back Knowshon Moreno, the No. 12 pick in the draft, were gone.

Bonding and working together are very important in college football. But you can carry that argument to the extreme. There is no substitute for talent. It’s hard to have a good team without good players. It’s REALLY hard to have a great team without great players.

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341 comments Add your comment

Bud

August 9th, 2010
8:31 am

H Back, your a moron.

CalGatorBrotha

August 9th, 2010
8:31 am

Hey Tony, the Gators do have great players and the the SEC and rest of the nation will see just how great John Brantley is this season

RambleOn84

August 9th, 2010
8:33 am

Florida will win the East once again…UGA has great talent, but that is nothing new. Florida has better coaching and better talent. Just being honest here.

Joey

August 9th, 2010
8:36 am

Bud, learn to spell – it’s “H Back, you’re a moron.”

Tim Rupert

August 9th, 2010
8:37 am

Yes Florida will have a better team this year, like at Alabama every second string player is better that every first player and every third string player is better than every second string player, in just a few short years both of these programs will challenge for the NFL Super Bowl Championship.

TheTaxJacket

August 9th, 2010
8:38 am

Coaches know best!

(((( 17 – 21 ))))

thwg

dawgster

August 9th, 2010
8:42 am

why don’t the gator and dawg fans see what happens on the field this year before stating what will or will not happen…amazing that with some of the losses of personnel on some of these teams that so many think the teams will be better, maybe, but too many factors that will have an impact to know those results yet, and the same to be said for the dawgs, we won’t know for a while what kind of team we will have..just because of last years results, doesn’t mean the same again..the dawgs have made alot of changes, coaching wise and personnel wise, so we know how that will pan out…some of you that think the dawgs will not be a factor may be in for a surprise…the coaches and the people who know what they actually are talking about are estatic over how the team is looking and how some of the young freshman are looking…can anyone say “:Olgetree”..and “Malcome”.just to name a few…Malcome, the freshman Rb is openning a few eyes…also the speed in the secondary is absurd, hopefully we can take advantage of this with our new defensive scheme this season…go dawgs

NoGaGator

August 9th, 2010
8:44 am

The sad thing about Kiffin is that he doesn’t know right from wrong. The UT Pres needs to let Hamilton go. Hamilton hired Kiffin and tacitly let him pull his tricks like Hostessgate by not providing firmer guidance to Kiffin. Unfortunately, UT will be paying for the Kiffin fiasco for the next 2-3 years. The NCAA will have to mete out some punishment as well.

I just hope that Kiffin becomes karma’s poster boy and that USC tanks the next 3 yrs. Either that or Haden finds a way to fire him for cause.

I was thinking of responding to H-Back but it would be pointless. As the saying goes you can’t fix stupid.

Bagel Guy

August 9th, 2010
8:45 am

Is ‘Tide Rising’, ‘Tampa Gator’ ‘Beast from the East’ & ‘Paul in RDU’ really ‘Pat Sulley’?

Observer

August 9th, 2010
8:47 am

TampaGator

The poster did not say ANYTHING about Richt being a better coach. Quit name dropping and jumping to assumptions. BTW, Florida may, or may not, win the SEC East this year. Brantley WILL be OK, just a drop off from the last few years.

Bagel Guy

August 9th, 2010
8:48 am

Meyer did have the #1 best recruiting class, some say, in the history of college football. Exepectations at Florida are through the roof. Fans expect Meyer to win it all again, loaded with all that talent, less than #1 finish would be considered a coaching failure.

RambleOn84

August 9th, 2010
8:48 am

The good news is Kiffin will be fired within 3 years (perhaps much sooner, though); the AD who hired him has already been fired and the Kiffin hire was part of the reason.

And after USC, Kiffin will most likely never receive another big-time head coach position.

Observer

August 9th, 2010
8:48 am

TaxJacket

you are an idiot!!
8 out of 9 > 17-21 !!!

Miles

August 9th, 2010
8:50 am

Alabama with two freshman kickers? How many coaches in the coaches poll were aware of this?

#2 BAMA FAN

August 9th, 2010
9:03 am

Alabama had its fan day Sunday and the biggest roar from the crowd came from the freshman kicker
hitting the ball 5 yards in to the endzone!! That did not happen very much last year or the past few years. Bama will have a short range kicker and a long range kicker and a freshman punter also!!
Kiffin deserves all the crap from the KGB and Mike Hamilton will probably be fired for the probation
or hand slap from the KGB!! RTR

Pago Pago Dawg

August 9th, 2010
9:06 am

Well it appears that Kiffin out coached/out played the DAWGS last year. Sad..

Ron Mexico

August 9th, 2010
9:07 am

Grayshirting WOULD be legit, if the consequences and expectations were clearly explained to these kids up front. But – they’re kids – and who honestly believes that St. Nick (and the rest of the S-E-C-ya-later #26-27-28 bunch) give these kids the full story? If you don’t have a scholarship to offer, you shouldn’t offer it. It’s as plain and simple as Mr. CFB likes to paint things.

dawgster

August 9th, 2010
9:10 am

BagelGuy…lhave to agree with you, according to the whole world the gator recruiting class was the greatest in the history of college football…of course that is still mostly recruiting services opinions, but if that is the case why should the rest of the SEC even field a team…If the gators underachieve and don”t win it all for the next few years then i guess you are right…that might be considered a coaching failure..based on that insight, and remembering how the dawgs have been bashed for not winning it all in 2008 when they were pre-season number #1, we should expect the same from all pre-season #1’s…but to be fair, the gators are not pre-season #1…that belongs to Bama and rightfully so for now..

dawgfan

August 9th, 2010
9:10 am

Wow. First some dude disses on Tebow a while back and now Rainey is talking about Prima donnas. Both were just “a bad choice of words” according to the Jort Nation. Absolutely laughable.

I do not find these types of comments at all surprising. Other than Tebow and a few others, Florida has been the biggest pile of punk scum in the SEC for awhile now. Rainey probably got tired of the eye gouging, the punting the ball in to the stands, and the showboating and taunting that were pervasive the past two seasons. He probably just wants to play football.

A bad choice of words? Hilarious. I wonder if Meyer will threaten Dooley for printing that quote. Simply hilarious.

Dumbo

August 9th, 2010
9:14 am

Somebody slap the Gatorr fans….wake up….in the last 2 years UF has lost the Best college QB, one of the top offensive lineman, a couple of good recievers, a few top defensive players and top that off with losing both coordinators. The talent is there, the question is (1) Can the new Coordinators express their schemes well enough to players used to other coaches (2) Will the injury bug finally come home to roost or will UF’s luck continue (3) Will Meyer be as driven now as before his little panic attack. These are questions that would concern me….that and thinking everything will continue to fall into place.

too tree fo five

August 9th, 2010
9:14 am

da gators are da best team in de conference
dey have da best corch who can corch better than anyone in the bsc bcs conference

one too tree fo five
man them gators dont take no jive.

Delbert D.

August 9th, 2010
9:16 am

Tampa Gator & Paul in RDU-
“He was probably counting Richt’s time with FSU”

By H-Back’s logic, Paul Johnson has 4 National Championships.
‘85 & ‘86 as OC and ‘99 & 2000 as HC at Georgia Southern

Bill

August 9th, 2010
9:20 am

Someone needs to give Kiffin a blanket party!

Tommy P…U ok.

Delbert D.

August 9th, 2010
9:23 am

Any school hiring Kiffin in the future should immediately be investigated by the NCAA for lack of administrative control.

Old Dawg

August 9th, 2010
9:27 am

TommyP: Referencing an interview is simply good journalistic practice. If you don’t get it, then get off the blog. Tony has more class in his typing fingers than you have in your entire body.

Folks like you make Lane Kiffin look like a nice and ethical person.

MoDawg

August 9th, 2010
9:29 am

H Back, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but we need to “get real”.

The East is Florida’s to lose. Let’s wait until after 9/11 to get our hopes up. We’ve got a long road to hoe.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:33 am

Ron Mexico,

Its not as simple as you think regarding grayshirting. You can’t see into the future and see which players on the cusp of qualifying will make it academically and which won’t. You also can’t tell which or how many players will have to leave the program for legal troubles, career ending injuries which put them on medical scholarship, player transfers for lack of playing time,etc.

If you oversign to account for natural attrition there shouldn’t be a problem if you fully disclose to a couple of recruits that the possibility of a grayshirt exists. I’ll ask the question again. Would you rather have 1 or 2 players grayshirt because you oversigned and these 1 or 2 players were fully apprised of the possibility?

Or would you rather not oversign and end up playing with only 68 or 72 scholarship players like UT and AU did last year because you failed to account accurately for natural attrition? Keep in mind that 13 and 17 unused scholarships went to waste and subsequently 13 and 17 football players thus were not able to attend college. I would feel much better knowing that 1 or 2 players have to delay enrollement by 1 semester and knew this ahead of time than knowing that 13 or 17 players were denied the opportunity to live the dream of playing big time college football. Which is worse?

DP

August 9th, 2010
9:33 am

Yes, “H Back” = the latest incarnation of Patrick Sulley. Whenever you see a reference to Richt’s track record that suggests he can claim Bowden’s track record at Florida State you know it’s Sully. He says Richt had 14 straight years in the top 10, which means he’s claiming 6 for Richt when he was the quarterbacks coach, 1 when he was at East Carolina and 7 as offensive coordinator.

zeeeee Nachos aka the "Living Legend"

August 9th, 2010
9:34 am

Tony.. no mention of your beloved dawwwwgs? This is an Atlanta paper for heavens sakes.. right fleabags?????

RambleOn84

August 9th, 2010
9:34 am

MoDawg,
The expression is “long ROW to hoe.” Not trying to be a jerk, just trying to help.

Coach Johnsons Paul

August 9th, 2010
9:36 am

Why should UF be worried…they still have “THE SPEECH”.
Tony, can’t remember which Coach stated this but for every Freshmen you start that will equal a loss. For Bama starting 2 Frosh on Special Teams is a bit scary come crunch time in a close game.

MoDawg

August 9th, 2010
9:39 am

Thanks, RambleOn84…I knew that but couldn’t stop myself.

Dang, if we had to hoe a road, it would be a long season…..(and still might be).

Thanks for the correction.

suwaneedawg

August 9th, 2010
9:45 am

I feel for the non-obnoxious vol fans. The bottomline, your athletic department slept with the devil. Don’t worry, it will happen to USC in another 5 years after they get through with Carrol’s garbage.

JP

August 9th, 2010
9:47 am

I am a Gator fan and I can’t see us being “better” than 13-1 from last year. I think we go no better than 9-3 during the regular season with loses to Bama, UGA, and FSU.

On another note, for those who say Meyer has never done anything without Tebow or Strong – DUH! He had Tebow for 4 out of 5 of his years so far at UF and Strong for all 5 of his years.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:51 am

Nachos strikes again.

Gen Neyland

August 9th, 2010
9:53 am

Those who aren’t closely associated with what Kiffin did or didn’t do Atop Rocky will believe what they wish or what they wish to be true. A LOI is not a sentence. It implies there are questions that need answers. We’ll see if Kiffin gets, excuse me here, fingered or not, or if the gals took the trip on their own. Other than that, it may be a case of youngsters gone wild…At this point, I’m thinking those hoping UT gets whacked will be disappointed. A reprimand with probation of a sort may be the extent but nothing as severe as a death sentence…

Personally, I think the bigger issue for the NCAA should be the obvious tampering of Tennessee recruits/players by Orgeron (at Kiffins request I’ll wager) as they were enroute to USCw. Heck, the guy admitted that he made calls, sent texts and talked to the guys trying to lure them to USCw and the players told of Orgeron telling them how to avoid ‘certain consequences’ of bailing on Tennessee. Kiffin would be smart to sell out Orgeron if the need arises…

Here again, another example of if there is a problem from the Kiffin Era Atop Rocky, the punishment should follow the coach, not land on the University IF the University itself is found not to have sactioned the actions of the coach…That is all and to all, Good Day…

RxDawg

August 9th, 2010
9:54 am

1. We’ll see. Kiffin strikes me as one of those types that really thinks the rules don’t apply to him. He’s not stupid, but I’m sure he’s not above bending some rules to get an advantage. I guess time will tell.

2. It would appear that way, for now. I doubt UT will be much of a force this year. USC and UGA are relatively unknowns at this point, but Arkanasas Auburn, and LSU are too. It wont take long for the dust to settle though with a lot of these teams facing each other early.

P.S. something tells me not to write off Miss St this year.

3. Just a head coach trying hard to not let his team get complacent. Nothing more.

4. Very interesting. On the surface, this looks like complete BS. If I’m a kid playing football, and a school offers me a scholarship to come play there, then I expect to have a scholarship when I come. Now if there is more to it than that I’ll have to be educated more on the matter. Otherwise, I think it’s kind of rotten.

5. I found these comments VERY interesting. I also thought it was odd that Mr. Rainey refered to his ex teamates as “prima-donas”. It seems UF has a problem with player comments about older players. Maybe everything isn’t so hunky dory in Urban’s utopia. This story was the first time that made me think the Gators might be a little bit overated this year. I still need to see all the teams play, but I’m begining to think we won’t see the Gators in the Ga Dome come December. But you can’t deny that UF has recruited well and should still have a lot of unproven talent.

DP

August 9th, 2010
9:54 am

Tony, I think one of the questions about the NCAA’s investigation of Kiffin is whether or not it could put him on shaky ground at USC now that Mike Garrett is gone. If the NCAA has bad things to say about Kiffin and/or Ed Orgeron, I could see Pat Haden cleaning house. I’d love to see it.

Fast Eddie

August 9th, 2010
9:58 am

Who gives a rat’s nose what some 20 year old RB at UF has to say about last year’s team? He is neither a coach nor an orator but a dumbazz kid who plays football to get his education costs paid by someone else. He is a small cog in whatever team is on the field. UF has a lot of good players and an excellent coaching staff who seem to get the most out of their players.

Dawg Stephen

August 9th, 2010
10:02 am

Lets see, a new Defensive Coordinator, a new Quarterback, key linebackers missing, secondary that needs to cover better…one team gets a 21st ranking while an over rated, over HYPED florida team with the SAME SCENARIO gets ranked 3rd. 3rd? you kidding me?? 3rd? stupid.

http://dawgstephen.blogspot.com/

bamafan

August 9th, 2010
10:04 am

Hey H Back – “14 consecutive top ten finishes since 1986?” That is interesting since Mark Richt has not been a head coach the entire time since 1986……..not to mention that if you start with 1986 and go with 14 consecutive top ten finishes, you only get to 2000…….Get a life!

cuttysark

August 9th, 2010
10:06 am

Lane Kiffen will have USC in more trouble before long. Interesting that out of all the BCS conferences the ACC Coastal Division is rated very high. For more Georgia Tech Football articles go to http://isportsweb.com. Go Jackets!

how2fish

August 9th, 2010
10:06 am

Gator Mike your 7:55 post was right on point. Fulmer should be brought back into the Vol Nation…he still bleeds orange. The Tide and Gators are the teams to beat in the SEC again this year. And sorry I don’t have time to even think let alone comment on the ACC. Great Article Tony !

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
10:06 am

Observer…..
Check H-Back’s 7:58 post. That is exactly what he said.

“….Meyer has never done anything without Strong. Really not a good coach, a lucky coach.”

I guess he can count Richt’s years at FSU for his stats to support Richt….but not Meyer’s outstanding coaching stats at Utah and Bowling Green….or that Leak was the QB 99% of the time when the Gators won the NC in 2006….and Meyer won that championship with players that Zook could barely win 8 games with. READ BAD COACH THAT URBAN MEYER.

bruce mac

August 9th, 2010
10:07 am

Tony, did you just proclaim that your nonsense was confirmed by more nonsense. Pre season polls mean nothing and are not close to accurate. ACC is strong, why? Have they ever beat anybody? Wake me up when the actually win a BCS bowl. I will probably be six feet under by then.

dawggirl

August 9th, 2010
10:10 am

Sounds like the Gators think they’re still perfect. They will beat every team on their schedule by 70-0, and it’s pointless for them to even play any game.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
10:14 am

how2fish….
Fulmer should have never been fired in my opinion…or asked to resign….at Tennessee. He won a NC there for goodness sake!!! Kiffin tried to win one in one year by telling lies, probably cheating, and being just as ’bout as unsightly of a human as humanly possible. Fulmer was total class….first class total class!!! They should have told him to just go out and hire some 20th century assistant coaches and let him be a figurehead and recruit and lead by example….which he as good at. His time since he left the Vols speaks volumes about the type of person he his…..TOTAL CLASS and respected by everyone….especially the mommas that send their sons off to college to play football and want to trust the man they send the son of to play for….at least they are heading back in the right direction with Dooley….if Kiffin didn’t completely screw it up for him…which is likely.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
10:20 am

bruce mac…

your nap may be a short one. Va. Tech is very good and has a shot at the NC game (and Miami just might go up to Ohio State and pull a shocker)….and I am looking forward to watching Va. Tech play Boise State. It is time for Boise to put up or shut up forever! Beat someone when it really counts….Boise State!!!

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
10:22 am

Dawggirl….sorry to have to admit it….but the Gators have never been perfect in the regular season…..and that score isn’t 70-0 for you….it is 3 and 17….sorry….I just had to say it.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
10:25 am

P.S……

Can you tell that I am in my last two days before retirement and have nothing important to do???….finally….Wednesday….where are you? College kick off day….where are you? Tampa….full time…..soon….where are you?

Have a nice day Dawg fans!!!