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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www.twitter.com/MrCFB

341 comments Add your comment

ATL RZRBack

August 9th, 2010
10:29 am

H Back –

You are perhaps the most ignorant poster that has ever appeared on this site. It is one thng to be a fan, but try to post somethig intelligent.

surfdawg

August 9th, 2010
10:37 am

I think the NCAA should start punishing the coach’s when they knowingly commit infractions and then move to another school. It’s not fair that Tennessee pays the price for a coach that don’t deserve to be coaching college football. It’s obvious that Kiffen is not here to follow the rules/

dawggirl

August 9th, 2010
10:38 am

TampaGator, I’m fully aware of the record, thanks. I’m merely commenting on the fact that the Gator fans and players think they are unbeatable, invincible, and are better than every team in college football and some NFL teams, apparently.

17 of 20

August 9th, 2010
10:39 am

The Gators will have the strongest offensive line in the conference and that is reason they will win every game.

Dumb Fla ALUM

August 9th, 2010
10:39 am

gradilations, go gator, 1 2 3 4 5 that them gator dont take no jive.

T3

August 9th, 2010
10:40 am

Tony’s analysis on “grayshirting” is simply pathetic.

Here’s a MUCH better article on the topic.

http://www.cbssports.com/print/collegefootball/story/13727507/bad-guys-utilize-oversigning-and-it-has-to-stop?tag=button-bar;btn-print

old timer

August 9th, 2010
10:41 am

TampaGator,Why do you hate Mark Richt? he has never done anything to you.He has to be a very good coach. His loyalty to his coaches and players have not helped his cause.You can believe that all has changed now.Watch what you say about him ,what goes around comes around,I’ve been around a long time.Just saying.

Saban

August 9th, 2010
10:42 am

Urban, hows your punk a$$ heart? get ready for another beatdown. who will cry now that sissy Tebow is gone?

Saban

August 9th, 2010
10:45 am

Cry me a River beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatch

Monty

August 9th, 2010
10:45 am

Uh, please list all of the National Champ[ionships Urban Meyer has won without Strong as his defensive coach and Tebow making plays at QB? What’s that? None, zero, nada, zilch?

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
10:46 am

One last comment to:

Dawg Stephen……

New QB????
….John Brantley is not “new.” He has been in the system for three….count ‘em….1, 2, 3….years…and has actual playing time on a college football field…..against a fairly good Kentucky defense that he rip apart with passes. And every scout and sports reporter that has seen him play, practice, and talk (yes, he is very bright)…things this guy is a big time QB….includinng most NFL scouts (he has an NFL arm and mind).

Key LBs missing???
….the Gators return preseason all-SEC LB J.J. Jones (who was hurt and did not play in the SEC championship game…along with Dunlap)…but we are not making excuses and the other staring OLB, Brandon Hicks…who is a future NFL player as well. In the middle, we do have to replace Hicks….and we are in real trouble there….with Jon Bostic (major big time player and the reason the top MLB recruit went to FSU) and Jelani Jenkins (the former #1 LB recruit in the nation) fighting it out to see who starts…and both will play when the Gators play a little 3-4 this year (and wait until you see how fast and quick Jelani Jenkins is…legit 4.4 time….and has run faster than that….and he will knock your head off).

DB’s that can’t cover???
…..man…what games did you watch last year? And Janoris Jenkins, Ahmed Black, and Will Hill return to the secondary this year…and Jeremy Brown is back from his injury…he is the kid who was in the process of beating out Janoris Jenkins this time last year before he got hurt…and Will Hill moves to “free safety”….his natural position…from the nicket cover guy (and he is much faster and taller and a better cover guy that Major Wright…who will start at FS for the Bears this year. As the seconday coach of the Gators said this week…”Will Hill is the real deal….he is the next great Gator safety.” And guess who replaces Will Hill at the nickel postion….Matt Elam…and he is the real deal folks. And….for backups….try Mo Jenkins (pushing Jeremy Brown to start), Joshua Shaw (top CB recruit who was in school for spring practice and very talented, and Jaylen Watkins (future all-SEC proformer at CB and true freshman also in Gainesville for spring practice and blew everyone away with his cover skills. And then….Cory Riggs (who Georgia dearly wanted) just arrived on campus to provide more backup. Yep….real troubles in the Gator secondary.

And…oh yeah….the DC coordinator….not much has changed in the Gator approach to D….that is a Meyer approach. DC Austin was a great secondary coach for the Arizona Cardinals by the way….and a great defensive coach and the Gator players….although they miss Strong….rave about Austin’s coaching knowledge and style. You will see more 3-4 from the Gators this year….but still see the 3-3-5 and 4-3 a lot as well. And you can count on those “new” LBs and “poor coverage” d-backs coming at you….at high velocity…from all directions.

Have a nice day!!!

RxDawg

August 9th, 2010
10:49 am

“Fulmer was total class….first class total class!!! ”

Ummm Tampa, ask some Bama fans if they think Fulmer was total class. Ask Fulmer’s predecessor head coach if he thinks Fulmer was total class. Fulmer is not Kiffin, but he’s no saint.

RambleOn84

August 9th, 2010
10:50 am

How many NCs has Richt won without Tebow and Strong?

Dave Dog

August 9th, 2010
10:50 am

Here’s the way it works folks. Whoever had a good year last year, that’s the ’safe pick” the media guys all make media darlings. This year, it’s Saban. Even though Saban never has almost never finished in the top 10 back to back. Even though a team win back to back Natl Champ every 2 or 3 decades. They throw out common sense, and just make a ’safe bet’, almost always, wrong.

What dawg?

August 9th, 2010
10:51 am

Who is Nick Saban, and why all the talk about him? Can’t we discuss something of importance here?

Lincoln

August 9th, 2010
10:52 am

Richt’s more consistent than Saban, Saban’s win % is around.700, Richt’s is around .800, Saban does get lucky every decade or so, but Richt’s more successful over the long haul.

Nole 5050

August 9th, 2010
10:53 am

Isn’t it fun to finally have college football right around the corner? It’s even fun to read the high school comparisons by some as evidence of future college greatness. Can’t wait.

RambleOn84

August 9th, 2010
10:54 am

Saban is a great coach, and there is no other clear front-runner. Hence, Alabama is ranked #1.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
10:56 am

Monty….

….let’s have a reality check here.

That undefeated Utah team Meyer built and coached was really, really good…and they did not have the opportunity to play for the national championship….but they did completely humiliate the team they did play in a bowl game that year.

And Chris Leak was the QB for the Gators in 2006…Tebow was just a 3rd and short runner then. Leak was out of the world in the NC game against Ohio State if you don’t remember. And 99% of the Gator offense that year was designed around Chris Leak’s pocket passing skills.

….and Ron Zook has Charlie Strong as his DC. How did the Zooker do? Was losing Strong’s fault then? No….Meyer made Strong better and Strong made the team better because of it.

That’s all….just some reality to bring you back to it.

John

August 9th, 2010
10:56 am

If the media guys had any sense, they’d be talking about Mark Richt a LOT, like reviewing 2002 & 2007, where he was coming off a bad year, he finished either #2 or #3 in the country both times. It’s gonna happen again this year. Some of these media guys just aren’t smart enough to learn from history. Richt will be the story this year in the SEC, not Meyer or Saban.

Gtax

August 9th, 2010
10:56 am

**** Nesbitt for Heismen ****

(((( 45 – 42 ))))

5IML

August 9th, 2010
10:56 am

Dave Dog,

Yes, BAMA is the safe and trendy pick. That’s generally how it works.

Also, BAMA, coached by Saban, was #6 in all final poles for 2008, and you know what happened last year. I think it’s time you guys revised your Saban statements. How about, “Saban has never finished in the top 10 three years in a row” or “Saban has never won three BCS champions?”

Seth

August 9th, 2010
10:57 am

Having solid play at QB is a necessity. We’ll see how the new qb’s do soon. That will be what makes or breaks a team.

Lane Rules

August 9th, 2010
10:57 am

Lane says it’s ok? Good–I can relax. He knows his stuff—he’s making $4 million so he’s in the know with some good advisers.

Saban

August 9th, 2010
10:57 am

Im the one that made that punk Urban quit after that a$$ whipping. thats who i am

Trey

August 9th, 2010
10:58 am

By the end of week 3, 3/4 sec teams will be ranked. SC should be in the top 25. We will be when we beat ga second week.

Greg

August 9th, 2010
10:58 am

Does anyone know why no National Gatorade Player of the year, like Florida’s Brantley, in high school football, has EVER gone on to win a National Championship? This is a 25 year old curse.

5IML

August 9th, 2010
10:59 am

Or better yet, be more concerned about your program and coach and less concerned about BAMA and Saban.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
10:59 am

Lincoln….

Saban….lucky??? Richt better in the long haul. I guess you prefer averaging 8 wins a season year in and year out to winning SEC and National Championships….huh? Get real, dude.

Saban

August 9th, 2010
10:59 am

Bow down to a brother thats greater than you

schmeckdawg

August 9th, 2010
10:59 am

Do all you vols fans know when lame kiffin is lying? His lips are moving! And Mr. College Football, you may want to use that spell check a little more often, it is January not Janaury.

Sorry for being so picky Mr. College Football.

Hey do you think that maybe you, and Chuck Oliver the self proclaimed King of College Football could have an ego off and see which one of you really knows the most or least!

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
11:01 am

Greg…..

(you sure you aren’t H-back and several others???)

…..NO…tell us why? You really believe in curses? That tells me a lot about you. Based on your logic….answer this question…..

Can anyone tell me why Georgia has not won a NC since 1981. It must be a 30-year old curse…and based on that reasoning….Georgia can never win a NC….believe that? You must based on how you think?

Nole 5050

August 9th, 2010
11:01 am

John Well Richt should certainly be helped by a favorable schedule this year.

Saban

August 9th, 2010
11:02 am

One more Title and i am off to Michigan for 8 mil a year.

Saban

August 9th, 2010
11:04 am

I thought the coon-asses were bad but these white trash rednecks take the cake.I will be gone after the season

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
11:06 am

Saban….

I think it has more to do with Meyer’s inablity to breathe due to a major esophical, health issue. But you can believe it was your a…whooping….which it certainly was (you outcoached Meyer that day). But make no mistake….the Gators and Meyer have not forgetten about that a…whooping you gave them. They will be more prepared next time. It should be a great game down your way this year….and then again in Atlanta in December.

TampaGator

August 9th, 2010
11:07 am

Saban….

If I had know you were a racist….I would not have addressed your post. Go back in the hole you came from and take your 1950s comments with you.

Mayo

August 9th, 2010
11:11 am

Read above that hiring Derek Dooley was a mistake (?)! No, hiring him was a stop-gap, safety measure after having a total TOOL for head coach for 14 months. UT went from a clown of a HC to a man of character. Hiring Kiffin–now THAT was a mistake.
Nevertheless, LK is the same jerk today that he was before UT hired him. Mike Hamilton should be the one on the hotseat. Heck I’m not an AD and I saw LK as a disaster! Funny when LK was stirring the pot down this way he was UT’s brash little darling: now he’s their pariah. Sorry but whatever grief that comes their way–they deserve. Dooley doesn’t but unfortunately for him, that’s where he is.
Speaking of Dooley’s losing record prior to UT: check out LK’s all-time W/L record prior to UT…

5IML

August 9th, 2010
11:12 am

BAMA and Michigan are negotiating terms to open to the 2012 season in Dallas Stadium.

Mayo

August 9th, 2010
11:15 am

@ TampaGator: did you know that “Coon-asses” is a nickname for Cajuns? The ones that I know actually wear that proudly.

Question: Mr. Saban, if you actually were to return to the state of Michigan, would you sell that NE Georgia “retirement” property?

Tom Harris

August 9th, 2010
11:16 am

I’m so glad to hear from Kiffen — I was waiting for him to weigh in so I would know the real truth. Good grief…does this guy have NO brains??

BigTimeTECHFan

August 9th, 2010
11:20 am

Whooah, did you see Bey Bey Thomas and Tebow hook up for a nice long TD this weekend.

Note: If I get drafted in NFL – Shave head before camp.

It's okay because Saban says so

August 9th, 2010
11:24 am

Delusional Tide Fans- you were 3 players over this year, not 2. 2 decided to grayshirt and 1 decided to transfer. Tide fans have serious issues with math when it comes to recruits and national championships.

Mayo

August 9th, 2010
11:24 am

No, Fulmer was not “total class.” In fact he had his share of tacky moments during his tenure in Knoxville. It’s just that when The Punk came in and took his place he’d make ANYONE look classy.

BTW, is it true that Kiffin is changing his baby boy’s name from “Knox?” Just heard that as a rumor. Guess he’ll re-name him, “Cal” for the next couple of years and then change it again to something that rhymes with unemployed.

Whatever

August 9th, 2010
11:25 am

How about we wait until the final polls at the end of the season to see just how good the SEC West and ACC Coastal are? I’m betting they don’t finish 1 and 2.

F-105 Thunderchief

August 9th, 2010
11:28 am

Oh, I don’t know about that BigTimetTECHFan, they might then head south with that razor.

Habersham Dawg

August 9th, 2010
11:29 am

Congratulations on the forthcoming retirement TampaGator. I’ve still got 6 years to go.

Dawgtards ruin this state

August 9th, 2010
11:31 am

Of course GTech is ranked higher than thUGA, is the new normal. Get used to it mutts.

Reality for TamapGator

August 9th, 2010
11:32 am

TamapGator- the reality is that the the Florida Gators should have more national championships. In fact, they have clearly underperformed the past 20 years. They are the flagship University of the state of Florida and the only Florida school in the best conference in college football. Florida has the largest population by far of any state in the SEC and one of the largest in the nation. Also, it is clearly a talent rich state for football players and is either #1 or #2 depending how you rank Florida and Texas. Finally, Florida has deeper pockets and more resources than any other school in the SEC and supposedly employs the best Athletic Coordinator in the nation. When considering these factors, it’s very surprising Florida hasn’t won more and it has to be said that they are underacheivers.

Mark

August 9th, 2010
11:33 am

All SEC teams need to win there early games because SEC officials will cheat to keep those teams atop the rankings!