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

Earl

August 9th, 2010
9:12 pm

Sabanites are full of excuses for trying to get rid of Sban’s mediocre inconsistency.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:13 pm

Earl,

Same with Meyer. He’s only been at uf for 5 years but in the next 2 years his teams will undoubtedly finish top 10 both years and he will hit that magical mark just like Saban that you think seems to define greatness. What will you complain about then?

Earl

August 9th, 2010
9:13 pm

I don’t see Saban or Meyer EVER finishING in the top 10 in the finaL polls 4 times in a row like Richt did at Georgia. Never have, never will.

Dale

August 9th, 2010
9:15 pm

If Richt tossed 9 out of 10 years like Saban, he’d have a National Championship by now too.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:16 pm

Earl,

Both have finished top 6 each of the last 2 years. If you don’t think one of the 2 will finish top 10 each of the next 2 years then you need to put away your crack pipe.

BTW, where does 8-5 last year fit into your consistency model? Isn’t a coach supposed to get better the farther he is into his tenure and not regress?

Jiffy Jeff

August 9th, 2010
9:17 pm

The difference between Richt on one side & Saban & Meyer on the other, is Saban & Meyer’s fans can only say they “will” have 4 top 10 final finishes, where Richt’s fans can say he “has” already done it.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:17 pm

Dale,

If, if, if, if…….

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:19 pm

Jiffy Jeff,

Fantastic. Great for you! Do they give crystal trophies for consistency? Or do they only give crystal trophies for championships? Inquiring minds want to know……

Earl

August 9th, 2010
9:19 pm

I define success by consistency not individual games. Saban’s inconsistent hot (lucky), Richt consistently hot (great).

Jiffy Jeff

August 9th, 2010
9:21 pm

Actually, according to Saban’s own definition of success, Richt’s better coach than him. Sban doesn’t define success by “outcomes”, but by “process”. richt’s “process”, is much more consistent and excellent over the long haul than Saban’s.

Earl

August 9th, 2010
9:23 pm

Sban ain’t great in my book. He’s a coach who barely gets past a .700 career winning percentage. Richt’s career winning eprcentage is almost .800, and unlike Meyer & Saban’s, Richt’s is all in the SEC, the toughest conference. He’s leaps and bounds greater than Meyer or Saban, over the long haul.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:24 pm

Mmmmh,

Am I missing something? Richt was top 10 4 straight years from 2002-2005. Am I crazy or something or was the last of season in that “streak” way back in 2005. What year is it? Oh, that’s right. Its 2010. I’m just trying to figure out what a good run wayyyyyyy back in 2002-05 has to do with anything today, especially given that the year is 2010. Living in the past are we???

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:27 pm

Earl,

Sorry dude but Saban’s winning % coaching at 2 sec schools is higher than Richt’s winning % at Georgia. Saban’s overall winning % is lower cause he coached at Toledo and Mich state which are very hard to win places. Are you going to tell me Richt would have 4 straight top 10s coaching at Toledo? On second thoughts don’t answer that question. Please don’t answer that. Better to remain silent and have people think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Dale

August 9th, 2010
9:28 pm

Tell you what, let me know when either Meyer or Saban has 4 top 10 final ranking finishes in a row in the SEC. Until that happens, Richt’s the King of the SEC coaches right now.

Earl

August 9th, 2010
9:30 pm

Hey guys, let’s do it, let’s remind the Bama homer how many 6 win & 7 win seasons Saban has, and compare that to Richt, if he doesn’t stop his comedy routine.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:30 pm

Earl,

You are correct and the evidence is overwhelming. As you say Richt is “leaps and bounds” better than Meyer and Saban. You are wayyy to funny.

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:32 pm

Jiffy Jeff AKA patrick sulley, Earl AKA patrick sulley, Dale AKA patrick sulley,

BUSTED! Come on out Patrick! Gee whiz how many handles can you hide behind?

Earl

August 9th, 2010
9:33 pm

Ok, yopu asked for Bama homer.

6 or 7 win seasons
Saban -5

Richt- 0

Tide Rising

August 9th, 2010
9:33 pm

Patrick Sulley,

Its been fun toying with you and your various aliases. Gotta go now. Have fun with that consistency thing and all the crystal trophies it brings you.

Dale

August 9th, 2010
9:34 pm

Jiffy Jeff

August 9th, 2010
9:35 pm

Another Bama homer–embarrassed and turned away.

Earl

August 9th, 2010
9:36 pm

Later, Mr. 6 Win fan club member.

Dale

August 9th, 2010
9:37 pm

Why do you guys think so many people are Bama homers, like that dude, when Sbana’s record is downright embarrasing? I don’t know, I guess they like a guy who has a big season once a decade.

Jiffy Jeff

August 9th, 2010
9:39 pm

Anybody notice how Bama fans never say goodbye citing Saban’s winning %, it’s always about his trophy (1 good season). My point exactly.

Wes

August 9th, 2010
9:50 pm

If you ran a business like Saban runs a team, you’d go out of business soon. You can’t have 1 good year every decade. You need a great year every year, year after year after year. That’s what I love about Coach Richt.

observor

August 9th, 2010
10:21 pm

In the 2000s Saban has 3 conference titles and 2 ncs since 2003. That’s a little better than one good year a decade. Coach Richt year after year after year-8-5 ring a bell. is that a good year. you guys are all dweebs

Earl

August 9th, 2010
10:40 pm

Another Bama homer, ok, quick, how many 6 or 7 win seasons does Nick Saban have? Ready? 5. Five. 5. Five.

How many 6 or 7 win seasons does Mark Richt have? 0. Zero. o. Zero.

Get it?

Earl

August 9th, 2010
10:43 pm

Richt’s winning %: .769

Saban’s Winning %: .700

Somewhere in Asia

August 9th, 2010
10:49 pm

nesbick for hiesman!!

Flo-Ri-Duh!

August 10th, 2010
12:16 am

Branden Smith is a KEY part of the defense and can’t be replaced. Another hole to be plugged in a leaky ship.

Paul in RDU

August 10th, 2010
12:30 am

The guys who are talking about Richt being a more successful coach that Meyer and Saban have me rolling on the floor laughing. RIcht is a great coach, but he has 2 seasons (out of 9) without a winning record in the SEC. In 5 seasons Urban Meyer has never had a non-winning season in the SEC. Nick Saban followed his only 4-4 conference season (out of 8) in the SEC with 2 8-0 seasons.
Both Meyer and Saban have won as many SEC championships than Richt in fewer seasons and each has won 2 MNC’s. But heck – Saban really had some tough seasons at MSU.

Paul in RDU

August 10th, 2010
12:34 am

Mark Richt has won 10 or more games 6 times and has had less wins the following season 5 times.

Even Saban isn’t that inconsistent

Earl

August 10th, 2010
7:28 am

Bama homers are back., they still don’t get the consistency thing.

Meyer & Saban Career ‘Achievements’:
# of times finish top 10 2 years in a row: 1
# of times finish top 10 3 years in a row: 0
# of times finish top 10 4 years in a row: 0

Mark Richt:
# of times finish top 10 2 years in a row: 1
# of times finish top 10 3 years in a row: 1
# of times finish top 10 4 years in a row: 1

Get it?

Earl

August 10th, 2010
7:31 am

Before Richt got to FSU, 0 top 10 final finishes, after Richt left, 0 final top 10 finishes.

While Richt was at FSU, 12 CONSECUTIVE top 10 finishes in the final polls.

Neither Saban or Meyer can even get close to Richt’s achievements and consistency.

[...] Tony Barnhart of the AJC isn’t buying Lane Kiffin’s assertion he did nothing wrong at Tennessee. [...]

Hairy Dawg

August 10th, 2010
7:43 am

Dawgs got best talent to win SEC in dominates way. Playing in All Chumps Confrence is like kiddie leagues and not real man football.

Beast from the East

August 10th, 2010
8:13 am

Tony,
Can you have soemone check to see if earl, Dale and Jiffy Jeff are the same person posting under different names and talking to each other? I suspect that is the case. If it is, can we have this person banned?

Ron Mexico

August 10th, 2010
1:27 pm

Tide Rising -

We will have to disagree on this. My bottom line is still that a man shouldn’t offer something that he doesn’t have the rights to.

I’ve never been in a room with a coach discussing a scholarship offer with a recruit, and I’m guessing neither have you. But I could be wrong. I do believe there is some reason to suspect that not all kids understand the impact of signing when a team is over the limit. I do understand the grayshirt issue, and also the other tools used by coaches to get down to the 85 player limit.

Please check out oversigning.com for an in depth look at recruiting. Maybe the data there will do a better job of changing your mind than plain ol’ honor bound guarantees.

E Dog

August 10th, 2010
3:41 pm

Interesting stuff about how Richt compares to Saban, surprised more people arn’t reporting this.

Lane Kiffin

August 13th, 2010
3:10 pm

Bull Dog fans, 45-19, nuff said! HA HA HA HA HA

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