Lane Kiffin finally answered The Question. If his mentor, Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll, went shirtless in front of recruits, then why didn’t Kiffin?
“Pete works out more than me, he’s in better shape,” Kiffin told the AJC, while laughing. [First reported by the AJC, click here for a full recap]
Kiffin and Tennessee recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron brought the idea along from Southern Cal, where they both worked under Carroll.
However, the LA scene and Rocky Top are two totally different cultures. What gave Kiffin the confidence to try the shirt-ripping stunt in SEC territory? “Players are players no matter where they are. Great players, for the most part, love energetic coaches that are passionate, that make them better, that motivate them out there. We are a very high-energy staff. We want to make sure our players stay at high energy through the day. It wasn’t only that particular [tactic], but the whole Junior Day in general.”
Kiffin wanted to stamp the Tennessee “T” on the minds of prospects. It had to be something unique. Everybody agrees, even the detractors, that it was surely unforgettable. Mission accomplished, in the department of recruiting strategies.
“What we needed with the great players that were here for Junior Day was that the message to get out what we’re about. We got a number of calls from kids that wanted to visit us and stuff because of that. If the kids would’ve walked away from here, saying this was pretty good and just like all the other Junior Days, then that wouldn’t have helped us with national recruiting.”
“That’s not the message we want to send out. We never want to be considered average, or the middle of the pack. I thought it was a great success.”
Back to Junior Day: Kiffin kept on his clothes for the Feb. 28 adventure, while several assistants ripped off their shirts, WWE style. They sprinted with several Tennessee players, including All-America defensive back Eric Berry of Atlanta, and the junior prospects to the front of the room to form a moshpit. They jumped up and down together, while chanting “U-T, Wild Boys. U-T, Wild Boys. U-T, Wild Boys.”
Kiffin is a YouTube celebrity. His recruiting antics have generated lots of fodder for the amateur video crowd. Here are two of the many new Kiffin spoofs on YouTube.
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