So how do you feel now, Vol fans? Your brash young coach is no longer your coach at all. The guy you defended whenever he committed one of his secondary violations, which was hourly; the guy you believed would recruit his way to the top of the SEC … well, he’s in the wind, and you’re up the creek.
This is what you get when you entrust your program to a brat. He hits town talking big, and he leaves you in a Big Orange lurch. Ten years from now — heck, 10 minutes from now — we’ll be looking on Lane Kiffin’s season in K-Town and saying, “What the heck was that?” Called Urban Meyer a cheat, choppered down on Georgia high school stadiums, smirked at every abrogation of NCAA bylaws and then … poof, he’s gone.
Like Keyser Soze. Gone so fast you wonder, “Was he here at all?”
What do you do now, Vol fans? Gonna go hire yourselves another fast talker? Jon Gruden, maybe? Gonna let your heart be broken by another guy with an eye on the escape hatch?
Say this for the guy deposed to make room for Kiffy: Phillip Fulmer was a loyal Volunteer. He won you a national title and two SEC championships and never ran off to California or Connecticut or anywhere in between. He wasn’t glib and goodness knows he wasn’t sleek, but by gosh he was a Vol. That orange jersey meant everything to him. (Heck, he wore the thing.) Know what it meant to Kiffin? A way back to L.A.
Apart from signing a few players and making a slew of enemies and beating Georgia by 26 points, what exactly did Kiffin do? His one and only team finished 7-6. And if you were looking for his second team to topple a Tebow-less (and perhaps Urban-less) Florida, you can forget it. There’ll be no second team. Just another coaching search, another new man, another season of transition. Only this time — surely — at lower volume.
I feel for you, Vol fans. You gave your hearts to the brat, and he tore them out and stomped those suckers flat. (Apologies to Lewis Grizzard.) He’s gone to Southern Cal with his lovely wife and his professorial dad and his henchman Ed Orgeron. And you’re sitting at home in Caryville and Oak Ridge and Sewanee and Chattanooga weeping tears of rejection.
Weep not, I say. Or at least not for long. For all the turmoil you’re about to undergo, yours is the luckier program. You’ll find yourselves a coach and go forward and try to forget this ever happened. The Trojans, meanwhile, have traded the NCAA scrutiny left in Pete Carroll’s wake for the heavier dose sure to come under Kiffy and Eddie O. And here’s the darnedest part: Nobody is yet sure if Kiffin the Younger can coach a lick. (Career record: 12-21.)
You can do better than him, Vol fans. You knew as much all along, but you let yourselves be charmed by glitz and brass and promises now rendered as empty as the West Town Mall on a day when the Vols are playing. Deep down you’ve known all along this would never work. Deep down you knew the proud program of Cafego and Atkins and White and Holloway and Majors and Gen. Neyland was never a place for a brat.