Monte Kiffin falls off fence, wins over Westlake’s Taylor

Monte Kiffin, in his younger fence-hopping days with the Tampa Bay Bucs. (AP Photo)

Monte Kiffin, in his younger fence-hopping days with the Tampa Bay Bucs. (AP Photo)

You never really know what it is that will win over a recruit. College coaches have been saying that for years.

But falling off a fence in the middle of a football practice? Now that’s breaking new ground.

Quite unintentionally, that’s what happened to Tennessee’s 69-year-old defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin while Atlanta-Westlake High’s Michael Taylor was there on an unofficial visit this past weekend. And it was was one of the reasons the 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker decided to commit to the Volunteers.

Taylor shared the story of the bizarre accident when I asked him for his impressions of the wizened elder Kiffin, considered one of the game’s brightest defensive minds.

“When I was there he tried to climb a fence and he fell,” Taylor said, trying to stifle a chuckle.

I had to ask: “First of all, what is a 69-year-old man doing climbing a fence?”

“I have no clue,” Taylor said, laughing fully now. “He was upset about the defense or something and I guess he thought he could get over it. He fell backwards.”

“Was he hurt?” I asked, now laughing, too.

“Ended up with a couple of scars,” Taylor replied. “[Linebackers] Coach [Lance] Thompson said he thought a bear had mauled him.”

As it turns out, Monte Kiffin falling backward off that fence helped clinch it for the Vols.

“I thought it was great,” Taylor said. “He’s a warrior for that, in my opinion. That’s the kind intensity he has and the type of players he wants. He reminds a lot of my grandfather that still lives in California. They’re two similar guys. They have the same mannerisms and everything and they still try to do a lot of stuff like they’re still young. Monte Kiffin is a great guy and so is everybody on that coaching staff and we’re going to have a lot of success in that defense.”

Monte Kiffin is, of course, the father of new Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin. Metaphorically speaking, the younger Kiffin has had a verbal fall or two of his own since arriving in Knoxville. But he always has insisted it was merely to bring attention to the Vols.

Taylor also had heard misgivings about the staff.

“A lot of people have been dogging the new coaching staff, but I’m not going to go off what other people say,” he said. “I got in there and got to know them. I got to meet them all and they’re a great group of guys. I think they’re going to be very successful and I’m going to help them with that success.”

Taylor, it should be noted, has done some rebel-rousing of his own with his comments since returning from Knoxville. The Atlantan by way of California, a self-confessed city slicker, seemed to strike a nerve within the recruiting blogosphere. He said he chose Tennessee because, among other things, “It’s not dead with cow pastures and horses all around it. . . . I’m not trying to go to the middle of nowhere.”

Considering most SEC schools and more than than a few ACC schools are surrounded by cow pastures and horse farms — and the fact that he mentioned it in most of his post-commitment media interviews — I’m assuming young Mr. Taylor knew this would get a rise out of some folks.

So when Taylor talks about the Vols being “a good fit,” I believe him.

50 comments Add your comment

UGA

August 10th, 2009
6:04 am

1st

Congrats Michael.

69 Dawg

August 10th, 2009
6:35 am

You can tell by the mouth what the heart is like. I’m glad it’s Tenn. and not Georgia. Like kids fit together. Tenn is all talk right now.
Kiffin is trying to look like an Al Davis rebel. It’s all flash and no substance. Florida will beat Tenn. by 50 points this year. What you sow … you reap. Kiffin will get his in a big way in the SEC. I’m so glad CMR is a class act and a gentleman.

theTruth

August 10th, 2009
7:49 am

Monte needs to be careful, next time he’ll break a hip. Then Tn will have Ed O has DC (insert waterboy DC joke here). Oya Oya Oya Oya football.

theTruth

August 10th, 2009
7:50 am

*as DC, sorry.

dawgstephen

August 10th, 2009
8:05 am

congrats to him for choosing his school early. have a great senior year and good luck to him. at least no one can say he’s on the fence about decidiing.

http://www.dawgstephen.blogspot.com

The2Davids

August 10th, 2009
8:05 am

Yea, but 69dawg, how bad will UGA beat UT this year? Kind of like saying “My brother could whup your A**.”

Ken

August 10th, 2009
8:19 am

I GAR-on_TEE a dawg victory over Tenn. Read the fine print for details.

Comin' Down The Track

August 10th, 2009
8:26 am

Hmmm… Their mouths sure are writing a lot of checks up there in hillbilly land… *coughs* I mean, the big city.

Gen Neyland

August 10th, 2009
8:28 am

…Monte Kiffin is a great guy and so is everybody on that coaching staff and we’re going to have a lot of success in that defense.”…From the mouth of babes.

Nachos

August 10th, 2009
9:13 am

We all know he was talking about Allbarn when he made the cow pasture comment. wawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww weagle

Flo-Ri-Duh!

August 10th, 2009
9:41 am

Michael Taylor is an idiot!

Big Orange

August 10th, 2009
9:47 am

Man, I love it. Mouth all you want, but Kiffin has all of you talking about Tennessee football. In the past 10 years you might find one article a qtr talking about the big orange. Now its every week, in the AJC. Ha Ha Ha…. Times are a changing. Were taking your players, putting up billboards, and now Georgia cars will soon have UT tags. Heck even the bulldogs fans are saying Florida will beat us, but not themselves. So maybe you are getting just a little scared about the unknown. And you know what maybe you should………

Hunting Dawg

August 10th, 2009
9:56 am

Good luck to the young man and I wish him well!

Go Dawgs!!!

DawgsRule

August 10th, 2009
10:09 am

Monte Kiffin needs to be at the old folks home, not out climbing fences, yelling at 18 year olds. The old geezer is 69 and he’s still coaching—are you serious? Monte, head for the florida retirement home, you don’t need this anymore. Little Lane can take care of himself.

TENNESSEE VOL MOM

August 10th, 2009
10:18 am

UGA,LSU AND MIAMI’S LOST IS TENNESSEE’S GAIN. GIVE THEM A FEW YEARS AND SEE WHERE THEY ARE. GOOD LUCK TO A GREAT KID WITH A GREAT HEART AND A GREAT MIND FOR THE GAME. GO VOLS…

Cuz in Minnesota

August 10th, 2009
10:25 am

Michael, have a great Senior season and eat a lot of cheeseburgers. You will need a few extra pounds when you hit the SEC. Good luck and get that education.

TampaGator

August 10th, 2009
10:31 am

The only thing that worries me about Tennessee is Monte Kiffin (not his son). He is a defensive genius and a great coach, no matter his age.

Paul The Vol

August 10th, 2009
10:44 am

Considering that the Tennessee game will be the week after LSU and Georgia’s sixth game in a row without a walkover game, I wouldn’t exactly be guaranteeing anything. Georgia will be a good team this year, but that schedule is really tough.

Volsguynga

August 10th, 2009
11:10 am

Monte to old?? How old is JoePa and that guy at FS?? Monte, keep climbing those fences….

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!

hsf

August 10th, 2009
11:19 am

Tennessee traditionally looks at the GA game as a “W” on the schedule and this year is no different. Enjoy you 1 year streak. Coach Richt is indeed a class act. But let him lose 2 games and the Bulldog nation will be in a full scale panic, calling for his head or the defensive coach’s. We’ve seen it before, we’ll see it again.

Kendawg

August 10th, 2009
11:35 am

It’s really funny to suggest that Tenn always looks to the GA game as a win. Have you checked the record since Richt has been at GA? A little research might be godd for such unfounded statements.

dawgdaddy

August 10th, 2009
11:38 am

If a kid considers a coach who falls off a fence to be a warrior, then frankly I don’t want him on my team. He’s obviously a little tweaked upstairs. Anbybody that would go play for ole Lame Kitten obviously doesn’t care too much about his football career.

That Guy

August 10th, 2009
12:36 pm

Hold up, Monte Kiffen falls over a fence and it won a recruit over? It sounds like one retarded act followed by another… the circus in Knoxville continues…

theTruth

August 10th, 2009
12:38 pm

Uh, HSF, I wouldn’t personally be looking at any school as a W if I have lost 6 out of 9 to that particular team. Your hearing must be really good b/c I haven’t heard ONE bulldog fan that has called for Richt’s head.

theTruth

August 10th, 2009
12:39 pm

VOLMOM, are you Taylor’s mom? Just wondering.

Saint Smokey

August 10th, 2009
12:50 pm

Taylor, congrats on your decision. The Vol nation whishes you much success. Pay attention to the naysayers on this message board and elsewhere, so you can be properly motivated when it’s your time to shine. Berry is good testimony. Admittedly, I did chuckly a bit about your city slicker comment because, well, we all know that Knoxville is not New York City, but I can see your point. Stay positive, stay healthy, and stay out of trouble. Welcome.

DawgsonTop

August 10th, 2009
1:13 pm

Tennessee is getting the recruiting scraps and leftovers after Georgia, Florida and Alabama get their picks. I would be surprised if lane kiffin and that crew can win 7 games on a regular basis up there. Coaching in the SEC is not like the Pac 10 at USC, where they have 1 good team in the entire conference.

[...] Re: 3* LB Michael Taylor commits to Vols Monte Kiffin falls off fence, wins over Westlake’s Taylor | AJC College Sports Recruiting [...]

KiffinSlapsUrban

August 10th, 2009
2:07 pm

Richt is following the Fulmer career path…minus the national title. The guy is soft and once Kiffin makes inroads into Ga and starts stealing players the Dawg fans will be ready to oust him. Unfortunately it will be too late by then. Maybe you guys can bring Donnan back.

South Knoxvillian

August 10th, 2009
2:47 pm

I really need to bookmark this website. It’s where I get most of my Tennessee info.

Comin' Down The Track

August 10th, 2009
5:56 pm

Man, y’all must have dumped about thirty tons of orange Kool-Aid® into that thar Tennessee River for all of you to have gotten so deluded… *coughs* I mean, for all of you to have bought so completely into the system.

darnedgooddawg

August 10th, 2009
6:25 pm

M. Kiffin is a proven coach, no doubt. (Unlike his spoiled-brat son) If he is going to run a true Tampa-2 defense, he’ll need players in the system for 3 years, minimum. Plus, he doens’t have Warren Sapp in the middle. True, the UT defense will be good, I just don’t believe you can run that exact defense in college unless you keep a boatload of 5th year seniors around each year who have been emmersed in it.

Urban Cryer

August 10th, 2009
6:35 pm

Hey Chip, I realize professionalism isn’t required to be a beat writer for UGA, but you should practice it anyway…you never know when the AJC may not need your services anymore, and you actually have to try at your job.
Let me clarify things for you: Michael Taylor told folks he was committing to UT several days before his visit. So while the story is funny and true, it’s not the reason Taylor committed. this was a done deal before you wrote your blog about his visit to Knoxville. But thanks for keeping the other tards up to date.

gator1

August 10th, 2009
7:35 pm

Nice story. Monte Kiffin is a class guy and tremendous coach. From all I read it seems all the players really like him and the rest of the staff. Dawg fans can’t stand a story about the Gators or Vols on ajc.com….need to get used to it.

auburntigers

August 10th, 2009
7:37 pm

Funny to read all of the praise about Richt from ga fans. That’s not what I was reading after last years collapse from dawg fans. Let’s see…..start out #1 and can’t even beat Tech at home? Yep…..keep praising your coaches. They get the talent and seem to coach them down!

GAVOL

August 10th, 2009
7:46 pm

Great story about Monte…..what a coach. UT really gets alot of press from ajc.com. Welcome Mr. Taylor to the Vols.

Techster

August 10th, 2009
8:02 pm

Great read. Really like Monte from all I have heard. No matter what anyone else says this staff makes the news which will tranlate to recruits. Look for the Vols to pull some upsets this year and overachieve setting the stage for an SEC comeback. Go Jackets!

RomeGaVol

August 10th, 2009
8:26 pm

The kids love Monte and all of the staff. Can’t wait for the football season to start. Go Vols!

Not Disappointed

August 10th, 2009
9:01 pm

Old Man Kiffin is really a good coach. I wish you well young man. Play hard, study hard and make the State of Georgia proud Michael Taylor.

Ramblin Wreck!

Dawgs Drool!

August 10th, 2009
11:21 pm

The pups are scared! Ever notice how the SMALLEST dog always barks the loudest!

Comin' Down The Track

August 11th, 2009
11:25 am

Alright, guys, enough of this nonsense. The Dawgs are not scared of UT. No one is talking about UT and stirring up a buzz around UT. You do not have a secret that the rest of the world doesn’t. The rest of the world has a secret that you don’t know, or rather, refuse to see. Yes, you have Monte Kiffin and Eric Berry. Both are tremendous talents. No one disputes that. Offsetting them (read: canceling them out) are Lane Kiffin and Jonathan Crompton. Crompton. Seriously.

13 SEC Titles

August 11th, 2009
1:39 pm

auburntigers, you must be smokin’ crack. Last years “collapse” – 10 win season. Coach them down? The Dawgs have the most wins in the SEC in the last decade. What have the barners done for you? Lose 3 in a row to the Dawgs & fire a quality coach. “Stupid is as stupid does”……lol.

13 SEC Titles

August 11th, 2009
1:42 pm

And Techster, I’ll be at the Vandy game here in Nashville, pullin’ for the Jackets.

gasportsfan

August 11th, 2009
4:35 pm

aubuurntigers just because we did not meet expectations last year does not mean it was a collapse. Now the tigers, thats a different story!!! You do realize that you guys just got rid of a quality coach for Gene Chizik…GENE CHIZIK!!! A guy that was mediocre at best in the Big Ten and somehow you expect him to work wonders in the SEC…and speaking of collapses did you get a chance to check out that pile of garbage you guys called a football team last year.
Talk about a guy full of himself.

Big Orange

August 12th, 2009
2:42 pm

Wow, I’m glad to see so many dog fans talkin TN football. If you are still of the opinion that we’re recruiting/signing f.u. and ga scraps, we’re cool with that it makes you feel better..The list of successful TN players that came out of GA is pretty long though. Currently, Tauren Poole out of little ole Toccoa GA (less than an hour from athens) is doing quite nicely in the our loaded Big Orange backfield…
BTW I have talked with several people who have met your “classy” CMR and the consensus was that he’s NOT.

Big Orange

August 12th, 2009
2:49 pm

down the track, I’ll give you Crompton but I’m just not sure how you guys know that Lane is “lame” or that his is spoiled etc.. Last I checked, he played college football, worked as a grad assist. assistant coach with a Nat Champ program and worked himself into a pro job, which unfortunately, didn’t pan out… Now, he’s ended up at one of the biggest programs at the college level and seems to be working pretty hard at recruiting… did I somehow miss the spoiled part?

General Feeling

August 12th, 2009
2:49 pm

Thanks ajc.com for another article on Tennessee Volunteer football. Free marketing. Nice. Monte Kiffin is a nut as is Ed Orgeron. The Volunteer defense will be good even very good.

General Feeling

August 12th, 2009
2:53 pm

Techster. Go Jackets… you guys have a lot to look forward to with more wins over the school in Kenny Roger’s backyard.

Big Orange

August 12th, 2009
3:14 pm

Hey General, this is more info than I get at KNS… I cant imagine what kind of free press we’re getting in gainesville…

Flo-Ri-Duh!

August 12th, 2009
11:29 pm

Glad Tate did not sign with UGA …. his agent is just using North Carolina to get more money out of the Padres.