Kiffin’s antics impress Thornton, Brown, and lift Vols

Anybody who thinks Lane Kiffin’s showy antics don’t make a difference in recruiting wasn’t listening to these players after the game. They were clearly impressed by Kiffin’s idea to chopper to the game with right-hand recruiting man Ed Orgeron.

The two Tennessee coaches landed on a soccer field just west of James R. Hallford Stadium in a red helicopter as the
Star Bangled Banner played before the nationally-televised the M.L. King-Stephenson game. They flew out at the end of halftime.

“That really felt good to me because I talked to him for a minute on the phone,” said Mike Thornton, Stephenson’s star defensive tackle. “He told me he was going to come in and show off a little bit and, sure ‘nough, he did his thing. I saw him leave out and come in but that’s it.”

Stephenson led 7-0 at the half.

Thornton, considered the top uncommitted D-lineman in the state, hadn’t mentioned Tennessee among his favorites (Auburn, Georgia, Penn State) before Friday. Asked after the game if  the Vols were now in it for him, Thornton said: “Oh, yeah; oh yeah. Hopefully I can get up there for a game soon.”

Thornton and MLK tailback Mack Brown seem to have been Kiffin’s main focus, though there were close to 20 D-1 prospects on the field at Hallford Stadim.

“Yeah, he was at my school earlier,” said Brown, the state’s top-ranked tailback and a Florida commitment. “I ran into him, shook his hand.”

Asked if Kiffin was trying to get him to flip on the Gators, Brown said politely, “Yes, sir.”

Brown was actually overshadowed in the game by Stephenson’s running back, Raymond Sanders. A longtime Kentucky commitment, the somewhat small but lightning quick Sanders had 135 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns, including a spectacular 21-yard run that will surely make some highlight reels. He also had 30 yards on three receptions.

“I had to go out there and make a statement that I’m the best back in the state,” Sanders said. “Coach has been telling me that all week that I’m the best back in the state and to go out there and show it on national TV. So I just went out there and gave it my all and my offensive line played great.”

Brown actually played pretty well, too, considering he was competing on two sore hamstrings and behind an overmatched offensive line. He managed 103 yards on 19 carries despite Thornton blowing up the middle of the line of scrimmage on most every play.

“This was my last time to get to play Stephenson so I’m going to miss that opportunity. But it was a fun game,” Brown said. “They’re real aggressive up front. They’re as good as they say they are. They’re the No. 1 defense and they deserve it.”

Thornton agreed.

“We were on a mission tonight, man,” said Thornton, who helped the Jaguars total five sacks. “Our whole game plan was to stop Mack Brown. We did what we were supposed to,  made them change up their offense and it worked.”

Thornton got a lot of help, collapsing double teams in the middle of the line and creating openings for fellow D-linemen Doral White, Malcom Strong and Miles Ashmon.

“We’ve got a great defensive line,” Thornton said. “We’ve got the best defensive line in the state. And we’re going to go to state because of this line. I’m going to stop everything in the middle and they’re going to stop everything on the outside.”

206 comments Add your comment

Large Orange

October 16th, 2009
10:14 pm

Not only did Kiffin kick UGA’s ass last week, he is raiding all the top talent in the state of Georgia too. When he is finished, Georgia will be calling him General Sherman! He will have torched the state in more ways than one! Rocky Top Tennessee…….Woooooooooo!!!!

I Hate Orange

October 16th, 2009
10:24 pm

Get a F-ing life!!! You guys just need to worry about finishing 500!!!!!!!

Brew

October 16th, 2009
10:24 pm

Mission accomplished. It doesn’t mean a commitment from anybody, but if it gets players to consider UT, that’s really all you can ask. And yes, as you just read, 17-18 yr. old kids dig that approach.
At least they’re now willing to listen.

Gridiron Gator

October 16th, 2009
10:27 pm

Article didn’t say specifically what they were so impressed about. That he rented a helicopter? That he showed up at the game?? What exactly was so impressive??? No if he would have parachuted into the stadium and then sang the Star Spangled Banner, THAT would have been impressive, but any big time SEC program can rent a chopper or a limo or whatever.

SEC Fanatic

October 16th, 2009
10:32 pm

With all if the childish behavior he has displayed, he should have rode in on “balloon boys” flying saucer.

PaulC

October 16th, 2009
10:34 pm

See this is all very strange to me, because I thought Kiffin was a clown idiot whose approach to everything is doomed to failure. Maybe I’ve been reading too many comments sections in the AJC.

Gen Neyland

October 16th, 2009
10:36 pm

Sorry chip. It’s not an antic. It’s making a statement, one recruit at a time. Plus, a smart man uses any and all tools available. If you don’t believe me, pull out the manual Royal typewritter and a land based phone to do your job on the road.

Brew

October 16th, 2009
10:38 pm

Don’t sweat it little gator. You’ve still got Mack…for now.

smp

October 16th, 2009
10:41 pm

Who paid for the helicopter?

I Hate Orange

October 16th, 2009
10:42 pm

While its true I do hate orange, I sure do love men with really hairy backs. I like the ones that look like they are wearing a sweater…….mmmmm….mmmmmm…..wow that really excites me. I wonder if Lane Kiffin has a hairy back? I know Fulmer did and did I get hot watching him jiggle onto the field. It was hard seeing him in all that orange though. Well, gotta go. Mommy made me some hot cocoa and laid out my UT pajamas. Sure wish they were not orange though.

RAM

October 16th, 2009
10:58 pm

What a silly farce. If I was a recruit, I would be insulted that Kiffy would think that I’d be impressed by such a tacky stunt. This only shows Kiffy’s complete lack of substance. Give me Mark Richt any day over fatty (Orgeron) and skinny (Kiffy).

Dawg gone disgusted

October 16th, 2009
11:00 pm

At least there was some imagination, some passion, something innovative and new. At Georgia it’s same old same old same old and it’s getting old. CMR has got to make changes whether he wants to or not. Tenn. is on the rise … Alabama is on the rise … Ark is on the rise … Auburn is on the rise … Fla don’t need to rise … and where is Georiga? Unranked and struggling through a horrible season. Does it look like CMR needs to make major changes at Georgia?

Gen Neyland

October 16th, 2009
11:01 pm

smp : I’m sure the chopper was paid for by an over zealous Tennessee booster with shady ties to the Florida campus that blackmailed UGA AD Adams over the Missing Jan Kemp letters that were unsealed last week per court order but has yet to hit the news because Uga ate them thinking they were homework. Awaiting Uga’s poop to peice this story together. Stay tuned…

Tennessee the drive-thru state

October 16th, 2009
11:02 pm

I think this helps UGA recruiting as we haven’t gotten some of the smartest players lately. Let Lane have all the kids that are hypnotized by a shiny helicopter.

Gen Neyland

October 16th, 2009
11:03 pm

RAM : CMR slept threw it all. He’ll get his and Kiffin will get his and Saban will get his and McNutt will get his and Spurrier will get his and….

Dawg gone disgusted

October 16th, 2009
11:04 pm

If Vanderbilt scores over 30 points … all the dogs will be lose and barking in Georgia. I really feel we can turn out the lights for this season … looks like the party’s over. Loses to Fla, Aub, GT and hopefully wins over KY, TT and V will give us a 6-6 break even record.
How does that sound … barely 500. Who can defend any coaches of a major program with top recruiting classes … barely 500 and unranked?
Can you say CMR is in totally denial?

Gen Neyland

October 16th, 2009
11:04 pm

Dang. Where’s BuLLdawg when you need a real challenge..?

Lane4prez

October 16th, 2009
11:07 pm

Another TOP class coming up for Lane and UT.
He said coming in that NOBODY would work harder than
he would. Clearly, he is a man of his word!
GBO

Lane is the best

October 16th, 2009
11:10 pm

No one works harder except Nick Saban, Urban Meyer and every other top SEC coach.

The Dawg

October 16th, 2009
11:14 pm

It’s ashame Kiffin thinks so little of the high school football players he’s got in Tennessee. It’s really a huge insult and slap in the face to the state of Tennessee ’s prep football program. I heard he was going to one of the games in a volkswagon beetle. He said the helicopter was to expensive to use instate.

TampaDawg

October 16th, 2009
11:17 pm

Gen neyland,

Please expound further on your comments at 11:01. I am entrigued. I am not fond of our AD anyway nor are most of the Dawg Nation. Do tell.

SickandTired

October 16th, 2009
11:18 pm

LOL….so somebody wants to take mark richt….that’s a good one

Chuckie D

October 16th, 2009
11:19 pm

Perhaps Kiffie is also a Clinton protege—after all, this little incident is like good ‘ole Willie Boy—STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE!

How about everyone get a life—football is a game and for the majority of these “recruits”, after the universities (fill in the blank) have used them up and the majority will not have degrees, they’ll be doing good to have a job saying, “Would you like fries with that order”???

UT

October 16th, 2009
11:23 pm

I don’t mind the helicopter, but when Kiffin showed Thornton and Brown naked pictures of his wife and a xxx video of their honeymoon, well that’s got to be some kind of NCAA violation.

GuyFawkes

October 16th, 2009
11:29 pm

Football, meet WWF

kcvol

October 16th, 2009
11:33 pm

UT

October 16th, 2009
11:23 pm

“I don’t mind the helicopter, but when Kiffin showed Thornton and Brown naked pictures of his wife and a xxx video of their honeymoon, well that’s got to be some kind of NCAA violation.”

You have to admit that’s better than Urban showing the hot tub pictures of he and Timmy

raindawg722

October 16th, 2009
11:33 pm

I have a theory that more UT fans drive white cars than any other group of fans and the only reason they do is the color matches their “T” license plates.

On second thought, it’s not a theory. It’s a proven fact.

Albert the Alligator

October 16th, 2009
11:33 pm

Brown is coming to Gainesville Kiffin, deal with it. #1 Recruiting class as of today.

Are these UT coaches serious! ?

October 16th, 2009
11:36 pm

Georgia fans, don’t worry about UT coming into Atlanta to try and recruit. UGA is having a horrible year, will probably finish under 500 this year, and fortunately fire their D-coordinator.

Nobody likes what this homo Lane Kiffen is doing. He will not last long, don’t worry.

Tim Dawg

October 16th, 2009
11:43 pm

Helicopter boy and ballon boys dad should get in their flying objects
and go find their long lost cousin ET @#$%^ bonehead.

Orange Crush

October 16th, 2009
11:44 pm

LMAO Jealousy isn’t very becoming little doggies. Understandable, but it’s not very nice.

Shouldn’t you be praying with your coach that things will get better?

blueboy

October 16th, 2009
11:46 pm

Get over it GA fans, the helicopter was Red!Learn how to spell the man’s name. It’s Kiffin!

Gen Neyland

October 16th, 2009
11:49 pm

TampaDawg : I’ll admit I’m 10 lbs of poop in a 5 lb bag but that’s life in the blogosphere. I’m dumping on Chip’s blog and Chip’s blog only because I like my Dawg brothers. They are family. Here’s the skinny : CLK comes in like the Indians hiding behind the treeline instead of a rank, file and die English regiment in combat circa 1700’s. He’s sniping and I for one love his methods. It will pay dividends for his program and his efforts. Does he care what others may consider the ‘gentlemanly’ thing to do or does he attack unmercifully like our forefathers did in order to secure this nation..? The answer is is in his approach. He is gonna build a winner by hook and/or crook and within the legal framework laid out by the NCAA. He could have sat back after the UGA game but he’s being relentless in his approach. Nothing more, nothing less…

Larry Eley

October 16th, 2009
11:50 pm

Hey UT, if you can’t make decent comments about football teams or their coaches you need to stay off the board. You can say what you want about coach Kiffin and UT football but when you start talking negative about his wife and family that is over the line. How would you like someone posting that crap about your wife when you know it is a malicious lie. Have some class man or stay off the board. You may call yourself UT but you’re not a UT person or you would have more integrity than you have displayed. You may not like the Big Orange but they are coming and they are coming strong.

TUSK

October 16th, 2009
11:51 pm

Hey Gen. Neyland…….. ” ROLL TIDE”

Courtney

October 16th, 2009
11:51 pm

What a pathetic loser! How can we keep this white trash out of our state?

Orange Crush

October 16th, 2009
11:54 pm

Larry, say the same to your dawg buddies. Did you bother reading all the posts?

Gen Neyland

October 16th, 2009
11:55 pm

Are these UT Coaches Serious : Yes, he will last long enough to win the SEC. And must you resort to name calling in order to hide your disgust with your coaching staff’s effort to build a program from a 3-3 record of your own..?

ldvol

October 16th, 2009
11:55 pm

You people tickle me man. You know Kiffin will be kicking your ass in another year or so, if not next year and the only way you can retaliate is be degrading his wife and his dad. Well have your fun now lowlifes because Kiffin and the Vols are comming and hells coming with them!!!

Orange Crush

October 16th, 2009
11:56 pm

You’re right Courtney…all losers travel in choppers…oh wait….the lil’ doggies don’t and they would certainly qualify as losers.

Gen Neyland

October 16th, 2009
11:57 pm

Tusk : I’m pulling for you against USC East. I want a complacent herd of banged up Elephants next week…

LTATE

October 16th, 2009
11:57 pm

think about what changes would most likely be made if UGA loses this game. i am a huge UGA fan but i am wanting a loss tomorrow. lose tomorrow and we are better off for the future. WMart will be gone and we can start from scratch…we need a major overhaul.

Bow Wow

October 16th, 2009
11:57 pm

Kiffen’s hot dog recruiting tactics are going to attract the same kind of players that Richt has lured with Soulja Boy dances and lack of discipline.

Forever Orange

October 16th, 2009
11:59 pm

First – Kiffin makes bold statements – getting all kinds of press – and hate mail.

Second – Kiffin parlays the attention into a top 10 class

Third – Kiffin is turning the ship – and totally kicked UGA butt. How embarrassing this must have been to UGA and their fans. that makes 3 out of 4 years and 2 HUGE blow outs in 3 years.

You tell me which school has the better football program.

Fourth – Kiffin totally out recruiting UGA again.

FACE IT UGA – you have the 3rd best prgram …. in the /SEC EAST – getting ready to slip to #4 as South Carolina is gettng ready to pass you – if they have not all ready.

Let me repeat – 3 wins over UGA in last 4 years. 2 HUGE blowouts in 3 years.

RICHT and his program peaked in 2005 – this team stinks.

GO VOLS!!!!

Orange Crush

October 17th, 2009
12:00 am

Larry…..sorry ….I misread your earlier comment. I’m with you.

Gen Neyland

October 17th, 2009
12:01 am

J Ray : You are a fool. Bet you’re a Dawg fan, right..?

Flo-Ri-Duh!

October 17th, 2009
12:05 am

Forever Orange never played football but he makes a good limp wristed cheerleader for the Tick Hounds.

Just Say No

October 17th, 2009
12:06 am

talking about raiding a state who got the top 2 players in tennessee last year bwaaahhaaahhaaa

Gen Neyland

October 17th, 2009
12:08 am

Just say No : And the outcome for 2009 was..?

Burnt up orange

October 17th, 2009
12:16 am

Hey orange fans when did you last win the sec? Lame kitten is embarrassing your program with his antics. Making you the laughing stock of the sec and you think hes great .Dream on suckers you are doomed to 3rd or worst in the east get used to it.