Lane Kiffin gets a good laugh about Tennessee’s “blame game”

Lane Kiffin hadn’t coached at Tennessee for two years, but was taking the blame for anything and everything wrong with the Volunteers until a shocking event last November.

What event was that? It was Tennessee’s first loss to Kentucky in 26 years, with Kentucky being led to a 10-7 win by a converted wide receiver who hadn’t played quarterback since high school.

It was after that signature loss that some Tennessee fans finally let Lane Kiffin off the hook, or at least let Derek Dooley join him in the blame game.

While Lane Kiffin's former team, Tennessee, lost to Kentucky for the first time in 26 years to end last season, his new team, USC, is ranked No. 1 for next season in one ESPN poll (AP photo/Damian Dovarganes)

While Lane Kiffin's former team, Tennessee, lost to Kentucky for the first time in 26 years to end last season, his new team, USC, is ranked No. 1 in the nation for next season in one ESPN poll (AP photo/Damian Dovarganes)

“Are you sure I didn’t get blamed for the Kentucky game? I’m sure somebody somewhere blamed me for that,” Kiffin told the AJC with a laugh.

“After we left two years ago, and I don’t remember the timeline, there were some floods in Tennessee. So people around here were joking that was my fault — that there were floods there.

“It is what it is. I still have a number of people I stay in contact with there at Tennessee. I know this: I did everything the right way there, as you can see what came out of the NCAA’s investigation. The goal was to make Tennessee better every day. That’s what we strived to do every day we were there … to build confidence in our players and our fan base, and recruit really good players.”

Flashback to 2009: Kiffin quickly reached celebrity status in his one season at Rocky Top, rocking the SEC establishment with his boldness and confidence. After beating out then-Florida coach Urban Meyer for a recruit, Kiffin famously said, “I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get him.”

Ironically, Kiffin and Meyer have gone from archenemies to fast friends now that both are outside of the SEC empire. Meyer told the CBSSports that Kiffin apologized for his past transgressions, and Meyer (now at Ohio State) responded by saying “I acted like a child, too.”

We asked Kiffin about his peace treaty with Urban: “Yeah, I’m glad Urban and I are where we are in our relationship. When you’re young, you make some mistakes. We’ve moved forward from that. Who would’ve guessed we are back at battling each other for recruits even though we’re a long ways away? I have tremendous respect for what Urban Meyer does.”

While Kiffin was clearing up things, we asked him this: What did he think was the biggest misunderstanding about Lane Kiffin by people in the South?

“I always thought there was, and still is, a big difference in articles written about me,” Kiffin said. “I’ve always looked to see: Did the person writing the article actually come and cover us?  And spend some time with me? Or was it just a person writing it from the outside? I think you can dramatically tell a difference between articles by someone who came and spent some time covering us or around me and the articles by people who never met me. There was a big difference that you could tell.

“And I’ve said this before, I didn’t like everything I did but everything I did was what I believed was in the best interests of the Tennessee football program. At times, it didn’t help with the national image of myself, obviously. But I felt like it was in the best interests of the promoting Tennessee and the football program.”

Robert Nkdemiche, the nation's No. 1-ranked overall prospect, has USC in his Top 5 (AJC photo)

Robert Nkdemiche, the nation's No. 1-ranked overall prospect, has USC in his Top 5 (AJC photo)

Despite being at USC, Kiffin still recruits the state of Georgia. The Trojans have offered four high school juniors so far from the state – Grayson DE Robert Nkemdiche (who lists USC in his Top 5 and will likely take an official visit there), Dooly County DL Montravius Adams, Elbert County RB Tyshon Dye and Milton DE Carl Lawson.

And how about Kiffin’s coaching skills? Some Tennessee fans might be surprised to know that USC is ranked No. 1 in the nation for next year, according to ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach’s Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25.

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159 comments Add your comment

derrick

February 21st, 2012
4:23 am

Wise Dawg

February 21st, 2012
4:25 am

It’s depressing that USC is 4,000 miles away and gets in Nkemdiche’s top 5 while UGA is 40 miles away and can’t. Unacceptable by our coaching staff.

Rationale

February 21st, 2012
4:25 am

Who cares. Go Dawgs!

Alabama's fake national titles

February 21st, 2012
4:26 am

Monday was a holiday and the Tuscaloosa post office opens up at 8 a.m. today. I wonder if Coach Saban will stalk some other kid with 105 letters in a day. That type of behavior ought to be a crime if it involves a minor.

59bulldawg

February 21st, 2012
4:28 am

Still have no respect for the guy!

RedandBlackDAWG

February 21st, 2012
5:21 am

Wise dawg,

Where did you hear that we are not in his top 5? He has stated on numerous accounts that he doesn’t havea favorite right now. Feb. 1st, 2013, is a long time away yet.

Abbey an

February 21st, 2012
5:50 am

Urban ans Kiffie have formed a Mutual Admiration Society? A peace treaty between Isreal and Iran to follow. What the article fails to mention is the behavior of many of Kiffie’s recruits that led to arrests and dismissals of key players and the subsequent collapse of the program. The only thing Kiffie promoted was Kiffie. He is a childish, see picture above, lose cannon and I can’t wait for his next failure. This article is another example of laziness on the part of a reporter. Next time you might consider some context to balance the spin.

Dwayne

February 21st, 2012
6:16 am

Kiffin looks like a younger Mark Ricth.

atltiger15

February 21st, 2012
6:21 am

Just win baby

Go Vols

February 21st, 2012
6:23 am

As a Big Orange fan I was both excited and nervous about the Kiffin hiring but he did create a lot of excitement initially. I was never comfortable with Orgeron as an assistant and was concerned about the potential for getting into trouble with the NCAA. The whole staff were risky hires because they had no connection to UT and were thus susceptible to leaving. I never blamed Kiffin for leaving. USC was his dream job. The timing, selfishly as a Vol fan, was awful, coming as it did just ahead of national signing day.

[...] but I’m having a hard time thinking of a more miserable sports experience than being a fan of Tennessee football over the past four years. GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough_viplite"); Share [...]

gtfanfrom1951

February 21st, 2012
6:53 am

Scum bags= Lane Kiffin + Nick Saban
They give college football a bad name!

Mountain Dawg

February 21st, 2012
6:58 am

Kiffin is an egotistical scumbag and a good coach and recruiter. These seem to be the pre-requisite characteristics of all ultra-successful, modern-era coaches.

Recruiting | MrSEC

February 21st, 2012
6:58 am

[...] 7. Lane Kiffin and Southern Cal are making a run at a few Georgia prospects. [...]

Recruiting and the rules governing it are out of control!

February 21st, 2012
7:09 am

So turned “off” by modern day college football (Div. I). I’d rather watch (Div. III). At least the coaches coach with passion. Live by morals. And, the institutions stay true to their mission.

(Div. I) has sold its soul to the highest bidder!

Vampire Bill

February 21st, 2012
7:14 am

I don’t like Kiffin but two things come to mind. His incredibly hot wife and the absolute butt kicking his team put on the dawgs when he was coach. That one still hurts.

Phat Phil

February 21st, 2012
7:23 am

Lame Kiffin is a weasel. He has always been a weasel. He will always be a weasel. The only reason he was hired at UT and then USC was his old wrinkled daddy, Monte came with the deal. Come to think of if, Monte is a weasel too. He took a $300K “retention” bonus from UT about 5 days before jetting to USC. The bad apple does not fall far from the tree. I hope USC goes 0-12 this year and gets hit with multiple NCAA sanctions.

JB

February 21st, 2012
7:24 am

The quote that I can’t forget before Kiffin played Dawgs . ” It’s Georgia, there’s really nothing different to prepare for. They’ve been doing the same thing for years”…………… That would of been Ok, but they totally kicked Richt’s butt.

Randall Simmons

February 21st, 2012
7:25 am

@Alabama’s fake national titles….. one word PATHETIC

Brown Dog

February 21st, 2012
7:42 am

Red and Black, it was on this blog. Won’t be hard to find, but it’s a little early to put much stock in lists. Besides, he’s going to Alabama.

FL Jacket

February 21st, 2012
7:45 am

Does Lane Kiffin realize that if his dad was Monte Johnson, bus driver instead of Monte Kiffin, Buccaneers DC…he would probably be no more than a position coach at Podunk U?

Blackoutanyone?

February 21st, 2012
7:54 am

He was a cheater… just like CMR. Only difference was when Kiffin cheated he actually landed the player. Richt gets a HS coach a job and still loses the player to the Barn. I know everyone would love to know just how much $$$ CMR placed in the offering at Harvey-Clemsons’ church. When Muschamp dropped by that church it was reported “the collection plate was equally surprised.” lol CMR he who walks on water. Didn’t notice any quotes like that by the AJC after Richt’s visit. Hmm wonder why?

Brian

February 21st, 2012
7:58 am

Once an a55ho1e always an a55ho1e.

Dawg1

February 21st, 2012
8:00 am

The guy blew up the Raiders, blew up the Vols. He appears to have grown and learned a few things. I think the reaction from UT students, alumni and fans, made him realize that he hurt a lot of people and I’m guessing that he might think before opening his mouth now. The job he has will make him or break him.

[...] CLICK HERE FOR MORE. They said “Lin” how many times? [...]

Jeremy

February 21st, 2012
8:15 am

Article doesn’t seem to address the way in which Kiffin left UT. It seems to me that is why he gets so much blame(deservedly so in my opinion).

Dawg4Life

February 21st, 2012
8:17 am

No doubt that game was the dagger in the heart for W Martinez. He never made one adjustment for Crompton’s roll outs. Now that we have a DC that can actually make adjustments and understand schemes I say it would be a different game against Visor Boy.

Bammer

February 21st, 2012
8:22 am

Only took 4 posts before a Dawg fan wrote something about Bama…in a non-Bama related blog. NOt a record but impressive nonetheless.

Obsession noted.

Drago

February 21st, 2012
8:32 am

Let’s see how Kiffin does after his father hangs it up. However, he did do the almost impossible, he made me feel sorry for UT.

DawginLex

February 21st, 2012
8:37 am

Blackout

You are FOS

Spewing lies about richt now?

What a joke you truly are.

Tweedle Dee

February 21st, 2012
8:38 am

Vampire Bill @February 21st, 2012 7:14 am

Vamp – you got that one (actually two) right!

Tweedle Dee

February 21st, 2012
8:40 am

Actually, Lame Kitten is probably the greatest promoter in the business right now.

Tweedle Dee

February 21st, 2012
8:40 am

But I still don’t like him.

The Real Dawgman

February 21st, 2012
8:43 am

Alabama’s Fake National Titles: what does that have to do with this article? Please hurry, McDonalds opens at 5:00 and you do not want to be late to work!

dawgster

February 21st, 2012
8:47 am

@Blackoutanyone…I’m slowily losing any respect that I had of you with your absuird comments above…Not sure what your intent is but the comments were very classless..Has that what it has vome to for Bama fans now…I mean you pretty much are on top of the world, yet you want to bash the dawgs…I can agree that some of our fans may deserve it, but so do some of youurs…It works both ways…but again, no need to start a comment with those type of remarks…You probably don’t give a care, but neither do I so continue stirring the pot…Really dosappointed in your comments which I used to enjoy reading….Say what ever you want about our team, fans or university, but you know as well as I do that Coach Richt is not that type of person or coach….If you bother reading the article regarding Young’s coach, he specifically stated that his wife fell in love with the town…and yes Coach Richt along with other coaches have a very good relationship with him….and yes he used Coach Richt as a reference as well should have….You know nothing about the Cedar Shoals football program or anything about this coach other than to come on here and try to start lies and accusations regarding what took place….Why does everything always have to be some alterative motive instead of the fact that the family enjoyed Athens and wanted a change….

bjohnDawg

February 21st, 2012
8:50 am

Vols fans are better off without him. Dooley may have problems but Kiffin was just a whirlpool of issues that landed in Knoxville and ruined that program. It may that a few more years and patience to get the Vols back to where they were in the 90’s 00s.

dawgster

February 21st, 2012
8:52 am

@DawginLex…agree with you 100%…his comments are about as classless as you can get..and to think I actually respected his comments on here at one time….again what a complete lack of class…and you know I would say the same for any fan that is creating lies about Saban, even though I don’t have a lot of use for him, to make up lies is just wrong….but evidently sitting behind a computer makes some feel superior to others….go dawgs

SemperGrunt

February 21st, 2012
8:54 am

It must suck to be a UGA fan

Dot

February 21st, 2012
9:01 am

Don’t see USC in the top five in that link. Alabama, Oregon, LSU . . .

Besides, it’s way too early to take a top five list seriously. Shoot, in this day and age, a top five list a week before signing day doesn’t matter half the time.

dawgfan

February 21st, 2012
9:03 am

“I always thought there was, and still is, a big difference in articles written about me,” Kiffin said. “I’ve always looked to see: Did the person writing the article actually come and cover us? And spend some time with me? Or was it just a person writing it from the outside? I think you can dramatically tell a difference between articles by someone who came and spent some time covering us or around me and the articles by people who never met me. There was a big difference that you could tell.”

LOL. Read your press clippings much coach? He probably carries a mirror around every where he goes so he can check his hair. What a clown.

USC as a preseason media darling should concern those of us that cheer for teams that play real football teams in a real football league. A hyped up media darling USC that cakewalks through the pansy Pac 12 poses a threat to all of our BCS title dreams. I’m not just talking to Georgia fans. I’m talking to all SEC teams. 2004 can happen again. You’ve been warned.

Thanks.

JB

February 21st, 2012
9:03 am

Semper-hole. Only being a Tech or Bama fan is worse.

Alabumma Fan

February 21st, 2012
9:04 am

If this kid don’t sign with Alabumma, I’m a throw a brick frew his window and go poison them trees in Grayson!

RxDawg

February 21st, 2012
9:08 am

“Some Tennessee fans might be surprised to know that USC is ranked No. 1 in the nation for next year”

Yeh but about 75% of that ranking is because of one player, Matt Barkley. I’m always leary of highly ranked teams due to a superstar QB.

lebanonkid

February 21st, 2012
9:08 am

Kiffen is a sleeze, no matter what state he’s in.

RxDawg

February 21st, 2012
9:13 am

@Blackoutanyone – you hurt my feelings. snif

7576DAWG

February 21st, 2012
9:17 am

Blackoutanyone
A lot of your comment’s prove that you are very young and immature because if you knew anything about Mark Richt you would not question his morals or integrity. The other day he spoke at our local touchdown club and at least half of the speech that was suppose to be about recruiting and football turned into a sermon. As much as I like Mark Richt I think he has become so religious that he can’t separate his love of coaching and his religious believes. He would do himself a greater service by becoming the coach of Liberty University or some other school built by the church.
I am not criticizing anything about him the way he openly walk’s the walk but if I was a recruit as much as I liked going to church when I was in college it would be hard to sit through a sermon everyday because it would be forced on you and that has got to be voluntary to mean anything. And, if a coach was a great person who walked the walk and talked the talk and who’s family was very religious CMR could never fire an under performing coach or give him an unbiased evaluation on just his coaching skill’s.

7576DAWG

February 21st, 2012
9:22 am

dawgfan
That’s why we need to have a playoff as soon as possible of at least eight team’s. Then the media can’t control anything.

1eyedJack

February 21st, 2012
9:35 am

beanster

February 21st, 2012
9:38 am

Did anyone else catch the story on Alabama Frosh Jack Blankenship and his giant face cut out? He was on the Today show this morning. It’s really pretty funny and the kid has a great sense of humor and seemed like a class act.

http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/02/alabama_face_kid_spotted_at_kn.html

I looked at my wife shortly after the clip was over and said, “Hey, there is one person affiliated with Alabama that isn’t a complete a-hole jerk. I had no idea.”

Delbert D.

February 21st, 2012
9:42 am

Other than USC, Alabama and Georgia, there are a lot of teams with big question marks in not only the top 5, but in the whole list of 25. Michigan St. lost too many key parts, as did several other teams in the list. Another case is FSU. Is this the year they break out will all of that talent? I don’t think so. The team that may creep up to a pretty decent season is Florida, if Pease can influence a QB to actually step up. West Virginia looks to be a team that does belong in the top 10, at least.