SEC CliffsNotes for Monte Kiffin's transition

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will be moving to Knoxville soon to assume his new job as defensive
coordinator at Tennessee.

Photo by Steve Nesius, Associated Press

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will be moving to Knoxville soon to assume his new job as defensive coordinator at Tennessee.

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will be moving to Knoxville soon to assume his new job as defensive
coordinator at Tennessee.

Photo by Steve Nesius

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will be moving to Knoxville soon to assume his new job as defensive coordinator at Tennessee.

First thing, Monte, you're going to need a go-to story about the Bear. Everyone who coaches in the SEC has one.

If it involves football, that's good. If it involves drinking, that's better. If it involves generous portions of both, you're going to make some booster's head explode from the excitement.

The SEC is a Good Ol' Boys' league, after all. It doesn't matter that Paul Bryant has been dead for a quarter of a century, or that hounds-tooth hats have been out of style every place else for twice that long. If you want to coach in this conference, you're going to have to know all about Bear.

While you're at it, it wouldn't hurt to brush up on your stories about Herschel and Bo or Hacksaw and Snake or Archie and Peyton. Especially Archie and Peyton.

That's the thing to keep in mind, Monte, even as you and Lane set up that father-and-son football shop you've always dreamed of in Knoxville. The SEC is a different place. Frankly, there are towns where it even seems like a different time.

This is a league where a team nicknamed "the Tigers" has a mascot that is an eagle, where a team nicknamed "the Crimson Tide" has a mascot that is an elephant and a team nicknamed "the Volunteers" has a mascot that is a dog. Don't ask. The answers just make your head hurt.

This is the league of "Punt, 'Bama, Punt'' and "Run, Lindsay, Run" and the ever popular "Rebound, Kentucky, Rebound."

This is the league where Ole Miss students yell "Hotty Toddy'' and Alabama students yell "Rammer Jammer'' and Auburn students yell "What do you mean we hired Gene Chizik?"

This is the league where you can travel on the Volunteer Navy (Tennessee) or the Cockaboose Railroad (South Carolina) or on top of Tim Tebow's shoulders (Florida).

This is a league of bad, bad music. At LSU, they play Eye of the Tiger. At Alabama, they play Sweet Home Alabama. Worst of all, in Tennessee, they play Rocky Top. You'll get tired of it after you hear it a thousand times. Just guessing, but that should get you halfway through next season's opener against Western Kentucky.

This is the league where victory is celebrated by ringing the Chapel Bell (Georgia), throwing toilet paper into the trees at Toomer's Corner (Auburn) or trying to talk Bobby Petrino out of leaving (Arkansas).

Most of all, Monte, this is your home.

Welcome aboard.

Ah, don't fret, Kif. You'll do just fine. For one thing, 68 teams make it to the postseason. Just think: The Bucs would have clinched a bowl game by Nov. 2. And they would love Shreveport. Honestly, they would.

And remember all of those years you had to lobby for the defense to get the No. 1 draft pick? In college, a team gets all the No. 1 picks it wants. All it has to do is talk a guy into it.

Monte, I'll be honest. You aren't going to like recruiting. No one does. No one wants to drive to Upper Eyebrow, Ga., to convince a defensive back to wear orange instead of, say, red. But you'll be good at it. You'll walk into the room flashing that Super Bowl ring, and you'll mention Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber and John Lynch, and before you know it, the players will start following you home.

And, yeah, class work can be a distraction. So can graduation. Think of it like this: Remember how frustrating rookie mistakes can be? In college, next year's rookies will be your most experienced players.

Then, of course, there are the boosters. You know, the guys with the orange hats and the checkerboard underoos. Yeah, those guys. Don't let on you know, but they think they are your boss. Some places, they are. (This just in. What Bobby Lowder said to Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs was, "I want some Cheez-Its.'' Not Chizik. Oops.)

Of course, you've coached in college before, back when General Neyland was a sergeant. People forget that because you've been in the NFL so long. At N.C. State, though, they still remember the day you dressed up as the Lone Ranger and rode that white horse into the stadium. There was the time you jumped out of the helicopter (about 8 feet) and the time you volunteered to fight Joe Frazier (you touched gloves and left).

It was tough to win at N.C. State, however. At Tennessee, it won't be easy, either. But given the facilities, given the tradition, you have a shot.

The SEC likes to beat its chest about how tough it is, but there is reason for the swagger. Most years, it is tough. Over the past 30 seasons, five SEC teams have won nine AP/UPI/BCS national titles. Who else can say that? Four of the league's coaches have won national titles. Your job? You have to keep them all out of the end zone.

After all, you volunteered.

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Comments » 58

SmokeyWazHere writes:

1st? Cool!

NoogaVol55 writes:

Pretty cool article...but I am quite sure Papa Kif knows what he is getting himself into.

wtvol writes:

in response to SmokeyWazHere:

1st? Cool!

Not!

gnm53108 writes:

Pretty good article with one major exception.

Bad music?
Rocky Top?

Gary Shelton:You sir have no ear for fine music.

Merry Christmas.

Bufforange00 writes:

National titles will also follow Kiffin to Knoxville.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Bufforange00:

National titles will also follow Kiffin to Knoxville.

I really hope you are a seer.

Flashman writes:

All I got to say is that Ed Orgeron does like recruiting!

NorthwestVol writes:

Nice job by a writer from Florida. Go figure.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night from the white northwest (but it's no Rocky Top).

FWBVol writes:

I understand this was tongue in cheek humor, but the General was never a non-commissioned officer.

My impression is the guy wants to make people think he knows something about the SEC, but those of us who grew up with the conference can see right through it.

cwisenhower#637741 writes:

I read this garbage on the original website. Why must we be tormented with it again?

MarineDad writes:

in response to bama987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Monte's been around long enough that he probably has more than one story about the Bear.

govols87 writes:

so, what you're saying is the SEC has tradition?

volmaniac71 writes:

I am predicting at least an 8 win season next year. The Vols will serve notice to all the other SEC that were back and we are to be reckoned with.

pms151 writes:

Good one. We are just now learning more and more about Monte. I hope his zest continues in Knoxville.

allntl1#565211 writes:

Alot of comments on the Tampa article saying Kiffen was the glue that held the Bucs together and Gruden is the one that should go. The guy that wrote this article must have moved from NY to FL. No one talks about Bear Bryant. He knows nothing about southern football and no one who loves it should have to apologize for our traditions. This guy probably does not like Johnny Cash either.

theoldbear writes:

I still think Tampa Bay should file tampering charges against Tennessee! The Bucs defense hasn't played worth a darn since Lane Kiffin was hired at UT, and Monte started thinking about next year! Either that, or his players are grief stricken that he's leaving...

Go Vols, and Go Bucs!

pms151 writes:

Tampa Bay's defense is worn out because of lack of production by the offense earlier in the season. Carnell Williams was injured and has been a bust since. They throw the ball too many times for three and outs. Worn out D is not Monte's fault it's Gruden's. Just a couple of months ago we were all calling for Gruden to come here. Go figure.

joshvols writes:

has there been any word on who Coach Kiffin is looking at as a secondary coach?

murrayvol writes:

in response to SmokeyWazHere:

1st? Cool!

All I can say is.....Wow!

Only your 2nd post and you're 1st. Some guys go months or even years and just keep missing the brass ring.

Congrats Smokey and Merry Christmas! You da man! :)

HtownVol writes:

in response to theoldbear:

I still think Tampa Bay should file tampering charges against Tennessee! The Bucs defense hasn't played worth a darn since Lane Kiffin was hired at UT, and Monte started thinking about next year! Either that, or his players are grief stricken that he's leaving...

Go Vols, and Go Bucs!

Guess you are a Florida fan? You say go Vols, And they should be penalized? Who do you pull for? Do you want us to get Marlon Brown and then get recruiting violations also?

HtownVol writes:

Are we getting a O-coordinator or does lil-K get that title? I think we would go farther if Kiffin taked that title. I dont want to get a O-coordinator and have Kiffin minimizing the calls...Clawson-Fulmer

HtownVol writes:

taked... I mean takes.. sorry. Dont correct5 my grammer, miss. gatorzzzz

HtownVol writes:

correct, dammm Im all f'D up. So excited about my gifts.BTW, Marlon Brown would be the best X-mas gift for all VOL fans!!

orangebloodgmc writes:

Peas poor article from an ignorant undeducated writer.

First, lots of people love recruiting, the many variables of it and the adrenalin rush of landing good recruits.

Second, you don't need to know squat about the Bear except he's dead and Johnny Majors beat him in the last game and sent him into retirement. Instead you need to learn your GENERAL NEYLAND and all his maxims.

Third and last, some of us love Rocky Top and associate it's sound with very good things. You will too.

tennesseebee writes:

i have two wishes: 1)monte and the new staff go crazy sick of hearing rocky top played early and often. 2)monte don't jump even 6" out of a helicopter (lone ranger mask and silver bullets optional).

gohawks1 writes:

Fun article to read. But Monte, I wouldn't go around telling too many Bear stories in this part of the country - it won't go over to well here in TN.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to murrayvol:

All I can say is.....Wow!

Only your 2nd post and you're 1st. Some guys go months or even years and just keep missing the brass ring.

Congrats Smokey and Merry Christmas! You da man! :)

Merry Christmas, MV.

I've never been able to say 1st.

Either.

ggriggs939#223122 writes:

Why would anybody need to tell bear stories?
Bryant never did beat The General anywhere he coached.

FWBVol writes:

Chavis used a similar philosophy to Monte Kiffin on defense. Speed over size, middle linebackers that could run, smaller defensive guys up front, so as others have stated, I think a lot of the guys are in place to play in the new defense.

Al Wilson was a safety coming out of high school and to say that he turned into a fairly decent MLB would be an understatement.

The biggest problem in recent years has been the lack of ability to stop the big play. Often that has been the results of poor tackling. I think there will be some contact in the fall drills.

One interesting thing will be if there is a lot of hitting where the lines will be drawn. Yes, there are more players on a college football team than a NFL roster. But, if the NFL guy goes down you can sign a replacement. If say, Ben Martin gets hurt in September and is out for the year, you can't go out and sign another defensive end to take his spot on the roster.

volbald writes:

Never get tired of hearing Rocky Top. It's east Tennessee, it's a touchdown, it's a long pass, it's a long run, it's a field goal, it's a defensive stop, it's a recovered fumble, it's an interception, it's a win. One opposing coach remarked that Rocky Top was so "catchy" that he found himself humming it the week after the Vols had beaten his team. Go Vols!

FWBVol writes:

With a little internet research Shelton would have learned several things. He would have known why Alabama uses an elephant for the mascot or why a Bluetick Hound is one of UT's mascots...apparently he's never seen the guy dressed in buckskins at a UT game. And he would know that the eagle is not a mascot at Auburn, but simply part of the tradition that dates back to the early years of Tiger football on the Plains.

jturne44 writes:

in response to orangebloodgmc:

Peas poor article from an ignorant undeducated writer.

First, lots of people love recruiting, the many variables of it and the adrenalin rush of landing good recruits.

Second, you don't need to know squat about the Bear except he's dead and Johnny Majors beat him in the last game and sent him into retirement. Instead you need to learn your GENERAL NEYLAND and all his maxims.

Third and last, some of us love Rocky Top and associate it's sound with very good things. You will too.

thank you for that...this man underestimates how many of us have rocky top as our ring tones and let it ring through a couple times before answering like myself.

merry christmas rocky top from Salt Lake City...Lookin forward to bein back after winter break.

smokey_vols writes:

This is one of the best articles I have read on here in a looong time. Nice Job. Merry Christmas everyone!

douglasawilliams#582863 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Chavis used a similar philosophy to Monte Kiffin on defense. Speed over size, middle linebackers that could run, smaller defensive guys up front, so as others have stated, I think a lot of the guys are in place to play in the new defense.

Al Wilson was a safety coming out of high school and to say that he turned into a fairly decent MLB would be an understatement.

The biggest problem in recent years has been the lack of ability to stop the big play. Often that has been the results of poor tackling. I think there will be some contact in the fall drills.

One interesting thing will be if there is a lot of hitting where the lines will be drawn. Yes, there are more players on a college football team than a NFL roster. But, if the NFL guy goes down you can sign a replacement. If say, Ben Martin gets hurt in September and is out for the year, you can't go out and sign another defensive end to take his spot on the roster.

I really hope the senior Kiffin will stress tackling. We have given up way too many 3rd and 8's. Also my hope is that the Kiffin's will coach decent special teams play which has been way below average.

Waldorf writes:

He left out the part about how Monte will have to deal with the fans who still support the ex-coach and talk about how great he is.

By the way, any word on if Foolmore has a new gig yet? Not every day a 150+ win coach hits the market!

joshvols writes:

doesn't this defense set up perfectly for Chris Donald?

Imagine_this writes:

Monte, you will never get tired of hearing "Rocky Top!"
It is the best song in all of college football.
Go VOLS!!!!!!!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to Imagine_this:

Monte, you will never get tired of hearing "Rocky Top!"
It is the best song in all of college football.
Go VOLS!!!!!!!!

Speaking as a TRUE VOL fan, it IS possible to tire of Rocky Top.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Speaking as a TRUE VOL fan, it IS possible to tire of Rocky Top.

Which was worse-

Rocky Top

Working like Heck

Study the charts?

Hobson's choices.

rockytoptilidie writes:

Merry Christmas everyone.

This is unrelated to the story, but for Christmas, I received the Perfec10n DVD, the 10 year anniversary of the 98 Championship season that I'm sure most of you have seen. I've decided to review it, based on the past and the present.

-First and foremost, man, I miss that defense.

-I actually saw myself tearing down the goal posts after the Florida win (No kidding, I was 22 years old stationed in Montgomery and went to EVERY single game but the national championship, because I was deploying the next day).

-Tee Martin had a lot of physical gifts, but IMO, they did a good job of NOT showing the headaches he gave us in the early part of the season (at least until the SC game).

-Did you see the leaner Phil? I noticed the aggression, the motivation, and the burn that, somewhere along the way, he lost that.

-What happened to our recruiting? WRs: Peerless, Copeland, Ced. RB: Trav, Trav, Jamal. Don't even bring up what was on the defensive side of the ball.

-Winning a national championship takes luck and help. I know that. It just seems as if the ball hasn't bounced the same way it did then in the last several years.

-Not one "Workin like heck" or "Look at the film" or "Stay the course" reference. lol

-We need another Al Wilson now. I don't expect to find anyone with his talent, but having a man with that desire and burn to give his all for Tennessee would be nice.

-We, as fans, players, coaches, etc EXPECTED to win. That Florida game? The crowd was magical. OMG - what happened to that?

-Was there a catch that Peerless COULDN'T make? Those same balls would bounce right off of Austin Rogers shoulder pads (or hands). Wait, he'd never be there.

-Shaun F'n Bryson...

-What happened to winning games with great special teams play and forcing turnovers?

I could go on and on forever, but I've had a long day. I have to say the vid was one of the greatest presents I've received in a while (and I received a personally auto'd Vols helmet from Peyton to me today as well. ;)

beatlecakes writes:

This was one of the best articles to get your orange blood rolling that I have read in years. "Flashing those Super Bowl rings" and dropping names...great stuff. A father and son combo is going to be the the SEC story of the year in 2009...mark my word!

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

in response to NoogaVol55:

Pretty cool article...but I am quite sure Papa Kif knows what he is getting himself into.

I hope this moron Adams gets his clock cleaned by these new coaches, and ushers him the hell out of town as well!

FullofMonte writes:

in response to joshvols:

has there been any word on who Coach Kiffin is looking at as a secondary coach?

Maybe Rhonde Barber would be interested ... he's about ready for a new job...now that his NFL season is coming to an end...

FullofMonte writes:

in response to slovog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Gary Shelton is a columist for the St. Pete Times and covers pro sports mainly. He is out of the league of the KNS...I, on the other hand who use to run the sports department of the The Daily Beacon along with my comrade Woodrow "Woody" Paige, in the late 60's where Kiner, Neumoff and Reynolds ruled the SEC, would be happy to replace Pennington and Hooker at the News rag.

volsfan22 writes:

first of all u never get tired of hearing rocky top second of all pappa kif knows exactly what hes gettin in to and he will be damn good at it

volsfan22 writes:

to fullofmote i hate pennington too he gets on my nerves he dogs us more then saying something positive he needs to get gone and fast

heatcoach3030 writes:

in response to volsfan22:

first of all u never get tired of hearing rocky top second of all pappa kif knows exactly what hes gettin in to and he will be damn good at it

hope his sorry azz does better than his last 3 weeks in TB

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