No love lost between Raiders, Kiffin

Subplots aplenty in Tampa Bay

Bill Justus, left, and Randy Smith greet new Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin before doing an interview at halftime of last Saturday’s UT basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Bill Justus, left, and Randy Smith greet new Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin before doing an interview at halftime of last Saturday’s UT basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Bill Justus, left, and Randy Smith greet new Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin before doing an interview at halftime of last Saturday’s UT basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess // Buy this photo

Bill Justus, left, and Randy Smith greet new Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin before doing an interview at halftime of last Saturday’s UT basketball game at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Photo with no caption

Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin could be walking into a hornets’ nest or adding to one if he still plans on attending Sunday’s NFL game in Tampa, Fla., between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders.

Kiffin’s father, Monte Kiffin, is the Bucs’ defensive coordinator and has agreed to join his son’s staff as defensive coordinator when the season ends.

Lane Kiffin was fired by the Raiders on Sept. 30, just four games into his second season as coach.

MrSEC.com reported this week that Monte Kiffin has told his son not to come to the game because his presence would serve as a distraction.

Lane Kiffin in multiple interviews has described his time with the Raiders as dysfunctional.

Things with the Raiders got even more strained on Dec. 15 when Kiffin hired Raiders assistant offensive line coach James Cregg with two games left in the season.

Raiders interim coach Tom Cable’s was upset with the timing. He labeled Cregg a quitter and said Kiffin should have waited two more weeks.

“To do this is ridiculous,” Cable said at the time. “It’s wrong.”

On the same day, Cable dismissed two Kiffin hires: football administrator Mark Jackson, who worked with Kiffin at Southern California and who was the best man at his wedding, and office assistant Steve Reaves, Kiffin’s brother-in-law.

On Monday, Kiffin was on the radio, discussing his new job with syndicated host Jim Rome. He mostly talked about recruiting and the addition of Monte Kiffin to his staff. But Kiffin predictably spent a few minutes rehashing his time with the Raiders, going over the important lessons he learned in crisis management and how “sad” he found owner Al Davis’ performance at the press conference.

Davis fired Kiffin “for cause,” using an overhead projector to state his case for not paying Kiffin the remainder of his contract.

Kiffin later filed a grievance with the league office seeking compensation for the remainder of this season and next season. The case remains under review.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat was checking the pulse of the Raiders’ locker room following Lane Kiffin’s radio appearance. One of Kiffin’s primary whipping boys, tackle Mario Henderson, discussed his solid performance against Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams of the Houston Texans last Sunday. The second-year player also talked about Kiffin’s steady criticism.

“I took it all as motivation,” Henderson told the newspaper. “I had been through that before. I only started one year at Florida State. I kind of been through the roller-coaster ride. I was just learning that I can only do what I can do.”

Asked if he was excited about the prospect of going up against Monte Kiffin, Henderson told the newspaper: “Yeah. Anything to help the Raiders get back at the Kiffin family, I’m all for it.”

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden insists he has no ill will toward his former employer. Davis essentially traded Gruden to the Bucs for cash in 2002.

He’s not so sure about Monte Kiffin.

“That was obviously sudden and traumatic, I guess, from a football standpoint of what occurred,” Gruden said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters about Lane Kiffin’s firing. “But I can’t comment for Coach Kiff.”

Davis said Lane Kiffin wanted to hire his father as defensive coordinator with the Raiders in place of Rob Ryan after last season. Gruden said he had little communication with Lane Kiffin while he battled Davis and that he didn’t offer much advice before Lane accepted the job.

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Comments » 128

yeavols#228407 writes:

WOW..

ncvol17 writes:

Raiders organization stinks. Need to wait for Satan to call Al Davis home b4 they can become a real NFL team again. HIs competant days are way in his rear view mirror.

Now Kiffin can focus on the Orange & White.

rusty_shackleford writes:

A spittin' contest between Davis & Cregg vs.....? Adults move on, children keep whining about the past, and journalist try to stir the pot.

Kiffin_fan writes:

in response to rusty_shackleford:

A spittin' contest between Davis & Cregg vs.....? Adults move on, children keep whining about the past, and journalist try to stir the pot.

LMAO @ journalist trying to stir the pot ...

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

At least the Lions realized why they've been in a downspin and fired Millen.

Too bad Davis' ego won't allow him to step away and give his team a chance to move on from laughing stock.

BillsBrother writes:

Luke...I mean Lane, I am your father. Do not come to the game.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upKf16...

ncvol writes:

There will always be the conflict of hiring coaches from another organization. Hope things smooth over soon.
Don't blame him for wanting to be at the game. Time heals all wounds...
Go Vols!

govols87 writes:

All this is completely rediculous. It's really embarrasing what the DL from Oakland said, "...get back at the Kiffin's.." are you kidding me? What is this a daytime soap opera? Get over yourself kid. How about concentrating on playing football for real reasons, like trying to win more than 5 games? Which is something I'm sure won't happen for that franchise in a long time. Bunch of creeps!

gohawks1 writes:

Speaking of Cregg's hire by Kiffin, Cable said, “To do this is ridiculous. It’s wrong.” That same day, Cable dismissed two Kiffin hires - Kiffin's brother-in-law and his best man at his wedding.

That's lower than low, Mr. Cable, no matter how you slice it. You can't call foul and then do the same thing to two other people. Good grief.

blitzshoot writes:

When it's all said and done, I hope the product is better at UT. I hope Kiffin can prove some people worng. It may take a few years, but its about " winning baby."

samjrr writes:

Its not about the Raiders!!

NoogaVol55 writes:

I guess Kiffin hiring Cregg gives Cable a scapegoat for why the Raiders still sucked after Lane was fired....

"Honestly Al, we would have won those last 3 games if Lane didn't hire our assistant O-line coach away from us."...give me a break, the Raiders just need some other reason to put the blame...instead of realizing that after the Lions, they are the worst franchise in the NFL.

I wonder if he (Cable) made that phone call to Kiffin letting him know how upset he was....Like L. Kiffin gives two sh*ts what anybody in the Raiders (dis)organization thinks.

khelton657 writes:

Way to go coach Kiffin..take 'em all head on..Al DAvis, Spurrier, Meyer....fear no one...when it come to sheep vs wolves, the wolves always win.

TommyJack writes:

in response to gohawks1:

Speaking of Cregg's hire by Kiffin, Cable said, “To do this is ridiculous. It’s wrong.” That same day, Cable dismissed two Kiffin hires - Kiffin's brother-in-law and his best man at his wedding.

That's lower than low, Mr. Cable, no matter how you slice it. You can't call foul and then do the same thing to two other people. Good grief.

good take, as usual, from eyepee.

philfan writes:

With a record of 5 and 15, I would have fired Lane Kiffin in a heartbeat and would not have been so nice about it. The idea is to win most of your games, not the other way around. I hope Hamilton gives Kiffin a strict timetable for winning at Tennessee.

I saw where Mike Leach placed second to Nick Saban as the Associated Press Coach of the Year for 2008. I want to scream when I think of Hamilton passing on hiring Leach as HC and opting for a third rate unknown pretty boy named Kiffin.

I want to shake hands with the idiot who was in charge of this stupidity, ignorance, mediocrity, and incompetence.

BillsBrother writes:

in response to philfan:

With a record of 5 and 15, I would have fired Lane Kiffin in a heartbeat and would not have been so nice about it. The idea is to win most of your games, not the other way around. I hope Hamilton gives Kiffin a strict timetable for winning at Tennessee.

I saw where Mike Leach placed second to Nick Saban as the Associated Press Coach of the Year for 2008. I want to scream when I think of Hamilton passing on hiring Leach as HC and opting for a third rate unknown pretty boy named Kiffin.

I want to shake hands with the idiot who was in charge of this stupidity, ignorance, mediocrity, and incompetence.

Go ahead and scream, philfan.

There's not much else you can do about it now.

Complaining makes you look like a crybaby.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to philfan:

With a record of 5 and 15, I would have fired Lane Kiffin in a heartbeat and would not have been so nice about it. The idea is to win most of your games, not the other way around. I hope Hamilton gives Kiffin a strict timetable for winning at Tennessee.

I saw where Mike Leach placed second to Nick Saban as the Associated Press Coach of the Year for 2008. I want to scream when I think of Hamilton passing on hiring Leach as HC and opting for a third rate unknown pretty boy named Kiffin.

I want to shake hands with the idiot who was in charge of this stupidity, ignorance, mediocrity, and incompetence.

Those ramblin's ought to get the ole blogging going.....

TopperVol75 writes:

in response to gohawks1:

Speaking of Cregg's hire by Kiffin, Cable said, “To do this is ridiculous. It’s wrong.” That same day, Cable dismissed two Kiffin hires - Kiffin's brother-in-law and his best man at his wedding.

That's lower than low, Mr. Cable, no matter how you slice it. You can't call foul and then do the same thing to two other people. Good grief.

You are correct, sir. Pot, meet kettle.

TopperVol75 writes:

The fact that ANYBODY gives the Raiders organization ANY credibility boggles my mind.

JohnsonCity_George writes:

in response to philfan:

With a record of 5 and 15, I would have fired Lane Kiffin in a heartbeat and would not have been so nice about it. The idea is to win most of your games, not the other way around. I hope Hamilton gives Kiffin a strict timetable for winning at Tennessee.

I saw where Mike Leach placed second to Nick Saban as the Associated Press Coach of the Year for 2008. I want to scream when I think of Hamilton passing on hiring Leach as HC and opting for a third rate unknown pretty boy named Kiffin.

I want to shake hands with the idiot who was in charge of this stupidity, ignorance, mediocrity, and incompetence.

I'm not sure I understand....Do you want to shake hands with Phil? John Adams? Who? I'm not sure which idiot you want to meet...

TopperVol75 writes:

Mike Leach has done a great job THIS year...look at his track record before that. He was not going to be a proper fit in Knoxville...wearing a pirate hat while walking down The Strip will not cut it here.

wtvol writes:

in response to philfan:

With a record of 5 and 15, I would have fired Lane Kiffin in a heartbeat and would not have been so nice about it. The idea is to win most of your games, not the other way around. I hope Hamilton gives Kiffin a strict timetable for winning at Tennessee.

I saw where Mike Leach placed second to Nick Saban as the Associated Press Coach of the Year for 2008. I want to scream when I think of Hamilton passing on hiring Leach as HC and opting for a third rate unknown pretty boy named Kiffin.

I want to shake hands with the idiot who was in charge of this stupidity, ignorance, mediocrity, and incompetence.

Get over it. Good grief.

TopperVol75 writes:

in response to iamblackbecauseIamblack:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree with most of your reply...but, what's up with the handle??

gohawks1 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

good take, as usual, from eyepee.

Thanks, brother. Good to hear from you again. Been on a spirit quest?

gohawks1 writes:

in response to TopperVol75:

You are correct, sir. Pot, meet kettle.

Thanks, Topper. That's how I see it too, only this is worse. Seems to me the man took out his anger on two men (not to mention their families) by firing them from their jobs just to try to get back at Kiffin. The guy seems unstable to me. He ought to get along just fine with that nutcase owner of the Raiders.

MANVOL writes:

I LIKE IT STIR THE POT LANE!

orangevolz writes:

in response to philfan:

With a record of 5 and 15, I would have fired Lane Kiffin in a heartbeat and would not have been so nice about it. The idea is to win most of your games, not the other way around. I hope Hamilton gives Kiffin a strict timetable for winning at Tennessee.

I saw where Mike Leach placed second to Nick Saban as the Associated Press Coach of the Year for 2008. I want to scream when I think of Hamilton passing on hiring Leach as HC and opting for a third rate unknown pretty boy named Kiffin.

I want to shake hands with the idiot who was in charge of this stupidity, ignorance, mediocrity, and incompetence.

By mid-season, you will realize how silly your "philfan" name looks, and then change it to "kiffinfan." Phil gave us a natl championship, but he also took the program to a new low. Thank goodness for Mike Hamilton!!

bobbarbilly writes:

There is a simple solution to the problems that the Raiders are experiencing. Al should call Tom into his office, offer him some soothing tea and tell him about George Blanda. Then call George, and GET HIM SUITED UP!!

TopperVol75 writes:

in response to gohawks1:

Thanks, Topper. That's how I see it too, only this is worse. Seems to me the man took out his anger on two men (not to mention their families) by firing them from their jobs just to try to get back at Kiffin. The guy seems unstable to me. He ought to get along just fine with that nutcase owner of the Raiders.

You are welcome, sir. Agree, the family being displaced is even worse...many times forgotten in Assistant Coaches hiring and firing. Again, why give the Raider's "organization" ANY amount of respect!

philfan writes:

in response to JohnsonCity_George:

I'm not sure I understand....Do you want to shake hands with Phil? John Adams? Who? I'm not sure which idiot you want to meet...

I want to shake hands with every fan who campaigned for Fulmer's ouster. And this is a promise. I will change my handle to kiffinfan when Kiffin (I mean, Kiffin's family) wins a national championship and two SEC trophies. It will never happen.

LiveFaith writes:

I think that Lane Kiffin would be well served to stop commenting on the Raiders and Al Davis. He may (or maybe not?) be 100% correct, but one learns with age to either shut up and move on or speak your piece and move on. Rehashing and thereby vilifying "peers", competitors, and or possible future cohorts in the business, usually comes back to haunt. Just speaking from life lessons and words of wisdom received over the years.

When you have a new "wife", it's time to quit revisiting the failures of the last one. JMHO.

blitzshoot writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I do not hold allegiance to any man. Hold them all accountable, and even more if they are coaching the Tennessee Vols! I'll will either pat you on the back or kick you in the a... Win.

blitzshoot writes:

in response to LiveFaith:

I think that Lane Kiffin would be well served to stop commenting on the Raiders and Al Davis. He may (or maybe not?) be 100% correct, but one learns with age to either shut up and move on or speak your piece and move on. Rehashing and thereby vilifying "peers", competitors, and or possible future cohorts in the business, usually comes back to haunt. Just speaking from life lessons and words of wisdom received over the years.

When you have a new "wife", it's time to quit revisiting the failures of the last one. JMHO.

Damn good post!

volunteers4life writes:

H%$ll, I wont just change my handle but Ill change my legal name to Kiffin if he wins us a national championship and 2 SEC championships!! Better yet, Ill name my first born after both Monte and Lane. If a girl: Kiffie Cakes Smith Or if its a boy: Kifflin Bo Smith.

You guys put up enough cash and I might even be serious...

WeLoveTennesseeVols writes:

in response to MANVOL:

I LIKE IT STIR THE POT LANE!

So does the media, nothing like good gossip to soup it up for the hungry fans who lack motivation!

lilesrt writes:

Any ideas if Kiffin is going to hire an offensive coordinator? If so who is supposedly on the list?

Volinsider writes:

in response to lilesrt:

Any ideas if Kiffin is going to hire an offensive coordinator? If so who is supposedly on the list?

For the last time people, Lane Kiffin is going to be the head coach AND offensive coordinator. THUS, HE IS NOT GOING TO HIRE AN OC!!!!!! IF you are a fan, please pay attention before you ask such questions. Oh and by the way, have you heard? Lane Kiffin is going to be the offensive coordinator.

MidTennVol writes:

Okay, I'll say it, not that it has anything to do with this article.

Something has been eating at me ever since we were introduced to Kiffin: what type of ethics does he bring to the program? What sense of right and wrong does he instill in his staff and players? What makes him tick? Where does he get his sense of right and wrong and fair play, etc.?

Of course, our only frame of reference is the past 17 years with Fulmer, who ran a clean program and who never had even a whiff of ethical impropriety about him (at least as far as I can remember.)

The vast majority of his former players absolutely love him and I can't even count the number of times the word "class" has been used to describe him these last few months of 2008. It seems "class" as the adjective of choice used to describe Fulmer by people who know him.

So, what's Kiffin like? What are his assistants like? What about Orgeron, who has a reported fondness for standing on chairs in locker rooms and screaming "m*&@#&*f(ker!" at his players and daring them to fight him? Who has a reportedly malodorous mist hanging above his recruiting tactics? To be sure, rumors are rumors. But they are there nonetheless.

I'm talking about the character of this Tennessee team moving forward. We all know the HC sets the tone for the character of any team. ("If the fish stinks, it stinks from the head on down.")

I for one am looking forward to seeing this character.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to ncvol:

There will always be the conflict of hiring coaches from another organization. Hope things smooth over soon.
Don't blame him for wanting to be at the game. Time heals all wounds...
Go Vols!

Yeah, and time also wounds all heels.

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Not sure I care very much about Al Davis or his Raiders.

You must give Al an A for longevity, however. He must be 104.

VOLFORLIFE writes:

in response to Volinsider:

For the last time people, Lane Kiffin is going to be the head coach AND offensive coordinator. THUS, HE IS NOT GOING TO HIRE AN OC!!!!!! IF you are a fan, please pay attention before you ask such questions. Oh and by the way, have you heard? Lane Kiffin is going to be the offensive coordinator.

How 'bout lightening up a bit, Mr. insider. I am a fan, and try to keep up with the goings-on of anything Big Orange. At the same time, I also have a life and, therefore, sometimes can't take the time to sift through all the profound ramblings of people like yourself who seemingly know-all and will tell-all if we'll just pay attention.

But I'll apologize for also not knowing that Lane Kiffen will be his own OC. And let me apologize in advance in case I ever get the urge to ask a dumb question like this.

GO VOLS!!!
JUGHEAD

jimr07 writes:

in response to philfan:

With a record of 5 and 15, I would have fired Lane Kiffin in a heartbeat and would not have been so nice about it. The idea is to win most of your games, not the other way around. I hope Hamilton gives Kiffin a strict timetable for winning at Tennessee.

I saw where Mike Leach placed second to Nick Saban as the Associated Press Coach of the Year for 2008. I want to scream when I think of Hamilton passing on hiring Leach as HC and opting for a third rate unknown pretty boy named Kiffin.

I want to shake hands with the idiot who was in charge of this stupidity, ignorance, mediocrity, and incompetence.

I wonder why Leach did not get an offer from some other school. It is most gratifying to know of your support for Tennessee. By the way, Phil is not longer the Head Coach and you may as well get use to it.

jimr07 writes:

in response to LiveFaith:

I think that Lane Kiffin would be well served to stop commenting on the Raiders and Al Davis. He may (or maybe not?) be 100% correct, but one learns with age to either shut up and move on or speak your piece and move on. Rehashing and thereby vilifying "peers", competitors, and or possible future cohorts in the business, usually comes back to haunt. Just speaking from life lessons and words of wisdom received over the years.

When you have a new "wife", it's time to quit revisiting the failures of the last one. JMHO.

talk to reporters and ask them to quit asking him about his time with Al Loser er Davis. I heard the Jim Rome interview and it is nothing like KNS describes.

rusty_shackleford writes:

This is like a 7th grade girl drama:

"Did you hear what she said about you?"
"I can't believe he's talking to her."
"What are you gonna do about it?"

But now that I think about it, that might be where these writers' emotional maturity maxed out.

volman49 writes:

Does anyone know when the spring game is?

Go Vols!!!!!!!!!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to MidTennVol:

Okay, I'll say it, not that it has anything to do with this article.

Something has been eating at me ever since we were introduced to Kiffin: what type of ethics does he bring to the program? What sense of right and wrong does he instill in his staff and players? What makes him tick? Where does he get his sense of right and wrong and fair play, etc.?

Of course, our only frame of reference is the past 17 years with Fulmer, who ran a clean program and who never had even a whiff of ethical impropriety about him (at least as far as I can remember.)

The vast majority of his former players absolutely love him and I can't even count the number of times the word "class" has been used to describe him these last few months of 2008. It seems "class" as the adjective of choice used to describe Fulmer by people who know him.

So, what's Kiffin like? What are his assistants like? What about Orgeron, who has a reported fondness for standing on chairs in locker rooms and screaming "m*&@#&*f(ker!" at his players and daring them to fight him? Who has a reportedly malodorous mist hanging above his recruiting tactics? To be sure, rumors are rumors. But they are there nonetheless.

I'm talking about the character of this Tennessee team moving forward. We all know the HC sets the tone for the character of any team. ("If the fish stinks, it stinks from the head on down.")

I for one am looking forward to seeing this character.

Denmarkian: I see where you're drifting, but I don't see any proof of impropriety. If one wanted to dig deep (not me) there are things floating around about CFP. I say let's give CLK the benefit of the doubt. That a couple of coaching reprobates have dissed him is nothing.
The fact that CLK barks back a little is refreshing to me; not cause for worry. The proof, they say, is in the pudding. Let's allow him time to brew up a batch.

utenn99#317883 writes:

in response to LiveFaith:

I think that Lane Kiffin would be well served to stop commenting on the Raiders and Al Davis. He may (or maybe not?) be 100% correct, but one learns with age to either shut up and move on or speak your piece and move on. Rehashing and thereby vilifying "peers", competitors, and or possible future cohorts in the business, usually comes back to haunt. Just speaking from life lessons and words of wisdom received over the years.

When you have a new "wife", it's time to quit revisiting the failures of the last one. JMHO.

If you have a wife like his, you wouldn't have any need to revisit previous women! Layla is going to be nice to have around for the next few years.

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

Double edged sword on this one. Should he respect his father and stay away??....safe and no controversy.

On the other hand...God knows Tennessee needs press and promotion. Lots of recruits watching and some TV time might not hurt. I'm sure there will be an announcer that will say "Kiffin is setting players up for the pro's at Tennessee"...

Bottom line, I would stay home. The Bucs defense checked out and has played like phooey last two weeks since Daddy announced he was leaving. Respect your pops wishes...

easymoney writes:

Note to the SEC:

Beware, lock your doors, we are coming! Go Vols!

joshvols writes:

dc, you florida fans are so ridiculous. any time spurrier would say anything involving the word tennessee or fulmer, well he was just the most clever coach in america, gettin under phil's skin blah blah blah. well now the shoe's on the other foot and you want to call kiffin's jab juvenile. get a life

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