Fans develop a feel for Kiffin

Coach admits first Vol Walk was special

CLEVELAND - No mention of Urban Meyer. No shots at SEC rivals. No verbal jabs.

Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin won't make SportsCenter with his first stop on the Big Orange Caravan at the Cleveland Country Club. Then again, Kiffin, who hosted a camera crew last week for an upcoming feature on ESPN, said he isn't as focused on making national headlines after five months on the job as he was in December.

"I think our fans right now have started to feel us," Kiffin told reporters before Monday's luncheon. "I don't think I have to say as many things as I did initially, because they didn't know us (then). I think it was important for them to feel us and to feel our energy and to feel our confidence. So many of them got the chance to go to the spring game and the Vol Walk and practices and fan day, I think now you don't have to do as much of that because now they're starting to understand who we are."

Kiffin was making the first of several appearances this spring before alumni groups around the state and the southeast with women's basketball coach Pat Summitt and men's basketball graduate assistant Aaron Green, a former head coach at Cleveland High School. Green stood in for head coach Bruce Pearl.

Kiffin entertained a few hundred fans with stories from his first few months on the job and thanked fans for making Saturday's Orange and White game a special day for the coaching staff and players.

"I've been in three Rose Bowls, two Orange Bowls. Halfway through that Vol Walk, I kind of blanked out a little bit and didn't know where I was," Kiffin said. "I was really feeling like I was at a national championship or something because of all the energy. I got in the locker room and had to remind myself that this is only the spring game."

In fact, the only mention of other SEC schools came when Kiffin described his coaches' reaction to walking through a sea of fans before Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage.

"They've been at South Carolina, Auburn, Alabama and Ole Miss and they said they'd never been a part of anything like that," Kiffin said. "I don't think it was just the sheer numbers, because I think they've been a part of the numbers. But the energy that was there, the emotion that the fans were pouring out was really special."

Kiffin helped raise $25,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland (a figure that doubled its previous high when Pearl spoke there last year), he's spent the better part of five months trying to raise his players' confidence.

"Players aren't going to be any good unless they have confidence," Kiffin told the crowd. "And that goes back to a lot of things that I've said that maybe some of you guys didn't like very much. But understand when you go back to your players and you put yourself out there like that, your players feel confidence in you. They know that their staff has their back, and they know they have to work to get our back."

Making those players better, as well as energizing fans and recruiting elite players nationwide, are the essence of his job description, Kiffin said. Those verbal jabs at Florida, South Carolina or Alabama along the way were just means to that end.

"Unfortunately, sometimes you have to do some things that may not be what everybody likes, but it gets you out there," Kiffin said. "It gets Tennessee in Sports Illustrated and on SportsCenter. That may sound weird to you guys, but understand that's what kids nowadays look at. Ninth-graders, 10th-graders, they need to see Tennessee over and over and over again because that's how they start to say, 'OK, I'm 3,000 miles away, (but) I better go check that place out because something special's going on there.'"

Summitt, who began her career at Tennessee in 1974, feels some of the excitement across all UT sports.

"I think this is a special time for us," she said. "Just with the energy that the football coaching staff has brought in and we all know that Coach Pearl is off the charts when you talk about his passion and his energy and enthusiasm.

"It's great. We are a family. We always have been. When Coach (Phillip) Fulmer was there, he had his door open all the time. He helped me in recruiting. Bruce has done the same, and I've tried to do the same for him. I'm sure we'll all join in with football and whatever they want us to do, we're going to do. It's a special time for us."

And it's not all about talking the talk, either.

Almost to a player, the Vols said they're heading into offseason workouts with more confidence. More than 51,000 fans - the second-largest crowd in school history - attended the spring game. And UT's recruiting class, helped by the signing of the nation's top overall prospect in tailback Bryce Brown, finished 10th in the nation according to Rivals.com.

Fans chuckled when Bob Kesling, UT's radio play-by-play voice and director of external communications, asked Kiffin if he expected to make SportsCenter so quickly after arriving in Knoxville. UT's head coach didn't miss a beat.

"Well, we did get the No. 1 player in the country," Kiffin said, drawing a cheer. "That's my excuse."

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Comments » 198

cleVOLand writes:

Crud, I missed it!

the10sevol writes:

Feelin' it, coach, from the bottom of my big orange heart. You might wanna take a dramamine before going thru the "T" on 9/5...

To the faithful - anything scarier to "them" than Coach O and Lady Pat recruiting together, families with multiple athletic kids please move to the front, lol...

Are there any time machines that do private charters in the four month range, for groups of, say, 109,000? They'd be sold out in seconds. Yeah, we're feelin it, Coach...

smashmouth98 writes:

ORANGE SWARM

Reel Them IN!!

what kind of feedback did the recruits have after this past weekend??

all_vols writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

go vols!

Rich_Rollin_09's IQ - 16
09 Victory over Gators - Priceless

get a life

utkalumn writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Go smoke some south carolina for comfort...

just4utk writes:

My feel on Kiffin is that he needs to pick a starting QB. This is just going to hurt the team the longer this drags out. After watching the game, I’d go with Coleman. I thought Crompton and Coleman had their moments, both good and not so good. If it’s that tough of a decision picking between a senior and a sophomore after all of the spring practices and the orange-white game, then go ahead and give the sophomore the nod. He will learn and get better for the next two years or he will flop and give a top prospect even more incentive to come to UT in 2010. Why let a senior play in your system for one year and graduate just to get a top prospect next year? I believe not naming a starter yet makes the QB race competitive, but it also is splitting their reps and preventing the eventual starter to go ahead and get the majority of reps and get better. Pick a starter, be it Crompton, Coleman, or Stephens, and let’s focus on the 2009 season.

DennisVols writes:

Looks like the gator fans are really worried. Every where you turn now days thats all I hear from gator fans is something to do with UT.
We have become their nightmare. They make pointless, factless statements which really shows their inept mental capabilities. I hear that some even make outragious predictions like a 60 point win which really shows how they are probably up late at night worring about playing UT on national TV.
I like Kiffin he has really got the gator children all torn up and even Meyer is so obsessed that he has hung pictures of Kiffin all over the gator locker room. Must be some kind of crush. It reminds you of a teen with a crush on a super model. I'm betting he never had coach Fulmer's pictures posted anywhere.
Gotta love the gator trolls on a UT site. It is just more proof of how obsessed and worried they truly are about UT's rise with the new coaching staff. After all if they weren't worried why else would they be talking about UT football so much.
Thanks to all the gator trolls on here. Your presence shows me UT made the right choice in a new coach. Keep coming on here trying to convience us we made the wrong choice. After all if had made the wrong choice then you would not be trying to convience to get a differt coach, you would be happy with who we got.
Gotta love it.
Go Vols!!!

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee-20
Florida-17

You don't have to write it down though... I see it being a low scoring, hard hitting chess match.

Lean_and_Hungry writes:

If Fla thinks they're going to roll up big numbers against us, then they're going to be eating a turd sandwich--win or lose.

Laydbakvol writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tim Tebow - 14
Eric Berry - 35

write it down

rudy123 writes:

in response to mbible1utk#324980:

Tennessee-20
Florida-17

You don't have to write it down though... I see it being a low scoring, hard hitting chess match.

Did any of you notice that Percy Harvin was positive on
a drug test at the N.F.L. combine??
How stupid can you be. You know with 100% accuracy that all prospects are tested at the combine BUT you
can restrain from drugs for a month, until after the combines.
Are all Florida athletes
this stupid????????

Laydbakvol writes:

in response to rudy123:

Did any of you notice that Percy Harvin was positive on
a drug test at the N.F.L. combine??
How stupid can you be. You know with 100% accuracy that all prospects are tested at the combine BUT you
can restrain from drugs for a month, until after the combines.
Are all Florida athletes
this stupid????????

Yes. Thank you for asking.

jcherrie#219531 (Inactive) writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tennessee 22
Florida 20

Tattoo it on you @ss!

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

in response to just4utk:

My feel on Kiffin is that he needs to pick a starting QB. This is just going to hurt the team the longer this drags out. After watching the game, I’d go with Coleman. I thought Crompton and Coleman had their moments, both good and not so good. If it’s that tough of a decision picking between a senior and a sophomore after all of the spring practices and the orange-white game, then go ahead and give the sophomore the nod. He will learn and get better for the next two years or he will flop and give a top prospect even more incentive to come to UT in 2010. Why let a senior play in your system for one year and graduate just to get a top prospect next year? I believe not naming a starter yet makes the QB race competitive, but it also is splitting their reps and preventing the eventual starter to go ahead and get the majority of reps and get better. Pick a starter, be it Crompton, Coleman, or Stephens, and let’s focus on the 2009 season.

I know a lot are wondering who will be the signal caller for the upcoming season...you have to ask yourself this question:

What if CLK actually thought, if I let Crompton think he won the job, that will get Coleman going, all knowing that his best QB got a total of 4 practices in and looked as good as the 2 that each had 14 practices....now you know why Rozier is coming to UT...Crompton is done, BJ can only throw 8-10 yard passes effectively- his release is just something that cannot be taught..the answer is the kid who can = Nick Stephens

Voluvr writes:

The sports dead zone is going to be worse this year with anticipation between the O&W game and the first game. I love baseball, but you can only watch so many home runs on Sports Center.

Getting a good QB will make it better.

DAJUANMAN writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Go Big Orange!

UT- 38
UF- 10

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

kabzs writes:

in response to cleVOLand:

Crud, I missed it!

They will be at the Chattanooga Choo Choo on the 21st.

DennisVols writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I appreciate you proving my point. I see you are so worried that you seek web links to try and shake our confidence.
Keep up the good work of showing UT fans that even gator fans are obsessed with this new young coach Kiffin.
Do yourself a favor and take something to help you sleep through those nightmares that all of you lil gators are having as you picture Kiffin singing Rocky Top as 70K+ cry all the way back to their cars this Sept.

DennisVols writes:

They're so smart that a couple years ago they used a pic of a croc. in their game program instead of an aligator.
Just goes to show that mental limitation of the average lizard.

lowman4vols writes:

I was there today at the boys and girls club. Got a aautograph. Awesome experience. Go vols.

jujuvolz writes:

in response to rockybottomtenn:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So what are you're true colors, rockybottom? I can't tell. I can see they are not Orange and White. Yes, the last couple of years have not been where we (the true fans) would like them to be, but we can see a bright future on the horizon! GO VOLS!!!

VOLKING writes:

Gator fans have no life. See the number of posts by each in such a short time. Kiffinhas their attention....and they are scared.

DennisVols writes:

in response to rockybottomtenn:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Planning on living the rest of your life in the past?
What happened last year or the year before that really doesn't matter. Not one game you won last year will win you a single game this year, not even the title game.
This is not coach Fulmer's team and even if it was that is still no sure bet for a win.
With that logic I guess you will get beat by those pesky rebles the next time you play them and we can all watch those so called gator tears roll down Tebows face again.
Get a life. You showed you mental limitations with your response to my earlier post when they had to remove it.

tennezz writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Now that you have us all scared to death, I guess we can forget about recruiting this year! I had no idea florida had 1000 scholarships to offer this year!

elsinoresam writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This is the best I have ever heard.

DennisVols writes:

in response to rockybottomtenn:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I forgot that gators have a memory span of about 30 seconds.
Those tears where lil T crying like a lil baby about how he had let UF down in the loss to Old Missy.
We are in the present and the last time I looked UF hasn't won a single game this year.
So keep on trying to convience us just how good you really are. Those that are great never have to speak of it because eveyone knows it already.
You just keep proving my earlier point that the gator nation is obsessed with UT now. They can't stop thinking about UT and will do anything they can to try and convience us we made a bad decision in hiring Kiffin and crew.
Any time my opponet tries to convience me I am going the wrong direction that lets me know I am on the right track.
I like the "bottom" in you pen name. Bottom feeders are what gators are.
Now go on back to your lil gator site and tell everyone how you TRIED to put UT fans in their place so they can tell you how proud they are of you for being so brave to even come here unarmed.

OrangeRockyTop writes:

Does anybody know when this upcoming espn feature with CLK airs?

AppStVol writes:

in response to Nivram:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TnScooby writes:

So much time spent by gay-ters on this site only goes to show how worried they truly are. Every team has its day and the Gay-turds have had their share of late but really, what does an inbred alligator that became a crock-odile have to brag about? Recent success? Well I will always brag about a TRUE UNDEFEATED national championship and that is 1 thing Gay-turds will NEVER have. Now write that down!!!!!! And take your azzes back to your own board!!!!!

TnScooby writes:

And by the way, glad you figured out how to use spell check, too bad you haven't a clue regarding punctuation you moron!

TnScooby writes:

in response to rockybottomtenn:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

And by the way idiot, it is "intellectual" with a C....lmao.

belayvol writes:

in response to rockybottomtenn:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Trust me, you are not that important. The only time the gators come up is when there is no paper in the stalls. Hey, pass me some gator hide bro! Soft and squishy btw.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to just4utk:

My feel on Kiffin is that he needs to pick a starting QB. This is just going to hurt the team the longer this drags out. After watching the game, I’d go with Coleman. I thought Crompton and Coleman had their moments, both good and not so good. If it’s that tough of a decision picking between a senior and a sophomore after all of the spring practices and the orange-white game, then go ahead and give the sophomore the nod. He will learn and get better for the next two years or he will flop and give a top prospect even more incentive to come to UT in 2010. Why let a senior play in your system for one year and graduate just to get a top prospect next year? I believe not naming a starter yet makes the QB race competitive, but it also is splitting their reps and preventing the eventual starter to go ahead and get the majority of reps and get better. Pick a starter, be it Crompton, Coleman, or Stephens, and let’s focus on the 2009 season.

Yeah,it's 6/half dozen.Keep the competition up or get one more prepared.

Coach Fulmer liked to pick one early.Didnt work last year.NOTHING on that side of the ball worked last year.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

Let the doldrums begin

belayvol writes:

in response to VOLinDAWGland:

Let the doldrums begin

Don't be too sure. Wit this staff, i look for many ways for them to keep Tennessee football in the news. Reminds me of a line from one of my favorite movies, Antici..............pation.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to VOLinDAWGland:

Let the doldrums begin

Can we start a frost brewed support group?

give_him_6 writes:

With all the little lizards running around here, what is this, a new Taco Bell comercial or what?? You guys know something is up. Or else you wouldn't be here. I guess you all are trying to tap into Kiffs mojo. You will need it. The Gay-tors were'nt real high and mighty when Meyer got down there. But you guys were quick to talk smack. So get used to hearing it from us. And you had better get used to seeing us too. Up close and personal. It looks like we are going to run the ball right at you and keep it there all day. You had better find a QB replacement for Tea-bag as well. Cause when he is gone...Meyer will bolt for Notre Dame. LoL!!!!!

99gator writes:

some of you have lost your minds.

gator and vol alike.

1. hate florida all you want, but florida is going to be very strong in 2009. very strong

2. hate tennessee all you want, lane kiffin, vince lombardi, bill parcells, tom landry, bear bryant, (insert another name of a great coach here) should not be able to pull off the upset in september. so, if florida wins in september, no judgment can be made on lane kiffin or the direction the tennessee program is heading.

and that's regardless of how ugly the score may or may not be. if florida takes tennessee to the woodshed, by season's end tennessee will have plenty of company.

smokyredbone writes:

Boy oh boy, look at these Gator fans posting all night, past midnight and into the morning. Either none of these idiots have meaningful jobs,or they work the night shift at the landfill. Either way they are extreme examples of complete losers. My wife would divorce me if I spent as much time on the internet as some of these fools do. Kiffins got these SOB's worried,worried,worried!!! I hope it consumes your entire summer and into the fall. While you are posting on here some Florida State fan is cracking your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend in most of your cases. You can say Kiffin doesn't have you worried,but after all this bluster from the turd nation if you losers don't beat us by 50-60-70 points it will be you the nation is laughing at! Can't wait till 9-19-09!!!!!!

volaholic45 writes:

All the gader trolling is remarkable. I can't imagine maintaining so much interest in a 5-win opponent, no matter what sins the new coach had committed against the gods.

I hope my friends and family initiate an intervention if I ever become a harpie on boards devoted to teams I don't like. And especially if the object of my obsession is coming off a sub-.500 season. Pathetic.

I'll bet they're telling themselves they can quit anytime they want.

TommyJack writes:

in response to Nivram:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not sure an ESPN commentator is in a position to judge the knowledge of fandom. All fans want a reason to bloviate...you guys should know. Seems I remember tons of gator fans saying (after Donavon won second ring) that FL would never be out of contention for SEC and national championships. Maybe I dreamed that up.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to volaholic45:

All the gader trolling is remarkable. I can't imagine maintaining so much interest in a 5-win opponent, no matter what sins the new coach had committed against the gods.

I hope my friends and family initiate an intervention if I ever become a harpie on boards devoted to teams I don't like. And especially if the object of my obsession is coming off a sub-.500 season. Pathetic.

I'll bet they're telling themselves they can quit anytime they want.

Beautiful!

auttat writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Not sure an ESPN commentator is in a position to judge the knowledge of fandom. All fans want a reason to bloviate...you guys should know. Seems I remember tons of gator fans saying (after Donavon won second ring) that FL would never be out of contention for SEC and national championships. Maybe I dreamed that up.

They will fall...and it will hurt

sampears writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Tebow and Rich sitting in a tree.....kiss.....

sampears writes:

in response to uf2006bcs1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Man, you Gators get all upset over a few words...

I hear Tebone is "under center" this year, I know he is thrilled!!

Red_October writes:

in response to rockybottomtenn:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Just like you can't score with your girlfriend?

Loser.

smokyredbone writes:

Boy I hope the Titans are smart enough not to draft Punkman Jr (Harvin). Another fine example of the quality kids Gator nation is unleashing on the world. LOSER LOSER LOSER, failing a drug test at the combines is about as smart as trusting wall street with your retirement. Can't wait till 09-19-09! "The day the Gators get exposed"!

Red_October writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Damn good one!!!

sameolvolalum writes:

To the dismay of so many of us, some of you, our dear orange blooded buddies, can't help but give in to the urge to respond to these retarded interlopers. What's worse, yet, is the fact that a few of you shouldn't respond at all---at least until you've completed a few english courses. While wading through all this trash I discovered a single entry by a uf fan worthy of noting. 99gator, I agree with you on your discourse regarding the lunacy of the "haters." My point of contention with you is that your confidence in the infallibility of uf's football team is understandable, based upon the returning players and the apparent stability of the program, but history tells us that a combination overconfidence, mixed with the inevitability of the unforseen (injuries, unexpectedly well prepared opponents, bad luck, etc.), often lead to less than desired results. Thank you, though, for your input. That said----You may just get a Big Orange crushing come Sept. 19th. If Urban's boys are this overconfident---they'll fall.

ctownvol writes:

in response to rudy123:

Did any of you notice that Percy Harvin was positive on
a drug test at the N.F.L. combine??
How stupid can you be. You know with 100% accuracy that all prospects are tested at the combine BUT you
can restrain from drugs for a month, until after the combines.
Are all Florida athletes
this stupid????????

And he scored a -4 on his Wonderlic test which is given to guage intelligence. You get 10 points for spelling your name correctly. Go figure.

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