Adams: UT's staff not at loss for incentive

John Adams

Tennessee's football coaches have a track record for success. And they have the rings to prove it.

Head coach Lane Kiffin was an assistant coach on national championship teams at Southern California. So was assistant head coach Ed Orgeron.

Linebackers coach Lance Thompson was an assistant coach on LSU's 2003 national championship team. Running backs coach Eddie Gran was an assistant coach on Auburn's unbeaten team in 2004.

But don't ignore the failures, either. That's part of their motivation.

For all their success, many of them - including the head coach - have something to prove. Their first UT team can relate to that.

The Vols are coming off a 5-7 season. The fifth-year seniors played on a 5-6 team in 2005. They know all about failure.

Monte Kiffin, UT's defensive coordinator, is an NFL icon. He's hailed as one of best defensive coaches in NFL history, won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, and was on the ground floor of Nebraska's college football dynasty. But he knows something about failure, too.

Flash back to last year when the Bucs were 9-3 and bearing down on the NFL playoffs. What happened next shouldn't happen to an NFL icon.

Carolina gouged the Bucs for 299 yards rushing while scoring 38 points. San Diego scored 41. Oakland beat them 31-24 as Michael Bush rushed for 177 yards.

The Bucs lost their last four games. They missed the playoffs. Their head coach, Jon Gruden, got fired.

And Monte Kiffin left the NFL on a four-game losing streak. Think he isn't ready to win a game?

He has something else to prove as well. Never mind that his success as a defensive tactician was first evident in college football. He has been in the NFL long enough that at the first defensive misstep against a spread offense, some critic will wonder if he can adjust to the college game.

Orgeron, Lane Kiffin's next most high-profile hire, is returning to college after coaching the New Orleans Saints defensive line for a year.

The Saints didn't make the playoffs. But at least, they didn't get anyone fired.

Orgeron was fired the year before by Ole Miss after three consecutive losing seasons in his first head-coaching job. But the program that was built on his recruiting won nine games last season and is a popular top-10 pick this season.

Think he wouldn't like to upset Ole Miss in November?

Gran played a prominent role in coach Tommy Tuberville's success at Auburn, which averaged better than nine wins per season for eight years. One losing season later, they were all looking for jobs.

Think Gran wouldn't like to stick it to Auburn in October?

UT offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was part of a St. Louis Rams staff that won only five games the last two years. UT wide receivers coach Frank Wilson was on Orgeron's staff at Ole Miss. Offensive line coach James Cregg worked under Lane Kiffin at Oakland, which fired Kiffin four games into the 2008 season.

Lane Kiffin's ill-fated descent into the black hole that has become Raiders football has left him with a 5-15 career record as a head coach. You can blame owner Al Davis, whose franchise has become an NFL punch line. But the record is still on Kiffin's resume.

Kiffin lost his last two games at Oakland. His dad lost his last four at Tampa Bay. His brother-in-law and quarterbacks coach, David Reaves, was on Steve Spurrier's staff last season, which ended with three consecutive losses.

It's as though everyone in the family is on a losing streak. You could say the same for the majority of the staff, including Thompson, who was one game away from coaching in the national championship game at Alabama last season. But he left Alabama like Gran left Auburn - on a two-game losing streak.

Think this staff isn't ready to beat anybody?

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 27

VolunteerPassion writes:

I dont care if they're ready or not! all i know is I'M READY!!!!

vol_chaz writes:

The losing they've experienced helped them be able to land on Rocky Top, for which i'm glad they are here. Less than 2 weeks away...i can't wait..

Bigger_Al writes:

Adams needs to leave town.

Get lost!

LadyVolsEighTimes writes:

Ja IS THIS SUPPOSED TO MOTIVATE THE COACHES, OR THE FANS?

Your negativity has worn old many articles back.

Maybe you need to find a new place to bash, you sure as hell haven't helped the Vols attitude, or ability to win!

You remind me of a Little League Coach that can't get the players to keep the bat off their Shoulder. "It isn't the kids, it is their lack of respect for you"!

I CANCEL MY SUBSRIPTION TO THE KNS tonight, over your stupidity in writing. You are a Moron!

4114 writes:

If they start a losing streak on the hill all bets are off on how long they will stay.Let's hope they get started on the right foot.

GO VOLS!!! 11 days until football time in Tennesse

tenuscvol writes:

Interesting observation John. Good Article.

I expect that everybody on that team and coaching staff will be hungry and it will only add to the desire to kick some butt.

Beat Bama!

GoVols!

ColumbusVol writes:

Is there any new information to be gained by this article? I feel I have read this same stuff in 20 different ways and in 7 languages by now.

running_dog writes:

Good insight and article. Can't wait for the season. Go Vols!

flytnn writes:

PLEASE MOVE HIM OUT OF SPORTS WRITING!!!! Another one of John Adams finest articles and creativity...

davethevol writes:

I think John Adams does a fine job with most of his articles.

RockinTop writes:

.....the players are clearly motivated, and they're motivated by the motivated coaches.....I get it John.

Nobody likes losing....and it can be a huge motivator...Clearly they have something to prove....and the winning started with Nukeese, Oku, Teague, Brown and others....

Go Big Orange!

KJVol writes:

Good article, John Adams. Your poll numbers are once again north of 50%.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

The bumpy doldrums are almost over, lads.

2 things stick out.

Bryce Brown.

3489 posts by gatorazz.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

what's with all the Adams bashing. the guys doing his job, probably better at his job than you guys that are bashing. leave the man alone.

IBleedOrange444 writes:

in response to LadyVolsEighTimes:

Ja IS THIS SUPPOSED TO MOTIVATE THE COACHES, OR THE FANS?

Your negativity has worn old many articles back.

Maybe you need to find a new place to bash, you sure as hell haven't helped the Vols attitude, or ability to win!

You remind me of a Little League Coach that can't get the players to keep the bat off their Shoulder. "It isn't the kids, it is their lack of respect for you"!

I CANCEL MY SUBSRIPTION TO THE KNS tonight, over your stupidity in writing. You are a Moron!

Couldn't have said it better myself. Piss off Adams! I hear AL.com is looking for a glass-is-half-empty P.O.S. writer.

IBleedOrange444 writes:

in response to HBKGault:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He wanted Kiffin so he would have stuff to write about. You act like Adams is some kind of die hard UT fan. The problem is EVERYTHING Adams writes about UT is negative. Even when the actual news is positive, he finds a way to rain on the parade. We don't need his negative energy around the program. If I was Hamilton, I would confiscate his UT press pass.

blitzshoot writes:

just win baby

dvhill100 writes:

Nice article. Everyone wants to win, from the coaches, the players, the fans, the waterboys. There is nothing wrong with this article. I don't follow the hate JA thread. I don't always agree with everything he writes, but to arbitrarily just trash everything because his name is on it is nonsense.

linebam writes:

in response to 1stAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow! I believe 2-1, but to predict a win over defending NC Florida (returning the entire 1st and 2nd string defense) by an injury riddled offense (RB, WR, OL) and a QB trying to get his mojo back is a bit unrealistic. I am a huge Vol fan and believe that this year will be very, VERY good, but even I have to write this one off.

JBVol writes:

in response to jhayes0926#638474:

what's with all the Adams bashing. the guys doing his job, probably better at his job than you guys that are bashing. leave the man alone.

Jh, I believe most responses about Adams being negative has to deal with the impression he leaves you with. When you finish reading about Monty, Adams has you believe he went out a "Loser". I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for over 12 years, of those, TB had one of the top rated Defenses for 10 years. People talk about the '85 Bears, that was one year! TB, under Monty's watch were one of the best for 10 yrs.
Another thing Adams did not know, or failed to mention, while Gruden was at TB, they never drafted a first or high second round defensive player, kinda let the tank run out of gas toward the end.
Also, Monty had told his defensive squad he was leaving for TN before those last four games.
There was just no motivation for the defense to win for a HC(Gruden) that most thought was a pri$k!!

Monty is not a "loser", he is a legend.

757vol_fanatic writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

what's up with this guy and his "problem with reality and truth?? i've only been on here a couple weeks and i've seen that bs phrase more than i've seen "change we can believe in"

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

The bumpy doldrums are almost over, lads.

2 things stick out.

Bryce Brown.

3489 posts by gatorazz.

Under how many different aliases.....9 or 19?

murrayvol writes:

in response to HBKGault:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree HBK.

Sometimes you just have to accept "what is" and keep walking. Thick skin is a must for sportswriters. Don't worry about John. He has the hide of a rhinocerous.

murrayvol writes:

in response to dvhill100:

Nice article. Everyone wants to win, from the coaches, the players, the fans, the waterboys. There is nothing wrong with this article. I don't follow the hate JA thread. I don't always agree with everything he writes, but to arbitrarily just trash everything because his name is on it is nonsense.

For some the need to arbitrarily trash everything is second nature.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to DaMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

More of your slanted trash. There are VERY few coaches who haven't been fired, including some of the best who ever were over their whole careers. I agree that these guys feel they have a lot to prove, even though all their circumstances were different. The "Bad News Vols", players and coaches--even fans!--will all rise together. You'll see. GO VOLS!!!

PennVol writes:

Damn! And we hired these guys???

yeavols#228407 writes:

in response to davethevol:

I think John Adams does a fine job with most of his articles.

Ya..I am not an avid fan of John Adams, he does have articles that appear to be feel good sometimes other times they can seem scathing. But that is what a writer is supposed to do. Usually when I don't like news channels, I don't watch them. Here, people that do not like Adams continue to post on the site. I guess I just don't get that. Anyway, GO VOLS..Got TIX?

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