Adams: Kiffin comes out firing

Notice something beating around here the last couple of days?

It’s called a pulse. Tennessee football has one again.

New coach Lane Kiffin has provided it.

Granted, there has been collateral damage. Kiffin was chided by the University of Florida and reprimanded by the SEC Office after he gigged the Gators at a UT “recruiting celebration” Thursday morning.

He accused — erroneously, it turns out — Florida coach Urban Meyer of an NCAA recruiting violation as the UT crowd cheered him on.

In the process, he proved he hadn’t committed the NCAA rulebook or the SEC by-laws to memory.

My advice to UT athletic director Mike Hamilton: Don’t fire him just yet.

UT football needed a jolt, and if the aftershock reaches Gainesville, so be it.

The program has been too stagnant and too predictable for too long. And it has never been more predictable than when it ventured into the same stadium with Meyer’s Gators.

In comes Kiffin with a new staff and a new attitude. They’re energetic, brash and quite willing to tweak the powers that be in SEC football.

What’s wrong with that? Nothing, according to the great American who once said, “If you can’t beat them, tweak them.”

UT hasn’t come close to beating Alabama or Florida the last two years. It probably won’t come close next year, either.

What are Kiffin and his guys supposed to do until they close the talent gap? Curl into a fetal position and hope Nick Saban and Meyer sympathetically resist the urge to kick the Vols while they’re down?

Kiffin is sending a message. And if it isn’t received well by Florida or the SEC Office, he shouldn’t despair. His target audience is the UT fan base. His message: This isn’t business as usual.

Appropriate response from UT fans: Hallelujah!

Kiffin has made it as crystal clear as a national championship trophy. His ultimate goal isn’t to win the Outback Bowl or continue UT’s dominance over Kentucky. He’s trying to take UT where national champion Florida is and where Alabama is headed at a sprinter’s pace.

You can’t catch them by hiding from them. Kiffin is rallying the troops and going after them, for better or worse.

If UT fans aren’t encouraged, they need to check their own pulses.

Kiffin and his staff made fun of both Saban and Meyer on Thursday. And yes, he crossed a line when he flippantly accused Meyer of a violation. SEC commissioner Mike Slive has worked too hard and too successfully to clean up the conference’s image to let that pass without a reprimand.

But you have to consider the context. Kiffin didn’t call a press conference to accuse Meyer of cheating. He was playing to the crowd, just as he was playing to the crowd when he ribbed Saban. He was talking to boosters, not NCAA investigators.

Even if Kiffin had been right — and Meyer had broken an NCAA rule by calling a recruit when he was on another school’s campus — the Gators wouldn’t exactly have been on the brink of the death penalty. It would have been a secondary violation. Coaches commit secondary violations in their sleep.

So no one will suddenly mistake Meyer for Hal Mumme or Pat Dye. The only thing Meyer is guilty of is building the best program in college football (imagine all the lesser programs he had to step on along the way).

Based on my emails, some UT fans have another concern. They’re worried that Kiffin’s slights will inspire Florida to beat the Vols even worse in The Swamp this fall.

Question: How much worse could it be?

The Gators beat the Vols by 39 points two years ago at the same venue. All UT did to provoke them was show up.

Florida doesn’t need extra motivation to reduce an opponent to mush. It’s going for a third national championship in four years.

UT’s program is the one that needs inspiration. Credit Kiffin with doing his best to deliver it.

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

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Comments » 297

HuntsVOLS writes:

Now lets beat ON the field!

Kiffin_fan writes:

Didn't Spurrior accuse Lane of cheating erroniously?

dvhill100 writes:

Good article. Like him or hate him, it won't be dull.

bluetick writes:

Dude.. I love his fire and not backing down. I want him to walk the line and piss off any other coach he wants to. It sure has added fire. Walk the line, but try not to cross over it. If he wanted attention to UT, he got it. Oh I'm ready for fall. Opposing teams want to win anyways. It's not like they are going to play 'harder' to win just because someone pissed them off. Players play to win anyways. GO VOLS!

bigorangefan79 writes:

Thank you John Adams.

AMEN!

Kiffin_fan writes:

I love next year on rocky Top....

appalachianvol writes:

He's got my heart rate up. I don't worry about next year and how many points are scored. I just likie the new attitude.

bigorangefan79 writes:

Mike Slive has double standards based on tenure. He needs to get some consistency in his "reprimands"!

Kiffin_fan writes:

in response to bluetick:

Dude.. I love his fire and not backing down. I want him to walk the line and piss off any other coach he wants to. It sure has added fire. Walk the line, but try not to cross over it. If he wanted attention to UT, he got it. Oh I'm ready for fall. Opposing teams want to win anyways. It's not like they are going to play 'harder' to win just because someone pissed them off. Players play to win anyways. GO VOLS!

Great point and Go Vols !!

Kiffin_fan writes:

AT LEAST WE HAD A FEW GOOD MOMENTS BEFORE the jerk INTERLOPERS showed up

1vol writes:

Wow finally a good read on this site!Congrats...

suttree writes:

Kiffin is just a west coast redneck . . . I love It!!!

vollowme writes:

i've definitely noticed that rival fans aren't the only new posters loading up this site. CLK has more than just the enemy riled up. i haven't taken in the aroma of mothballs this strong since saban took the bama job.

go vols.

engreene#538946 writes:

This my first post so hopefully it will come true. I Googled Bryce Brown and way down on the first page there's a artical that says Brown is coming on the 13th. I can only hope it's true. He was interviewed along with some other recruits/commits. Does anyone else have confirmation?

huntined#565710 writes:

I think we have had enough on this subject.. We are in the SEC race for BASKETBALL.. Football will be here soon enough.
We need to get this fired up over our basketball teams..

Kiffin_fan writes:

in response to suttree:

Kiffin is just a west coast redneck . . . I love It!!!

Why else would you name your kid Knox lol

bluetick writes:

Everybody hit 'suggest removal' to all those negative posts like hiresanders and areyoukiffenme and etc....... gators etc....

VOLalumINuk writes:

If we're going down, it will be in a blaze of glory!

Kiffin_fan writes:

in response to engreene#538946:

This my first post so hopefully it will come true. I Googled Bryce Brown and way down on the first page there's a artical that says Brown is coming on the 13th. I can only hope it's true. He was interviewed along with some other recruits/commits. Does anyone else have confirmation?

yes he is coming.... hope we can get him...

Kiffin_fan writes:

in response to bluetick:

Everybody hit 'suggest removal' to all those negative posts like hiresanders and areyoukiffenme and etc....... gators etc....

Amen brother...

bluetick writes:

in response to engreene#538946:

This my first post so hopefully it will come true. I Googled Bryce Brown and way down on the first page there's a artical that says Brown is coming on the 13th. I can only hope it's true. He was interviewed along with some other recruits/commits. Does anyone else have confirmation?

This has been circulated since early this week. Apparently it is true. Someone found a great article yesterday in the USA Today that sounded to me like he was surprised that Eddie Lacy didn't commit to the Vols and instead Ala and it opened up his mind to visit. I've also heard (read) that he is excited to visit and we seem to be in good shape for him. Who knows, but sure would like to have him on campus.

vollowme writes:

forgive if this has already been posted:

http://3rdsaturdayinblogtober.wordpre...

Colliervol writes:

Posted the following on the Orgeron article and thought I'd put it here in case some don't see it.

I went to the thing in Memphis last night and heard all the coaches. (Man, they are a wired bunch.) And I can see where a recruit would either love Orgeron or hate him. Not much middle ground. He is a very aggressive, explosive personality and may very well have upset the Brown crew and granny. (My personal opinion is that it was going to be difficult to get him. For some reason, he connected with Richt big time.) Que sera, sera. Obviously, he may not be everybody's cup of tea but we can only hope he gets more than he scares away. They credited him big time last night as the only reason we got Teague and the kid from Louisiana so you take the good with the bad. Other notes:

-I was most impressed with Thompson. I can see where he'd be a great recruiter too.

-They made it very clear that they were too late to get a QB that they wanted. Kiffin fully believes he will get a good performer out of the three that are up there.

-Eddie Gran is the only reason we got Richardson. They said he has excellent in-roads into Florida recruiting.

-They also made it clear that they could have taken more "numbers" and had a better "grade" from the pundits but chose not to. They want players who have a chance to contribute and not guys who will be sitting the bench two years from now when they get better players to come in.

-Watching the film of these recruits, it is obvious that a prerequisite is speed, quickness and more speed. The LB's, DB's and skill players were all lightning fast. Teague and Richardson are like quicksilver.

-Marlon Walls has grown from a 220 lb LB to a 275 lb DT. And Orgeron said he always arrives in a bad mood. He, Hughes and Jeffries all appeared to have a lot of quickness and will help the D line next year.

-The Memphis media has decided to make UT, Kiffin and Orgeron their new whipping boys. Oh well. I'm sure we'll survive. We always have.

-Ridiculous rumor of the day. Somebody said last night that it was spreading that Orgeron had been drinking before the Brown visit. It is well known that Ed hasn't had a drink in about 11 years. He may have some negatives but that ain't one of them. Just typical Internet junk and that's all that needs to be said.

Bottom line in all this hubbub: If they win within 3 years, everybody in UT land will be pleased. (And to heck with what anybody else thinks if that happens.) If they don't, we'll be shopping for another coach. And Kiffin knows that. The pressure is squarely on him. Personally, I think they can do it but we shall see.

volball1 writes:

How can you not be excited w/ both the Kiffen's enthusiasm & brass

Kiffin_fan writes:

he has steel knuts LOL

RoadTrip writes:

John Adams was right a year ago and most of the fans and ex-players didn't want to hear it. What a difference a year makes. Thanks, John. Keep it up.

vollowme writes:

here's a trend that i hope the ncaa stops soon:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/spo...

usnavyvol writes:

Who really care if the "powers" that be are pissed off. I like the attitute and the in your face approach. When we were the one's on top we had a swagger about us and going into games not to lose, but to kick ur arse and bust ur mouth. Bout time we get it back, and look it's pissing folks off. Tough s^!t.. This team has atheletes and will compete. Can we beat the Gators and Bammers? Why not? WE ARE TENNESSEE.....GO VOLS

Kiffin_fan writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

John Adams was right a year ago and most of the fans and ex-players didn't want to hear it. What a difference a year makes. Thanks, John. Keep it up.

I have been waitin' for a while.... Great point though..

rollreadyvol writes:

Damn the talk just coach'em up and win baby, but not in the Al Davis way go vols

bls8617#370509 writes:

John Adams gets it.

RoadTrip writes:

in response to suttree:

Kiffin is just a west coast redneck . . . I love It!!!

Of course he is - have you ever been to Fresno?! They don't do sushi in Fresno. Fits right in with the rest of us hillbillies.

Kiffin_fan writes:

They must have Bingo tonight in FL. and AL....lol

Kiffin_fan writes:

all the toothless peeps yellin flingo lol

dvhill100 writes:

in response to vollowme:

here's a trend that i hope the ncaa stops soon:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/spo...

There are sooo many potential problems there it just boggles the mind. I agree with you, the NCAA needs to get on this quick if they can.

MikeInTN writes:

Thanks John...I needed that!!!!!!! GO VOLS!!!!!!!

vollowme writes:

in response to dvhill100:

There are sooo many potential problems there it just boggles the mind. I agree with you, the NCAA needs to get on this quick if they can.

i hate to hear the talk about bryce laying down in high school (allegedly). reminds me of one jamal lewis. in a bad way.

1manningfan writes:

Great article!!! Go VOLS!!!

vollowme writes:

jeez. sorry for all the links, but this guy is trouble...

http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2009...

utvol4ever writes:

Good article John.
Sometimes even bad pub is good pub. Everyone is talking about UT football again and Kiffin is raising the bar on expectations for this program!

HardCoreVol writes:

I ABSOLUTLY LOVE IT! CLK is a very smart young man who plays his cards close to his chest, as shown in the recruitment of Richardson. I believe he knows what he is doing pi$$ing off Meyer. Yeah he was wrong about cheating, but he now has the whole nation talking about "THE VOL NATION!" ESPN loves what CLK is doing too! Hummm, I wonder if Oku watches ESPN???

pammyvol1000 writes:

in response to vollowme:

forgive if this has already been posted:

http://3rdsaturdayinblogtober.wordpre...

Is that an Orange TN shirt he is wearing??

volunteer11 writes:

im tired of tennessee fans talking like they are scared of florida. what are they gonna do blow us out? again? what was kiffin supppose to do take the passive route that failed before. every one thought alabama would blow out utah. every one thinks florida will blow us out next year. i think it will be a better game than either of the past 2 years

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

in response to Kiffin_fan:

Didn't Spurrior accuse Lane of cheating erroniously?

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

khelton657 writes:

Kiffin and his staff are great, fear no man..theyall think alike and act alike, are intimidated by no one..

DennisVols writes:

Don't count this team out this year just yet. New coaching staff and most with resumes that are very impressive.
This team has had more than just a inspiration issue for several years. It has lacked leadership, direction and discipline.
I like Coach Fulmer but unless you have lived in a cave it was time for a change. UT was not improving on the field and the off-field issues weren't getting any better either.
This team will be difficult to score on this year no matter who you are and the offensive mishaps will not happen. Can we beat UF with our current talent? Remember this "On any given day"
Keeping it Real. Go Vols!!!!

yeavols#228407 writes:

Good article..but please consult with me before you use my material..I've posted these concepts in the past few days about Kiffin rallying the troops and sending a message and How UT will not be the brunt of everyone's pathetic jokes especiall from Florida and Alabama. =) Hey give credit where credit is due..all I ask...

volunteer11 writes:

bryce brown!!!! if we got bryce brown that would be so huge. its possible

wagee12 writes:

Tremendous article by John Adams, he goes yard, a real four bagger. Plays right along with what Wilbon and Kornheiser said yesterday on Pardon the Interruption. Lane Kiffin is a hot blooded, driven to succeed football coach. A verbal gaff is certainly not the end of the world and if I could speak to him tonight I would say this, Keep pouring the hot lead to 'em Lane!
John's point about the game is dead on also. We are currently 0-4 against Meyer, so what the hell, just remember Gators, pack a lunch for this one, you might break our arms but we're damn well still gonna try and kick you to death with our feet!

morenoble writes:

Has anyone at KNS or on the "Sports Animal" kindly pointed out the fact that Coach Kiffin could be sick and tired of being cut throated to prospects by the other SEC coaches and ESPN media about such things as "Lane Kiffin has 0 wins in college?" The recruits do squeal to coaches what other coaches have said about them. More than likely Kiffin only said "take that Meyers and Saban!"

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