Kiffin sets tone with conditioning

'Guys that survive will end up with the great character'

Job one was recruiting. Job two for Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin begins in a little less than a month when UT returns to the field for spring practice on March 10.

Safe to say, though, he's already setting the tone for a physical spring with UT's offseason conditioning program.

"We took them all the way down to ground level, so far," Kiffin said during an appearance at the Big Orange Tipoff Club's weekly luncheon Wednesday. "Some of them have broke. Some of them haven't been able to take it. But the guys that survive will end up with the great character."

And great confidence.

UT's offense could certainly use a boost in that department after finishing 110th in country in scoring offense (17.3 points per game) and 115th in total offense (268.8 yards per game) last season, when the Vols finished 5-7 overall.

A lot of those struggles had to do with UT's quarterback play.

Kiffin offered a reminder of his own experiences with a pair of quarterbacks at Southern California who had their doubters as well.

"We don't think that way," Kiffin said. "We don't listen to any negativity. We don't listen to anything that will do anything except set a guy's bar extremely high. One of these guys is going to be a great player for us next year."

Kiffin did urge patience as quarterbacks Jonathan Crompton, Nick Stephens and B.J. Coleman begin learning a new offense.

"I think it's similar to when I was hired and I discussed the coaching staff. I told everybody to be patient and we're going to do this thing right, not fast," Kiffin said. "It's the same thing with the quarterbacks. Be patient in this and don't make judgements on these kids. Everybody wants to say, 'Well, they haven't played well before' or 'They can't play' or 'They're not smart enough' or 'They don't have a big enough arm.' Hold on. We haven't coached them for one day in our system. Let's give them a chance, let's see what they do."

That's basically Kiffin's plan for the entire roster.

He hasn't spent a lot of time dissecting film from last season, instead preferring to observe first-hand on the field this spring. On offense, Kiffin said he'll tailor his offense to fit his players' strengths.

"You've always got to play to your players, so it's going to depend on our personnel," he said. "We don't know our personnel yet. ... We're always going to be evolving to make sure that we're putting our players in the best position. We can't force our players to do something they're not good at."

While spring drills will largely be a feeling-out process - albeit a very physical one for players - at least one starting spot is set in stone.

Asked Wednesday about safety Eric Berry, who earned consensus All-America honors last year as a sophomore, Kiffin played to the crowd.

"We've opened up the competition at all the spots. Twenty-one out of 22," Kiffin said. "He's dynamic, and we're going to build our defense around him."

Johnson Named GA: Former defensive back Inky Johnson has been hired as a graduate assistant coach with UT's defense.

"He's impressed myself and my dad (UT defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin) so much by who he is and the way players respond to him," Kiffin said. "We had a million people wanting to come (as a GA). I kept thinking about it as we were interviewing people. The best guy's right here."

Johnson, widely respected by players and staff at UT, suffered a career-ending shoulder injury during in 2006 but has remained with the program since as a volunteer student assistant coach.

Good One, Coach: Men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who attended Wednesday's lunch along with women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, delivered the line of the day teasing Kiffin about last week's comments regarding Florida coach Urban Meyer.

"I think everybody's very excited to see what you've got to say next, actually," Pearl joked. "I told him that's how we roll, so he's not surprised at all.

"I was thinking about this the other day. (When) I came in here, I said it's my goal to become the least popular coach in the SEC. I just had no idea I could do it in one year. He had no idea he could do it in one week."

First-Hand Look: Asked about UT's conditioning program, Kiffin invited the UT fan who asked the question to see for himself how new strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith operates.

"Tomorrow you're invited at 5:30 in the morning," Kiffin said, drawing laughter. "I'm serious. You will never have a question about our conditioning by the time it's 6:30."

Quick Hits: Assistant coaches have been making unannounced visits to players' classes this week in an effort to stress academics. ... Kiffin spent nearly 20 minutes after his visit to greet fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures. ... Kiffin plans to visit his family next weekend in California. He was unable to make the trip the last two weekends because UT hosted unsigned recruits in the Class of 2009.

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 172

txvolsfan writes:

I got to admire the way he is coming in here and breaking these guys down and letting them know that it's football and making them accountable. NO CHARTS, just work till you drop. Man I can't wait for the O&W game.
I love this guy and it's great to have
Inky back around the program!!!

ColeTrickle writes:

wow

Txvol57 writes:

I would like to know more about what they are doing as far as breaking these kids down and which kids haven't been able to "handle" it...and what exactly does that mean? get on GVX!!!

jsm67vol writes:

Good article. It's great to hear Inky is going to stay with the program. Congratulations Inky! You have a great opportunity to learn from some great defensive coaches. I'm glad the conditioning is brutal. If the fan that asked the question doesn't show up at 0530, he is no fan. Get your arse out of bed and go see whats up! Then come tell us! GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!

TommyJack writes:

Well, most Vol fans will say good to all this. The fake interlopers can ridicule it. I say Fear the Kiffin.

StroVol writes:

Freaking AWESOME! Sounds like being a vol on the field is going to take some damn hard work. Love it

yeavols#228407 writes:

The Wizard of VOLZZ will have discipline, character, and a winning mind set instilled into the playerzz. WHO gives a ratzz azz who he pizzes off or who likzz or dislizz him. Hey WALTER! This postzz for you..

TxFatBoy writes:

Great article! You can get just as many responses with POSITIVE articles as with negative!

yeavols#228407 writes:

Ooo..right on time..like clockwork

BIGEJ writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are hilarious; Here’s one for you; when you die, have your spouse tell the funeral home to give you an enema; she'll be able to bury you in a shoebox.

smokyredbone writes:

my son says there are football players walkin funny all over campus!!! Also was told by former player that Strength coach Smith only lets players address him as get this "Black Steel"!!!! WOW jack their azz up CBS sir!! GET EM READY TO SKIN SOME LIZARDS IN 09!!!!

DennisVols writes:

You can't go up until you hit bottom. Kiffin is going to break down their old ways and bring them up the right way.

smokyredbone writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

YUP thats right gayazz!!!! Gonna get em jacked up ad coming to ruin your freakin season in 09!!!!! BOY!!

tractoronthepole writes:

Ok you mentioned conditioning, he invited a fan to his 5:30 session. Perhaps one of the writers might ask to attend, bring the pad and tell us something about the conditioning program. What are the conditioning goals? Just to break them down? Come on guys, just because you have nothing to be negative about dosen't mean you can't write something for the starved Vol Fan to feast upon.

Voluvr writes:

How smart to work them so hard. Also, now all the jr's and sr's who pretty much had a guaranteed spot now have to earn their spot. So much more effort from them this year with that approach than if they thought they were a lock in their spot.

yeavols#228407 writes:

uhhh uhhhhh uhhhhhh AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH...that was hot..thanks walter..same time tomorrow?

randzimm#255981 writes:

Wonder what Phil thinks about the players comments on the new conditioning program... LOL Go Vols!

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

Coach Kiff, the sooner your family get shere the better. Little Knox needs to be ready to kick by fall. Bring on the powerT pampers!!!

1manningfan writes:

Basketball team is KILLING GEORGIA!!!

cobbwebb writes:

are our players off limits to the media? i would love to hear what they have to say, especially the upper classmen! cmon KNS get some interviews with the playas! we want the scoop!

TommyJack writes:

in response to Scotty_Hopson32:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Don't expect those J-school rejects to come up with any new material. That's why they're with the KNS fish wrapper.

MrKnoxville writes:

Oh yeah....CLK ain't scared of the other coaches in the S.E.C. (just like his mentor Pete Carroll)....someone tell Meyer to change his diaper and Saban to change his tampon LOL.

And for the chumps on 99.1 FM talking about CLK not poking the sleeping bear (Meyer/Florida & Saban/BuckFama) with a stick...they're gonna put the newspaper article on the wall to beat us by 50 and it will be yellow from age....

NEWS FLASH TO THOSE WITH THE POST-FULMER MENTALITY.....if they are going to beat us by 50 then it is going to happen anyway regardless....CLK is trying to install that U.S.C./Pete Carroll arrogance (we will beat anyone because we're just better than you) into his players and make them believe in his vision and message...make these kids believe and feel alive and not afraid when they are on the field against these 2 schools....go smack'em in the mouth and make them respect us again!

X's & O's N.F.L. style now....beating the weakness out of the boys and whipping them into men at 5:30 a.m....CLK could end up contracting NO FEAR for our athletic apparel instead of Adidas by the end of Spring Ball LOL!

Damn it is great to be a Tennessee VOL.....this program has a F'n pulse again!!!!!!!!!!!

yeavols#228407 writes:

in response to 1manningfan:

Basketball team is KILLING GEORGIA!!!

30 point lead over Georgia..not bad...like the beatdown we gave FLorida...NICE!! love that

1manningfan writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You say Meyer way like he invinted tough practices lol... I live in Tampa,FL yo and been to many Bucs practices to watch, trust me the Kiffin's know what their doing to get ready for SEC play. Quit being a HOMER and for atleast once realize this isn't FULMERS dough factory anymore. We have real coaches that have been around the block, gator. Just come to reality and admit it.

GO BIG ORANGE!!!

Caveman writes:

Caveman say you gotta carry big logs to build strong fire!!

Fire say bring it - gotta have fuel to burn!!

StroVol writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You my friend, you need a serious AS*!! Whipping. Screw the gator football team, YOU NEED ONE

MrKnoxville writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LMAO...............why are you surfing the Bay Area websites.....looking for some a "Friend" in the Bay area.....how many Gators did you run into surfing the Bay area websites LOL...you didn't think that one through huh?

You might as well have typed: While searching my local Bay area websites looking for Gators I found this negative article about Lane Kiffin...boy he sure is cute in that silver and black sunvisor!

LMAO retard!!!!!!!!!!

OrangeAppeal writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Well, most Vol fans will say good to all this. The fake interlopers can ridicule it. I say Fear the Kiffin.

He's no "fake" interloper. And he has a good point. He is right. I remember the Spiderman comments and the hype. I was excited as well. I'm more excited about Kiffen. I just hope the fickle fans and posters lay off him for a couple of years so he can rebuild the program.

pkaplan writes:

in response to tractoronthepole:

Ok you mentioned conditioning, he invited a fan to his 5:30 session. Perhaps one of the writers might ask to attend, bring the pad and tell us something about the conditioning program. What are the conditioning goals? Just to break them down? Come on guys, just because you have nothing to be negative about dosen't mean you can't write something for the starved Vol Fan to feast upon.

Media not invited. Sorry.

pkaplan writes:

in response to cobbwebb:

are our players off limits to the media? i would love to hear what they have to say, especially the upper classmen! cmon KNS get some interviews with the playas! we want the scoop!

Players not allowed to talk to the media until spring practice unless UT makes players available.

TxFatBoy writes:

in response to RobtheVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What kind of comment is that? You don't know his son so how about keeping your little pissant mouth shut? I'm sure his son IS a real winner.

1manningfan writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Call it how you see it dude! Botttom line come Saturdays this fall you will see and come away saying this is not the VOLS of old. Monte or Lane I can care less who has the title to the name of head coach. As long as we WIN, he!! I wouldn't care if Billy Bob was coaching the VOLS...Just WIN BABY!!!

GO ROCKY TOP!!!

Caveman writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Caveman say check out national S.I. issue. Fire say go boo-hoo with panzy Gaturd tribe and San Bay bloggy writer. Feelings hurt UT stole recruits and rub nose in it.

http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.co...

GerryOP writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wyoming? We are thankful for Wyoming. Without Wyoming we would not have Kiffin!

206 -- Fear The Kiffin...

OrangeAppeal writes:

in response to RobtheVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

All three could run you into the ground you little candy. You have to be the biggest idiotic poster on this site. The sad thing is that you're too stupid to know how incredibly imbecilic you really are.

Breaks over Naffy. Back to scrubbing pots and pans in the kitchen!

MrKnoxville writes:

The Florida lopers are trying to make light of CLK but deep down in their panties they are nervous of the new mentallity on the hill....Gator trash here in Tennessee won't admit it but THEY FEAR THE KIFFIN!!!!!!!!!!!

Let Florida's arrogance be their weakness.....read the article again....Fulmer ain't the coach.....this N.F.L. staff is bringing a nasty breath of life to this team....FEAR THE KIFFIN!!!

MrKnoxville writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I learned to use the Google machine on my computer MrKnoxville...honest!

Weak dudette....weak.

yeavols#228407 writes:

in response to DestinVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

EXpat..don't worry about it..they trash the boards anyway so no harm done. It's just become a farce now. This really isn't a board to post renaissance thinking. It's just become a place for interlopers to come and get entertained.

ThurmondEppy writes:

in response to Txvol57:

I would like to know more about what they are doing as far as breaking these kids down and which kids haven't been able to "handle" it...and what exactly does that mean? get on GVX!!!

running them until they fall out

MrKnoxville writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Wyoming? We are thankful for Wyoming. Without Wyoming we would not have Kiffin!

206 -- Fear The Kiffin...

AMEN!

GerryOP writes:

in response to rammerjammer987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Strategy, strategy my friend. For each opponent we have a special game plan. For example, for 'Bama we are going to add an AH after the UT on our uniforms and you guys will roll over and play dead.

206 -- Fear The Kiffin...

Ironcity writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Gator if you had been here at the first of the year you would have known most of us were concerned with the lack of contact our QB's had. Don't assume what you don't know.

Bass_Vol_1998 writes:

How cool is it that he invited the fan to "see for himself". If that was me, I'd show up at 5:30 (and probably throw up by 6:00). But then you would have a story for the ages.

I like what I'm hearing

1. Stomp W. Kentucky
2. Handle UCLA
3. Beat UF

Boom! We're back on top! Seriously, we could return to national prominence by mid september.

DennisVols writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know why they call California the granola state? If it ain't a nut its gotta be a flake.

1manningfan writes:

Tell me Bama and GAtor fans,truthfully. Have you guys ever had a losing record? Actually, I know the answer to it, YES. All Vol fans know we are working our way back up to the mountain, thats why their has been a major over haul,duh. So if your all on here everyday to chit-chat with the volnation well the only assesment I can come up with is that deep down you guys truly Love BIG ORANGE...lol. Seriously, Im not a homer and won't respond to uneducated comments, so if you want to blog in a manner I have know problem with it. Just quit with the same corny poop, and this go for Vol fans too that cream their pants when Gator and Bama fans come on here and respond to irrelevant text.

GO VOLS!!! GO SEC!!!

TxFatBoy writes:

in response to RobtheVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I find it interesting that your mind immediately jumps to a "gay" scenario simply because his son noticed some football players walking funny. Perhaps you're trying to throw people off YOUR track? Maybe it was simply a casual observation by someone who is on campus. Show some respect. I'm not sure you're really a Vols fan, if you were I doubt you'd be running your trap like that to another fan.

OrangeAppeal writes:

in response to RobtheVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Naffy:

Your new name is very fitting. You RobEveryVol fan of happiness every time you post. You should be indicted and convicted on every count.

dvhill100 writes:

Looks like LK has adopted the Marine motto: "The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war."

I also remember an article when UM was hired he put out trash cans for the players to blow in during workouts.

tnvolintheboro writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

gatorzz, I have never seen a fan of another team spend as much time as you do on an opposing board. There is no way that you could spend this much time on a gator board. That is unless you are unemployed. Wait, you are from florida, of course you are unemployed.

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