Adams: No joking for Kiffin

A Tennessee fan at the Big Orange Tipoff Club luncheon asked new football coach Lane Kiffin about his clothing Wednesday. You probably can guess the question.

Hint: It involved the color orange.

Other fans have commented on the lack of orange in Kiffin's wardrobe. His response was no more surprising than the question.

Kiffin hasn't had the time to go shopping. He's more interested in recruiting big-time players than a Big Orange blazer.

My first take on Kiffin: He's all business. My most recent take: Same as the first.

But he did more than confirm a first impression Wednesday. He also demonstrated his understanding of the business.

It's not just about hiring assistant coaches, recruiting players or coaching players. Business also includes energizing and unifying UT's fan base, which had become both apathetic and divided.

Obviously, that was his intent last week when he touched off a fire storm of criticism for his digs at opposing coaches at a UT "recruiting celebration."

The most inflammatory comment was a charge that Florida coach Urban Meyer had committed a secondary NCAA violation. That enraged the University of Florida, drew a reprimand from the SEC Office and forced an apology from Kiffin.

My guess: That won't be his last reprimand or forced apology.

Kiffin didn't return to the firing range Wednesday. He didn't express remorse, either.

For example, take his opening line to the Big Orange Tipoff Club: "We'll make sure that we don't offend anyone in the conference or any other school today. We'll be very nice."

Detect a sense of sarcasm?

Later, in response to a question from the audience, Kiffin broached the subject again.

"I like to have fun with some things," he said. "The example I can give you is that (South Carolina coach) Steve Spurrier came out the first day I was here and accused me of recruiting without having passed the test (as required by the NCAA).

"I didn't call the (SEC) commissioner whining about it. I just shot back at him, joking around with him. We'll make sure we're aware of how sensitive people are around here."

"Here's the point: This is about our players. We're not going to win any games without them. We're not going to be able to continue to recruit without a great fan base.

"The sense I've got is that we have an energized fan base right now, and an energized state that's excited about it. If it took that stuff to get it done, it's working. And if it took that stuff to get our players motivated at 5:30 in the morning (for off-season workouts), it's working. I like the way it's going."

Kiffin also likes the way UT's fans have responded.

"You guys understand how powerful (Thompson-Boling Arena) was when we played Florida the other night, and we won," Kiffin told the fans. "When I was at the last college (Southern California), we didn't even take our recruits to the basketball games. We didn't take them because it wasn't a highlight.

"I promise you if you read the articles (about the recruits) and they talk about the highlight of the trip, it wasn't meeting me; it wasn't our coaching staff. The highlight of the trip was the basketball game.

"It wasn't just because we won. It was because of you guys."

Kiffin said the players were wowed by the passion of the fans. He included that in his closing arguments to recruits.

"That's 22,000 (fans)," Kiffin told them. "Think about when there's 107,000 like there will be at football games."

Kiffin isn't just selling recruits. He's selling fans by making them feel more important. He's also trying to get his players revved up. And he's not concerned about how his comments play elsewhere.

Kiffin said he addressed that issue with his players Tuesday morning.

"I told our guys, 'Understand this: There is nobody outside of the Tennessee fans and the group right here that will ever help us win a football game,' " Kiffin said. "We really don't care if we offend some people on the way to getting there."

That was already obvious.

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

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Comments » 82

kmarti26 writes:

first

txvolsfan writes:

That is true, The players have to believe or all this other is just BS!!! The best team will win 9 out of 10 games. Whether there is bulletin board material or not!!! If it takes calling out Urban Cryer to get his team motivated then he really isn't that good of a coach anyway. I would hope that he gets his team up to play every game not just the ones against people who made him CRY!!!

FlaVol2 writes:

The coach is smarter than a lot of people give him credit. He is dang smart. Go Vols!!!

Caveman writes:

Caveman say Good Article John. Fire say bout time you published some positive articles.

Fire say check out next SI article on Kiffin - 5 Pages - good read.

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

Caveman not know what the heck fire mean; caveman don't care fire powerful mojo...

UTVOL1999 writes:

Third; or some other meaningless posting order after first!!

teampenny#658108 writes:

LK you should not worry about offending others-but you should speak the truth. Can not see a positive in coaching any other way. go vols

TxFatBoy writes:

This is exactly on target! Let the worthless writers from the other schools newspapers put him down all they want, he feels about it like I do....SO WHAT? Keep it up coach, to hell with the whinners!

TommyJack writes:

Love it. Fear the Kiffin.

tums writes:

This whole article is brings one word to mind..... Exactly.

yeavols#228407 writes:

The Wizard of VOLS...GO COACH K GO! YAHOOO LIFE AGAIN!!

GerryOP writes:

206 -- Fear The Kiffin...

1manningfan writes:

Basketball team is KILLING GEORGIA!!!

OrangeAppeal writes:

in response to txvolsfan:

That is true, The players have to believe or all this other is just BS!!! The best team will win 9 out of 10 games. Whether there is bulletin board material or not!!! If it takes calling out Urban Cryer to get his team motivated then he really isn't that good of a coach anyway. I would hope that he gets his team up to play every game not just the ones against people who made him CRY!!!

I'm not following. Made who "CRY"?

tractoronthepole writes:

in response to Caveman:

Caveman say Good Article John. Fire say bout time you published some positive articles.

Fire say check out next SI article on Kiffin - 5 Pages - good read.

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

Caveman not know what the heck fire mean; caveman don't care fire powerful mojo...

Good article. KNS take note!! It's been a while but there was a time that good articles like the one posted by Caveman came off your pens. Could you make it on Lane's staff? Could you keep up?

dvol writes:

Go Coach, I've waited all my life for a coach not afraid to speak his mind. You are a breath of fresh air for a program that needs it. I sure look forward to watching your teams play. I hope you have many wonderful seasons leading the Big Orange into battle.

dvhill100 writes:

It looks like he meant his apology and will try to be a bit more circumspect in his comments, but he won't stop making them and won't back down. He is absolutely right in no one will have an impact on UT but UT.

I like the attitude, the staff, and the excitement they have generated in the fan base. Now lets see an improvement from last year in attitude, execution, and discipline on the field, and all will be well. Winning will take care of everything.

dc_4_ut writes:

I have not read GVX for very long but I have seen many posters on here bashing a lot of the journalists- namely Hooker and Adams- for their respective shortcomings but I have been thoroughly impressed... GVX has been one of the very few sites to offer their whole-hearted support of our new FB coach... This goes to show that, at the end of the day, these guys bleed orange....

Baby Kif's been working his tail off since he got here... Hasn't bought a house, has barely unpacked a bag... He's been on the road trying to recruit and make this team better from day 1... Definitely showing us where his priorities are and I likey....

TommyJack writes:

CLK says, "I told our guys, 'Understand this: There is nobody outside of the Tennessee fans and the group right here that will ever help us win a football game,' " Kiffin said. "We really don't care if we offend some people on the way to getting there."

A beautiful thing.

dvols writes:

hahaahahahaah.....ja ... my love has come around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to dc_4_ut:

I have not read GVX for very long but I have seen many posters on here bashing a lot of the journalists- namely Hooker and Adams- for their respective shortcomings but I have been thoroughly impressed... GVX has been one of the very few sites to offer their whole-hearted support of our new FB coach... This goes to show that, at the end of the day, these guys bleed orange....

Baby Kif's been working his tail off since he got here... Hasn't bought a house, has barely unpacked a bag... He's been on the road trying to recruit and make this team better from day 1... Definitely showing us where his priorities are and I likey....

I like your comments on CLK. Not sure the KNS bleeds orange. Not sure they should. Down the middle reporting would be nice. Columnists can say what they please. JMO

alwaysorange81 writes:

I am afraid I had underestimated Mr. Adams. Nice read much like the last. This crow is delicious.

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

CLK says, "I told our guys, 'Understand this: There is nobody outside of the Tennessee fans and the group right here that will ever help us win a football game,' " Kiffin said. "We really don't care if we offend some people on the way to getting there."

A beautiful thing.

TJ, you've posted a bit extra in the last few. Feeling a bit are you? I like it. Keep them coming.

vut56#231073 writes:

The same traits CLK is being praised for, and the response to some of his (perhaps questionable) actions would (will) be torn apart it he goes 5-7 a couple of times.

However, he has not lost a game and support is in order; he is OUR coach. He will be loved a lot more by other schools if he rolls over for them. On balance, I will take our coach viewed as a smart mouth if he can lead his team to play smash mouth. '09 should be interesting.

Since we trash JA when he trashes the Vols, we should give credit when he discusses a subject with objectivity...as with this article. We should be "fair and balanced."

Couchdummy writes:

in response to TommyJack:

CLK says, "I told our guys, 'Understand this: There is nobody outside of the Tennessee fans and the group right here that will ever help us win a football game,' " Kiffin said. "We really don't care if we offend some people on the way to getting there."

A beautiful thing.

TJ, I hope that CLK succeeds in getting our team back to respectability and playing with pride again. Personally, I do not like the bad light that his words have put us (UT) in nationally. I can't characterize his first few weeks as "a beautiful thing." However, winning cures a lot of ills I suppose. Call me old school on sportsmanship and respect for ones rivals I guess.

MattDillon writes:

Anybody think Negedu would be a defensive end? 6'8" 230lbs, 18 years old. Just a thought.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to vut56#231073:

The same traits CLK is being praised for, and the response to some of his (perhaps questionable) actions would (will) be torn apart it he goes 5-7 a couple of times.

However, he has not lost a game and support is in order; he is OUR coach. He will be loved a lot more by other schools if he rolls over for them. On balance, I will take our coach viewed as a smart mouth if he can lead his team to play smash mouth. '09 should be interesting.

Since we trash JA when he trashes the Vols, we should give credit when he discusses a subject with objectivity...as with this article. We should be "fair and balanced."

You are absolutely right, Adams has written a couple of fair and objective articles in a row...glad to see he has it in him after all.

Remember a comment Bruce Pearl made not long after he was hired...that he wanted to be the most hated basketball coach in the SEC. Other school's fans hate your coach when he beats their team.

Here's to Lane Kiffin being the most hated coach in the SEC in the very near future. Go Big Orange!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to Couchdummy:

TJ, I hope that CLK succeeds in getting our team back to respectability and playing with pride again. Personally, I do not like the bad light that his words have put us (UT) in nationally. I can't characterize his first few weeks as "a beautiful thing." However, winning cures a lot of ills I suppose. Call me old school on sportsmanship and respect for ones rivals I guess.

Coach: I get your drift. Just don't think any of this puts us in a bad light. Please consider the souce of the moaning. Mostly gators. I'm with you on the sportsmanship. Just watched CPF take a lot of chit from people for years. Wore me out. Peace

Couchdummy writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Coach: I get your drift. Just don't think any of this puts us in a bad light. Please consider the souce of the moaning. Mostly gators. I'm with you on the sportsmanship. Just watched CPF take a lot of chit from people for years. Wore me out. Peace

Agree. Go Vols!!

Volborn writes:

I'm skeered that if Kif keeps picking on Urban that they are going to beat us 65-0! Would that hurt any worse than 59-20 or 30-6 at home? Heck no!! No where to go but up! Get the players and kick arse! We haven't blasted UF since the days of Dale Carter! Hopefully, we can end Meyer's winning streak. I also love how he referred to UF as "whining"...LOL

friendut writes:

With regard to CLK standing up to rival coaches compared to CPF, have you noticed that Darth Spurrier has been uncharacteristically quite about Tennessee? I live in Greenville, SC and am sick of hearing about Clemson and SC. If Florida fans are at the bottom of the food chain (they are) then Clemson fans are just one step above them.

vol88 writes:

Good column.

GerryOP writes:

in response to General_Watermelon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Right ... WAS the greatest coach ... at the end of the 20th century.

205 -- Fear The Kiffin...

Halls3 writes:

I'm not sure calling out Meyer is smart. Kiffin is calling out a coach who has won 2 NCs in 4 years & turned Utah into a national power while he was there. Meyer's no slouch plus he's got the talent to back up what he says, which mind you is really not much b/c he usually does his talking on the field i.e. UGA & LSU this past year. Plus, yes I know they're losing Tebow after this year but I was reading and the kid they have coming in was better in high school than Tebow was which is scary. I forsee a 6 or 7 win season next year for Tennessee b/c they shouldn't beat UF, Ole Miss, & Bama for sure & then you've got South Carolina, Georgia, & UCLA, all of which beat Tennessee this past year on the schedule. Kiffin's shooting himself in the foot with his cocky mouth though b/c he's got a brutal schedule in 2010 already & if he has another 6 or 7 win season that year his job will be on the line in 2011. I mean that's average at best & clearly at Tennessee average doesn't cut it, just ask Phillip Fulmer.

volaholic45 writes:

in response to Halls3:

I'm not sure calling out Meyer is smart. Kiffin is calling out a coach who has won 2 NCs in 4 years & turned Utah into a national power while he was there. Meyer's no slouch plus he's got the talent to back up what he says, which mind you is really not much b/c he usually does his talking on the field i.e. UGA & LSU this past year. Plus, yes I know they're losing Tebow after this year but I was reading and the kid they have coming in was better in high school than Tebow was which is scary. I forsee a 6 or 7 win season next year for Tennessee b/c they shouldn't beat UF, Ole Miss, & Bama for sure & then you've got South Carolina, Georgia, & UCLA, all of which beat Tennessee this past year on the schedule. Kiffin's shooting himself in the foot with his cocky mouth though b/c he's got a brutal schedule in 2010 already & if he has another 6 or 7 win season that year his job will be on the line in 2011. I mean that's average at best & clearly at Tennessee average doesn't cut it, just ask Phillip Fulmer.

You're missing the point. Meyer and the lizards already beat us as bad as they possibly can. They already hate us, every year. What's better - bowing and scraping before Pope Urban in the vain hope he won't call a time out with a minute to go to pad an already insurmountable lead, or punching the bully in the mouth come what may?

writer#358485 writes:

The Sports Illustrated link caveman provided was very informative. What we have here is a young man who is driven to succeed in his profession. Those who have this kind of drive in their 30s usually do succeed. That's what it takes in the business world and big-time football is a business, first and last. We fans are the ones who worry about tradition, honor, dignity and other such things. Of course, these young men are sacrificing much during the best part of their lives. I'm glad he is staying in touch with his family, which indicates some other good qualities, but right now his full attention is on building a winner at UT. I think he will succeed in that. I was a big Fulmer fan, but I think Hamilton made a very good hire from a business perspective. I just hope it doesn't cost Kiffin more personally than it is worth. Life is much more than your job or even football. I hope he will remember that once he gets over the hump and puts the Vols back on top, which I believe is where he is headed! Go Vols!

johnsoncityvol writes:

in response to MattDillon:

Anybody think Negedu would be a defensive end? 6'8" 230lbs, 18 years old. Just a thought.

The first time I saw him on the basketball court, I said, this guy should be on the football field. Sign him up coach.

baldfan writes:

in response to Caveman:

Caveman say Good Article John. Fire say bout time you published some positive articles.

Fire say check out next SI article on Kiffin - 5 Pages - good read.

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

Caveman not know what the heck fire mean; caveman don't care fire powerful mojo...

Where Witch Doctor at?

TotalPackage1 writes:

in response to kmarti26:

first

simply USELESS. Did you print out the webpage showing you being first and frame it?

GoVol writes:

For the first time in 17 years we have a coach that isn't 'scared or intimidated' to play teams like Florida, Alabama, etc...Coack Kiff actually likes the challenge and looks forward to it. fulmer was always timid and made excuses before the game was ever played....never had any confidence and the players sensed this and responded the same way.

Kiff will bring out the best in the players!

WarriorVol writes:

in response to Caveman:

Caveman say Good Article John. Fire say bout time you published some positive articles.

Fire say check out next SI article on Kiffin - 5 Pages - good read.

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

Caveman not know what the heck fire mean; caveman don't care fire powerful mojo...

Wow, that was a great article caveman. It did not have any new investigative reporting but it was written by someone who seems to like the UT. Unlike some of what I read on here.

writer#358485 writes:

in response to GoVol:

For the first time in 17 years we have a coach that isn't 'scared or intimidated' to play teams like Florida, Alabama, etc...Coack Kiff actually likes the challenge and looks forward to it. fulmer was always timid and made excuses before the game was ever played....never had any confidence and the players sensed this and responded the same way.

Kiff will bring out the best in the players!

Oh Fulmer wasn't afraid. His coaching was just passed by. He was like a lot of us old codgers, not changing rapidly enough to keep up. But he certainly has a record that virtually all coaches in the land envy. I think Kiffin may accomplish the same thing, if he stays long enough. He brings a youthful vigor that is needed right now. I'm for both coaches, our previous great one and the one we have now who shows all the signs of greatness, but still has a lot to prove. I think he will. Go Vols!

writer#358485 writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Gatorzz, you frequently have good things to add to this board. Don't go away, but also don't become bitter because Kiffin tweaked your coach. He isn't afraid of Florida, nor are the rest of us. I recall Bear Bryant wasn't above tweaking his opponents and Spurrier has made a career out of it--the Florida (er., uh, South Carolina) lip. We had to play Spurrier, you will have to play Kiffin. Sit back, relax and enjoy what happens on the field. Everyone needs to calm down a bit. Kiffin probably will cool his brashness a bit, but I dispute that he doesn't know what he's doing and he has assembled a group of assistants who should give anyone pause, even Meyer. We'll see what happens, but like most other posters here, I'm optimistic for the future--even if I was a Fulmer fan. Go Vols! And, for that matter, Go Gators when we aren't playing them--I pulled for you in the NC.

VolFanNC writes:

in response to Halls3:

I'm not sure calling out Meyer is smart. Kiffin is calling out a coach who has won 2 NCs in 4 years & turned Utah into a national power while he was there. Meyer's no slouch plus he's got the talent to back up what he says, which mind you is really not much b/c he usually does his talking on the field i.e. UGA & LSU this past year. Plus, yes I know they're losing Tebow after this year but I was reading and the kid they have coming in was better in high school than Tebow was which is scary. I forsee a 6 or 7 win season next year for Tennessee b/c they shouldn't beat UF, Ole Miss, & Bama for sure & then you've got South Carolina, Georgia, & UCLA, all of which beat Tennessee this past year on the schedule. Kiffin's shooting himself in the foot with his cocky mouth though b/c he's got a brutal schedule in 2010 already & if he has another 6 or 7 win season that year his job will be on the line in 2011. I mean that's average at best & clearly at Tennessee average doesn't cut it, just ask Phillip Fulmer.

I somewhat agree on calling out Meyer, except he is trying to energize a fan base and get kids focused. He actually knows he has to win now and next year, so calling out FL is the least of his issues. He can either win 6-7 games this year or 9 games. He has 8 home games which are all winnable. 3 road games (Ole Miss, FL, AL) which look tough.

Although I think he will get one upset out of the 3.

He should win UCLA easily this year. Who knows aobut UGA as they are also breaking in a new QB.

As far as the next Tebow, there is no such thing. We probably won't see a QB like this again on any SEC team for a good 10 years or so.

MoneyBaby writes:

When did Adams start taking ecstasy before writing?

TommyJack writes:

in response to IdentityTheftVictim09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ol' Teej is amped. Will attend O&W for first time in many moons.

MoneyBaby writes:

Below quotes are directly from the SI article
http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.co...

"It's different from before," says junior tailback Montario Hardesty. "Last year we didn't start running until February. And there's more discipline now. We can't wear earrings or jewelry or headbands. One thing I've noticed is how hard the guys are pushing, trying to make a positive first impression. It's tougher than it was, but no one's complaining."

Kiffin's efforts at discipline aren't confined to workouts. One of his rules requires that players sit in the first or second row at every class. If a player sits in even the third row, he's marked as absent and faces time on the StairMaster as punishment. "I was in my 8 a.m. math class the second day we came back," says All-America safety Eric Berry. "I'm the only player in there. Afterward my classmates start coming up to me. 'Dude, did you see Kiffin?' He'd come to the rear door and poked his head in to make sure I was there. Before, the coaches would send the weight-room guys or graduate assistants to check. But this was the head coach.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to Couchdummy:

TJ, I hope that CLK succeeds in getting our team back to respectability and playing with pride again. Personally, I do not like the bad light that his words have put us (UT) in nationally. I can't characterize his first few weeks as "a beautiful thing." However, winning cures a lot of ills I suppose. Call me old school on sportsmanship and respect for ones rivals I guess.

I understand what you are saying and even agree to some extent, but our rivals have shown us precious little respect lately. Besides, not all the national attention has been negative and at least people are talking about UT football again. We had all but dropped off the national radar in recent years. Agree that all the talk will ring pretty hollow if the team doesn't back it up on the field, but CLK can only do things in the order they come up. Right now, all he can do is recruit, talk up the fan base, and start getting the team in the right physical and mental condition. As far as I can see, that amounts to check, check, and check!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Ol' Teej is amped. Will attend O&W for first time in many moons.

Quiz - who will be the only two geezers sporting custom "Pound the Fritter" tees at O/W?

News at 10.

TommyJack writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Quiz - who will be the only two geezers sporting custom "Pound the Fritter" tees at O/W?

News at 10.

PD: Prefer "seasoned citizens". The duo would consider signing a few autographs for a small gratuity. :)

eyeontn writes:

Ironically I think coach Kiffin is clowning around:

http://eyeontn.com/?p=594

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