Adams: Recruits have trust in Kiffin

First-year Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin has gone more than a week without committing an NCAA secondary violation. Depending on your point of view, that's cause for concern or remorse.

You know the history. Kiffin committed a secondary violation when he dropped the name of recruit Bryce Brown on the Sports Page radio show. Then, he signed Brown, rated as the No. 1 high school running back in the country.

Next, he was featured on ESPN's "Outside the Lines." And since a UT recruit also was featured, there was apparently another secondary violation. So not only did Kiffin receive national publicity for being on the show, he received more national publicity for committing a secondary violation.

The publicity has been so massive, you would think Kiffin has been committing secondary violations in his sleep. But based on what has been reported, he's not even averaging one a month.

Nonetheless, the publicity is magnified by the ongoing debate as to whether Kiffin is a loose cannon leading UT down a disastrous path toward NCAA probation.

At the risk of quelling the spirited discourse, I ask: "How many programs have been wrecked by secondary violations?"

Secondary violations aren't the equivalent of speeding tickets. They're the equivalent of parking tickets. And no one is going to NCAA jail because of them.

Of course, it's not just the violations; it's also Kiffin's cavalier attitude toward them.

Many UT fans can roll merrily along with that. Others might see storm clouds gathering.

Whether you are on the gloomful or gleeful side of the issue, there's no debating the reality of it. The secondary violations have gotten UT and Kiffin nothing but national publicity and increased street cred.

You think recruits are repelled by secondary violations? If so, then you also think teenagers are enamored with following the rules of the establishment.

In Kiffin, they seemingly have found a kindred spirit who laughs in the face of minor rules violations. That might not get a unanimous endorsement from the establishment, but Kiffin isn't recruiting the establishment. He's recruiting teenagers.

You could argue that he's also recruiting their parents, some of whom might be looking for an authority figure in their absence. He has to convince them that their son will prosper in his program.

Based on how well he has recruited, breaking minor NCAA rules hasn't sabotaged his sales pitch.

The general populace might regard Kiffin as a controversial figure who delights in needling opposing programs and mocking the NCAA rule book. But the parents of recruits apparently view him differently. In fact, they see a coach with whom they can entrust their son.

"He was very polite and upbeat, and he does have a passion for coaching," said Rusty Revis, the father of offensive lineman Kevin Revis, who signed with UT in February. "He is very confident in his ability and his coaching staff's ability. You get the feeling this man has a plan and will do whatever it takes (to make it work)."

Lamont Green, who is the uncle and legal guardian of UT wide receiver signee James Green, got a similar impression.

"Everything about (Kiffin) impressed me," said Green, a former Florida State linebacker who is now responsible for coordinating support services for FSU football players. He's also involved in the recruiting process, so basically Kiffin was having to recruit a recruiter when he signed Green's nephew.

"He's got a no-nonsense attitude," Green said. "He tells you what he will tolerate and what he won't tolerate. You can see the passion in his eyes."

Secondary violations will come and go. So might the excessive hype that accompanies them.

But maintaining and conveying a passion for football is more significant for a young coach trying to rebuild UT's program.

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

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Comments » 46

TommyJack writes:

A pretty good take, Adams.

VolWalker writes:

Good article...

PaulTheVol writes:

Ohio State has committed 375 secondary violations across all sports this decade and they seemed to do OK. I'm assuming most of Kiffin's are Level 2 secondary violations so not worried about it.

atomicvet62 writes:

Best of luck to our new coach.I hope our vol fans have a chance to meet Coach K as I did at the Big Orange Caravan in Kingsport Tennessee,he was very easy to talk with and appears to be a real down to earth person.
Go Big Orange,Go Vols!

KJVol writes:

Take that all you John Adams' haters! Big John just put a smackdown on you and ALL YOUR KIND!!!

teampenny#658108 writes:

Every thing counts when you are selling your program to football players and their families. What might be a plus for some families may be a negative for others. Honesty of coaches, campus life and the character of the players on the team would be an issue for me. While I believe it was time for PF to go-I believe LK has made some poor decisions that does not put the university in a positive light. This i think will affect bringing in some players. If I had a highly rated son for a QB I would be concerned if he wanted to play for the VOLS. Time will tell. Go Vols

utmdm writes:

Very logical. Nice job, John

TnScooby writes:

Excellent slant on secondary violations...Slap on the wrist..the publicity gained far outweighs the punishments handed out. Hmmm, average of only about 1 a month...far from the massive amount the naysayers would lead you to believe he has committed. I'm sure the trolls will show up soon to disect this article to death but good job JA.

GO VOLS!!

DuckRiverVol writes:

Nice article... I have no doubt that we have the best situation possible for our football team. Our head coach is young and wants to prove to the world that he can be successful. He got a taste of the NFL and I dont think he is worried about moving back up anytime soon. He was not afraid to surround himself with coaches as smart or smarter than himself and some of the best recruiters anywhere. There is no doubt that the players will be better prepared on game day and more disciplined. With a few suprise wins the best recruits will be scrambling to get up to the hill. I get more excited everyday about the shape of our program and cant wait for the season to finally start. Go Vols!!

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not concerned about him getting into trouble or becoming a pro QB. More concerned about death threats, equal chance to play, coach turn over and the character of some of the players LK has signed or is rumored to be interested in.

Txvol57 writes:

in response to PaulTheVol:

Ohio State has committed 375 secondary violations across all sports this decade and they seemed to do OK. I'm assuming most of Kiffin's are Level 2 secondary violations so not worried about it.

Dont sell Ohio State short...thats 386 secondary violations in the last 8 years...thats just over 48 secondary violations a year!! But because the media LOOOOOOOVES the big ten you dont hear jack squat about it. But they (the media) and some (so called) fans are foaming at the mouth about Kiffin's measly 5 or 6 in the last 7 months. This is my take...Kiffin knows the rules..he knows what a secondary violation is and what a major violation is. Kiffin knows that you have to do everything you can to get a recruit...even if that means "bending" the rules but not breaking them. Secondary violations happen everyday...its like jaywalking...and Kiffin knows this...thats why he acts so matter of fact when asked about it. Everyone just needs to back up and let the man recruit like he knows how...he and Ogeron certainly knew what they were doing at USC.

RockinTop writes:

in response to slovog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's the dumbest thing I've read today.... Even over North Korean threatening the US....

Bigger_Al writes:

Drivel. Does Adams add anything positive to any single thing in Knoxville?

snafu14u#241639 writes:

Living outside the State of Tennessee gives you a different perspective. Most out of state alumni I speak with are giving him a lot of rope.But have a very much wait and see attitude. Non UT fans just delight in asking "who is this guy?" and "what's up with your coach?". I am concerned, but we'll see. The problem with the QB recruitment is as simple as the fact that Cutciffe no longer coaches QB's and Peyton Manning no longer contacts recruits and we haven't had a really good offense in recent memory. We will be lucky to get a decent mid-level QB commitment. Better hope that these guys can "coach up". bonzaivol

RollTideJoe writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

Living outside the State of Tennessee gives you a different perspective. Most out of state alumni I speak with are giving him a lot of rope.But have a very much wait and see attitude. Non UT fans just delight in asking "who is this guy?" and "what's up with your coach?". I am concerned, but we'll see. The problem with the QB recruitment is as simple as the fact that Cutciffe no longer coaches QB's and Peyton Manning no longer contacts recruits and we haven't had a really good offense in recent memory. We will be lucky to get a decent mid-level QB commitment. Better hope that these guys can "coach up". bonzaivol

Good point. Orgeron didn't do so hot in Oxford. Look what his replacement did. Kiffin still has to prove that he can coach at the head coach level. Monte has a good record but age will make it difficult on energy level with kids younger than he had in the pros. So, time will tell what these guys do and they're starting with poor QB play and a weak OL. I think they're two or more years away, frankly, and other winning programs in the SEC aren't just going away. It's tough in this conference.

NoogaVol55 writes:

in response to RollTideJoe:

Good point. Orgeron didn't do so hot in Oxford. Look what his replacement did. Kiffin still has to prove that he can coach at the head coach level. Monte has a good record but age will make it difficult on energy level with kids younger than he had in the pros. So, time will tell what these guys do and they're starting with poor QB play and a weak OL. I think they're two or more years away, frankly, and other winning programs in the SEC aren't just going away. It's tough in this conference.

Orgeron didn't have the opportunity to coach these recruits that he brought in at Ole Miss either....they were freshman & sophmores when we got the axe, but I see your point. Some guys are better as coordinators or position coaches.
We might be two years from a really good year, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was sooner. And you say other winning teams are not going away...that is true, but don't pretend like bama was not an over night success. The sucked (by Bama standards) the last 8 or 9 years, and then they clicked and had a great season...with what was thought to be a suspect QB in JP Wilson. No reason we cannot do the same.

vol88 writes:

Good column

txvolsfan writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

Living outside the State of Tennessee gives you a different perspective. Most out of state alumni I speak with are giving him a lot of rope.But have a very much wait and see attitude. Non UT fans just delight in asking "who is this guy?" and "what's up with your coach?". I am concerned, but we'll see. The problem with the QB recruitment is as simple as the fact that Cutciffe no longer coaches QB's and Peyton Manning no longer contacts recruits and we haven't had a really good offense in recent memory. We will be lucky to get a decent mid-level QB commitment. Better hope that these guys can "coach up". bonzaivol

It would be a violation if Manning ever contacted any of our recruits!!!

UTvols12342000 writes:

in response to teampenny#658108:

Every thing counts when you are selling your program to football players and their families. What might be a plus for some families may be a negative for others. Honesty of coaches, campus life and the character of the players on the team would be an issue for me. While I believe it was time for PF to go-I believe LK has made some poor decisions that does not put the university in a positive light. This i think will affect bringing in some players. If I had a highly rated son for a QB I would be concerned if he wanted to play for the VOLS. Time will tell. Go Vols

if what you say is true, how did we get the #1 RB, janzen, and richardson?

Every post you say the same thing. negative this, negative that.

People that have an axe to grind for no reason are weak minded people.

rootin4volz writes:

Keep up the good work CLK!!!!

jsm67vol writes:

Did Adams actually write this article? Sorry John, it just doesn't fit your style. Good job. Yes UT fans Kiffin does know exactly what he is doing and it is gaining the national exposure that this program needed sooooo badly! Some of the things CLK has said may cause a few recruits to sign elsewhere but who gives a flying s*$%! Just take a look at how many top 100 recruits had UT on their list at this time last year and look how many have UT on their list now. 5-6 secondary violations is well worth the publicity UT is getting and the recruits that we will be getting.

appalachianvol writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

Living outside the State of Tennessee gives you a different perspective. Most out of state alumni I speak with are giving him a lot of rope.But have a very much wait and see attitude. Non UT fans just delight in asking "who is this guy?" and "what's up with your coach?". I am concerned, but we'll see. The problem with the QB recruitment is as simple as the fact that Cutciffe no longer coaches QB's and Peyton Manning no longer contacts recruits and we haven't had a really good offense in recent memory. We will be lucky to get a decent mid-level QB commitment. Better hope that these guys can "coach up". bonzaivol

The QB'S that sign and come will be the ones that think they can lead a team in the SEC! Those that pass up an offer are afraid of the challange

bkgunter writes:

Nice column, Adams.

Mr_Brownstone writes:

Knock 'em dead Kiff!

OrangeMagic writes:

in response to teampenny#658108:

Not concerned about him getting into trouble or becoming a pro QB. More concerned about death threats, equal chance to play, coach turn over and the character of some of the players LK has signed or is rumored to be interested in.

You're concerned about death threats to a QB under Kiffin? What about the ones made to Johnathan Crompton under while Fulmer was coach? Actually that has nothing to do with the coach or the QB as no one has control over what some idiot fan may do or say.

I don't think Kiffin is a loose cannon nor do I think that everything he has done is part of some genius plan. I think by virtue of youth, he's said and done a couple of things he probably wouldn't do if he had the chance to do it over. But I do think he has a very methodical plan and obviously has a huge passion for what he does. He also seems very driven and that strong, energetic work ethic will filter down to the team. Based on what we saw in Spring drills, it already has. Even if we don't get as many wins as we would like this coming year, we will see effort and passion from this team. That will win you every game that comes down to "who wants it the most".

10volunteers98 writes:

I just hope we can get a big-time QB.I`m hoping for Scroggins or Rettig.Kiff might have to get Karl Childers to help him recruit young Frank if all else fails.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Not once has Kiffin offered free textbooks they could sell.

leedsvol2007 writes:

in response to snafu14u#241639:

Living outside the State of Tennessee gives you a different perspective. Most out of state alumni I speak with are giving him a lot of rope.But have a very much wait and see attitude. Non UT fans just delight in asking "who is this guy?" and "what's up with your coach?". I am concerned, but we'll see. The problem with the QB recruitment is as simple as the fact that Cutciffe no longer coaches QB's and Peyton Manning no longer contacts recruits and we haven't had a really good offense in recent memory. We will be lucky to get a decent mid-level QB commitment. Better hope that these guys can "coach up". bonzaivol

I started following the Vols in the mid 60's when I was playing High School football in New Jersey and with the exception of a handful of years we have always had well above average quarterbacks.

Over the years we have had the likes of Dewey Warren, Bubba Wyche, Bobby Scott, Condredge Holloway, Jimmy Streeter, Alan Cockrell, Tony Robinson, Daryl Dickey, Jeff Francis and Andy Kelly all of whom were at UT prior to Cut being a factor. (Kelly was there as a sophomore before he was coached by Cut).

Warren,Wyche, Scott and Holloway all played professionally. Holloway is in the CFL Hall of Fame and Scott played mostly as a back-up for around 15 years.

As we now sit we are around 8 months from signing date and recruits have had only a little peak at our offense.

Our quarterback coach is responsible for the rise of Drew Brees at Purdue and coached Marc Bulger in St Louis. I think recruits will pay attention to that.

I was strongly opposed to the change in regimes but now that it is fact I have to say that the energy level in the program is vastly improved and the overall make-up of the staff is probably the best in the Southeastern Conference.

Whether you supported Fulmer or not most would agree we did not have very dynamic game plans the last few years and appeared to be out coached at half-time in several key games.

With this staff I don't believe it will happen.

Let's wait and see who we are able to sign by the end of the recruiting period at quarterback.

One final note your point about "coaching them up" is a good one. It is important we recruit the right guy not necessarily the hot name. Francis was signed and not heavily recruited and Jimmy Streater was better than Pat Ryan who played professionally for years, Jeff Olzchewski who was the most sought after recruit in the US his senior year, and Joe Hough a highly regarded prospect from Oklahoma.

So even our own history shows its not always the name recruit who becomes the best quarterback in the end.

lildhoss76ut#638162 writes:

Basking in the limelight. Every coach commits violations when CLK does it its national news and we get a 4* or 5* recruit. Go get em CLK and if you have to get a secondary violation to get it done then so be it. Have faith Vol fans we are headed to the top. GO VOLS!!!

appalachianvol writes:

in response to uf2006bcs1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He could maybe play for Fl. But then he would never to advance to the next level. Kool aid better then the Gator Aid Arse whole.

CharlotteVol writes:

A few days ago a local (Charlotte) sportstalk show was discussing the most anticipated games of the upcoming season. The two hosts basically said that TN is the team they are most interested in watching this year. They acknowledged that - like him or not - CLK has brought the excitement back to Knoxville.

They pointed specifically to the games against FLA and Ole Miss as being the games they are most excited about. FLA because of the smack talking and Ole Miss because of the matchup between Houston Nutt's offense and Monte's defense.

So regardless of how anyone feels about CLK, he has put the Vols back on the radar.

CharlotteVol writes:

in response to uf2006bcs1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

At least its NCAA rules violations, not thug players getting arrested.

Oh wait...I just triggered you to post that tired diatribe of transgressions of Vols past that you like to throw out every day...

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to CharlotteVol:

A few days ago a local (Charlotte) sportstalk show was discussing the most anticipated games of the upcoming season. The two hosts basically said that TN is the team they are most interested in watching this year. They acknowledged that - like him or not - CLK has brought the excitement back to Knoxville.

They pointed specifically to the games against FLA and Ole Miss as being the games they are most excited about. FLA because of the smack talking and Ole Miss because of the matchup between Houston Nutt's offense and Monte's defense.

So regardless of how anyone feels about CLK, he has put the Vols back on the radar.

Good insight.

The Vols are abuzz in several different areas of the country.

Maybe HCLK could talk QB Crompton into taking up foreign cicumcision competition.

The Swamp in Sept would really heat up.

RockyTop10nessee writes:

Actually liked this one ole' johnny boy. Rettig is our next QB. Count on it.

givehim6 writes:

I wish the KNS and other media sources would leave CLK alone this is his first collage HC job he is learning OJT how hasn't made a few mistakes at a new job in the 1st year the mane thing is there getting fewer and not as bad.

jkendall#231407 writes:

The Vols will win 10 games this year.

JC will be rated as one of the SEC Top 5 QBs. The O line will not be as confused as last year - the running game will be outstanding, the receivers will be better - The D equal to or better than last year.
Would you want to be UCLA coming in here to play the Vols early in the season?

Good article John - It would be nice to see a chart listing the SEC Secondary Violations for the past year or since LK has been at UT.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to slovog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Give the QB thing a rest..You guys, well most of you guys have been at this long enough to know..recruiting QB's is a different animal...it takes years usually to cultivate that relationship...he hasnt had that kind of time yet...Just relax...we'll have the a gunslinger in here soon!

byobbio writes:

in response to TommyJack:

A pretty good take, Adams.

I am sure I do not agree. This is a horrible article. I did not even finish it. Let me put this in perspective. John Adams shows up at work promptly at 8:30 AM. Checks his email. One from Sam's Wholesale and one from Circuit City. Goes and gets the coffee maker rolling. Oh, somebody brought doughnuts! Stops by the hot 60-year-old secretary to flirt for a few minutes and "see if i had any calls." Then it's to the mail room. A flyer from Bed, Bath & Beyond. "Hey, 20% off on my next $25 purchase!" Back to the desk to call the wife and change the after work plans. "No cracker barrel tonight, honey. We're going to BB&B and with our savings, it's off to Calhoun's!" Now, it's time to check Facebook, Twitter, ESPN.com, CNN.com, stock reports, XXX sites. Now, it's 11:30 and he gets a call from the Editor, whoever the heck that is. "Yep, polishing up a column that you'll have before lunch". "Oh, man, I have to crank out something or I'm going to get yelled at." Then he jots down a few meaningless thoughts about CLK and secondary violations that everybody from the Cattleman to 1stposterspolice can run circles around and just in time for a McRib sandwich, the article with no research, no facts, no controversial opinion, no substance, no relevance, no thought, no nothing goes to the "editor" and it's off to the $4.99 combo #11!
That's just my take.
BYOBBIO

Colliervol writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nope, he can just tell them that you can become an NFL Hall of Fame QB and one of the top 5 in history by going to UT.

BamaVol writes:

in response to teampenny#658108:

Every thing counts when you are selling your program to football players and their families. What might be a plus for some families may be a negative for others. Honesty of coaches, campus life and the character of the players on the team would be an issue for me. While I believe it was time for PF to go-I believe LK has made some poor decisions that does not put the university in a positive light. This i think will affect bringing in some players. If I had a highly rated son for a QB I would be concerned if he wanted to play for the VOLS. Time will tell. Go Vols

I would be concerned if he wanted to play anywhere else

Volunatic writes:

in response to KJVol:

Take that all you John Adams' haters! Big John just put a smackdown on you and ALL YOUR KIND!!!

Not that I'm a JA "hater", but how exacly did he put a "smackdown" on anyone with this article?

Volunatic writes:

in response to 10volunteers98:

I just hope we can get a big-time QB.I`m hoping for Scroggins or Rettig.Kiff might have to get Karl Childers to help him recruit young Frank if all else fails.

Two fellers were going to the bathroom off a bridge. One of the fellers said the water is cold. The other feller said the water is deep. I believe one of them fellers was from Arkansas.
Get it?

GreenDevilVol writes:

So if a star high qb recruit passes on an offer from tenn then he is afraid of the challenge? You keep thinking that was kool-aid drinker. This just gets better every week.

So TEBLOW,was up to the challenge,its not Sept 19 yet we will see !!!!!!! Yes a CHALLENGE you ever heard of that,doubt it seriously.You see gator BOY PUNK,this is what was missing from our program the last 5-6 years,no more CPF to laugh at and watch the clapping of mistakes,or the charts to fill out, or the work like heck to get this or that right on the field.

You are about to embark on the NEW VOLS ATTITUDE !!!My guess is you will not be around after SEPT 19, I WILL !!!! OUR new q.b. WILL have a challenge,to lead this team,and once he commits watch the top receivers and O-linemen follow,and the process will begin to unfold in Knoxville.

Trust me gator faithful,Kiffin will have UT basking in the top of the NCAA while CRYER-LIAR-MEYER is off to the better days of his career coaching his beloved Irish !!!

GreenDevilVol writes:

" Not everything Manning says is "white trash noise". Remember him saying Tom Brady was the greatest. ( Yep,Tom is a hero , no doubt)"

Oh you mean the q.b. from beentoon,the one that has to " CHEAT " to win his trophies; O.K. just as long as we are on the same page !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Psychovol writes:

I'm on the Lane Train and you should be too.

hueypilot writes:

Just looking for some better organization, a little original thinking in an offense, and some fire in some young players eyes. I don't expect to beat defending NC Fla in Gainesville, but I'll be there to see if we play until the final gun. I'll be in Birmingham to see if the new coach can instill in them the importance of playing what used to be the biggest game in the South. I'm just wanting to see some effort that was missing the last three years under Phil, and I hung with him till the end, but this is Lane Kiffin's team. And I'm behind him 100 per cent, like I was Doug Dickey and Bill Battle and Johnny. Go Vols.

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