How has Lane Kiffin done so far as Tennessee's head football coach?
Peyton Manning can't answer that question.
The former Vol and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback said it will be at least two years before he can properly evaluate Kiffin, who was announced Dec. 1, 2008, as the 21st head football coach at Tennessee.
"Kind of what I've learned, it's kind of like when we draft players with the Colts," Manning said Monday morning at Fox Den Country Club during a break in a golf tournament fund-raiser. "Two weeks after the draft they say 'well how was the draft?' I used to be wrong. I used to say 'this guy is great and on and on.'
"My answer now is ask me in two years. I'll tell you how we did in the draft. I think it's kind of that same way (with Kiffin)."
Manning met with Kiffin later in the afternoon. It was the second time Kiffin and Manning have met in person since Kiffin was hired.
Manning also worked out with current UT players.
"To be fair to Coach Kiffin, everybody is making a judgment either one way or the other already," Manning said. "I think we need to let Tennessee play some games this year and maybe not just necessarily this year. I know it's a long offseason and it's more time to talk and analyze.
"I'm trying to get to know Lane. I can tell from people I talk to how hard his staff works and how hard the players are working. They're excited, which is good. Everybody should be excited during this time. It takes some time to develop."
Manning said he first met with Kiffin in March during an event for former UT players to meet the new staff.
"I know he is excited," Manning said. "I know he's got a lot of work to do. It (the SEC) is a hard conference. The conference is like the NFL - it's just gotten so competitive. I know they're working hard, and I'm going to pull hard for them."
Though they've only met in person twice, Manning said he and Kiffin communicate in other ways.
"We trade numbers and texts," Manning said. "He'll shoot me a text with a football question maybe and I'll check in with what's going on."
Manning was mum when asked about Kiffin's issues with the Oakland Raiders.
"I wasn't privy to all the information," Manning said, "so I'm probably the wrong guy to ask about that."
Manning said UT defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was "a great hire by Lane to bring his dad in and bring his experience."
"It'll always be a change going from the NFL to college," Manning said of Monte Kiffin. "He's coming in to some of the top offenses in the conference. It will be interesting to see what kind of changes he makes to the college game.
"He'll probably have some wrinkles that these college teams may not be ready for or have to adjust to."
Manning made his comments during the Mercy Foundation's "Golf Classic with Peyton Manning" at Fox Den. Manning was there to shake hands and take pictures with the participants.
"It's fun for me to be with the people here in East Tennessee," Manning said. "I live in Indianapolis now, but this is still very much like home. The people have been so good to me here. It'll always be a big part of my life."
Manning said the tournament, an annual event, always comes with about a month left until NFL training camp.
"It kind of gets you excited for football season," Manning said. "We've had a good offseason. We've had some transition there in Indianapolis.
"We've got a new coach (Jim Caldwell) and have lost some players, so that will take some adjusting to, but the players have worked hard which is the most important thing. I think we have a chance to have a good year."
Manning said he is often asked how long he plans to play in the NFL. He said he doesn't ever think about it except when asked.
"Of course, with Brett Favre - is he going to play is he not going to play - people kind of will take that to me,'' he said. "I feel fairly fortunate because I've been healthy for most of my career. I still feel like I've got some years left in me. The game is still fun for me, I'll say that.
"I want to always be enjoying it. As soon as I'm not enjoying it - not just the games but the weight lifting, the meetings, the plane rides - as soon as none of that is fun then I probably need to find something else to do. Right now I still enjoy it and look forward to going to work every day.
"I'm thinking about it every day, thinking about what I can do to get better, thinking about our team and as long as I'm doing that I plan to play for a number of more years."