Adams: Clean slate - what more could UT's offense ask?

What Kiffin expects from the Vols this Spring

Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has given his new football team a wonderful gift. He has given it a pardon.

How could the returnees from a 5-7 team ask for more?

Kiffin reiterated at Tuesday’s spring-practice press conference what he has been saying since he accepted athletic director Mike Hamilton’s offer to succeed Phillip Fulmer as UT’s head coach. He won’t judge players by what happened last year. He will judge them by what happens this spring.

Translation: Last season never happened.

Forget the second-half collapse against UCLA. Or the offensive gridlock at Auburn. Or the methodical beat-downs against arch-rival Florida and Alabama. Or even the loss to Wyoming.

It doesn’t matter how great a role someone played in those debacles. His record has been expunged. No exceptions. Even those who took part in the Dave Clawson Experiment won’t be stigmatized.

Clawson, the brains behind UT’s 115th-ranked offense, has moved on to a head-coaching job at Bowling Green. Kiffin won’t punish the first-time offenders Clawson left behind. They’ve got no priors with him.

Too bad, fans can’t see this offense in the same objective glow. They have memories. They can suppress them for awhile, but the damage has been done. Flashbacks are inevitable.

Kiffin has memories, too. His quarterbacks at Southern California won Heisman Trophies. His running backs included Reggie Bush and LenDale White.

How good were Bush and White? They were so good that Kiffin doesn’t even have to identify them. He just refers to “the big back and the fast back” and anyone remotely familiar with college football can provide the names.

UT fans will see a USC-style offense this fall. They won’t see USC-style players.

Kiffin might be open-minded in his evaluations. But he’s not blind. He knows no Bush, White or Heisman quarterback will appear at first whistle.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney also might have figured out there’s no Drew Brees warming up in the wings at quarterback. Brees was Chaney’s starting quarterback for three years at Purdue, and Chaney only needed one game to realize what he had.

“My mother could have seen that,” Chaney said. “I knew my mortgage was paid.”

UT once had sure things on offense, too. It had Peyton Manning at quarterback, and Jamal Lewis at running back. Now, it doesn’t have a first-team, All-SEC player on offense. And if I were filling out a preseason ballot today, it wouldn’t include a UT player on the second-team offense, either.

But Kiffin and his staff don’t care what I think, or what the previous staff thought. They want to see for themselves this spring.

They didn’t wait for the spring in regard to tight end Brandon Warren. They saw enough of his speed and agility during off-season conditioning work to believe he could make the transition to wide receiver.

This spring will be a great opportunity for Warren, a freshman All-American at Florida State who barely could get on the field last season after transferring to UT. In fact, it will be a great opportunity for everyone.

Kiffin’s offense might fit the USC prototype, but don’t get the wrong idea. It’s more blue-collar than Hollywood, more physical than finesse. USC’s offense is exciting because USC’s recruiting affords it big-time playmakers.

Eventually, Kiffin and his staff should do the same for UT. In the meantime, maybe they can uncover a playmaker or two that the last staff couldn’t. Or perhaps, a less-complex offensive system will free players to make more plays and restore their confidence in the process.

UT had the worst-case offensive scenario in 2008. New quarterbacks didn’t mesh with a new offensive system, an experienced offensive line under-achieved, and there was a dearth of playmakers at running back and wide receiver.

Kiffin can’t right the wrongs of last fall’s offense. But he has done the next best thing. He has deemed it irrelevant to the task at hand.

There’s no guilt by association. There’s no depth chart. Players will be judged on what they do, not what they did.

The holdovers from one of the worst offenses in school history couldn’t ask for more.

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

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Comments » 43

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Thanks Foolmore for going 5-7 last year.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

I prefer Foolmore's seniority first approach.

TommyJack writes:

The Union Shop is out, boys. Seniority no longer rules.

bobbarbilly writes:

So John, the glass is half-empty. Might as well drink the rest of it.

Layla_Kiffin_is_hott writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

vailvol writes:

in response to Layla_Kiffin_is_hott:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

my wife just glared at me for laughing out loud after reading this.

lomas98 writes:

Jim Chaney is fat.

VOLinDAWGland writes:

I've already forgotten about last year...it was just a bad dream. Funny thought when I woke up, there was a new coaching staff in place...hmmmmm

GerryOP writes:

New bosses, new game, no history, no past, and everyone has an opportunity to excell and strive for excellence.

179 -- Fear The Kiffin...

DennisVols writes:

There is no telling what the right schemes can do for this offense. There are plenty of players left on this team that came from good, not great, recruiting classes. Poole and Creer are very talented running backs. Crompton was one of the top rated QB's in the nation coming out of HS.
I chose to believe that it was more the teachers than the students that lead to last years flop.
Can CLK and company undo what was done last year? I for one feel they have taken the right steps so far by wiping the slate clean.
Being positive beats the heck out of being negitive anyday.
Go Vols

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

The Union Shop is out, boys. Seniority no longer rules.

Is the benefit plan for the Bench Riders Assoc no longer in effect?

Perish the thought...

txvolsfan writes:

in response to TommyJack:

The Union Shop is out, boys. Seniority no longer rules.

Play'em if you got'em!!!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

"I've got two words for you....Milwaukee-Wisconsin" - Coach Fulmer on his new offensive coordinator (3rd choice you know the next head coach who was going to revolutinize the SEC) Dave Clawson. ROTFLMGDMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!

UTROX writes:

This makes me excited... It proves, can't get much worse..

murrayvol writes:

in response to WorkinLikeHeck:

I prefer Foolmore's seniority first approach.

Congress prefers that method as well.

BamaVol80 writes:

I may be completely wrong and looking at things through Big Orange colored glasses, but...

I really believe that most of these players were recruited to play in a more pro style offense (vs the Clawfense), that the O-line could not figure out the blocking schemes last year, and that one of these QBs is going to have an "Ainge like" awakening. Finally, while I appreciate all that Arian Fumble did in his 4 years, I am "hopinglikeheck" that we don't Foster away the ball at the most crucial times.

I don't expect 30 points per game, but I DO expect a big improvement.

Ok, I will go back and take my meds now...

GO VOLS!!!

murrayvol writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Is the benefit plan for the Bench Riders Assoc no longer in effect?

Perish the thought...

Thought it was Pine Riders Assoc....maybe not. I suppose most benches are composites nowadays.

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

in response to WorkinLikeHeck:

I prefer Foolmore's seniority first approach.

I see your man crush on Fulmer is still going strong.

You do know he's not the coach anymore, right? But if contiuing to take cheap shots at the man who did more for UT football than you could ever dream about makes you feel better about yourself then keep firing away.

invisiblekid writes:

I guess the Times Free Press is the place to go for quotes from the staff nowadays:

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...

invisiblekid writes:

in response to DestinVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No disrespect intended but, you are stating the obvious, no need for apologies.

Week in and week out last year we heard about guys like Creer, Warren, and Moore and how well they did in practice from the position coaches. Then they seldom saw playing time during the game. Someone had to make those decisions and it wasn't the position coaches.

invisiblekid writes:

Best news I heard and I am paraphrasing Coach Kiffin from the press conference today:

Special teams:

I think you will see a ton of time devoted to special teams this month. There is no one that is not available to Coach Gran on special teams. Starters will play on special teams and we've got to be a great special teams early on as we develop our offense and defense.

http://www.utsports.com/

wagee12 writes:

Once again we see total blame placed on Dave Clawson and none, nada, nothing going to Chubby Checkerboard. Well one of them has a new head coaching job and the other is sitting on his fat arse.
Adams piece is almost entirely correct. Tennessee lacks big time play-makers and wishing that somebody like Creer or Jones suddenly becomes a first team all-american is dreaming, pure and simple.
Frankly, I'm just going to enjoy the moment knowing full well that this team will play extremely hard next fall with fewer mistakes and a desire to pull an upset or two along the way.

invisiblekid writes:

in response to DestinVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True, but I don't think the point I took from your post can be reiterated enough however. There IS some talent on this team.

Many people seem to keep looking back to last year and it's understandable. But the fact is it's finally over and a new day has arrived.

belayvol writes:

Just remember on any given Saturday, a highly motivated, under talented team can beat a more skilled team and badly. See Utah vs. bama.

jsm67vol writes:

in response to DestinVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Underutilized because noone on the offensive side of the ball seemed to know WTF they were doing. I agree there is talent on this team and hopefully the players will be more suited to this type system. Go Vols!!

NorthwestVol writes:

in response to invisiblekid:

I guess the Times Free Press is the place to go for quotes from the staff nowadays:

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/20...

Nice. Thanks for the link.

Orangeblood13 writes:

There he goes, ole Adams up to it again. Piss poor EIC

get a life you moroon

dvhill100 writes:

Nice article by Adams. Good information and well written.

“My mother could have seen that,” Chaney said. “I knew my mortgage was paid.” You have to love that quote. Monte put another one out about not 8, 9, or 10 to the ball, but 11. Not 12 either, because then we are in trouble.

All those who think we made a mistake on the coaching staff, please go to the clinic for your meds.

newtonrail writes:

March 10, 2009
8:44 p.m.
Suggest removal
Reply to this post

UTfan4life writes:
in response to lomas98:

Jim Chaney is fat.

Your an idiot.

UTfan, if you are going to call someone an idiot, in violation of policy of this site, say it right. "You are or You're". As far as what the guy said, if Mr. Chaney wears all Orange he will look like Great Pumpkin II. Of course I don't think it was a very intelligent comment if the best you can come up with is to criticise ANY coaches weight. Back to the Draft.

TheVolMan writes:

in response to Orangeblood13:

There he goes, ole Adams up to it again. Piss poor EIC

get a life you moroon

Orangeblood13-get a life whiner. You're just crying that JA was right about Failmer. Put your head back in the sand.

DarthVol writes:

A few years ago Buzz Peterson had convinced me, through watching his team play, that there was very little talent on our basketball team. With a new coach came a new perspective on the quality of players we had. Now, I'm not going to say that that's necessarily the case with our football team, but...

"Only after disaster can we be resurrected" - Tyler Durden

richvol writes:

in response to invisiblekid:

Best news I heard and I am paraphrasing Coach Kiffin from the press conference today:

Special teams:

I think you will see a ton of time devoted to special teams this month. There is no one that is not available to Coach Gran on special teams. Starters will play on special teams and we've got to be a great special teams early on as we develop our offense and defense.

http://www.utsports.com/

Praise GOD!

Psychovol writes:

I'm a 115th. How do you know we don't have a Bush, White, or Heisman QB? How do know until they get the benefit of being coached up? I'm not sure the previous coaching regime set players up for success.

VOLINCALI writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Exactly, all this is not put on them. Fulmer never was able to pick up the offense. Therefore, he was unable to coach 'em up during the game.

invisiblekid writes:

in response to DestinVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I should have worded it differently, understand your response and I totally comprehend bad days.

In my defense, I was trying to do three things at once; listening to the Kiffin interview, reading the Rucker article, and responding on here.

Hope today is going well my friend.

invisiblekid writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Easy to look good in practice when going against the second team with a green jersey or running a scrimmage against a defense with one arm tired behind their collective backs.

invisiblekid writes:

in response to DarthVol:

A few years ago Buzz Peterson had convinced me, through watching his team play, that there was very little talent on our basketball team. With a new coach came a new perspective on the quality of players we had. Now, I'm not going to say that that's necessarily the case with our football team, but...

"Only after disaster can we be resurrected" - Tyler Durden

Good to see you Darth Vol.

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

I can agree than no preseason SEC or All Americans will be listed with the exception of Eric Berry. That being said, hopefully after the season, we will have players deserving of the awards. If I was a player on the team, and part of last year's dismal performances, I would do everything in my power to prove myself worthy of being a Vol. They don't want a repeat of last year a lot more than the fans don't. It is a second chance, a do over of sorts. What the players do with it is a story yet to be told. CLK has drawn a line in the sand with the SEC coaches, and has dared them to step over. Hopefully, this will motivate the team that in truth should need no additional motivation. Let the cream rise to the top.

GO VOLS!

volwalk writes:

in response to BamaVol80:

I may be completely wrong and looking at things through Big Orange colored glasses, but...

I really believe that most of these players were recruited to play in a more pro style offense (vs the Clawfense), that the O-line could not figure out the blocking schemes last year, and that one of these QBs is going to have an "Ainge like" awakening. Finally, while I appreciate all that Arian Fumble did in his 4 years, I am "hopinglikeheck" that we don't Foster away the ball at the most crucial times.

I don't expect 30 points per game, but I DO expect a big improvement.

Ok, I will go back and take my meds now...

GO VOLS!!!

hopefully, none of our running backs have a fumbling problem...oh wait, a ball security problem.

DarthVol writes:

in response to invisiblekid:

Good to see you Darth Vol.

Always lurking, ivk. Thanks.

Mr_Brownstone writes:

Is Crompton really as bad as he showed last year or was it Clawson's offense? I guess we will see.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to Mr_Brownstone:

Is Crompton really as bad as he showed last year or was it Clawson's offense? I guess we will see.

Maybe we want see. If this offense is as simple minded as they say BJ could very well beat out Crompton

secfootballrocks writes:

Clean Slate: What More Could UT's Offense Ask?

Well, Lane Kiffin could have a stripper pole installed for his assistant coaches to entertain the recruits.

Coach Ed Orgeron could be the featured topless dancer.

UTwild boyz! UTwildboyz! Chomp Chomp

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