It hasn't taken long for Lane Kiffin to become a household name - at least for those who spend their free time talking about SEC football.
Whether they were comments about opposing coaches or prospective athletes, Tennessee's first-year football coach has certainly been in the news - both locally and nationally.
And for the most part, UT athletic director Mike Hamilton is OK with that.
"The reality is none of that really matters when the rubber meets the road and you play the season," Hamilton said Tuesday of the publicity. "It hasn't shown to have a negative effect on recruiting. Or a significant downside as it relates to our fan base.
"I think that we're going through this window in time where (Kiffin) is getting more attention than he probably wanted. But at the same time Tennessee football is being talked about and that's not all a bad thing."
There's been plenty of good news lately, which has focused on energetic, well-organized practices and signing one of the nation's top prospects: tailback Bryce Brown from Wichita (Kan.) East High School.
Hamilton said he's made suggestions to Kiffin about handling a passionate fan base and far-ranging regional and national media. The advice, Hamilton said, has been well received.
"(It's) nothing more than what he's already done and that's moving forward and coaching our team and concentrating on spring practice and getting on about the business of making us the best program we can be," Hamilton said.
Brown's signing on Monday got the Vols in the news again. Yet it was a far cry from a tumultuous February in which Kiffin accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of an NCAA rules violation, which subsequently drew the ire of Florida and the SEC.
Kiffin quickly apologized but the impression left on many in the national media may have made the UT coach an easy target.
"He's certainly drawn media attention nationally," Hamilton said. "I'm not sure all that came from the Urban Meyer comment at the recruiting celebration.
"His being selected as the youngest coach in the NFL when he was with the (Oakland) Raiders then leaving the Raiders, and us selecting him as the youngest coach in college football, that probably draws some attention."
Too Late to the Party?: Like Kiffin, Hamilton isn't pleased with the recent increase in prospects who make their decision well after National Signing Day in February.
"I don't like it," Hamilton said. "If four or five do it one year, then the next year you're going to have 15 to 20 that want to do it and so on and so forth.
"The reality is by the time February rolls around and signing day happens, I think most guys should have a pretty good idea about what they're going to do. I'm a big believer that there should be a deadline after signing day that you have to sign."
Hamilton suggested a 48-hour window or, at the longest, a week for prospects to sign their national letter of intent.
"I don't know what the penalty is if you don't sign by a certain time," Hamilton said, "but there needs to be a deadline to sign."
As a member of the Athletic Personnel and Recruiting Issues Cabinet, Hamilton's voice will be heard on the matter. He said he's open to excluding prospects from summer school if they can't sign within a preset deadline.
That would put pressure on prospects to sign, yet not keep them from enrolling in time for the fall semester.
Most top-level players want to enroll in summer school to jumpstart their freshman season. Typically, such elite prospects are the ones who are currently waiting until well after National Signing Day.
"The coaches want them in summer school because they're getting a jump on their academic careers and getting around the team environment," Hamilton said.
Despite the objections voiced by Hamilton and Kiffin to post-signing day signees, UT has benefitted from the trend.
Since signing day on Feb. 4, the Vols have signed three prospects: Brown, cornerback Janzen Jackson from Barbe High in Lake Charles, La., and tailbacks David Oku from Lincoln (Neb.) East High.