Adams: Kiffin's quick rise an understatement

DESTIN, Fla. - Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin has expanded his oratorical repertoire. It now includes understatement.

For example, take his opening comments to a gathering of 20-or-so media-types at the SEC spring meetings Tuesday.

"We've been here about six months," he said. "It has been a real exciting six months for our staff and our program."

You think?

He's a first-year college head coach at a football program that just went 5-7. Yet he's a national story.

The story continued at the SEC meetings, and it had virtually nothing to do with his youth, his famous football father (defensive coordinator Monte), his NFL connection, his Southern Cal connection or getting hired and fired by Al Davis.

The story is all about what he has said, not what he has done. It's about his potshots at SEC coaches and programs (Florida and Urban Meyer, in particular). It's about insults and apologies.

It's about the plan.

First question Tuesday: Do you subscribe to the theory that any news is good news?

"As you look at this job, you have to have a national presence," Kiffin said. "We're not fortunate to be able to sit in our state and go sign 20 or 25 players.

"When you come in as a head coach, you have a specific plan. This (program) needed to have a spark immediately as far as national exposure."

The man behind the plan and the spark said he doesn't understand why anyone caught up in the collateral damages would be offended.

"I would expect everyone (in the SEC coaching fraternity) to be professional," he said. "I wouldn't think there would be any hard feelings. I just talked to Coach (Steve) Spurrier coming out of the elevator (implying that it was an amicable encounter)."

As Kiffin characterized his plan, he sounded quite professional himself. He's just doing what he feels is best for the program, has great respect for the other coaches in the league, expects to get along fine with his peers once they get to know one another, and blah-blah-blah.

I don't doubt there's some sort of a plan or that it's working famously. But I also believe there's a prankster as well as a planner behind it, and both wear a deadpan expression.

As the questions continued from different angles but from the same perspective, Kiffin the prankster couldn't resist: "I did ask for adjoining rooms (at the hotel) with Coach Meyer."

There was laughter all around, especially from the television cameraman, who had the sound byte he cherished. And the guy behind it surely was laughing on the inside. Forget the plan. Kiffin enjoys this, just as Spurrier once did.

So what if Spurrier managed to win a championship first. That's a mere technicality.

Bottom line: No other coach in SEC history has created so many sparks before he coached his first conference game (No, I haven't forgotten about Alabama's Mike Price, but that was just a one-night stand, so to speak).

You could better appreciate Kiffin's impact by tagging along with the media, which didn't just ask Kiffin about Kiffin. It also asked the other SEC football coaches about Kiffin.

Meyer, whom Kiffin jokingly accused of cheating, had no comment when asked about Kiffin, emphasizing that he wanted to talk about his team.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, who was an assistant coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars when Kiffin was a quality-control coach there, said he didn't see the controversial side to Kiffin when they were on the same staff. He seemed amused by the headlines Kiffin has generated in half a year at UT.

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was asked if coaches file away derogatory comments from opposing coaches.

"You can't help it," Nutt said. "They may not say it, but it's in the back of your mind. Your players probably know more about what is said."

Kiffin has a different audience in mind.

"Looking at kids nowadays, I think they respond to confidence a lot," he said. "The kids we've signed have talked a lot about the confidence of our staff (about how) we're not backing down."

Not backing down? That's an understatement.

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

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Comments » 45

101st_AIRBORNE_VOL (Inactive) writes:

Fi... never mind.

secsecsec writes:

Chris Low of ESPN reported the meeting between Spurrier and Kiffin at the elevators as well: http://myespn.go.com/blogs/sec/0-6-23...

panties4tebow writes:

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WAY TO GO COACH LANE KIFFIN AND STAFF!!!!!!

vol_chaz writes:

Spurrier doens't have a choice, he has to run his mouth because he realizes recruits are starting to take note that the SEC East is a two horse race...and if he doesn't dice it up, they will continue to come in 4th in our division.. Richt will get the ax after this season for keeping Martinez around...

eefor10c writes:

Headlines and secondary violations are all he has created. More secondary violations than points!

teampenny#658108 writes:

Often times he who pokes the big dogs they get bit. Hope we can stand our ground. Go Vols

GerryOP writes:

102 -- Fear The Kiffin...

smokyredbone writes:

in response to gatorz5:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Time to clean the bathrooms boy! They start gettin nasty about this time of the evening,hope you enjoy the big Gator I left for you! Krystal is one place you can put that Gator diploma to good use! Or at least I can think of a good use for it biatch!!! See ya in Sept. chumpzilla!!!

leedsvol2007 writes:

The bottom line on this is Kiffin has already shown he will get national championship level players and has assembled a coaching staff that is a known quantity at every position.

The other coaches in the room know they are soon to face a formidable challenge in the near if not the immediate future.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to GerryOP:

102 -- Fear The Kiffin...

In the memory of Ashley, thank you.

teampenny#658108 writes:

in response to compact2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We have just as many thugs, dopers and other characters on our team as Florida. Some of the differences are they are winning NC's and they graduate more of their players. Hope we can be more like them when it comes to wins and student athletes. Go Vols

txvolsfan writes:

Stones Kiffin the rock star!!!
I love the confidence he shows and it is something we never saw in the past.
I'm not slamming Coach Fulmer because he did a lot for the University but I think we needed youth, energy and enthusiasm in the program and man did we get it.
GO VOLS
TXVOLSFAN

MrBamSeydu writes:

in response to gatorz5:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

gatorz5 facializes himself everytime he posts on UT informational message boards, so who's counting?

noone cares about South Carolina, Steve Spurrier is a has been.

CoverOrange writes:

'Was it permissible to call recruits before you were announced head coach and had taken the [recruiting] test?'

Sounds like an accusation to me. Is SS running for office next?

What Lane should have done was stuck out his hand and say "I accept your apology".

dvhill100 writes:

Helmets and flak jackets are standard issue at this conference. :)

Orangeblood13 writes:

if he wins ballgames, none of it all matters.

DCFloridaGatorz69 writes:

in response to gatorz5:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good one, Gatorz5, even if it isn't true. You're obsessed with the Vols, aren't you!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Orangeblood13:

if he wins ballgames, none of it all matters.

Not if....when.

Singaporehillbilly writes:

We have entered into the dark days of Tennessee Football. The next few years will be painful but it will give the University a chance to purge itself of an incompetent athletic director who has led this program down the rabbit hole. The damage that the kiddie coach and staff will inflect on Tennessee in the next few years will take a decade and several coaching changes to correct.

vol88 writes:

I love this story, and I think it applies to our new coach and his enthusiasm...

An old bull and a young bull were standing atop a hill. The young bull says, "Let's run down there and 'have fun' with a couple of those cows."

The old bull says, "No, let's WALK down there and have fun with all of them."

There's some wisdom there that I believe CLK could benefit from. Go Vols!

lildhoss76ut#638162 writes:

How is it that on a VOL thread Vol fans are outnumbered by trolls,lopers or whatever? CLK must be getting to someone. I since some fear. When the enemy obsess's with your every word they are worried.GO VOLS!

londonvol writes:

in response to MagicMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

spare me, you are delusional!

vol88 writes:

in response to Singaporehillbilly:

We have entered into the dark days of Tennessee Football. The next few years will be painful but it will give the University a chance to purge itself of an incompetent athletic director who has led this program down the rabbit hole. The damage that the kiddie coach and staff will inflect on Tennessee in the next few years will take a decade and several coaching changes to correct.

I don't agree. But I will say that I'm not sure yet if the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train or not. I know one thing: I'm glad Western Kentucky is the first game!

panties4tebow writes:

FEAR Lane Kiffin & Staff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JayTee writes:

Pay back comes on October 31st in Knoxville. We won't be seeing any kill the clock run off tackle plays no matter how big our lead is in the fourth quarter.
The day of reckoning is at hand and no class Spurrier and cry baby Meyer know it.

gatorzwearstebowpanties writes:

in response to MagicMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Phil, you used up your magic in 1998. You had a good run but it's time to ride off into the sunset

bhorton#213253 writes:

in response to vol88:

I love this story, and I think it applies to our new coach and his enthusiasm...

An old bull and a young bull were standing atop a hill. The young bull says, "Let's run down there and 'have fun' with a couple of those cows."

The old bull says, "No, let's WALK down there and have fun with all of them."

There's some wisdom there that I believe CLK could benefit from. Go Vols!

Sorry, not into cow sharing...

MiserableFloridaVol writes:

How can they do this to us in May! Football feels so far away.

boro_vol writes:

in response to lildhoss76ut#638162:

How is it that on a VOL thread Vol fans are outnumbered by trolls,lopers or whatever? CLK must be getting to someone. I since some fear. When the enemy obsess's with your every word they are worried.GO VOLS!

You are right--they are obsessed with Kiffin and the Vols. He's gotten into their heads and they are scared. That's why they've crashed our board. Unless GVX weeds 'em out soon, it'll drive away even more Vol fans.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to boro_vol:

You are right--they are obsessed with Kiffin and the Vols. He's gotten into their heads and they are scared. That's why they've crashed our board. Unless GVX weeds 'em out soon, it'll drive away even more Vol fans.

Agree 100%.

volnbig11land writes:

in response to USCgamecock2011:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

PLEASE let us know when gamechicken football starts as the football nation will probably miss it.

vols_sec_1 writes:

All of you dumba%$es will be eating your foot and praising Kiffin if Tenn does well this season. How about you shut the fu(k up about the dumb poop and talk about football. ONLY the football season (W's and L's for the many morons) will tell if Kiffin is a failure... not some comments you oversensitive female doges cant handle.

Psychovol writes:

I hope Kiffin keeps up the good natured jabs at other coaches and programs. He'll back it up and that's what's got their feathers ruffled. All good fun and lighten up fellows.

West_TN_VOL77 writes:

you know what...all these interlopers (better known as wankers!!) that think Kiffin is so terrible and is going to suck..If they're predictions are right, then they should love him...but I think they're more than a little worried about him if you ask me..

lilvolcoach writes:

This is freaking hilarious. It's the end of May and everyone is ready for some football. The bad thing is, all of it stems from a coach with the guts to say what's on his mind. I can only imagine what will said come Sept., Oct., or even Nov. Frankly, I am glad we have a coach that won't just sit back and take those verbal jabs, but one that will stand up for his players and instill confidence amongst them. No more disrespect for the VOLS, time to dish out punishment.

gillblog writes:

in response to listentothemusic:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You could probably add a few more SEC schools.... like UGA, UK, Ole Miss, Ark, of Vandy, and even Auburn wouldn't have put up with this.

FWBVol writes:

in response to smokeydog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

smokeydog, as I told another UT fan yesterday with a hurricane crack, you're way out of line.

I'm a UT grad who has spent about half of my life in Tennessee and the other half in Florida. My family lived in Memphis until I was in the third grade when my dad was transferred to Florida. I grew up in Florida, but was raised on UT sports. I currently live in Fort Walton Beach where I proudly support the Vols. At my church alone, I know of four other people that graduated from Tennessee, and there might be more.

My high school football coach, in my hometown of Gulf Breeze, is native Tennessean. He played college ball at Tennessee Tech, but is a huge Vol fan. When Ivan hit a few years ago his house was destroyed when a couple of trees went through the rough cutting it into thirds. I have friends that are Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Florida fans as well that lost almost everything in Ivan. I've been fortunate in that I've never experienced great damage in a storm, but I know how quickly that could change in the next few months.

I'll call out Florida fans for snide remarks. I'll argue with them and joke with them, but I will never wish a hurricane on anyone.

Anyone that makes jokes about hurricanes has never lived through one or seen the devastation first hand in the days immediately following one hitting.

Blonde_Stranger writes:

in response to compact2:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As an alumnus of UT, I care a great deal about these things.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to USCgamecock2011:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kiffin turned red with anger,not embarassment.He wanted to hit the son of a gun, but knew better.I knew Saint Steve back in our High School basketball days.He was an arse back then and has spent his entire life proveing it.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to FWBVol:

smokeydog, as I told another UT fan yesterday with a hurricane crack, you're way out of line.

I'm a UT grad who has spent about half of my life in Tennessee and the other half in Florida. My family lived in Memphis until I was in the third grade when my dad was transferred to Florida. I grew up in Florida, but was raised on UT sports. I currently live in Fort Walton Beach where I proudly support the Vols. At my church alone, I know of four other people that graduated from Tennessee, and there might be more.

My high school football coach, in my hometown of Gulf Breeze, is native Tennessean. He played college ball at Tennessee Tech, but is a huge Vol fan. When Ivan hit a few years ago his house was destroyed when a couple of trees went through the rough cutting it into thirds. I have friends that are Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Florida fans as well that lost almost everything in Ivan. I've been fortunate in that I've never experienced great damage in a storm, but I know how quickly that could change in the next few months.

I'll call out Florida fans for snide remarks. I'll argue with them and joke with them, but I will never wish a hurricane on anyone.

Anyone that makes jokes about hurricanes has never lived through one or seen the devastation first hand in the days immediately following one hitting.

Thanks FWBVol.Some people post without thinking,while some don't have anything to think with.Not takeing up for smokeydog,but I prefere to believe he was only makeing a joke and not makeing fun of actual situations.At least I hope no one would be that unkind.

txvolsfan writes:

in response to FWBVol:

smokeydog, as I told another UT fan yesterday with a hurricane crack, you're way out of line.

I'm a UT grad who has spent about half of my life in Tennessee and the other half in Florida. My family lived in Memphis until I was in the third grade when my dad was transferred to Florida. I grew up in Florida, but was raised on UT sports. I currently live in Fort Walton Beach where I proudly support the Vols. At my church alone, I know of four other people that graduated from Tennessee, and there might be more.

My high school football coach, in my hometown of Gulf Breeze, is native Tennessean. He played college ball at Tennessee Tech, but is a huge Vol fan. When Ivan hit a few years ago his house was destroyed when a couple of trees went through the rough cutting it into thirds. I have friends that are Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Florida fans as well that lost almost everything in Ivan. I've been fortunate in that I've never experienced great damage in a storm, but I know how quickly that could change in the next few months.

I'll call out Florida fans for snide remarks. I'll argue with them and joke with them, but I will never wish a hurricane on anyone.

Anyone that makes jokes about hurricanes has never lived through one or seen the devastation first hand in the days immediately following one hitting.

I live in Gulf Breeze now!!!

gatorjag writes:

in response to smokeydog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

very perceptive smokeydog, it is all about UT this year. Fans from all schools love to read the UT boards because everyone outside of Tenn knows the Kiffen train wreck is coming this fall. Gators hang 60 on the vols on your way to a 4-8 season. Look forward to seeing your posts then.

volunteers4life writes:

Only option we have is to ignore trolls, folks. Don't feed them, they'll come back.

Raynoch writes:

Not backing down? How about "Carrying the Fight". Of course, I believe Neyland had the football field and not the press conference in mind when he came up with that maxim.

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