Kiffin is introduced as the Vols’ coach.
And whilst, we can all admire Kiffin for the bravado shown as he assumes the reins from his predecessor, Phil Fulmer. You can’t help but wonder if he’s not placed himself in an unenviable position . Wherein, he’s got to prove himself , if not immediately then most certainly it’s about showing that he’s on the right track to place Volunteers’ program right back into the midst of things. Especially as national championship aspirations go. He can ill afford to have the likes of Florida, Alabama , Georgia , Auburn , Mississippi and LSU are being talked of as ‘the toast ‘ of the SEC- as far as dominant programs go.
“I’m not arrogant , I’m just being me!” And even dear old Al Davis has his say on the merits of Kiffin.
And with there being four SEC teams now ranked within the top 25 of the Coaches’ Poll at present. All of the noise being made by Kiffin is merely done to fan the flames and provide the program with some much needed publicity. Much of the brouhaha on the part of Kiffin has bordered on being comedic and something of a mild irritant for his opposing number on Saturday, Urban Meyer. An irritant that Meyer and his team led by Tim Tebow are liable to swat away , much like a parasite on the back of an elephant. It has its uses but once it becomes unwanted . Well, that’s the only course of action – is to get rid of the unwanted pest. And that may well be how Kiffin is now being viewed within the city of Gainesville. He has been talking the talk and thus far there’s been very little to suggest that he’ll be able to match it all. By walking the walk !
On Saturday , it’ll be sink or swim for Kiffin and his Tennessee Volunteers. He secured his first win as a college coach with a 63-7 defeat of Western Kentucky. Only then, to lose to UCLA 19-15 in a game filled with miscues by the Volunteers. And that’s something that the Gators won’t be allowing on their part. They are liable to take advantage of any mistakes that come their way via Tennessee.
For Kiffin the baptism of fire as far as his professional coaching career goes. Well it was littered with miss-steps and the fact that his tenure amongst the professional ranks of the NFL ended in an acrimonious departure from the Oakland Raiders. Much of it was due to the fact he’d been thrust into the spotlight by Raiders’ owner Al Davis. Kiffin was ill prepared to deal with an undisciplined team. And the lines of communication between he and Davis were icy at best. But if anything he was doomed for failure not just by the poor on-field talent. But also from his lack of innovation and creativity when it came to coaching at the NFL level.
Courtesy of ESPN and AP:
By Chris Low of ESPN
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Urban Meyer used to spend every offseason with Monte Kiffin.
Beginning in 1996, when Meyer was an assistant at Notre Dame, he would travel to Tampa and visit with Kiffin for at least a day. Meyer would glean all he could from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator, picking his brain about defensive philosophy, coverage schemes and blitz packages.
Meyer continued the trips as head coach at Bowling Green (2001-02), Utah (2003-04) and Florida. Meyer even asked Kiffin to come to Gainesville after the Gators struggled on defense in 2007.
Meyer’s relationship with Kiffin, now Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, was good. It also made first-year Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin’s false recruiting allegations that much more surprising in February.
“Actually, yes it did,” Meyer said Sunday. “That’s one of the only comments I’ll make on it. Just because I was fairly close with his father and I just know the way he is. Like I said, that’s all over with. Coach Monte Kiffin and myself have a very good relationship.”
Meyer and Lane Kiffin might not be so buddy-buddy. It will be a main story line this week as the top-ranked Gators (2-0) and Tennessee (1-1) prepare for their Southeastern Conference opener in Gainesville.
The day after national signing day, Kiffin falsely accused Meyer of a recruiting violation. Kiffin told fans Meyer violated rules by phoning receiver prospect Nu’Keese Richardson while he was on an official visit at Tennessee. The NCAA and SEC, though, say it’s not a recruiting violation to contact recruits while they are on official visits to other schools.
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If Kiffin felt he was under undue pressure to perform well at the professional level. Well within the SEC , he’ll be in for a very rude awakening. With the conference being amongst the most competitive in all of college football. And the mere fact that – there are no easy games within the conference. Kiffin has to succeed and succeed fast ! For all of the furor that went on concerning his much revered predecessor. Failure here and now and he too , is likely to be cast aside by the program like an unwanted pet. The Volunteers’ program , its honor and relevancy are at stake. And the task facing Lane Kiffin at this moment is to place it back in ascendancy. Wherein, they’re thought of as one of the elite teams within the college game. It’s one thing to tow the line and have the fans wanting for more -talking about singing ‘Rocky Top’ and all of that. Results and recruiting will be the thing that matters most. Rather than all of the trash talking that’s been forthcoming.
There’s no denying what awaits the Volunteers this Saturday in Gainesville. They’ll be playing in-front of a vociferous and raucous crowd of Gators’ fans. Who won’t too easily forget the disparaging remarks Kiffin made about his counterpart, Urban Meyer. And by adding more coal to the fire and fanning the flames of animus , Kiffin went out of his way to accuse Meyer of violating NCAA recruiting rules concerning wide receiving prospect Nu’Keese Richardson . Something that has since been refuted by Meyer. And for which Kiffin, himself, has since been admonished by the NCAA -as well as for several other minor violations.
As the Gators seek to sustain their dominance within college football. Meyer and his team aren’t looking beyond this game. Complacency is something that neither he or Tim Tebow will allow. Not with so much being at stake and the chance of chasing their goal of a third national championship in four years. Legacies being what they are , this is game is set up whereby a lot of questions that’ve been asked are about to be answered one way or another.
Let’s hear it now ‘Rocky Top’ . Someone’s got to be resplendent of voice, well haven’t they ? Come on now ! Oh who am I kidding ?
For Kiffin and his team , he knows that as an underdog-in reality they’ve nothing to lose. But losing to the Gators in what’ll be a nationally televised game may well do more harm than good. It will prove to be a learning tool for this young team. But should the unthinkable happen , then rest assured that the self absorbed Lane Kiffin will be back to his usual self , promoting the fact he was able to back up his words of insuring the defeat of the Florida Gators.
We know that Mr Kiffin won’t be welcomed with open arms in Gainesville. But rest assured he’ll be cordially and vocally shown the door on his way out of town after Saturday’s event. And with the Gators being favored by a four touchdown margin of victory. Let’s just say that the chants awaiting Kiffin will at best be rambunctious. But in no way will it be downright obnoxious. But then again I maybe wrong , who can say ? Mr Kiffin welcome to Gainesville but please don’t let the door hit you too hard on the way out of town. Well not too hard anyway and at least not in a region where it’ll hurt too much. Many of us would like to think that at the end of the season you’ll have learned a thing or two about SEC football. Rather than whatever it was you thought you’d been learning while at USC.