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You Buying Lane Kiffin’s Post-Florida Loss Spin?

89184623SG016_TENNESSEE_V_FLane Kiffin pissed plenty of people off with his comments upon taking the Tennessee coaching job. His “we’re going to sing Rocky Top” all night long after beating Florida certainly charged up the fans and it no doubt pissed Florida off. But as pumped as Florida had to be for the game, they really never unleashed the hounds against the Vols who played good defense and kept the game close, winning 23-13. When asked about his comments from months ago, Lane said it was all part of a master plan:

“It worked perfectly,” Kiffin said. “It took all the pressure off the players. We played the No. 1 team in the nation with no pressure on them. … It was all on me. We were 30-point underdogs in this place and it really helped them go out and play ball.”

So do you really buy Lane’s comments or is that the best way he can spin a loss his team that’s now a disappointing 1-2? While I do believe it’s all spin, I really think there is some merit to his comments. Since he’s made himself the face of the program and the target of opponents, the pressure is taken off the players. It’s the same way with Ozzie Guillen and all his crazy remarks — it takes the heat off the players. Here’s the deal though: Tennessee had strong defense and a good running game, but they’re just not getting enough from their quarterback to win. It’s actually pretty similar to Lane’s days with the Raiders — he should be used to it!

Ed Orgeron, Kiffin Want to Crush UCLA

ed-orgeron3The game between UCLA and Tennessee this weekend is already being billed as “The Blabber Bowl.” Sounds like a good nickname to me. Even Tennessee coach and former USC d-line coach Ed Orgeron is kicking off the gabbing pretty early:

“You will not find anybody else in the world that wants to beat UCLA more than Ed Orgeron and Lane Kiffin, so these boys better be ready. They’re going to find out what it is to prepare for a big game. And you know what? I think our guys are going to be ready for the outcome of last year. You can hear it in the locker room. I don’t think there needs to be any extra motivation to beat the Bruins.”

Can’t say I blame the guy — UCLA’s colors are light blue and yellow, and the team stunk when Ed was at USC. As for Lane, pretty weird that he opened his yapper all offseason but now he’s staying relatively quiet during the year. I guess he’ll just settle for putting up 28 points in the fourth quarter against Western Kentucky instead. No question Kiffin doesn’t like Norm Chow and that this in some ways resembles a USC/UCLA game because of the staffs. Mix in last year’s win by UCLA and you know the bad blood will be flowing early. Problem is that neither program quite has the horses to embarrass the other. Should be a struggle the entire way.

Lane Kiffin: Tennesse’s Offense Is Still in the 1960s

Lane Kiffin’s run his mouth so darn much lately it’s hard to distinguish fact from exaggeration. At some point I might have to take everything he says with a grain of salt but I’m not quite there yet. That’s why I’m still inclined to share Kiffin’s thoughts on the state of Tennessee’s offense:

“I feel like we’re in the ’60s right now with our offense,” Kiffin said. “We’ve got to run the ball and throw play-action right now. That’s about all we can do. It’s pretty scary right now. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

That was after a team scrimmage in which the offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Jonathan Crompton. I know Kiffin has his doubts now, but I saw the way he operated the Raiders’ offense so I have confidence they’ll be fine. By the way, I love the shot Kiffin’s taking at Phil Fulmer by saying that; it’s almost as if he’s pre-warning fans and shielding criticism by putting the blame on what Fulmer left him by making such a remark.

(via FanHouse and College Football Talk)

Lane Kiffin Is Writing Checks His Team Better be Able to Cash

In the brief few months since Lane Kiffin became head coach at Tennessee, he’s managed to offend Urban Meyer and Florida football … twice, piss off Nick Saban at Alabama, and take a shot at Steve Spurrier and South Carolina. At first I thought Kiffin’s actions were kind of cool — he was trying to step into a down situation and re-energize it; he sought out the biggest dogs in the pack and picked a fight. I liked his moxie and his attitude. But now with this latest story on what he said to recruit Alshon Jeffrey, I’m starting to change my opinion of Lane. Here’s Jeffrey explaining his story from the time he decided on attending South Carolina over Southern California and Tennessee:

Kiffin was equally dogged. But when it was obvious that Jeffrey wasn’t going to Tennessee, Kiffin took off the gloves.

According to Jeffrey and Wilson, Kiffin told Jeffrey that if he chose the Gamecocks, he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players from that state who had gone to South Carolina.

Jeffrey was doing his best to stay awake at that point, but that comment from Kiffin woke him up. He clearly hasn’t forgotten it, either.

Now that’s just an unnecessary low blow. It’s times like that where true colors and real character are revealed. I’m never one to use negative recruiting as part of my process; I’m all about showing off the positives of our place. Saying something like that can really touch a nerve considering how offensive it is to so many people. It also isn’t the smartest thing to say to a kid who’s already decided on a school. I’m starting to realize that maybe Kiffin doesn’t have a filter and that’s why he’s saying as much as he is. Like I pointed out, he’s writing some checks his team better be able to cash in the fall.

Layla Kiffin is definitely Lane’s better half

Lane Kiffin was introduced as the new head football coach at Tennessee, but the real story was the attractive blonde by his side. That would be Kiffin’s wife, Layla.

Layla and Lane met when they were both 24. Layla was working for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (her father is former Florida All-America quarterback John Reaves), and Lane came to visit his father, Monte, who was the team’s defensive coordinator. Monte introduced Lane to Layla, things went well, and they began dating for about three months before he proposed. The two got engaged and have been married since July 2000.

Layla and Lane have two daughters and a son, Knox, who was born in 2009 and named after Knoxville.

Taking the Raiders Job Paid Off for Kiffin

A lot of people, myself included, wondered what Lane Kiffin was thinking when he took the Raiders job. Nobody lasted there longer than like two years, and nobody had a positive experience working for Al Davis. It was a miserable gig where one was guaranteed to fail, so as a result, nobody was willing to take it. But after getting rejected by several candidates, the Raiders came across Lane Kiffin who was eager to accept the gig. Knowing he was doomed for failure and a miserable experience, why would Kiffin take the job? Now we know why.

Lane Kiffin only had to put up with Al Davis for a year and a half, getting compensated handsomely in the process, before moving on. He got to skip a couple steps in the coaching tree to get to the top level — NFL head coach — and raise his profile in the meantime. It’s unlikely that he would have drawn serious consideration for the Tennessee job had he remained at USC as their offensive coordinator. Usually top coordinators at top schools are offered head coaching gigs at second level schools, not top notch schools such as the Michigans, Tennessees, and Alabamas. Those schools are looking for guys with head coaching experience. But having been in the NFL working for the Raiders, Kiffin got to pad his resume and make himself qualified for any job out there. If he could make a dysfunctional team like the Raiders competitive, he surely could compete with any college program.

I wondered what Lane Kiffin was doing when he took that Raiders job, but now I know. And when someone else accepts the gig in the near future, I’ll understand that they have a reason for doing it, too.

The Raiders Are Wusses

I cannot believe this news. The Raiders canceled the remaining week of offseason training because of complaints from the players’ union about the intensity of their practices. No joke. The Raiders apparently do not want to get better. Their players complained about the rigors of the practice. Are you kidding me? You play a professional sport like football and don’t expect to be worn out in workouts? What is this, badminton, or professional football?

I understand what happened with Korey Stringer. I’m not saying that coaches should overwork their players and go all Bear Bryant on them. But come on, to cancel all remaining practices? That’s ridiculous. Why not just have them toned down slightly? Do they really need to be canceled? I guess this is the foundation of a 2-14 team. That’s how to succeed in the NFL. Al Davis must be rolling over in his grave.

On another point, I can’t imagine that whatever Lane Kiffin is having these guys do is much worse than practices Tom Coughlin puts his team through. Coughlin has a reputation of being a dick towards his players. So my question: Is this the first example of the veteran players trying to override the 31-year-old rookie coach? Could be. But I think the players are only hurting themselves here. That is, if they actually care about winning.