Meyer, Kiffin exchange verbal barbs

Apparently nobody told Florida’s Urban Meyer and Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin that the game is over.


In looking back at the game, Meyer said Sunday he probably should have opened up the defending national champs’ offense. But he said there was no reason to because of the Vols’ conservative approach to their own offense.

“When I saw them start handing the ball off, I didn’t feel like they were going after the win,” Meyer said.

“The way we lose a game there is throw an interception. Why put yourself in that position? Let’s find a way to win the game. We’re not trying to impress the pollsters.

We’re trying to win the game. A lot of it had to do with the way they were playing. It made our life a little easier.”

Kiffin said he put his Volunteers in the best position they could be in to beat Florida. Then he took one more shot at Meyer, who said several of his players had been hit by the flu.

Asked whether he was worried about the flu also hitting Tennessee, Kiffin said: “I don’t know. I guess we’ll wait and after we’re not excited about a performance, we’ll tell you everybody was sick.”

“They wanted to shorten the game. I remember looking out there and there’s 10 minutes left in the game and there’s no no-huddle, they are down, I think it was 23-6 and [there’s no] urgency,” he said.

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I actually side with Kiffin here. This sounds like Meyer is trying to make excuses and deflect attention away from the fact that his team didn’t give Tennessee the beating of a lifetime when everyone expected them to. Watching Florida defeat Tennessee by 10 points was like waiting all week in school to watch a huge fight at the flagpole and instead both kids exchanging blows, they came out slapping each other.

The Gators may have won, but they weren’t impressive. And as I wrote after the game, maybe that’s the medias fault for hyping up a Tennessee massacre but the bottom line is that thanks to Monte Kiffin’s defense (and Tim Tebow’s second half fumble), the Vols were able to keep things relatively close.

As far as Tennessee not showing any urgency, Kiffin is right – he put the game in the hands of his tailbacks, which were the only offensive production the Vols had. Kiffin knew that defense and his running game were the only things that were going to get him a win, so he stuck to that plan.

Meyer should move on. Florida got the win and that’s the most important thing. Maybe the massacre at the flagpole will come next year.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Tennessee’s Kiffin pissing off fellow SEC coaches

Lane Kiffin hasn’t even held the Tennessee head-coaching job for three months and already he’s managed to tick off fellow SEC coaches Urban Meyer (Florida), Nick Saban (Alabama), Steve Spurrier (South Carolina) and Mark Richt (Georgia).

Lane KiffinThat kind of preaching-to-the-choir comment fit perfectly into the rhetoric of his first press conference. I doubt it got much of a rise in Gainesville, since the Gators have owned the Vols in recent seasons.

What really irked Florida Coach Urban Meyer was that Kiffin continued to attempt to hire — unsuccessfully, as it turned out — receivers coach Billy Gonzales while the Gators were preparing for the national championship game.

More recently, Kiffin has gotten on the nerves of Alabama Coach Nick Saban to the extent that Saban is asking players who already have committed to the Crimson Tide not to take official visits to UT.
This is in response to Kiffin’s hiring of Lance Thompson off Saban’s staff. Thompson, considered Alabama’s best recruiter, got a big raise to jump to the Vols just two weeks before signing day.
Considering that UT is a combined 1-6 since Meyer and Saban arrived at Florida and Alabama, you have to take your victories wherever you can find them.

And don’t forget that Kiffin also has tugged on Steve Spurrier’s visor. First Kiffin hired his brother-in-law, David Reaves, off the South Carolina staff. Then Kiffin and Spurrier exchanged comments in the press about recruiting.

While we’re at it, Kiffin also threw a $400,000 offer at super recruiter Rodney Garner in an attempt to lure him off Mark Richt’s staff at Georgia. Garner chose to stay at Georgia.

For those keeping score, Kiffin has kicked sand at Meyer, Saban, Spurrier and Richt. It’s no coincidence that those are the coaches of the four most important opponents on UT’s schedule every year. Those are also four programs that the Vols must match in recruiting if they are to regain relevance in the SEC.

Obviously this is all part of Kiffin’s plan to breathe a little life into a Tennessee program that could use a shot in the arm. Is he going about it the right way? Probably not, although that won’t matter if he wins.

If pissing off your fellow conference coaches motivates the program and players, then go for it. But if nothing changes and the Vols get flattened by all of these teams next year, then Kiffin is just going to look like a pompous ass who got what was coming to him.

Lane Kiffin already in hot water at Tennessee?

Steve Spurrier vs. Lane Kiffin shares the news that new soon-to-be Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin is already mixed up in a recruiting scandal involving Steve Spurrier and South Carolina.

Spurrier is claiming that Kiffin’s contact with recruit Jarvis Giles on Sunday violates NCAA rules because Kiffin hadn’t yet passed a required certification test that allows contact with recruits. Giles had pulled out of a verbal commitment to the Vols after Fulmer’s departure was announced, and he was reportedly deciding between Nebraska and…yes, South Carolina.

Kiffin’s contact with Giles on Sunday is clear. What’s not clear is whether or not Kiffin was technically UT’s coach at the time and whether NCAA rules allowed such a phone call. GO VOLS XTRA’s Dave Hooker had a seemingly harmless story about Giles’ conversation with Kiffin on Sunday:

“He already called me this morning at 7 o’clock,” the 6-foot, 175-pound tailback from Gaither High School in Tampa, Fla., said Sunday afternoon. “He said ‘I sat down and watched a little bit of your film online. From what I’ve seen, you’re pretty impressive.’

“He said he was going to sit down and watch some more tonight and see how I can fit into this offense.”

Spurrier saw these comments and wondered how exactly Kiffin had signed a contract and become certified to contact recruits in such a short period of time. THE STATE of Columbia, S.C., reports that it all happened awfully fast. Spurrier of course didn’t resist the opportunity to get in a verbal jab:

“You’re supposed to have passed the NCAA test and be on board, I think. But maybe he was just calling him as an interested observer,” Spurrier said today, laughing. “I don’t know. But technically to be able to recruit you’re supposed to pass the NCAA test.

“I know when I was hired, after the press conference I took the test to qualify you to be a recruiter. I hadn’t taken it in three or four years. At that time I could start making calls. I don’t know if he was permitted to make that call or not. You’ll have to ask somebody else.”

Kiffin said today during his first press conference that he had taken the test in time. A UT spokesman told THE STATE that Kiffin signed his contract on Saturday (which is a little odd, since Fulmer was still coaching the Vols that day while they played Kentucky).

Further muddying the Giles situation is the fact that David Reaves, the recruiting coordinator at South Carolina since 2006 (in addition to duties as quarterbacks coach), just resigned from his post with the Gamecocks…to join Kiffin’s staff. It just so happens that Reaves is Kiffin’s brother-in-law. In his old job, Reaves was likely heavily involved in efforts to get Giles to Columbia.

Welcome back to the wonderful world of college football, Lane.

Report: Lane Kiffin to be the next head coach at Tennessee is reporting that former Oakland Raiders’ head coach Lane Kiffin is heading to the University of Tennessee.

Kiffin, 33, will be making his college head coaching debut in succeeding Phillip Fulmer, who will coach his last game for the Vols on Saturday.

Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton denied reports on Wednesday that Kiffin had been offered a contract. But Kiffin has been at the forefront of the Vols’ search for some time.

Part of the holdup is that Tennessee didn’t want to do anything officially this week that would take away from Fulmer’s final game Saturday against Kentucky. Fulmer was fired by Hamilton on Nov. 2 and allowed to finish out the season. He’s been at Tennessee as a player, assistant coach and head coach for 35 years.

The university has dubbed Saturday’s game “Phillip Fulmer Appreciation Day” at Neyland Stadium in celebration of his 17-year tenure.

One of the big draws with Kiffin was the staff that he’ll potentially be able to put together. He’s talked with his father, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, about joining him at Tennessee. The elder Kiffin is considered one of the foremost defensive minds in football.

Outside of drawing recruits with his NFL resume, I’m not sure Kiffin is a great fit at Tennessee. But the Vols are in major need of an offensive facelift, which is supposed to be (read: supposed to be) Kiffin’s specialty.

How huge would it be if Lane could convince papa Monte to come up from Tampa and join him? Monte Kiffin’s defenses are always so underrated and he’s easily one of the best schemers in the NFL. It’s doubtful he would leave the Bucs, but one would have to imagine that the temptation to join his son would be strong.

Tennessee’s next head coach: Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly?

Brian KellySince Phillip Fulmer made the decision to step down at the end of the year, speculation has run rampant on who will replace him as the next head coach at the University of Tennessee. While The Oregonian suggests that Oregon State’s Mike Riley could be in line for the position, I’ve got another name to keep your eye on: Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly.

Five years ago, Kelly was a nobody winning multiple Division II championships at little old Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From there, he was hired at Central Michigan University, which had won more than three games only once in the previous four seasons. After finishing with a 4-7 record in 2004 (his first year in Mt. Pleasant) and 6-5 in 2005, Kelly led the Chippewas to a MAC Championship in 2006 before jetting to Cincinnati before coaching CMU in the 2006 Motor City Bowl.

In his first season at Cincinnati, Kelly led the Bearcats to their second ever 10-win season (first since 1949) and a top 25 ranking. He was named Big East Coach of the Year and currently has the Bearcats ranked 19th in the nation despite having to play a total of four different quarterbacks this season due to injury.

Tennessee needs a confident, offensive-minded leader and Kelly fits the bill. Many in the Mt. Pleasant area hate him for the way he left CMU in the lurch after winning the MAC Championship in 2006, but the fact of the matter is that he made that program relative again (the Chips are going for their third straight MAC title this season). He was the one that converted Joe Staley (who is currently starting for the 49ers right now) from tight end to offensive tackle, and also the one who recruited Heisman candidate Dan LeFevour. And the job Kelly has done at Cincinnati in his two years has been remarkable to say the least.

When talking to people who have worked with him in the past (like Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun columnist and Central Michigan beat writer Drew Ellis, who is a close friend of mine), you get the impression that Kelly is a cocky, but confident coach. The Vols need someone headstrong that can turn the program around in only a few short years. No offense to Riley or any other candidate Tennessee may consider, but Kelly has won everywhere he’s gone and he seems like a coach that can light a fire under that program’s ass.

Related Posts