Published August 20, 2010 - 9:56am
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Jon Cooper seems like a really swell guy, and I like that about him. But I disagree with him on one thing, Tennessee will win way more than 5 games this year. My pick: Tennessee wins 15 games. Why? Well I’ll tell you.
Lane Kiffin is a great coach. This week, as we continue in our series Who They Are: The Men Beneath the Headsets: SEC Football Coaches: 2010: Fall edition, we examine perhaps the most exciting young football coaches in the SEC, Lane Kiffin.
Lane Kiffin started his coaching career off with an act of great humility, giving up his role as senior signal caller on the Fresno State football team so that he could take the lowly position of Student Assistant Coach. Which was obviously a death sentence for any aspiring young football prodigy. Between hesitantly nodding his head during coaches meetings, and all night study sessions finishing his degree in Leisure Service Management, Lane stayed pretty busy until his graduation in 1998.
After graduation, Lane took a job with the Colorado State squad, and after one year took another job with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After another year there, Lane displayed his commitment to commitment and took off to work with Pete Carroll at USC in 2001.
In 2005, Lane was promoted to the OC job at Southern Cal, where he eventually took over Norm Chow’s vacated recruiting duties.
In 2007, Lane took over as the Head Coach for the Oakland Raiders, a promising role for the hardened veteran coach. In 2008, Lane Kiffin was fired by level headed owner Al Davis, much to the surprise of the football world.
After two months of eating peanut butter sangwhiches and frito lays, the unemployed Kiffin found a home in Knoxville. The Vol Nation was thrilled with their new hire. Young coach. California boy look. Hot wife. Pete Carroll’s apprentice. Great recruiting records. Strong ties to the University of Southern California. What wasn’t to be thrilled about?
Lane started things off right. He pissed all over the state of Florida to mark his territory, accusing Florida Head Man Urban Meyer of fraud and deceit in his recruiting practices. When confronted with the fact that he himself was actually in the wrong, and that Florida actually committed no violations, he gave reporters that James Dean-esque deer in the headlights look that made all of America collectively fall in love with him all over again.
As the regular season got underway, young man Kiffin dazzled the hometown Vols by allowing his father to run the offense. Kiffin went a stellar 4-4 in the SEC, securing key wins over Georgia, South Carolina, and perennial powerhouse, Kentucky.
Lane posted a great record of 7-6, even though the Vols lost huge to the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Chicken Fil-A Bowl. Silver Lining Kiffin remained optimistic, however, and looks forward to a big year in 2010.
A lot of people get down on Lane, saying he is a liar. That he is a bad person. That he is a friend of the devil. That he is unkind to children. That he can’t look at people in the eyes lest he becomes self conscious. That he sleeps with the lights on because he can’t see in the dark, and he doesn’t know what might have crawled under his bed since the last time he looked under there. That he doesn’t wash his hands after he uses the bathroom. That he liked Rocky V. That he would leave in the drop of a hat just like he did everywhere else. Well to those people: I say you’re wrong. Lane Kiffin seems like the kid of guy that can really build a program, like the kind of guy you would base your marriage on. When he says he is going to do something, well he is just the kind of guy that just plain and simple gets it done.
In short, Lane Kiffin isn’t the kind of guy that would leave Tennessee high and dry. And that’s why I like him.
** Shortly after this article was written, Lane Kiffin left Tennessee to go to Southern Cal, where he later got absolutely played. Enjoy obscurity, pal.