Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pair of Kiffin's join UT football staff

At his final press conference Phillip Fulmer announced his expectations for the next coach: “To me he ought to win every football game next year. How's that for pressure on the new guy?” Fulmer said.

Lane Kiffin, who is officially the new head coach of the University of Tennessee (UTK) football team, will have to deal with that pressure. Kiffin is replacing Fulmer, who won two conference titles and the 1998 National Championship in his 17 seasons at Tennessee.

Kiffin, 33, is best known as the debacle of the Oakland Raiders, where he coached for one and a half seasons with a record of 5-15. Before the Oakland job, he was recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator for the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans. Kiffin recruited Heisman trophy winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush.

Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton hopes the same charisma Kiffin showed to recruits at USC will attract that kind of talent to the big orange. Recruiting has become extremely difficult in the south with national powerhouses in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Kiffin emphasized that he will search anywhere and everywhere to find the best football players in America.

If Kiffin thought Al Davis was a tough boss, he is in for it when he runs out of the tunnel and faces all 108,000 of his new bosses at Neyland Stadium next fall. These bosses expect productivity and all competitors to be crushed, immediately.

ESPN is reporting from multiple sources that Kiffin’s father, Monte Kiffin, the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will follow his son to Knoxville. The move would be a great help to the younger Kiffin as he settles in to life as a football coach in the SEC. Good luck Lane; you’re going to need it.

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~ David Cowart

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