Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lane Kiffin Proving Al Davis Right

By Rick Richardson

Al Davis must feel somewhat vindicated, as the true nature of Lane Kiffin is slowly mutating before a national audience.

Lane’s second foray onto the national scene as University of Tennessee head football coach has him looking as arrogant and immature as his first. Kiffin earned a maelstrom of reprimands from the University of Florida and SEC commissioner Mike Slive for his erroneous and serious accusation of recruiting violations at a breakfast celebrating the 2009 Tennessee recruiting class.

Kiffin claimed that one of his prospective recruits was called by Florida head coach Urban Myer during a visit to the Tennessee campus. Kiffin mistakenly thought that Myer was cheating and had committed a recruiting violation.

While Kiffin was trying to swallow his entire foot, someone in the Tennessee athletic department had to be letting out a gasp. The media storm that followed led Kiffin to release the following:

“I’ve been made aware by the Southeastern Conference that my comments this morning at a breakfast with our donors violated a conference policy,” he said. “In my enthusiasm for our recruiting class, I made some statements that were meant solely to excite those at the breakfast.

“I apologize to Commissioner Mike Slive and the SEC, including Florida AD Jeremy Foley and coach Urban Meyer. My comments were not intended to offend anyone at the University of Florida.”

Lane Kiffin’s apology, or more aptly described justification of his comments seemed to state “I‘m sorry for not really being sorry.”

Lane Kiffin looked promising in the early going of his Raider stint, but quickly appeared immature and green. During the Oakland Raider news conference announcing his hiring, he displayed a lack of communication skills with his robotic, rehearsed coaching cliché’s. He came off as not only green, but Kermit the Frog green.

Kiffin did have some minor successes, but it is hard to define in retrospect whether that was a product of his assistants, and player leadership rather than his own prowess.

Regardless, Kiffin won the lottery when he made that fateful trip to Oakland to interview along with then lead candidate USC assistant Steve Sarkisian. Kiffin was interviewing for offensive coordinator while Sarkisian was interviewing for the vacant head coaching position. Sarkisian headed back to USC without the job, but Kiffin remained and became Oakland’s 16th Head coach in franchise history.

That lottery ticket just kept on paying when his feud and subsequent termination by the Raider’s owner Al Davis led him to a $2 million contract to become head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.

It hasn’t taken long for Lane to make Al Davis’s scorching critique of Kiffin’s character look a little more plausible. Davis called Kiffin a “professional liar” in the infamous over head projector point list of reasons for letting Kiffin go for “cause.” By terminating the contract for “cause”, Al has refused to pay Kiffin the remaining balance of his salary.

It was widely reported that Kiffin stormed through Raider headquarters cursing and slamming doors when he received word that the Arkansas football vacancy had been filled in 2007. His refusal to wear anything emblazoned with the Raiders logo during the Senior Bowl made many question whether the wonder boy realized how amazing the opportunity given by the Raiders truly was.

With Kiffin’s latest shenanigans that humming sound you hear just might be Tennessee athletic director, Mike Hamilton’s, overhead projector warming up.