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Friday, July 30, 2010

Blame It On The 'Lane'

This guy is definitely in a 'Lane' all his own.

All-American demeanor. Smoking hot wife. Says all the right things in the beginning. What's not to like about Lane Kiffin? (besides the fact that he hasn't won squat)

To own such a crappy winning record, this guy has mastered the art of landing high-profile head coaching positions that he is vastly underqualified for. Went from backup QB for Fresno State to USC's coaching staff during their dominant run in the early 2000's (eventually climbing to offensive coordinator for one of the best teams in CFB history). Then BAM; with no prior head coaching experience he's the youngest head coach in the modern NFL era (at the ripe young age of 31) and for one of the most storied franchises in the league, the Oakland Raiders. Al Davis even referred to him as "Lance".

Of course, the rebuilding 2007 Raiders (beginning of the JaMarcus Russell era, and we all know how that turned out) stumbled their way to a 4-12 record. To start the 2008 season, the Raiders again fall to a 1-3 record. Not happy, Al "Darth Vador" Davis (I'm half-convinced he isn't even alive. Have you seen this guy lately?) draws up a resignation letter for Kiffin to sign, which of course he refuses to. Then it's gets interesting, and borderline comical. Davis holds a press conference calling Lane Kiffin a "flat-out liar". Kiffin retaliates by saying "he's embarrased to be associated with Al Davis." I don't know about you, but I find public disputes in the media between two adults quite hilarious.

Fast forward 2 months later, and Kiffin (he of the 5-15 NFL coaching record) somehow lands the job to coach the prestigious Tennessee Volunteers, replacing the ousted Phil Fulmer (who in 20 seasons with the Vols amassed a 152-52 record and a Championship in 1998). In my opinion, the hiring was of Kiffin was made due to Tennessee needing a fresh young face to impress boosters, but that's just me. Kiffin begins his tenure at Tennessee by publicly challeging rivals as even goes as far to publicly accusing Florida's head coach Urban Meyer of tampering with a Volunteer recruit. All this before even winning a game! ESPN's Chris Low even reported that Kiffin once told a recruit 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.” Reporters live for guys like this.

On the field, the Vols have an up & down season and finish with a subpar 7-6 record. A couple big wins with some head scratching losses thrown in the mix. After Pete Carroll jumps off the USC train before it crashes, Lane Kiffin all of a sudden leaves Tennessee in the middle of the night (literally) to become the head coach of the Trojans. But how?? The guy looks like a below average coach on paper and in the huddle! Maybe inheriting all of USC recruiting woes and NCAA violations will finally reveal if he can actually coach a football team to a winning record.

Until Sept. 2nd on ESPN, please keep the sound bites and appearances by your wife coming, 'Fast' Lane! We'll be watching...


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