Lane Kiffin: "Blah, Blah, Blah"

I would imagine there has never been a coach in the history of college football that has done so little and run his mouth so much. Maybe this is what happens when you put a silver spoon fed coach at the helm of a major college football program and give him the most expensive coaching staff money can buy to try and bail his mouth out. Lane Kiffin probably needs to do more and speak less.

Lane Kiffin is the young and energetic coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. On the day he was announced as the Head Coach at Tennessee, he decided to tell everyone how great it was going to be to celebrate a victory over the Florida Gators this year...in Gainesville.

"I'm really looking forward to embracing some of the great traditions at the University of Tennessee, for instance the Vol Walk, running through the T, singing Rocky Top all night long after we beat Florida next year. It will be a blast," Kiffin said to a crowd of supporters when he was first hired.

This, in and of itself is something that could be understood given the situation of the hiring and the need for Tennessee to try and drum up interest from a dying fan base.

Then came recruiting season and the signing of several prospects that were committed previously to other programs. Instead of talking those players up, Kiffin had to run his mouth about beating other programs for the talented players. That and taking shots at the cities, states, or families of those recruits and some that got away from Kiffin and the Vols.

The biggest shot was an out right lie and Kiffin was even called to the carpet for it by SEC commissioner Mike Slive.

Addressing a Tennessee booster meeting a day after signing day, Kiffin told the crowd, including those with video cameras in attendance, that Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer had to cheat to try and keep prospect Nu'Keese Richardson from switching his commitment from Florida to Tennessee.

"I'm gonna turn Florida in right here in front of you," Kiffin said to the crowd of giddy fans. "While Nu'Keese was on campus, his phone kept ringing. One of the coaches says, 'Who's that?' And he said, 'Urban Meyer.'

"I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him."

As it turns out, the phone calls were not rules violations ass Kiffin had stated. A week later, Kiffin was forced by Slive to give a half hearted apology and reprimanded for publicly accusing another coach. In general, he has continued to act like a spoiled brat, not the head coach of a major college football program.

Yet, it has been a while. Kiffin went through most of the spring and the summer without firing any public verbal salvos and his comments have only been brought up through recruited prospects that relay some of the things he and his staff belittle other programs with.

The last inference of another program from the Tennessee staff was all about the spread offense and how the professional football ranks frown upon players from the spread when drafting and playing them on Sundays.

It is a tactic Tennessee has embraced to help recruit against the likes of Florida. In all honesty, I consider this part of the recruiting process. Coaches tell prospects what they want to and it is up to the prospects and the teams that are recruiting that prospect to get the truth in the situation.

However, Kiffin decided again to take it publicly. This time a question asked this past Tuesday about recruiting against Florida and Kiffin responded, publicly acknowledging the National Football League's supposed disdain for college prospects that play in spread offenses.

"The only time I really see them (Florida) lose kids, is because kids want to play in a pro-style offense," Kiffin postured to the media Tuesday when asked about winning recruiting battles against the Gators. "It's such a great place to play and they do such a good job of coaching, but you see some kids that don't want to play in that system because a lot of times it hurts them going to the next level for their draft status."

Oh Lane, my man, when will you ever learn?

The message from Kiffin caused Urban Meyer to respond back after practice on Thursday as his team prepares for the match up with Tennessee on Saturday.

"It's amazing what I hear about the spread offense and wide receiver play," Meyer said."It's absolutely amazing what is being said. We are very proud of the wide receivers we have in the NFL and playing very well and Coach G (Billy Gonzales) trained them so well. They are very well trained and great kids. I am very proud of them."

Meyer has proof of what he says and Kiffin really should check his facts before spouting such nonsense...much like he should have before his appearance at the booster club after signing day.

A quick look at recent NFL drafts since Meyer has been coaching at Florida and the numbers certainly show that Kiffin, once again, doesn't know what he is talking about. Florida and LSU (another spread team) lead all major college programs with six receivers drafted since 2005, the first year that Meyer coached prospects could be drafted into the NFL.

Kiffin is using his coaching days at Southern Cal as an enticement to prospects. Telling them that he will use the blue print started by ultra successful Head Coach Pete Carrol to not only win games, but get prospects to the next level.

There is no denying the success of the USC program and the job they do bringing in the best talent around, but a closer look shows that only four receivers at USC have been drafted since that same 2005 draft. Of the four, none of them started on Sunday or Monday of last week's opening NFL weekend. Three former Gators that were coached by Meyer and receiver coach Billy Gonzales at Florida started for their respective teams and did well.

Former Trojan Steve Smith of the New York Giants came off the bench and had six receptions for 80 yards this past weekend. Two others, Dwayne Jarret of the Carolina Panthers did not start and had no stats in the game. The same for Miami Dolphins receiver Patrick Turner.

The Gators had more success, despite learning being coached in the spread offense tat Florida. Former Gator Andre Caldwell started and had 102 all purpose yards including 54 receiving for the Cincinnati Bengals. Rookie Louis Murphy started and had four receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown for the Oakland Raiders. Rookie Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings started and had 157 all-purpose yards and a touchdown this past weekend.

Are we starting to see the error in Kiffin's thinking?

Back in May I pointed all of this out in an article and even supplemented the points with quotes from a hand full of NFL coaches that love what Florida does with it's receivers.

Just a general glance at the NFL draft back in April and it was easy to see that tye first four receivers taken in the first round were from spread offenses in college. Five of the six in the first round came from spread offenses. Clearly Lane Kiffin is wrong or lying.

Back in May, Marvin Lewis, the Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengals had this to say about Florida's receivers. Lewis drafted Caldwell and is more than happy with his starting receiver.

"Florida receivers come to the NFL prepared and ready to play," Lewis said. "They are familiar with a philosophy that we are implementing. We ask our receivers to run precise routes, read and react, block on the edge, and play with toughness. The Florida receivers do just that We drafted Andre Caldwell in 2008 because we felt he was so well prepared to contribute immediately, which he did for us last season."

Maybe the most respected coach in all of professional football also is fond of receivers at Florida. Although 2005 receiver draftee Chad Jackson is no longer with New England, Patriots' Head Coach Bill Belichick still looks at the talent and skill at Florida when he is mulling over the draft every year.

"They have a spread offense," Belichick also said in may when asked about Florida's version of offense and the receiver's role. "They read coverages. They run routes based on coverages or the technique of the defender. They have multiple formations and blitz adjustments and all those kinds of things that are common in the National Football League. I think kids that come out of that offense have a good understanding of passing concepts."

The Minnesota Vikings drafted Percy Harvin in the first round of 2009. His performance eon Sunday is likely indicative of what the Vikings will see from Harvin as a pro. Vikings Quarterback Coach Kevin Rogers in May clearly challenged the notion that the Gator receivers aren't ready for the NFL.

"One of the things that impressed me the most about my evaluation of Florida receivers is that they run very disciplined routes," Rogers said. "They are similar to what we run in the NFL. The wide receivers at Florida are already well versed in an offense that most NFL teams are now using."

Kiffin's father Monte coaches in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. Even Monte's boss at the Bucs, Jon Gruden could have told Lane Kiffin that the Florida receivers are ready and able to play in the NFL.

"I've devoted a lot of time personally to study and evaluate the Florida offense," Gruden said in May. "You can see that the Florida receivers have an advanced knowledge of a pro-style passing game. They know how to identify blitzes, read coverages and run good routes. It is rare in college football to find receivers who have solid fundamental base in all of those areas and most are not prepared to practice and execute at the next level. The Florida receivers are."

The fact is, Lane Kiffin and the Volunteers were one of two SEC teams along with two NFL teams that tried to hire receiver coach Billy Gonzales away from the Gators and Meyer in the last couple of years. Lane Kiffin was one of those coaches trying to do so. If that isn't enough information to know that Kiffin is lying about what is going on at Florida, I am not sure what is.

As I sit and listen to former coaches and legendary announcers try and implore Kiffin to just shut up and do his job (legendary coach Lou Holtz did so on national television Thursday night), it seems very clear he won't be able to do that any time in the near future. In the mean time, we'll just have to expect anything that comes out of his mouth to be a misinformed opinion or just a flat out lie.

Fightin Gators Top Stories