Kiffin Didn't Try to Win

Gators should get used to beating Tennessee. As ugly as the top ranked Gators believe the game was with the Vols on Saturday, Lane Kiffin had no thought of trying to win that game. For him and his staff, it was all about getting in and getting out with a score that wasn't humiliating. For that, give him credit. But that is no way to coach a game at a big time program like Tennessee.

In the beginning, it looked like a good game plan. Run the ball, take time off the clock. And keep the ball out of Tim Tebow's hands on the Gator offense.

If you are happy with losing, albeit losing a close game, then Lane Kiffin was somewhat successful with his plan and what he wanted to do on Saturday in The Swamp against the No. 1 Gators.

Of course following the game Kiffin would have you believe that he was not satisfied with losing the game and had his troops on the brink of a monumental upset.

"We came here to win," Kiffin said. "I really wish that last drive we had the ball, we had a chance right there but we threw for an interception."

Hold on a minute. You had a chance with that last drive? The one when you were down by two scores and started on your own 22 yard line and had six minutes and a second (6:01) to drive the field to score?

For most offenses that have any idea how to pass the ball, that six minutes to go along with one defensive stop or an on-sides kick would be an eternity for two scoring drives. I realize that Tennessee had zero luck passing the ball on Saturday outside of a few roll out passes, but at that point in the game, there was no choice.

Instead Maestro Kiffin decided to take four minutes off the clock just to get to midfield. That's right, with more than six minutes left on the clock, run after run after run, resulted in two first downs and the ball down at the Tennessee 49-yard line with now under a minute left.

So what does Mr. Brilliant do? Give his quarterback who already had thrown an interception earlier on third and medium. A chance to air it out on fourth down. Result: an interception.

While I agree he should have thrown it on fourth down, where is the play calling leading up to that play that puts his quarterback and his team in a good position to pass the ball when the Gators have to check the run first. Four minutes ran off the clock to move 27 yards when you needed two scores.

The bottom line is that they had no thought of winning that game at that point in time. That flies in the face of his next statement.

"I was hired to win here, I wasn't hired for stats," Kiffin said. "We wanted to do the best thing, and that was to control the clock. It was frustrating, but we did the best thing we could do."

You were hired to win. Controlling the clock with six minutes left in the game was not what you were hired to do. And you failed at the stats department too.

Play some of those receivers you flaunted in the offseason about stealing from other schools in recruiting. You certainly jabbed at Mark Richt and the University of Georgia in week one when they decided not to play Tennessee native Marlon Brown, a freshman receiver for the Dogs.

"What's this great player who went to this school doing?" you asked the media all giddy after blowing out powerhouse Western Kentucky in week one. "Is he sitting on the bench the whole game not catching one ball? Or is he in the game being the team's leading receiver?"

Maybe your freshmen receivers Marsalis Teague or Nu'Keese Richardson could have won the game for you on Saturday. We will never know will we? Neither of them were ever near a football Saturday in The Swamp.

GoVolsExtra.com writer Mike Strange opined after those comments, "Lane Kiffin talks the talk when the subject is playing freshmen," Strange said. "Unlike some of his colleagues, he walks the walk as well."

Unlike all of his colleagues, they are more into winning games, not moral victories and running their mouths.


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