Super salesman

Tennessee's new recruiting coordinator is reputed to be so persuasive he could sell ice to Eskimos.

Ed Orgeron appreciates the flattery but says selling Vol football won't be nearly that difficult.

"I can't imagine a player not wanting to be coached by Lane Kiffin," Orgeron said, referring to UT's new head coach. "When you look at the Heisman Trophy winners he recruited and coached at Southern California (Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush) and you look at Monte Kiffin and the great run he had in the NFL, I think this is a big attraction to any player to come to the University of Tennessee."

Quality coaches is just one of the selling points Orgeron plans to emphasize to prospects on the recruiting trail, however.

"I see the tremendous facilities, I see the tremendous commitment to winning that the University of Tennessee has," he said. "I'm proud to be here."

Orgeron is proud to be back in the SEC, too, although his previous experience was not a pleasant one. As head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-07, he compiled records of 3-8, 4-8 and 3-9 before being canned.

"The first time I came to the SEC I didn't know much about it; I hadn't been in the SEC before," he conceded. "Now I kind of know the lay of the land. I kind of know the talent. I know the coaches. I know what it takes to recruit in the SEC."

Basically, it takes passion and persistence to recruit in the SEC, and Orgeron reportedly has an abundance of each trait.

"I love recruiting," he said. "I think Lane has a basis already for this year's recruiting class. It's important that we lay the foundation in which we're going to work and evaluate and spend many, many hours in recruiting.

"I know the results are going to be there. We have a program that we brought from USC that is a very good program in recruiting. We're going to use the same thing at UT, and I'm excited to see it work."

Noting that the Vols have "all the resources we need to be a powerhouse in recruiting," Orgeron said that quality position coaches is one of the key resources.

"When I evaluated college talent from film while I was in the NFL I realized that the better position coach you had, the better chance you had to become a No. 1 draft choice," he said. "I looked at a lot of film of players. Some of them knew what they were doing, and it helped them in the NFL Draft. If we're talking to a (prospect) who wants to get drafted, he's going to be coached by some of the best position coaches in the country here."

Orgeron turned down an attractive offer from LSU to become assistant head coach/recruiting coordinator/defensive line coach at Tennessee. One of the keys in his decision was the opportunity to work with Monte Kiffin, UT's defensive coordinator.

"When I was head coach at Ole Miss I hired Monte Kiffin to come over and be a consultant for four days," Orgeron recalled. "Now my office is right near his, and I get to work with him for many years to come. That's an opportunity I couldn't pass up."

Tennessee may not put an impressive team on the field in 2009 but the Vols will have an impressive coaching staff – at least on paper. Lane Kiffin and Orgeron were part of national championship teams at Southern Cal. Monte Kiffin was part of a Super Bowl-winning staff at Tampa Bay in 2002. Lane Kiffin was a head coach in the NFL, while Monte and Orgeron have been head coaches at the collegiate level.

"When you put all of our experiences together, you can build a national championship program," Orgeron said. "UT has all the facilities, all the resources to get that done."


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