The 'Google of football'

Already recognized as one of the great defensive coordinators in football history, Tennessee's Monte Kiffin also is building a reputation as a search engine.

"He's like the Google of football," All-America safety Eric Berry said this week. "You can ask him anything, and he explains it very well. He's a great teacher. Knowing a lot about football, he knows how to teach it very well. I'm looking forward to working with him some more."

The same can't be said for Vol receiver Gerald Jones. He isn't looking forward to working against Kiffin at all.

"Monte is a genius," Jones said. "His defense is very good, and they haven't even put everything in yet. I'm scared to see what they'll put in later on in the spring."

Like Google, Monte Kiffin has tons of information stored that is amazingly easy to access. Several Vols drop by his office each day just to pick his 69-year-old brain.

"You can go in and talk football, and he's going to tell you some things you probably never would've thought about," Berry said, shaking his head in awe. "He has a lot of knowledge of the game."

Just about the only aspect of football Monte Kiffin doesn't know inside-out is recruiting. Having spent 26 years in the NFL, he hadn't coached at the college level since 1982. As a result, his re-introduction to the recruiting trail has been a bit of a challenge.

"He talks about having a tough time recruiting," Berry said with a smile. "He had to adjust to that because in the NFL he didn't recruit. That was probably a big challenge for him."

The fact Kiffin's charisma enabled him to develop into a reasonably effective recruiter in recent weeks does not surprise Berry.

"He's just a good person in general," the Vol superstar said. "He can pretty much talk to you about anything. He'll probably just stop and talk to any random person on the street like he's known 'em for years."

As much as Monte Kiffin knows about defense, even he struggles to find an answer occasionally. For instance: Since Berry is the secondary's best man-to-man pass defender but also its best run stopper, Kiffin is still trying to determine how to best utilize him.

"I think he's still kind of on the edge of what he wants to do," Berry said. "I guess it's kind of hard to decide because I can cover and make hits staying in the box. I don't think he knows, and I don't know, either."

And, if Monte doesn't know, there's probably no use checking Google.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories