Comical coordinator

If Monte Kiffin's defense could be as sharp as his wit, Tennessee might not surrender a touchdown in 2009.

Since becoming the Vols' defensive coordinator back in January, the 69-year-old coaching legend's dry sense of humor and deadpan delivery have been a source of ongoing amusement on The Hill. He was at it again Thursday, cracking jokes while meeting with the media to review spring practice.

When asked how he finds working for his son, Vol head coach Lane Kiffin, Monte replied: "It's been a new experience. I call him Coach; he calls me Dad."

When the chuckles subsided, Monte added: "We get along fine. I didn't expect any problems, and there haven't been any. I'm really having fun with these young college coaches and the atmosphere.

"I love pro football. Tampa Bay was awesome but I told you before: This is some kind of place around here. Like they say: There's two seasons – football season and recruiting season. You pick up the paper every day and everywhere you go people are talking about the Vols."

Monte's comedic talents surfaced again as he was discussing the high energy level the Vols have exhibited this spring. When the defense won six of eight goal-line plays at the end of Tuesday's workout, offensive players clamored for a chance to redeem themselves. Granted an extra play, they scored. That prompted Vol defenders to demand an extra play so they would have a shot at redemption.

"I thought Tuesday was unbelievable," Monte said. "I don't know how many people saw the goal-line drill but it was like, Wow! I like that deal where our players are saying, 'Let's don't call it off yet, Coach. Let's have another couple more plays.' I like that.

"Maybe, if one of the games doesn't work out at the end this fall – it's the fourth quarter, last play of the game and they score – maybe we can do that with our opponent: 'Hey, give us another chance. We'll stop you next time. OK?'

"I don't know if they'd go for that."


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