Finally, Someone I Can Agree With
Ever since the Kiffin saga unfolded, I’ve been waiting for a writer to publish a story that I could agree with. All my waiting seemed to be in vain however, as most writers took one of two extremes:
- “Kiffin is a moron and should shut his mouth. The man hasn’t even played a football game yet, and he’s already stirring up trouble. Maybe Al Davis was right.” (The most overused statement of this whole ordeal).
- “What Kiffin is doing is great for Tennessee football. He’s getting us out there in the spotlight where we need to be. People are finally talking about us on a national level again. Coach Kiffin’s my hero.”
I waited, patiently, for someone to come out with something I could latch on to and say, “Yea! That’s exactly what I think!” (or something to that affect). And finally, my wish was granted when David Climer from the Tennesssean posted an article earlier this week entitlted, “Let’s Cut Tennessee’s Lane Kiffin Some Slack, At Least Until the Season Starts.”
Rather than trying to glorify or belittle everything Kiffin has done/said, Climer takes a more sensible approach. Here’s an excerpt from the article that really sums up Climer’s point:
Personally, I’m more than willing to give Kiffin the benefit of the doubt. He hit the ground running. He’s clearly not intimidated by the competition. But he does need to think twice before shooting from the hip. And it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on that rule book just in case the NCAA isn’t amused.
This excerpt and the title of the article really sum up my opinions on all of this drama. You’ve got to give the new coach some credit for having the balls to basically say, “I don’t care if I’m new. I’m here to win.” At the same time, however, Kiffin needs to learn where he is located in the SEC hierarchy (and unfortunately, it’s at the bottom) and to act accordingly. Tennessee’s a proud program, not one where we go around slinging mud in people’s faces. Yes, a spark is a good thing, but Kiffin needs to ease off the gas pedal just a little bit.
Lastly, he’s got to learn to play by the rules. Yes, these secondary violations are the equivalent of jaywalking, but I’m not one to agree with the saying that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity.” Kiffin has to realize that everything he does from this point forward is reflected upon the University of Tennessee. He needs to realize that not too many Tennessee fans want this program turning into the “bad boy” of the SEC. It’s not what Tennessee football is about, and I don’t think many fans want that to change, either.
In the end, though, all of this is meaningless. The real criteria that writers, analysts, and fans will use to judge Kiffin is how he performs ON the football field, not off it. If he wins, none of this will even matter. If he loses, it’s just more fuel to add to the fire.
God, let’s just hope he wins.