By Shane from Centerpoint
That does it! Iâ€™m not going to sit here and let this one get by me. New head football coach Lane Kiffin has done some childish things since his arrival at the University of Tennessee, but his recent attempt to secure the commitment of an eight-grader leaves no doubt in my mind that this clown is a fool. This extremely odd behavior (this writerâ€™s opinion) is wrong on too many levels to cover. I will say that it smacks of desperation on Kiffinâ€™s behalf, while putting a virtual child on a pedestal way before he has proven himself physically or emotionally on the field of play.
Kiffinâ€™s immature antics, supposedly designed to enhance his national status â€“ as well as aid his recruiting efforts â€“ has only served to disappoint those who believe in representing the SEC with class. It definitely lowers my opinion of the people who run the University of Tennessee as well.
Actually, with Kiffin being allowed to run amok, Auburnâ€™s circus-like (staged) recruiting parties, and Floridaâ€™s Urban Meyer turning everybody else in to the SEC office for violations, the recent changes occurring within the SEC donâ€™t make me very proud of the conference.
Why is it that Alabamaâ€™s Nick Saban, LSUâ€™s Les Miles, and Georgiaâ€™s Mark Richt, seem to be able to recruit great players the right way – using personal communication and a class presentation to the athlete and his parents â€“ without having to resort to gimmicks and negative tactics as a means to build their teams.
I imagine that a message filled with promises of hard work on the field and in the classroom, along with the confidence that the man taking charge of your sonâ€™s welfare to ensure that he is prepared to compete in life, will still attract the finest recruits. How do serious parents â€“ who have their sonâ€™s best interest as their main concern â€“ really take Kiffin or the two â€œpiedâ€“pipersâ€ from Auburn serious?
What is Coach Kiffin going to do? Will he teach your son how to be reactionary, how to blurt-out stupid statements before he thinks about what heâ€™s saying, or how to throw a temper tantrum when he doesnâ€™t get his way? Lane has made far too many public blunders for me to believe that what we see isnâ€™t what weâ€™re going to get from now on. This zebra will never change his stripes.
Besides that, I donâ€™t think Kiffin will still be on the Tennessee campus when it comes time to sign any kids that are in the eighth grade right now.
What about the Auburn coaches? Am I wrong, or are they teaching these young men theyâ€™re recruiting to skirt the rules? In my opinion, gathering 10-12 blue-chippers from around the country to appear at the same event would be impossible without the funding and logistics being organized. These types of â€œshindigsâ€ simply appear to be a deliberate attempt to push the limits of the NCAA recruiting rulebook.
And I still havenâ€™t gotten Auburnâ€™s message. Are they telling me that their program is a fun place to be? Are they saying that life on the Plains isnâ€™t anything but a party? Are they preaching the sermon that somehow all the hard work the competition speaks of isnâ€™t going to be required to win?
Maybe Iâ€™m â€œold-schoolâ€ and donâ€™t have a clue how the modernâ€“day athlete thinks, or donâ€™t have an inkling what is required to attract his attention and interest, but Iâ€™ll bet Nick Saban and Les Miles do. In fact, they are probably out there right now applying those â€œclassicâ€ methods I mentioned earlier to lead the nationâ€™s coaches in their pursuit to gain the allegiance of the best football players in America.
â€”Shane writes a weekly column for the Call News and the Capstone Report.