Shane: Enough is enough

By Shane from Centerpoint

That does it! I’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 writer’s opinion) is wrong on too many levels to cover. I will say that it smacks of desperation on Kiffin’s behalf, while putting a virtual child on a pedestal way before he has proven himself physically or emotionally on the field of play.

Kiffin’s immature antics, supposedly designed to enhance his national status – as well as aid his recruiting efforts – 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, Auburn’s circus-like (staged) recruiting parties, and Florida’s Urban Meyer turning everybody else in to the SEC office for violations, the recent changes occurring within the SEC don’t make me very proud of the conference.

Why is it that Alabama’s Nick Saban, LSU’s Les Miles, and Georgia’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 – 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 son’s welfare to ensure that he is prepared to compete in life, will still attract the finest recruits. How do serious parents – who have their son’s best interest as their main concern – really take Kiffin or the two “pied–pipers” 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 he’s saying, or how to throw a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get his way? Lane has made far too many public blunders for me to believe that what we see isn’t what we’re going to get from now on. This zebra will never change his stripes.

Besides that, I don’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 they’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 “shindigs” simply appear to be a deliberate attempt to push the limits of the NCAA recruiting rulebook.

And I still haven’t gotten Auburn’s message. Are they telling me that their program is a fun place to be? Are they saying that life on the Plains isn’t anything but a party? Are they preaching the sermon that somehow all the hard work the competition speaks of isn’t going to be required to win?

Maybe I’m “old-school” and don’t have a clue how the modern–day athlete thinks, or don’t have an inkling what is required to attract his attention and interest, but I’ll bet Nick Saban and Les Miles do. In fact, they are probably out there right now applying those “classic” methods I mentioned earlier to lead the nation’s coaches in their pursuit to gain the allegiance of the best football players in America.
—Shane writes a weekly column for the Call News and the Capstone Report.
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