Congratulations on landing the job in Knoxville. Hopefully the burning mattresses and rioting have died down by now. Just chalk that silliness up to a rabid fan base tired of losing to Alabama, and just being irrelevant in general. I have great respect for your dad and his accomplishments, and think you’re a good coach under all those losses. With that in mind, I just wanted to offer you a few pieces of advice as you get started in Big Orange country.
1.) You’ve already been referred to as Tennessee’s Bill Curry. So my first item of advice would be to find a good brick and keep it in a safe place. You’re going to lose some games, well, alot, because you have no stability, your supporters are divided over you even being there, your recruiting is about to hit the skids like a speeding semi on an icy road, and your boss will probably get the ax soon.
So get that brick ready, and after your most embarrassing loss next season, which could come against UAB, break a window in your office and deflect the focus on your shortcomings to a rabid, irrational fan base.
Of course, don’t make the mistakes Curry did. You need to actually produce the brick for people to see, and there needs to be glass INSIDE your office (from the toss from the exterior to the interior) instead of just outside on the pavement. I’ve never seen a brick go through a window yet leave all the glass on the outside, but hey, I’m not a physicist either. But for safety’s sake, do what I just said.
2.) Start now telling people how long it’s going to take to fix the mess you inherited. Obama has been doing it since he stepped into the Oval Office, and while that’s not fooball, it works in football too. Then when you get fired by the new A.D. brought in to replace Mike Hamilton, you can (again) point to the rabid, irrational fan base that wanted to win right away and didn’t give you enough time.
3.) Blame your lack of production on youth. Tommy Tuberville did that for ten years at Abarn, and it seemed to work every year for some reason. Call him and ask how that worked.
4.) Go ahead and invest in ankle monitoring bracelets. You have players on your team who are criminals, and they may not like being yelled at in practice. For the protection of your family, you need to know their whereabouts at all times. Just avoid Pilot gas stations and that’ll go a long way in protecting you.
5.) Try to hire Gus Malzahn. He has a dipsy-doo, trickeroo offense that works sometimes. It’s mostly a sham, but it looks really good when you play an opponent who thinks they can beat you running between the tackles all night…because they don’t really have to break out the good stuff with bigger games to play around the corner. But there’s enough smoke and mirrors involved in it to eek out wins over some Division 1-AA teams and poor bowl competition. Your fans will rave over 8 wins like there’s no tomorrow (hopefully…but it may just be delusional Abarn fans; they’re pretty stupid).
6.) Stay close to Nick Saban. You have a long history with him, and once you get canned he’ll make some phone calls and help you. You are a legitimate coach and he knows that, and given the time you could win at Tennessee. But sadly, the orange delusion that believes UT belongs on the same stage with the big boys will cut your career short there. So just keep Saban on speed dial and keep your eyes open for that next gig.
7.) Fumigate your office. There’s no telling what Lane did in there. He is a deranged, self-entitled brat, and that thinking can lead to some pretty twisted stuff. I’m sure he and Mrs. Kiffin broke the office in nicely, and being from Southern Cal, there’s a lot of “stuff” being passed around out there between the sheets. Some Clorox wipes will do the trick though.
I wish you all the best there at Tennessee. Sadly, you don’t have much of a chance, and I wouldn’t go white water rafting in East Tennessee; banjo music in the woods can lead to bad things. But we’ll see you next October. Best of luck until then.