Shots Across the Bow

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Lame Kiffin and the Not Ready for Prime Time Players

UPDATE: Thanks to the folks who let me know that writing a post at 1AM can lead to mistakes, like misidentifying the offensive coordinator. Obviously, Ed Orgeron is not the offensive coordinator. I've made the appropriate corrections.

No, that wasn't a typo.

After four games, I've seen enough to make this simple declaration. The Vols will never be a top tier team in the SEC with Lane Kiffin as head coach.

Here's why.

The Vols were out coached on both sides of the ball today, but in the end, they played well enough that they had a shot to win. Monte Kiffin's crew gave up big play after big play all night long, but they played well on the goal line, forcing the Tigers to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. Ed OrgeronJim Chaney's offense, well, let's just say that the only thing Tennessee had fired up on the field was the batons at halftime. Jonathon Crompton was off target for most of the night, and when he chanced to hit a receiver in the hands, they dropped the ball.

Probably from shock.

But the Vols stayed in the game, mainly through the sheer physical talent of Montario Hardesty and Eric Berry.

Tennessee was trailing by 17 with just over 11:00 to go in the 4th quarter when Hardesty caught a Crompton pass and wiggled his way 31 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. The defense forces Auburn into a three and out, and the Vols had the ball and just over nine minutes left in the game. They needed two scores, so clock management was critical. The offense responded, driving the ball methodically up the field, until they had the ball first and goal. The drive had taken 4 minutes off the clock, and the Vols ran three plays but couldn't get the score.

It was 4th and goal from the 10, and there was about four and a half minutes to go in the game. The drive had eaten up over five minutes, meaning that there wasn't enough time left for them to get back into this position again. Kicking a field goal would give all the advantage to Auburn, since all they would have to do is hold the ball for a couple of minutes and then punt, robbing Tennessee of the time needed to score again. Going for it and making it, on the other hand, gave Tennessee more ways to win. If Auburn took the ball on their next possession, and Tennessee held them to a field goal, the Vols would still only need one score to tie or win.

By going for the touchdown, Tennessee would give themselves more chances to win. By kicking the field goal, they would give Auburn more chances to win. This was the call Lane Kiffin had to make, and he blew it. He chose the field goal, conceding the game with over four minute to go. Auburn drove the length of the field, kicking a field goal and putting the game out of reach.

Lane Kiffin didn't give his team a chance to win.

Monte Kiffin adjusted his defense and managed to contain the Tigers as well as could be expected. Ed OrgeronJim Chaney, despite the bad passes and dropped balls, managed to put enough points on the board to keep the Vols in the game. But when the pressure was on, when Lane Kiffin had a choice to either play to win or play not to lose badly, he folded. He opted to play it safe, take the points he could, and try not to lose too badly.

You don't win games in the SEC coaching like that.

Playing to win is not something you can teach a coach. It's a character thing; you either have it or you don't, and Lane Kiffin doesn't. He may be a fine assistant coach, or position coach, but he doesn't have what it takes to be a head coach.
Posted by Rich
College Football • (6) CommentsPermalink

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If you're going to write a sports blog about the University of Tennessee's football program, then maybe you should figure out who the offensive coordinator is.

Jim Chaney is the offensive coordinator...not Ed Orgeron. Coach O has always coached the defensive side of the ball. He's the DLine coach, not the OC.

Also, you might want to wait until Kiffin has had a chance to get some players into school before you pass judgement on him. He's still trying to clean up the mess that CPF left...and CPF wasn't much for team discipline or recruiting quality players in his last four years in Knoxville.
Posted by Robert Mills  on  10/04  at  12:37 PM

You don't know jack squat. You have the D line coach as the O coord. If you're behind by 10 points and are facing a long fourth and goal, you take the FG and move on.

I'm tired of know-nothings getting attendion as some kind of authority just because they can type.
Posted by Dan Conner  on  10/04  at  12:55 PM

Wow. That was an awful read.

You say in your post, "either have it or you don't"

If you knew one iota about Tennessee football, you'd know that we don't have the players. Fulmer left a skeleton of a football team when he was sent packing. Please stick to something you know about, which obviously isn't football or even Tennessee football.
Posted by Dave  on  10/04  at  01:07 PM

I was hoping to read a blog post to corroborate my thoughts and observations regarding Lane Kiffin's offense, but this blog is filled with inaccuracies and conjecture.

Kiffin was out-coached on the offensive side of the ball, and his game plan for the past two weeks has been confusing and lacking, but this writer needs to go back to the woods and find another sport, or team, to write about.
Posted by Brandon  on  10/04  at  03:40 PM

See UPDATE for correction of stupid mistake. On to the comments.

Robert, Kiffin had the players to run with Florida. Also, the betting line had the Vols as a 2 point favorite, indicating that I'm not the only one who thinks he had the talent on the team to win the game.

My problem with Kiffin is in his approach to the game; He chose to play it safe instead of playing to win.

Dan,taking a field goal when time is running out and you need two scores is not a winning strategy. It leaves you in the position of hoping the other team makes a major mistake. If there had been 7 or 8 minutes on the clock, then taking the three points is the obvious choice. With four minutes, it's the wrong thing to do.
Posted by Rich  on  10/04  at  04:25 PM

Ron Zook did the same thing against Penn State. After a touchdown with about 8 minutes left to get to within 28-10, even the announcers are assuming an onside kick. Wrong. Kick goes deep, Penn State drives for another score. Season over.

Looks like you can write about politics or religion all day long, but once you start in on sports, you attract idiots. Amazing.
Posted by Chris  on  10/04  at  09:07 PM

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