The college football gurus and naysayers all have an opinion on new Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin.
It seems to me that all the opinions are focusing on a few things—his age, his recruiting ability, and his head coaching inexperience.
First off, his age.
Lane Kiffin is a very young coach. But is that such a bad thing?
Let me ask you: If you were the head of a well to do athletic department at a prestigious university—oh, let's say Tennessee, and you had the daunting task of replacing a legend in Phil Fulmer, how would you go about doing it?
Would you simply go by years and years of football coaching experience? Would you look at his win-loss percentage? How about his age?
Actually these are all great ways to look for a head coach. However, youth can have it's advantages. Let's take a look a few advantages of youth in coaching football:
A young coach looking to make a name for himself will come into a challenge head-on. Can you say Mike Tomlin?
The younger coaches today understand that the ability to adapt in an ever-changing college football world plays a key role in that universities' position on the football ladder.
The spread offense hit the college football world like a hurricane. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Joe Paterno came up with this brilliant scheme. Some say if was Steve Nuss, others say it was Glen Ellison.
The younger coaches today have more fire in their bellies. They have a stronger desire to win.
Again, I must go back to Mike Tomlin. His work ethic on and off the field with his players is unimaginable. Few coaches can match his intensity.
Now, hats off to Bobby Bowden and a brilliant career at Florida State, but his desire to win has lessened over the years. Even the most die-hard Florida State fans can agree with that.
Yes, I hate to admit it, but money plays a key role in a young coach's attitude toward winning. Look at all the fat new contracts that have been awarded to some of the young college football coaches this year alone!
The universities are finally admitting to themselves that, "Look. We are winning a lot of football games these days with this coach. Looks like we're going to have to pony up the dough if we want to keep him around."
It's true. Like the NFL coaches, college coaches are greatly influenced by money.
Last but not least. Young coaches today have young families. No one likes to move every other year to a new town, a new state, or even a new house! These guys want to get somewhere permanently or at least while their children are in school. This motivates coaches to do well, believe it or not.
I have heard countless coaches talk about this. They hate moving. They want to settle down somewhere and raise their families. Constant change in scenery begets chaos in one form or another.
Look at it this way. As far as Kiffin is concerned, I believe that he is in a program where he wants to stay. It's not like he went to some junior college to hone his skills and jump around from place to place until he found his dream job. His dream job is where he is at.
With all that being said, there is also criticism about his football experience. Are you kidding me? He is the son of the greatest defensive football mind in the free world. Even Lane said it himself about being in the home watching his father draw up plays on a chalk board. While other kids where chasing down the ice cream truck and playing their Nintendos, Lane was a student of the game from day one.
Not many people give him much credit on USC's championship runs a few years back, but ask Pete Carroll if credit is due Lane Kiffin during those years. Pete doesn't have to say one nice word about Lane Kiffin, but he does.
Okay. So he has experience, but look what he did at Oakland. Yes, let's look at Oakland. How many coaching changes have been made in the past ten years? Six? Why? Winning percentages.
These coaches went to Oakland under the delusion that they could turn that program around. If my math serves me correctly, I don't believe they have turned it around. Not Since Gruden.
The fact of the matter is, no one succeeds in Oakland. Remember earlier I mentioned that constant change begets chaos? Who in their right minds does not believe that Oakland is a very chaotic organization? Enough about that.
Now I do agree that Lane Kiffin has alot to prove to the Vol Nation to show that he is capable of filling Coach Fulmer's shoes. (Although the past few seasons it wouldn't be so hard to do.) He has turned some heads with comments that he has made regarding other head coaches and universities.
But it's okay if that coach has been around awhile right? Someone like, oh let's say, Steve Spurrier? The king of mean?
To me, and I am being totally unbiased here, to me it seems that this is a major case of dishing it out and not taking it. So many people, media included have criticized Lane Kiffin for some of his outbursts. I, for one, really don't care what he says. As long as he wins games, how he fires his team up is up to him.
Lane is already stepping in the right direction with his 2009 recruiting class which includes : Bryce Brown, David Oku, Janzen Jackson, Nu'keese Richardson, and Darren Myles just to name a few. Lane himself said that this will be a long fight to get where he wants to be, and it starts with the coaching staff and then his recruiting.
Speaking of coaching staff—my goodness, look at what this man has assembled. Do I even need write of their accomplishments? Or their names? I shouldn't have to and won't. If you don't know, then google it.
In closing, I believe that Lane Kiffin is doing exactly what is expected of him thus far, and is doing a great job. Only time will tell whether or not his hard work and dedication to the team will pay off—however, I feel that Lane's star has yet begun to shine.
So to those of you that hate Tennessee football all I can say is that it's only going to get worse. For you, that is—because my friends, Lane Kiffin is an evil genius...