Let's put put the metaphorical needle back on that so frequently play LP and get it spinning again...the remix!
OK, so maybe it's not a remix per say, but I have yet to write a piece on the "new mouth of the South", and I have had a yearning to put my own spin on it.
I have read too many negative articles, comments, blogs, and you name it putting the man with a plan in the category of tyrant.
So maybe he isn't gun shy, or modest, or quiet, or any other nouns, verbs, adjectives, or creative criticisms you all have so felt inclined to voice your opinion on. But I will tell you that whatever he is (according to you ), he is a winner in the sense of the word.
Wait before you post your angry comments in reply to that last statement please. I did say in the sense of the word, not in the translated definition of wins and losses according to a sport, that has obviously yet to come.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and in Tennessee's case, desperate hardly describes their current situation amongst the all mighty SEC.
UT went 5-7 last year. Mississippi State was the only team in the entire conference that had a worse record.
God, that is sad.
Were talking about The University of Tennessee here, a program that used to be in the conversation of competitive teams every year. A team that has 48 top five bowl appearances all-time, only Alabama has more. A team that had a bowl appearance streak of 18 until 2006.
Now, it's a team that is so far removed from it's 1998 national championship that only Mississippi State stood in the way of UT being the worst team in the SEC!
I call that desperate.
So in comes Kiffin, after the departure of a UT icon who just seemed to have gotten lazy.
That's right, Fulmer was an icon for the school.
I want to point this out because it's just another thing Kiffin has to separate himself from.
While I am at it, let's look at all the obstacles he has to rise above in order to make UT relevant again:
5-7 the previous year.
The departure of a beloved coach for many years (Fulmer).
The current celebrities of the SEC such as Nick Saban, Urban Myer, Les Miles, Steve Spurrier, and Mark Richt.
The rising stars in Bobby Petrino and Houston Nutt (Ole miss is a dark horse to win SEC)
A Scout.com recruiting rank of 35 the previous year, with eight SEC teams ranking higher, including Mississippi State!
A once loud and proud fan base that has been given the heaviest dose of "you lost, so shut the Hell up."
The Media and its watchers referring to Texas as UT without clarifying, because why the Hell would the media be talking about Tennessee?
I don't have to tell you that the above mentioned obstacles all but kill your chances of landing a decent recruiting class. The once mighty name and logo of Tennessee might still draw in some recruits because of the power T and their want to play for that school since childhood, but that can only go so far.
As much as a teen might have followed and loved Tennessee, if that school can't provide them there football education needed to reach their dream, then they will regretfully go somewhere that can. That's life.
What to do?
Had Kiffin not said and done what he did, would UT have gotten a No. 8 recruiting class according to Scout.com?
Would UT mean Tennessee and not Texas without interpretation on the media?
Speaking of the media, would UT have hours and hours on air in order to promote their logo and draw in recruits if it weren't for Kiffin?
Would the fan base actually have something to look forward to other than another abysmal season or shot at an Outhouse Bowl?
If it weren't for Lane Kiffin, would UT have Monte? or Ed O? Or a staff that makes even the best coaches jealous?
Say what you will about the staff being better than Kiffin himself, but if it weren't for him, they wouldn't be there!
Kiffin has won before the season has started in the sense of the word. He had a plan to stir the bee's nest, and he did such. Kiffin knew he would be stung again and again, but he knew it was worth the honey.
Fact of the matter is that you all love to hate him.
I wrote a piece on Spurrier not too long ago and was flabbergasted (I love that word) at the amount of defense that came to his aid.
Spurrier, a man who threw enough ear punches during his hey-day that you'd think everyone would be deaf to current insults.
Yet he is applauded after the fact because he won.
So give Kiffin time is all I'll say. No he hasn't won with wins and losses (yet), but he has won over a dormant fan base and has gotten kids fired up to walk through that power T again.
That will surely help him get those "W's."
So I say: Quit drinking that Hatorade just because it tastes good.
So there it is, my positive spin on it, and as the great Lil' Wayne put it: "Go D.J., that's my D.J."
Or better yet: Go Vols, that's my Vols!