Lane Kiffin: Positive or Negative Effect on College Football

Mark Scacewater@ScaceH20Analyst IJuly 30, 2009

ALAMEDA, CA - MAY 09:  Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Oakland Raiders looks on at the rookie mini-camp at the Raiders training facility on May 9, 2008 in Alameda, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Hate him if you want, but the man is producing results.

Newly-minted Tennessee Volunteer head football coach Lane Kiffin has made splashes since the day he was hired. Heck, he was making splashes before he was hired with his chummy pal Al Davis.

No matter what negative things you have to say about Kiffin, he's a good fit for Tennessee.

Just look at Bruce Pearl and his antics...and his success. Maybe Pearl's victories are a precursor to a successful Kiffin regime. Only time will tell.

This definitely helped: Markeith Ambles, a 6'2", 189-pound receiver out of Donough High in Henry County (Ga.), recently chose the Volunteers over the rival Gators.

Not the first time a coveted WR chose the Vols over the Gators.

It wasn't too long ago that Kiffin was creating a firestorm by boasting about the signing of Pahokee star WR Nu'Keese Richardson. Kiffin had every right to boast as Richardson, according to, was rated the No. 9 WR in the class of 2009.

When AD Mike Hamilton made the move to replace the highly-successful (until last season) Coach Fulmer, he wanted to generate excitement and buzz around his stale program.

Kiffin has done that, with one glaring weakness. While Tennessee is raking in the skill position recruits (Bryce Brown, David Oku, James Green, Toney Williams), quarterback is still the one position with major question marks.

Yes, senior Jonathan Crompton returns with some starting experience, but he comes back as the most underwhelming choice as a starting quarterback since the days of Joey Matthews.

Junior Nick Stephens is talented, yet unproven. Looking down the impressive list of 22 Tennessee recruits, there's not a single quarterback on the list.

Rumors have circulated that (verbally) committed West Virginia QB Barry Brunetti, rated the No. 1 dual threat QB in the nation, is wavering and considering the Vols. This would seem to clash with Kiffin's intent on signing a pro-style quarterback.

Whatever happens, Kiffin is doing the right things early on.

Yes, he had some minor rules violations (so minor), but everyone in the SEC hates him already outside of Tennessee, and he is still snagging big time recruits.

He has a bonafide stud returning on defense in Eric Berry, but beyond that there are a plethora of questions.

Inexperience, a lack of healthy wide receivers, the competence of will Tennessee compete against the rigid SEC?

How will Lane Kiffin fare against grizzled vets like Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Urban Meyer?

It will be an interesting season, to say the least, on Rocky Top.

But one thing is certain—the fans will show up in droves (at least early on).

A new coach, new recruits, new energy—Neyland Stadium will be rocking for at least the first home game...after that remains to be seen.