Tennessee Money: Lane Kiffin's Hand In The Vault

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IAugust 19, 2009

As I rehash some of my old articles this one still seems relevant as well.


My previous article concerned the first big SEC college games for 2009. And in that post I said that UT would lose to UCLA in Neyland Stadium. After reviewing some of the coaching positions at Tennessee I am ready to stand by my statement.

When St. Louis Rams' offensive lines and 2008 tight ends coach was hired as the OC/Offensive-lines for the Vols I was not suspect. I had heard before that he was at Purdue as the OC from 1998-2005. He had an incredible QB to work with in Drew Brees for the first few years. And during his OC tenure had 4 top 15 total offenses out of the 7 years in that full position. These were mainly do to passing stats. Don't ask Purdue to rush.

Chaney, hasn't called offensive plays in three years. And, he is only as good as his players, which is almost true with any team. You are only as strong as your weakest link. That is why Chaney will struggle for the first year at Tennessee and possibly a second. With an offense coming off of 115th 2008 ranking and offensive line that aloud 10 sacks on Crompton and 13 on Nick Stephens I would say that UT has a problem up front. Chaney has his work cut out for him.

I don't believe that Crompton will be the best starter and if Lane told incoming receivers that Crompton was just in a poor system and will be better I think he may be mistaken. And if Chaney is working with Crompton this will be his senior year and unless Crompton pulls out a fifth year the Vols will break in a new qb and go through some more growing pains. Hence the second year struggle.

Now for the quarterbacks coach. Please tell me what David Reaves has accomplished besides sit next to Spurrier and have less than stellar passing offenses in the last few years?

I know Lane hired him because he was Spurrier's recruiting coordinator and there were family relations (No nepotism clause at UT?), but that only gets the players there. After that someone has to develop them and David is not the guy. Lack of experience will be the problem here, and no, David's father being a better player than David doesn't help, just ask Mike Shula.

However, if they hire John Reaves to take over Quarterbacks coach and keep David as a recruiter that may work. Remember, there is no nepotism clause at UT.

Ed Orgeron, it was said that even before Ed was fielding calls from LSU and UT Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints was already becoming displeased with the direction of the defensive line.

We know that Ed had done some great work at SC and that the talent was there in order to perform it. The problem is stardom has effected Ed's head. And, this I believe will be a problem for the Vols considering that Lane may not be able to put a muzzle on him. Maybe Monte can quell his temper and boisterousness.

Monte, what can you say? The Tampa Two, a Super Bowl Championship ring. However, I think that Monte was a year or two away from leaving the Bucs. Why? Because defenses win championships and lately things were starting to get tougher with no offense to help out. But, where would he have gone?

College is a different beast from the Pros. Very few coaches go from one to the other and excel right off the bat or ever. Saban bought the farm at Miami, Mike Sherman at Texas A&M didn't do to well his first season. Charlie Weiss has been a bomb and Petrino will be tested after a dismal first year.

Monte's college coaching career was not the worst nor was it the best. His Nebraska days had three solid 9 and one 10 win season while Arkansas' were better, but, North Carolina State was a dismal three years. Not to mention some of the antics he pulled. I believe this is where Lane gets his bravado for speech.

These are transition periods and I am sure that UT will go through it their first season. But, it may carry into the second as well. The question is how much longer does Monte really want to coach? If it had been at Tampa, maybe not much longer like I said. But, Monte has stated that all he has is football and family and seeing that his family and some near in-laws are now coaching at UT he may be in the perfect position.

The problem is what is Monte going to do when this experiment with Lane Kiffin is over after three years and the new Head Coach says you can stay but we are reducing your salary by $900,000.00?

Lane's payment of his coordinators is not totally outrageous, except for his dad and Ed. This is just an egregious amount of money. And, it shows not only the nepotism but the idea that you should take what you can when you can. Is Ed Orgeron worth $650K? Not at all, but seeing that he is a good recruiter, not the best, and is a crony of the Kiffins it seems fitting. Did the other assistant coaches make out like bandits? No, Chaney will make $380K while Lance Thompson will get an increase of $125K to $350K for his recruiting efforts. So far Lance's "efforts" have been worthless.

As for Monte and Mike Hamilton saying that he would have only opened this kind of ATM for Monte, I think that this was not an issue or a thought until Lane got on board and he realized that there needed to be some maturity on this staff. I mean seriously, was having the #3 ranked defense in the country all that bad for the 2008 season? No. So, now Monte has to take the defense to #2 or #1 to be worth that kind of money. And, for jumping those two positions is it really worth $900k more than you were paying Chavis, plus a $300K bonus?

On appearances Lane has sold Mike Hamilton an overpriced bill of goods in the informal since. The cash register was opened because of a 17 year veteran who had become lax about his job and complacent about winning. Options were not exhausted during the job search and UT didn't sell their program to the appropriate candidates. The vault has been raided for an additional three years now per contracts and I don't see how a rag tag of coaches with no successful leadership experience will be able to save the floundering Vols.

However, if Lane and company are truly great at recruiting then look out for the next Head Coach at UT. He will be a proven winner and leader. No one will turn down a program that is loaded with talent.