When Lane Kiffin became head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, he put his foot in his mouth right away. On this fact there is more of a consensus than on the existence of global warming.
So he made some accusations about alleged recruiting violations by Urban Meyer's Florida Gators. And they were false. Urban Meyer then played the bigger man and moved on, right? Not so much. Not even the good Christian Tim Tebow could turn the other cheek.
So this last weekend, the Tennessee Vols made their way down to the swamp for a much-hyped showdown between Kiffin and Meyer-Tebow. It was supposed to get rough and bloody or something, right?
For the first person account as reported by ESPN.com, let's hear what Urban Meyer had to say:
"When I saw them start handing the ball off, I didn't feel like they were going after the win," Meyer said.
"They wanted to shorten the game. I remember looking out there and there's 10 minutes left in the game and there's no no-huddle, they are down, I think it was 23-6 and [there's no] urgency," he said.
Down 23-6, Kiffin hands the ball off to his tailbacks, who were fairly successful on the day. In fact, Kiffin felt that was the only way that he was going to win the game.
Who can blame him with three INTs last week against UCLA?
The results of his "conservative" strategy? A 3:26 drive running and dumping the ball to running backs, capped by a 17-yard TD run by Montario Hardesty. Seventeen yards is a long run, longer than many passes.
And with a little less than two minutes left, the Vols had another scoring chance and turned the ball over on a pass.
Tennessee came up short 23-13, a far cry from the 30-point spread against them- probably some kind of moral victory.
What's more, I call Urban Meyer's play calling judgment into question. It's probably best that he doesn't run a pro-style offense like Kiffin does.
What was Kiffin's parting words (from ESPN.com)?
"That was the best thing to put us in position to win, and we moved the ball doing that," he said.
"That was how we needed to play at that time. "I wish it was like basketball where we got another chance to play them, where we play them two times in a year," he said. "Unfortunately we won't get to play him again, and they'll have to play without [Tebow] next time."
And the final thought: "I guess we'll wait and after we're not excited about a performance, we'll tell you everybody was sick."
Kiffin 1 - Meyer-Tebow 1.