Today the Vol-nation awaits word on the future of three true freshmen arrested last night off “the Strip” in Knoxville for attempted armed robbery.
Looking at the team message boards in the early hours following the report, there seems to be a unanimous sentiment shared by fans.
They want the players gone.
In Kiffin’s first year, it has been highly touted that the season, up until last night, had been arrest-free. The discipline Kiffin claims to have installed in the team has been evident by the aforementioned stat as well as the lack of penalties on the field.
It’s a precedent he wants to set; it’s one he needs to set.
The first year in a coaching regime is crucial to laying the foundation for what players can expect from the staff in terms of rules, regulations, and the subsequent penalties for infractions on those rules and regulations.
As I have heard before from parents and coaches alike: It is easier to start out strict and become lenient than to start out lenient and try to become strict.
What makes it especially taxing on Kiffin is the fact that these were “his” guys. Nu'Keese Richardson, Janzen Jackson, and Mike Edwards were three of Kiffin’s prized recruits in his initial class.
These were players that were supposed to be around as Tennessee marched its way back to prominence. Jackson would have certainly been playing on Sundays. Richardson’s untapped potential had UT fans drooling, and Edwards was talented enough to be starting by next year.
Kiffin is a recruiter at heart. He has assembled a super-staff predicated on the function of recruiting top-notch talent to Knoxville. These three players would not have come to Tennessee if it weren’t for the current staff.
With their ability to recruit and their desire to build a foundation of discipline, it seems the only choice for Kiffin is to dismiss these players from the program.
From the message boards, it seems exactly what Vol-nation wants too.