Lane Kiffin: Can He Step Up Now and Take The SEC East In Meyer's Absence?

Larry BurtonSenior Writer IDecember 26, 2009

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 31:  Head coach Lane Kiffen of the Tennessee Volunteers watches against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Neyland Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Lane Kiffin almost had three strikes against him coming into the job at Tennessee. First was his age and inexperience combined with his brash mouth, second was replacing a legend with a great lifetime winning percentage, Phillip Fulmer, and thirdly was having to play in Urban Meyer's conference at the height of his greatness.

Well, with a year under his belt and his mouth slipping a lot less, he's working on strike one, getting the Vols to a bowl game, and landing good recruiting classes to help with strike two and now strike three is gone of its own accord.

With Mark Richt is seeming limbo trying to get the Bulldogs back up to speed, could this be the break that Lane Kiffin needed to get the Vols back to the front of the SEC East a little quicker?

If he can come up with a quarterback to along with Bryce Brown and that defense, perhaps so.

Plus there's now the added bonus of Kiffin possibly attracting recruits who were looking at Florida but are now unsure.

This event of Meyer suddenly leaving throws the SEC East wide open. Already there are articles stating that it's time for Mark Richt to put up or pack up. With Meyer leaving and Kiffin still building it should be Dog days ahead in the SEC East.

But many are now thinking that this could be just the break that Kiffin needs to jump start his place in that same SEC East race.

One thing is for sure. It won't be a boring off season with all this going on.