February 05, 2009
For a guy who hasn't even conducted his first spring practice, Lane Kiffin taken their share of heat from the rest of the SEC: Already, he's a cheater, he's a lapdog to his pricey staff, he's not ready for the SEC, he doesn't know the proper time to use a salad fork, etc. For whatever reason, the new guy at Tennessee is already an even fatter target than the old guy at Tennessee.
Whatever else you say about him, though, you can't deny Kiffin this: He's a fast learner, and he's going to give as good as he gets (link includes relevant video):
Thursday morning at a recruiting celebration banquet, Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin accused Florida's Urban Meyer of a recruiting violation in the recruitment of Pahokee, Fla. wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson.
Kiffin's allegation: that Meyer repeatedly called Richardson while he was on his official visit to UT.
"I'm gonna turn Florida in right here in front of you," Kiffin told the crowd at the Knoxville Convention Center. "While Nu'Keese was on campus, his phone kept ringing. One of the coaches says, 'who's that?' And he said, Urban Meyer."
"I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and still didn't get him," Kiffin said.*
Richardson, as recruiting fans are aware, is one of two standing Florida commitments who unexpectedly chose Tennessee Wednesday. He weighs about 165 pounds, or roughly equivalent to a good meal for an adult alligator, which is appropriate, since gator farmers across the Sunshine State will henceforth think of him and his new head coach during feeding time for the next, oh, seven months or so (and Lane will be deeply, personally wounded by every ill thought in his direction, I'm sure). Oh, those oughtta be fun times.
Oh yeah: The Vols also just signed five-star cornerback Janzen Jackson, a last-second defection from LSU, where he was expected to sign on Wednesday. So Kiffin can spend the offseason as "Tiger bait," as well, a status Phil Fulmer never properly achieved from across division lines. This kid is on the fast track.
- - -
Update, 2:59 p.m. ET. His boss isn't afraid to lay it on opposing coaches, so ex-Alabama linebackers coach/recruiting guru Lance Thompson didn't hesitate to stick a pin in Bama's top-ranked class, either:
"Nick Saban (Alabama's coach) should have started his press conference (Wednesday) by saying, 'Our great class that we signed ... I’d really like to thank Lance (Thompson) because Lance signed eight of those guys.'"
"He ain’t getting any more of my (recruits)," Thompson said of Saban.
Thompson plans to "own Memphis," as well, just as he (allegedly) helped turn Mobile from Auburn territory into an equal opportunity pipeline for the Tide. This is exactly what I want to see: Flagrant, open hostility among rivals. From where I sit, nothing but good can come from this turn in rhetoric.
- - -
* I should stress that I do not know and do not care if Urban Meyer is actually guilty of this alleged infraction, or even if it is an infraction, as Kiffin claims. It's an exceedingly minor transgression, at best, unlikely to bring punishment, probably irrelevant to Richardson's decision and completely beside the point here, which is juvenile titillation in the tabloid-level bickering between rival coaches. Thank you.