August 18, 2009
SCENE: Tennessee meeting room. A film session. Aging defensive coordinator MONTE KIFFIN stands at the front of the room, angry after reviewing a series of plays clearly won by the offensive line. In 25 years in the NFL, he has "never seen bull(stuff) like this." Defensive line coach ED ORGERON rises to his feet and begins complaining loudly about the offense's play selection. Offensive coordinator JIM CHANEY responds until the two men are screaming at each, faces inches apart. Players come out of their seat to separate their coaches, some of them hopping around in anticipation of blows being exchanged.
And now Kiffin was in front of the room, yelling loud enough to make the players retreat back into their seats and look on in stunned silence at his volume. Kiffin's jaw was thrust forward, his fists were clenched, and his words bounded around the walls until the room felt small.
"And one more thing," Kiffin shouted.
He paused, the mischief flashing across his face.
"You guys have just been punked."
Well, of course; Orgeron and head coach Lane Kiffin were once part of the most practical joke-y program in America at Southern Cal. But the real joke here is that Ed Orgeron can apparently come within inches of assaulting a colleague -- which with Orgeron must be accompanied by ritual de-spleening and pulverization of the digits, followed by some very minor cannibalism -- and players regard this as a completely believable sequence of events. When your coaches are liable to spontaneously rip their shirts off, I guess you don't know what to expect. And don't coaches do this sort of thing all the time at Kiffin's old gig?
(Seriously, though, kids, do not make eye contact with Orgeron, or the results will be no laughing matter.)