March 02, 2009
First of all, a celebration: Last week was the first full week of February without a single Dr. Saturday post or news item focusing in any way on Lane Kiffin, Lane Kiffin apologies, Lane Kiffin haters, Lane Kiffin satire or Lane Kiffin violating obscure recruiting rules. Truly a milestone!
Alas, all good times must end. You'd think that by now, Kiffin and fellow ex-Southern Cal assistant Ed Orgeron would be distancing themselves somewhat from the unorthodox recruiting tactics they picked up on Pete Carroll's staff at USC: They tried the smoke machine entrance -- that's a violation (another ex-Carrollite, new Washington bos Steve Sarkisian, was hit with the same penalty in January). They tried the fake press conference -- that's a violation.
With that record, when it comes to a Trojan tactic like, say, ripping off your shirt and leading teenage prospects in a testosterone-fuelled man-chant ...
... will the new Volunteer honchos think twice? They will not:
When asked what [Markeith Ambles'] top highlight was from his one day spent in Knoxville, he quickly responded.
"We were in a dark theater and all of a sudden they turned on the lights and the coaches ripped off their shirts," Ambles said with a laugh."It was like in the army and it got crunk up in there. Some of the players that were in there did some chants. It got crunk."
("It was like in the army." Readers are encouraged to ask veterans, especially older vets, in the family how they would rate their military service in terms of "crunkness.")
Another recruit, Brian Vogler, confirms Ambles' account and adds a few details, emphasizing that the "intensity" was cranked up to 11 moments earlier, when players were separated from their parents; Denzel McCoy backs up the story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This being the SEC, the truly frightening ramification is that the rest of the league is obliged to keep pace in the "shirtless man chant" arms race, which means either Rich Brooks and Steve Spurrier probably need to hit the gym, or their recruits at Kentucky and South Carolina should head immediately for the exits when the lights go off. (I assume prospects visiting Alabama head for the exits instinctively when the lights flicker and the room grows cold, signaling Nick Saban's approach, only to find the doors locked from the inside. Only then can the re-education begin ...)