The University of Tennessee is set to officially introduce Lane Kiffin as its new head coach of their football program. As a Volunteer fan it’s hard to express my feelings for such a move. Why? Because Kiffin is still a major unknown. Sure he has a pedigree college football background. Sure he spent some time in the Sunday league. Sure he has some head coaching experience. But he’s 33-years-old. Phillip Fulmer has more years at the University of Tennessee than Lane Kiffin has on this planet. He has some major pluses.
1. He put together some killer recruiting classes at USC under Pete Carroll, including a couple of recruits that went on to win the Heisman Trophy.
2. He helped orchestrate some high-powered offenses at USC.
3. He was the lone voice in the Raiders organization that was against drafting DeMarcus Russell.
4. He showed incredible class while Al Davis attempted to assassinate his character in some weird press conference that showed the world why Al Davis should have been forced out of the NFL a long, long time ago.
5. His father, Monte Kiffin, is reportedly going to join him at Tennessee which will help bring blue chip players into the Tennessee family with their sites set on the NFL.
He has minuses, too.
1. His record as a head coach was less than stellar.
2. He built his college resume in the lowly PAC-10.
3. He’s young.
4. He’s never dealt with the kind of pressure and competition that exists in the SEC. Yes, he coached in the NFL, but he coached in the AFC West where most of the fans now have accepted losing. An eight win season at Tennessee will be considered a mediocre season. The Raiders would kill for an eight win season.
The jury is still out for me on Lane Kiffin. I want him to succeed, but I’m not willing to roll out the orange carpet for him yet.