Not to get all SEC on you this early in the year, but it looks like Lane Kiffin—if nothing else—is looking to make things interesting down South next fall.
The guy has not coached a single conference game—or head coached any college game for that matter—but he's already managed to tick off at least three league coaches, called one of the them a cheater (erroneously), been accused of cheating by another, and publicly shamed a recruit's grandmother. Not a bad start.
You already know about last week's accusation that Florida coach Urban Meyer "cheated" to try and win a recruit that he eventually lost to Tennessee. Turns out that calling a recruit when he's on another school's campus is totally legit and Kiffin had to apologize. (Not a great way to make friends, but who can keep all those regulations straight anyway?) But that wasn't the only cell phone shenanigans he's been was involved in.
Another report says that when the recruit in question, Nu'Keese Richardson, was attending a Vols basketball game (against Florida, natch) during his visit to Knoxville, he got a text from his high school coach. Kiffin allegedly took the phone and began texting the coach—while pretending to be Richardson—saying that he'd made a decision. (The coach did not learn of Richardson's true decision until signing day.)
He also told fans that the 19 recruits UT added in the 2009 class were "far below the standards we have here" and that Marlon Brown, a top player leaving the state to attend Georgia, wanted to be a Volunteer, but "his grandmother would not let him come." So up yours, Granny.
That should help his ongoing feud with Georgia coach Mark Richt, but Kiffin's more obvious target is Florida. The Vols have won their annual matchup just four times since 1992 and zero times since Meyer took over the Gators, so is all this gamesmanship—Kiffin has already predicted a win in Gainesville this year—simply an effort to rally the troops and put a spark back in the rivalry? Or is Kiffin out of his mind to be tempting the Wrath of Tebow?
Remember, this is a guy who is coming off a spectacular flameout during his one brief head coaching stint and he did voluntarily agree to work for the Raiders, so it is possible that the man is certifiably insane. Of course, that may be just what the doctor ordered for Tennessee. There are some mitigating circumstances, however, that lead me to give him the benefit of the doubt.
I would not bet against this guy just yet.