Some football fans haven’t given Lane Kiffin his due credit.
A few have questioned the first year coach’s decision to stay with Jonathan Crompton during the bad times.
Some have said he is on a learning curve as a first year coach and that he is learning how to coach in the SEC and will learn on the job.
For those who think that, they don’t get the big picture, they don’t understand Kiffin’s master plan, and they don’t know that much about coaching football in general.
Kiffin admitted Tuesday in his weekly press conference that he and his staff has learned a lot so far this season, but something differently than you think.
“We know so much more about our team than we did say the UCLA game,” Kiffin said. “We have gotten to know each other, what to expect from each other and what each player can do to help contribute to this team.”
It’s apparent from the onset of his arrival in Knoxville that Kiffin was going to be different than the other guys that he was going to do things a little different.
He loves to run his program much like he did while he was the head coach in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders.
“I love the way they run their program like they do in the pros,” UT commitment Brandon Willis said in an earlier interview. “How better can we prepare for the next level than to be part of a program that knows what it takes to get us there?”
Kiffin had a jacket made that displays the emblem NFL Vols.
It’s sending a message to his team, to future prospects that he will indeed run his program like a pro football farm team.
While every college player won’t make it to the next level, Kiffin is allowing each of his players to keep that dream alive while in Knoxville.
On Tuesday Kiffin told the media that Crompton was improving his draft status with his last two and a half games.
“He has a big chance to continue to improve his stock in the NFL draft,” Kiffin said. “He may be making himself more money with the way he is playing.”
Who would have thought that four weeks ago? Apparently Kiffin did, as he was one of the few folks that stood by his signal caller during his struggles.
His players see this.
They know he has their back and they have his.
“He has our back and we have his,” junior safety and Heisman candidate Eric Berry said earlier this fall. “We love his confidence, we love his swagger. This team believes in him because he believes in us.”
Whatever Kiffin is doing, it’s apparently working.
The University of Tennessee is the fourth most watched team in the country by one rating system. They appear to be the most talked about team in the nation.
With a team expected not to compete this season, this Vols team battled on the road twice the No. 1 team in the land and were four seconds and a blocked field goal away from shocking the world.
“We are moving in the right direction,” Kiffin admitted. “Our defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in two games and only allowed one visit in the red zone in the last two contests.”
Kiffin showed Saturday after his teams heartbreaking loss to a No. 1 Alabama team that he still has his team’s back.
He made several comments about how crazy it was for his team to have eight penalties against only one from the Tide.
How Terrance Cody taking his helmet off in the field of play should have resulted in his team getting a second chance at the win.
His comments earned him a letter of reprimand from the SEC Monday.
His response to that letter in today’s press conference wasn’t shocking.
“Whatever,” Kiffin said. “I really don’t want to get into it. I really would like to, but at this point I can’t.”
Again he has his team’s back and has proven he will as long as he is the head coach at the University of Tennessee.
So much for learning on the job, this guy appears to already have it mastered.