Jeff Fisher is not having a good day. Earlier this offseason he fired his very capable running backs coach Earnest Byner for the sole purpose of bringing in fellow Trojan alumnus Kennedy Pola to take over the job of supervising 2,000 yard rusher Chris Johnson. Then, before Pola ever even coached a game for the Titans, Tennessee's favorite son Lane Kiffin poached him away from Nashville, presenting him with the opportunity to become USC's offensive coordinator instead. Pola reportedly accepted the position immediately, leaving the Titans without a valuable position coach. Understandably, Jeff Fisher hasn't been taking the news too well, and decided to go complain to a Tennessee media more than willing to listen to a coach berate Kiffin.
"I am very disappointed in Lane Kiffin's approach to this,'' Fisher told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. "Typically speaking when coaches are interested in hiring or discussing potential employment from coaches on respective staffs there is a courtesy call made from the head coach or athletic director indicating there is an interest in talking to the assistant.
"So I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane, to call me and leave me a voice mail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. It is just a lack of professionalism.''
The Titans are set to begin training camp in one week, so you can't blame Fisher for being a little upset regarding Pola's departure. He went out of his way to reel him in from Jacksonville in the first place, and now he takes off before ever standing on the LP Field sidelines. But this is a business, and these things happen. In a perfect world, Kiffin would have been a little more upfront with Fisher and the timing would have better, but this has been anything but normal circumstances for USC as of late. Fisher should now that by now.
Since Fisher's remarks earlier this morning, Kiffin has decided to issue the following statement.
We reached out to Kennedy Pola yesterday to gauge whether he had any possible interest in returning to USC before we moved forward with the process.
"Kennedy said he would think about it and get back to us today. Once Kennedy did call back earlier today, out of my great respect for Coach Fisher I immediately reached out to Coach to make him aware of the situation.
"I have spoken with Coach Fisher and he now has an accurate understanding of the timeline of events.
"We realize the timing of this isn't perfect for all parties, but this is a great opportunity and promotion for Kennedy."
In the meanwhile, expect the normal events to occur. The national media will rip Kiffin, Tennessee fans will issue death threats to his wife, UCLA blogs will attempt to create cute monikers for a coach they know will haunt them in the coming years, and USC fans, such as myself, will whole-heartedly defend the guy. Nothing to see here.