USC Head coach Lane Kiffin was recently interviewed by Men's Journal Magazine.
Here are some excerpts from GoVolsXtra...
On his time at Tennessee:
"At Tennessee, I had to go in talking, make a lot of noise to get attention. I didn’t love everything I said down there, but we had to get notice for our football program with only eight weeks to sign a recruiting class. And I’ll tell you what — it worked. We got a top-10 bunch, and every kid in the region knew our names."
We have heard this before...UT was already sinking under Fulmer. UT has a great tradition but they were becoming obscure and irrelevant. With Florida and Alabama being the two dominant teams in the SEC lapping the competition Kiffin decided to create some buzz for his program. Many UT faithful loved that Kiffin was not going down without a fight...some didn't know how to take it. But Kiffin would not be deterred...and like Kiffin said, it worked. Players wanted to play for him, the country knew UT wasn't going to roll over and play dead.
On his reaction to controversy:
"I could sit here and say, ‘Why did Oakland happen? Why did leaving Tennessee cause the trouble it did?’ Those things happened to prep me for this, to be a stable manager in a crisis. My model was Obama and his coolness under fire, the confidence he projects during disaster."
I understand the analogy...I am just not a fan of the example. A better example would be Medal of Honor recipient SFC Gary Gordon...
On his intense recruiting tactics:
"People ask if I can coach – well, isn’t recruiting coaching? You’re a lot smarter coach when you’ve got a bunch of All-Americans playing each other in practice every day."
No question Kiffin can recruit. We have seen that he can coach as well. But he is right, it is a lot easier when have the type of players Kiffin has been known to recruit.
On how the NCAA-imposed sanctions will affect his players and staff:
"The players here now, they’ll barely feel it – they’ll play one game less a year and move on. It’s my staff that’ll take the hit in three years, when we’re down 30 guys and playing freshmen. That’s what burns me – those men and their families. How are they to blame for what happened?"
He's right...only the players that see the bigger picture won't be affected. Those who bailed on their LOI's or who transferred out don't get it. We are talking one or two games tops. The experience of playing for USC coupled with the USC degree, if a player graduates, is far more important than a bowl game. One game doesn't change a players level of experience. Scouting film of a player isn't made from just one game. 'SC puts players in the NFL more than most other programs and the lifelong connections made by being a graduate of USC open doors that very few other programs ever will.
Simply stated...it is the total package.
On backlash from other universities:
"Meanwhile, other schools are smelling blood, calling my juniors and seniors. They’re calling our recruits now, saying ‘SC’s done, they’re finished.’ I can’t wait till September is all I’ll say. They’re gonna see a fury coming at ‘em."
What else would you expect him to say? I like the swagger. Time will tell of course. But I have little doubt of Kiffin's resolve.
What he told his staff to tell their star recruits when the news broke about the NCAA-imposed sanctions:
"We’re still USC, still the team that others fear, and still the school that trains you for the NFL. We’re King Kong to deal with when we aren’t pissed off, and now we’ve got a chip on our shoulder."
I love this!
I have already read some criticisms of this elsewhere. Screw 'em...some of the guys whining out there wish their teams were as relevant as 'SC, and that is outside of the Pac-10. Closer to home, the difference between Kiffin and Neuheisel is obvious...Kiffin took an irrelevant UT and got the noticed in his only year there. Neuheisel is in year three and the first thing he leads with when asked about his team this year is the kicking game...that is all you need to know.
This could be a VERY fun a season!