Honesty from a head coach, I appreciate that.

Tennessee Football Over the last 72 hours or so, Lane Kiffin has made a number of statements about the Tennessee Volunteers’ performance against the Ohio Bobcats this past weekend, and about the general state of things for the Vols football team.  Each was unabashedly brash and straightforward—the style many have already come to expect from Kiffin, though most Vol fans are still just getting to know him as a coach.  For instance:

  • During his post-game show he admitted that the Vols had probably underestimated the Bobcats and had looked past them a bit en route to this week’s game against the Auburn Tigers;
  • He told the KNS that there were no excuses for poor play; and
  • During the Lane Kiffin Show, he pointed to breakdowns and failures of the players and staff in reigning in Ohio.

These are but a few.

What you didn’t hear from Kiffin was “coachspeak” that is, the deflection of uncomfortable questions, a litany of pre-rehearsed (dare I say, “Palin-esqe”) lines, and endless praise for meaningless accomplishments.  In the political world that’s called “spin,” in the lawyering world it’s called “advocating,” and in the normal world it’s called “bullshit.”  None of this, was present in Kiffin’s comments.

I like that.

The reason I like that is that Kiffin seems more than willing to cut through the crap—that so regularly pours forth (no, not of the George Brett variety) from coaches far and wide—and just tells you what he actually believes.

Even more impressive to me personally is the fact that in every circumstance he has spoken not just to the problems but also to how he plans on addressing them.  Take this video for instance:

Video: Lane Kiffin Speaks about Practice

HTvia: Inside Tennessee

I find this to be as unusual as it is refreshing.  While I will say that the Vols still have a ways to go before they are back on top—which I knew would be the case this season—I am pleased to say that the man at the top, the one I call the Blackjack General, does seem to actually know where he is going as he leads his troops and the nation of Big Orange Fans.

– So it goes…About Lawvol

About the Author: "Lawvol" -- I'm just a guy living in North Carolina who has an unnatural fascination with the color orange. Just because I'm a Tennessee alum and die-hard Volunteer fan doesn't mean that I can't poke a little fun at the Big Orange and anybody else for that matter. Feel free to complain all you want. >> Read more from this author

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5 Responses to “Honesty from a head coach, I appreciate that.”

  • hooperNo Gravatar says:

    I agree.

    There’s a lot of grey area in the question of transparency vs. protecting the players/team/staff/etc. But at the very least, I best like somebody who will either call a spade a spade or simply choose to decline. It’s the denial of an obvious flaw that’s irritating.

    (Of course, we engineer-types hate spin doctoring.)

    • lawvolNo Gravatar says:

      Yeah, I mean it’s not like I couldn’t figure out Tennessee’s weaknesses without Kiffin acknowledging them, but I appreciate his candor and his willingness to simply say, “we stunk it up in this area, and it’s not acceptable.”

      I actually think that is a bit of what hurt Fulmer — his unwillingness to publicly say when there was a problem made him seem out of touch at times. I know he was all too aware of the good and bad and was simply playing the public relations game. I guess I just don’t personally believe that you have to play that game.

      I would stereotype (read: without any defensible basis whatsoever) the Tennessee fanbase as being a fairly plain-spoken and no-nonsense group of folks as a general rule. I could be wrong, but I would think that Kiffin’s approach to things would be appealing to folks with that sort of perspective.

      I just like hearing a coach who has the integrity to admit when things aren’t going well or to simply say nothing at all. There are fewer and fewer of those any more.

  • CarlosHawesNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with your post (at least as regards football). But why oh why, in a sports blog, do you feel the need to bash Sarah Palin? She is not the only politician to recite well rehearsed lines (as is evidenced by our Teleprompter Reader in Chief. Leave politics out of it or go write a political blog please!

    • lawvolNo Gravatar says:

      Point taken.

      I guess I was just looking for a little something to use as an analogy and I broke one of my own rules of staying clear of politics.

      Duly noted (and thanks for calling me out, because I deserved it on that one)

  • CarlosHawesNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks! I get enough politics everywhere else. Next time, you could just say “Fulmer-esque” and open up another can of worms :)

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