The following is a running discourse between Sports Casualties co-authors/UF attendees Bryan Holt and Robbie Hilson. Check back for continuous updates. “And what of class?” you ask. We scoff at class.
Robbie: (12:40 p.m.) The name of this game is transition, as in Lil Wayne to Snoop, Meyer/Saban to Riley/Kelly, land o’ tween the hedges to land o’ tween stars.
Bryan: (12:48) Ed Orgeron is reportedly calling all eight freshman who were supposed to start their spring semester today, informing them not to go to class and follow the Kiffin brigade to USC. Imagine that decision at 18 years old for one second: Go to my 8:30 A.M. seminar class and play for a team with an indefinite future, or skip class and move to Hollywood. Decisions decisions.
Robbie: (1:20) I saw that. A couple of 4-stars, DT Brandon Willis and DE Corey Miller, are free to look around. With some other guys, you have a case of double-crossed versus double-standard. Early enrollees QB Tyler Bray, RB Channing Fugate, and WR Matt Milton need official releases from their scholarships. And then there’s my favorite recruit, 4-star safety Ahmad Dixon, who’s already bailed on Texas, Baylor and now UT. He and Kiffin are meant to be together.
Bryan: (1:37) Just watched Athletic Director Mike Hamilton’s press conference. Informal transcript:
Reporter – “Ed Orgeron is calling freshmen and telling them not to go to class.”
Hamilton – “No way! That’s against the rules!”
Reporter – “No, seriously, we heard him talking to players via cell phone speakerphone.”
Hamilton – “Uh, that’s unethical.”
To me, the other interesting thing about recruiting here is that it could become a garage sale situation for SEC teams. UT had the tenth ranked recruiting class going into this. Those who don’t want to travel out to Laguna Beach Land may end up falling into orange and blue or crimson and white.
Robbie: (1:46) You bring up the unexplored wrinkle to all this. Recruits can go play for Nick Saban or Urban Meyer… or go play for Lane Kiffin. The Trojans, backed by gushing media response, seem pretty sure of themselves, and you know what they say, “Whenever you can snag a guy with a combined 12-21 record and who, by all accounts, is total weasel, got to do it!” Look, I realize Kiff has been put in some untenable positions, especially in Oakland, but are we even sure this man can even coach?
Robbie: (1:48) By the way, just saw that Hamilton is in contacts with Phil Fulmer. If this goes down – which it won’t – does it pave the way for a Tyson/Givens reunion?
Bryan: (1:59) The only way Fulmer comes back is if he’s taking Hamilton’s job. If Fulmer somehow becomes head coach again, Chris Brown and Rhianna will make a “how to save your relationship” infomercial.
Robbie: (2:11) Just saw Joe Schad say no chance on Fat Phil. With Fulmer out of the equation – and Pappa Kiff and Agent Orgeron bailing, too – does this mean that Smokey and Bruce Pearl have a shot at the interim tag?
Bryan: (2:13) You bring up a valid point with Kiffin. So far, all that we know is that he is a world class instigator. Sure, the Vols showed the occasional sliver of hope last season, but that was primarily for defensive reasons which of course go credited to his father who is a proven coaching genius.
There’s no rebuilding excuse at USC unless crazy violations come up, so it will be sink or swim for Dennis the Menace.
Bryan: (2:17) Smokey could make an interesting interim, but I’m sure that the AGR fraternity house (Smokey’s keeper) would want some money for contract representation. That could make things a little pricey for Hamilton.
Robbie: (4:25) Just a couple of concluding remarks on my part. 1) Myles Brand is turning in his grave right now. Kiffin, Carroll – hell, college coaches in general – are acting downright patronizing. They give the collective finger to the whole concept of “student-athlete.” I see some major changes coming down the pike whenever the NCAA decides on a permanent replacement for Brand. If this sanctioning body has any power at all, now is the time to show it. 2) Brace yourself. Five words you thought you’d never hear: maybe Al Davis was right.
Bryan: (6:25) My apologies for the delay, apparently they expect us to go to class at this place. On a final note from me, I think it is important to look back at one particular setting. In his press conference today, Hamilton said that one week ago when he held a coaches meeting to talk about expectations of the university’s athletes, Lane Kiffin was unable to attend because he was out of town recruiting. He also said that when he did talk to Kiffin later that day, Kiffin told him that he may be interested in the USC job if it were to open. This means that on that day, Kiffin sat in a living room with a high school student and promised his glazed over eyes the world at the University of Tennessee. He probably told him that he’d be there forever, that national championships were sure to come and that his one year promise was actually a four year scholarship. He said all these things with the thought in mind that he just might not be at Tennessee to ever see this kid play.
That is a shining example of what is wrong with college football today.