/Will ‘lightning rod’ Lane Kiffin turn into ‘lightning in a bottle’ for Ole Miss

Will ‘lightning rod’ Lane Kiffin turn into ‘lightning in a bottle’ for Ole Miss

So who was Keith Carter’s athletic director? He is the young, brilliant coach Al Davis, who was 31 years old when he hired Carter to be the youngest head coach in modern pro football. Is he the man Davis fired just one year later for “conduct detrimentally to the Raiders” and a 5-15 record? Is he the young man Tennessee hired to be its youngest Division I head football coach? Is he the one who moved to Southern Cal from Tennessee in 2008 after a 7-6 season? He is the one who led USC to a 10-2 record in 2010, his second season as a coach with one of college football’s most dynamic offenses and despite NCAA probation. Is he the one who fired him in 2012 after he lost seven of his 11 last games? He is he the coach that under Nick Saban revived his coaching career at Alabama, becoming the offensive coordinator and changing the Crimson Tide’s approach to offensive football. Is he the one Saban let go nine days before playing for a national championship? One thing is certain: Kiffin took over the Florida Atlantic team that had won six games in its previous three seasons. Since then, the team has won 26 games as well as two Conference USA championships. He’s a coach who has learned from his mistakes. He may also be the first college football coach to be called “a lightning rod” during his introductory press conference. Kiffin is exactly that: a lightning rod. Everywhere he’s worked, he’s been there. Kiffin seems to enjoy that role often. Keith Carter, Ole Miss athletic director, believes that Kiffin has captured the light in a bottle. It all depends on the Kiffin that he hired. Kiffin has been called a “football genius”. Kiffin has also been called immature, brash and worse. He is taking a calculated risk by hiring him. Carter felt he had to make a splash because of his apathetic fan base. Carter strongly believes that the revenue from increased ticket sales and athletic donations will make up the cost of this coaching change. He might be right. However, not all Ole Missers are as enamored by Kiffin’s hiring. Archie Manning is the school’s greatest athletic hero. He has been quite reserved about the topic. He wasn’t part of the hiring process. There are many others. He will prevail if he recruits well and wins big. If he fails to recruit well and wins big, Ole Miss will go through this again much sooner than any Rebel would wish. The four head coaching positions Kiffin held have been for less than nine seasons and lasted just over two years each. He left behind NCAA issues in Tennessee and took over NCAA issues at USC. He is 44 years old and has been a coach at nine different places (including USC twice). Grass is not allowed to grow beneath his sandals. Carter and Grass plan to extend Carter’s tenure at Ole Miss. Kiffin stated, “We didn’t come here for the glory.” “That’s not the reason we came here. It is impossible to be great in the SEC Western Division. You must be better than Alabama and LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M, as well as cross-state rival Mississippi State, in order to win a championship. Arkansas will not be down forever. There are Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee on the other side. It is a difficult, tedious job. Kiffin said he learned from his mistakes at USC, Tennessee, and Oakland. Kiffin says that he has become a better coach and person at Alabama and FAU. Kiffin’s friend, Ed Orgeron (former coaching staff member), can show you how a coaching transformation is possible. Orgeron, who was once a slut at Ole Miss 12 year ago, deserves to be the National Coach of Year at LSU. He learned from his mistakes. He is wiser and older. We will see what Kiffin has to say about it.