Most Vol fans probably don’t care about what Lane Kiffin has to say about Tennessee athletics. But that won’t stop him from sharing his opinions about the program he coached for a season before leaving for USC.
Dan Harralson of Saturday Down South interviewed Kiffin and asked him about his time with Alabama, taking over as Florida Atlantic’s head coach, and his brief time at Tennessee. While discussing his lone season with the Vols, Kiffin was asked his thoughts on the current direction of Tennessee’s football program.
“I think Coach [Butch Jones] has done a great job there,” Kiffin stated. “They really have had some tough breaks down the stretch (in the 2016 season). They started out really fast with some big wins and it seems like they are right there and need one break to get it done.
“Injuries take their toll, especially as the season keeps going on. It’s a tough sport and that’s why it’s one of the hardest sports to maintain winning because of that factor and so many variables.”
Kiffin is, of course, referring to the Vols’ collapse during the 2016 season after starting out 5-0 with wins over Florida and Georgia. Tennessee would go 3-4 in the final seven games of the season after that hot start, and, as Kiffin pointed out, the Vols suffered numerous injuries to several key players during the season as well.
Kiffin was not only the head coach of Tennessee in 2009 before unceremoniously leaving the Vols to be the head coach at USC, but he was also the offensive coordinator for Alabama from 2014-16 and coached against the Vols and Jones those three seasons. Alabama was a perfect 3-0 against Tennessee with Kiffin on staff, averaging 34 points per contest in those three years.
This year will be Kiffin’s first time serving as head coach of a program since 2013 when he was fired mid-season as USC’s head coach. Kiffin is 35-21 all-time as a college head coach.