Does Publicity Still Count if You Had to Beg for It?

While perusing the blog of the Miami Herald's Gator beat writer Joseph Goodman, I saw in a post from today that Tennessee's Lane Kiffin called up the Palm Beach Post to ask for an interview.

Ben Volin, the Post's UF beat writer, conducted the interview and in it there was no new information whatsoever. Kiffin is still "sorry" about bad-mouthing Urban Meyer and Pahokee, he won't comment on the legal wrangling with the Raiders, and he's still all about recruiting.

It's not even worth linking to, since you've heard everything in it before. If there's some sort of burning topic you're curious to hear what he has to say on, just imagine the sunniest interpretation for the Tennessee program and that's what Kiffin said.

So why is it news enough to bring up here?

When was the last time Mark Richt called up a UF beat writer requesting an interview? When was the last time Nick Saban called up an Auburn beat writer asking for an interview? When was the last time Les Miles... well, you get the picture.

I still believe, as I did at the time, that Kiffin didn't expect to see the words from his infamous booster meeting plastered all over the media. His father would later admit that what he said then was probably a mistake, but Lane himself has not publicly seconed that notion.

Either way, Kiffin has said that he's excited to see Tennessee's name and logo all over everywhere this offseason. No such thing as bad publicity, right?

I wonder if he fully thought through this latest move though.

Right now is a recruiting dead period, so coaches can't go visit recruits or high schools. The only way to get your message out is via the press. It would make sense then, if South Florida is a recruiting priority, to get in the South Florida press, right?

On some level it worked, because his message is now on the website of the Palm Beach Post. However, it ended up in a beat writer's blog, and I'm one of about 15 or so people that actually read newspaper blogs (and I don't even read that one). It never actually hit the papers that are read by thousands across the region.

In addition, what's he doing calling the Palm Beach Post? The Miami Herald has a much larger readership and it's more concentrated in the areas he wants to get players from. I guess it's because Pahokee is in Palm Beach County, but far more recruits come out of Miami-Dade.

The biggest thing is that it makes Kiffin look like he's begging for publicity. Everything else he's done can be considered "making a name for yourself" or "showing that you're not backing down" if you look at it like that. You can't spin a cold call to a beat writer in that way.

It might have been a coup of sorts (in that it gets around the recruiting dead period restriction) if it had actually been printed. I can't say I'm surprised that it wasn't since (Surprise!) a South Florida newspaper isn't going to drop everything to print a redundant and softball-laden interview with a coach who its readership doesn't much care about (or care for).

So while everything else Kiffin has done this offseason can be dropped in the "crazy like a fox" bin, he's jumped the shark with this one. Begging for interviews is what aging C-list celebrities do, not the head coaches of BCS programs.

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