Sprints // 05.13.09

Kiffin knows all about RECRUITING. Remember when Boy Wonder's tendency to flap his gums was a recipe for RECRUITING success? Yeah, not so much. You see, Laney, it helps if you can actually get in the high school to recruit the kids. And getting in the high school is so much easier if you don't royally piss off the entire community.

UT assistant coach Eddie Gran was asked to leave [Pahokee High School] property during a recruiting visit last Monday by principal Ariel Alejo in response to UT coach Lane Kiffin's comments about Pahokee and its alleged efforts to funnel football players to the University of Florida. ...

Kiffin declined to comment on the matter when reached by phone Tuesday.

First of all, congratulations to Ariel Alejo for doing something I thought impossible: Shutting up Lane Kiffin. Now, Tennessee fans will tell you that Boy Wonder apologized for all of this already. Well kinda-sorta-not really at all.

In April, Kiffin spoke to The Palm Beach Post about his comments at the recruiting breakfast, which also included Kiffin's comments accusing Urban Meyer of violating NCAA rules in his recruitment of Richardson.

"If I offended anybody in Pahokee or (anyone who) has to do with Pahokee or in the schools, I apologize; and I want to make sure it's understood that is not what was meant by it (the comments) at all," Kiffin told the newspaper. "It was just an energetic breakfast with some of our donors. Didn't even know that there was a camera present when the things were said.

"It just wasn't something that was meant to go in front of the media and make a big statement. ... It's why immediately that day I apologized and made sure that everybody understood it wasn't my intention to offend anyone at the University of Florida or coach Meyer."

Wonderful non-apology apology. Let's explicate:

--"If I offended anybody ... " The great thing about this construction, as has been pointed out repeatedly, is that it absolves the apologizer of any culpability for doing anything wrong. "If you took offense, I ask  you to forgive me."

--"Just an energetic breakfast." So it wasn't really my fault when I trashed your town. But I apologize anyway.

--"Didn't even know that there was a camera present." I apologize for getting caught. Because it would be so much better if I could have said it behind your back and you never heard about it.

Now, some Tennessee partisans have taken to unearthing the Web page of Princpal Alejo, charging that his Florida ties might have something to do with his decision. We can hope.

Not that I want SEC coaches to be quieted -- far from it. But Kiffin's comments, it should be pointed out as often as it needs to be until people remember, broke several unwritten rules. It trampled all over two things you can't touch in the South: Honor and avoidance of any association with "hickdom" or "redneckery." If Meyer had cheated, Kiffin's blast might have been a fair shot. But Urban hadn't, and it wasn't. And the people of Pahokee had done nothing to earn the kind of elitist slur Kiffin casually slung in their direction. Where I come from, anyway, that's wrong.

And until Kiffin understands how radioactive these sorts of things are in the region where he's now based, he really knows very little about RECRUITING.

Opposite directions. Former UGA head coach Jim Donnan and former QB Quincy Carter will always be tied together in my mind -- perhaps ever more so because of the role a game against South Carolina arguably played in altering their careers. It was, after all, the 21-10 debacle in Columbia in 2000 that was the beginning of the end for Donnan and the effective end of Carter's Heisman campaign after his five interceptions contributed mightily to the Dawgs' loss.

There is no connection anymore, a point emphasized Tuesday, when Donnan was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame and Carter was arrested, again, this time for violating his probation.

Happier news for Dawgs fans: Vince Dooley gets some deserved recognition. The Mayor has a memorable anecdote.

Andre Smith Weirdness. You really didn't expect the Tale of Andre Smith to end happily, did you? Fresh off of being saved from NFL Draft infamy by Rick Smith, Andre Smith has returned the favor by firing Rick Smith. And going back to the agent that ruined him. Or not. (HT: Roll Bama Roll) Part of the confusion likely stems from the fact that Andre Smith can't just hire another agent after firing his old one; he has to wait five days. The other part of it stems from the fact that Andre Smith appears to be a very confused young man.

Pappy Bowden > Meyer. Says so here, at SB Nation's own Tomahawk Nation. Have at it, Florida fans.

"If," not "when." This is going to get very, very ugly before it's over. The question is how much of this is a basketball issue, how much is a football issue and how much is a dreaded "lack of institutional control" issue. Sure, the allegations about O.J. Mayo don't directly relate to the football team, but that's little consolation if the whole athletics department (or more than one of its programs, including football) gets wrapped up in sanctions for LOIC.

Relevant SEC point comes from outsidethesidelines at Roll Bama Roll.

And as a further point, I'd also make note that one of the top assistant coaches and the leading recruiter at USC at the time was none other than... drum roll please... Lane Kiffin.

OTSL stresses -- as should I -- that Boy Wonder has not been implicated in anything yet. Still something to keep an eye on.

Play Ball! All nine SEC teams in action win Tuesday, including Georgia's 7-5 victory against Georgia Tech.

Wind Sprints. Scott Bittle is out for Ole Miss' series against Arkansas, hurting both his team's chances at capturing the SEC and his own chances in the MLB Draft ... Michael Washington will return to Arkansas ... Fans that were born in Auburn and then went through Alabama before graduating at -- no, that's not it. Alabama fans who were born at another school before graduating Alabama and getting post-doctorate at Auburn -- wrong again. Alabama and Auburn fans, go here and see if you can help Track Em Tigers ...

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