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Good Judgment Is So Hard to Find Sometimes

Running a major football program like Tennessee has to be stressful. There's so much to do and so little time to do it. In fact, it might tempt you to forgo some of the necessities in life... What have you specifically learned about being back in the college game and about being the head guy at the collegiate level for the first time during this camp that you will learn from moving forward to future camps?

Lane Kiffin:"The first thing I would do is one of two things. I am either going to have a driver or I am going to sleep in the office every night."

VQ: What do you mean by that?

LK "After the 10th or 11th day of camp we finished meetings and coach (Jim) Chaney said, 'Why don't you go home and see your kids wake up? I will take the start of the meetings in the morning'. I was driving home and was about a half mile from home, nodded off, and slipped off the side of the road into the ditch. So they joke around here that I am not allowed to drive any more..."

VQ: This is not the first time fatigue has hit you right? Weren't you ill at Oakland during training camp?

LK: "Yea, I was hospitalized for two-and-a-half days during training camp. It came after the second pre-season game. I was diagnosed with mono due to exhaustion and missed a day of practice. I guess I need to learn that my body does need some sleep."

Remind me, what is the colloquial definition of insanity again?

This would trouble me greatly if I was a Tennessee fan. Not just because the head coach has fallen asleep and driven his car into a ditch (?!?!?), but because it shows a startling lack of judgment.

He knows that fatigue is a problem. He was hospitalized for it during training camp, leaving his team without its head coach during a critical time for preseason preparation. Overworking to the point of exhaustion once is a mistake, one that you can learn from. Doing it twice is just stupid. Thankfully it was only a ditch he drove into and not a tree or, God forbid, a person.

I'm not about to get preachy about how little time coaches spend with their families. It comes with the territory and is a sacrifice they all make. You know going into it that you're going to have times like training camp where the wife and kids aren't going to see their dads much. Most families find a way to make things work, even if you end up with weird situations like an assistant coach spending more time with a player than with his wife.

However, a coach has to find time for sleep. If he's going to spend so much time working and away from his family, he had better make sure he's making the most of that time. Sleep deprivation has proven side effects like impaired judgment, increased stress, and decreased ability to perform tasks. Maybe he's getting more work done, but the quality of the work decreases as the lack of sleep mounts.

I don't know if this is the end of the insomnia for Lane Kiffin. For now, my guess is that he'll go with sleeping in his office instead of using a driver. After all, he did fire the last one.