Lane Kiffin’s Return To Knoxville: Making A Mountain Out Of A Mole Hill

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You can already see it coming. The media is building up Lane Kiffin’s return to Knoxville but in reality, it’ll probably be just another Alabama game against rival Tennessee. One media member even asked Coach Saban during the SEC teleconference on Wednesday if he intended to move Kiffin to the press box for the game. Have you ever known Saban to deviate from his decision for such a silly reason?

Yeah, I’m sure there may be some signs in the crowd and possibly some things yelled at him from the crowd but this is SEC football. This is football in the south. SEC fans are a passionate bunch but most will stay in within the realm of normalcy of an SEC fan with the exception of few.

Alabama’s sidelines have a familiarity with a coach that returns to a team he once coached with his new team that the fans hate. These players and coaches are used to this type of stuff. They tune it out and do the jobs they are their to do which is win the game.

Truthfully, Tennessee fans should really be thankful for Kiffin’s time in Knoxville. His one and only season is Tennessee’s last winning season since he left. The fans never hated him while he was there but only after he left. You really can’t blame someone for taking another job, especially one that is their dream job. He could have left on better terms but he didn’t.

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Coach Ed Orgeron appeared at the Knoxville quarterback club this week and addressed their leaving as well as a call he placed to Kiffin before appearing. “I told (Lane Kiffin), ‘Hey man, I’m going to Knoxville,’ ” Orgeron said according to GoVols247. “He said, ‘Go test the waters for me.’

“I’m going to call him back and say, ‘Coach, the waters were fine for me, but I think the seas are going to be high come Saturday night.’ ”

In another article about Kiffin’s return, former Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said he wished Kiffin’s first game against Tennessee would have been in Tuscaloosa. “I know that Tennessee fans have some really hard feelings,” Hamilton told CBSSports.com. “Tennessee is a storied program so to have someone sort of walk out on them, even given it was for his dream job and the way that whole year went down, there’s not going to be any love shared. But I also believe Tennessee fans are smart enough that they don’t want any kind of scar on who they are by going overboard in the reaction to it.”

Current Tennessee head coach Butch Jones also addressed it this week.

All of the talk and clutter won’t mean anything after kickoff on Saturday. Have fun with it, Tennessee fans. Let all the media build up the hype but don’t give them too much to write about after the game. Coaches have returned to schools they once coached before and this probably won’t be the last time.