The former Raiders coach and the Vols' new boss has had an eventful four months on the job
Dan Patrick: Are there any comments from your time on the job that you want to take back?
Lane Kiffin: Without getting into specifics, we're always in a constant battle to improve ourselves, and we'll always learn from things we do and find a better way to do them.
DP: When you talk about other coaches, like Urban Meyer, are your comments missteps or calculated?
LK: Everything is done for a reason. You have a master plan. Tennessee is a great program in a great conference with a great tradition, but it is not in a state that's full of five-star players. You have to be able to nationally recruit. For us to do that, we've got to get out there and be in the papers. We think it's worked tremendously.
DP: What did you learn from Pete Carroll when you were an assistant at USC?
LK: So many things. I don't know how much time we have. Every day he's motivating his players and coaches....
DP: But Pete didn't have that recruiting thing where his assistants ripped off their shirts to fire up recruits, did he?
LK: Oh, yeah. We started that years ago.
DP: Did Pete rip off his shirt?
LK: Sure he did. I don't do it. Pete works out more than me.
DP: Toughest coach on campus?
LK: Coach [Pat] Summitt for sure. She scares me. You don't mess with her.
DP: Have you thought about bringing her to practice?
LK: Yeah, we can't wait to get her over there.
DP: Would you coach in the NFL again?
LK: Definitely. But I do love recruiting. You've got to wait your turn to draft your players in the NFL. I don't like that. I'd rather go out and get people every day.
DP: Your wife went to Florida. Does she still root for the Gators when they're not playing Tennessee?
LK: Oh, yes. I've had to deal with that for seven years of marriage.
DP: Does she have a poster of Tim Tebow anywhere in the house?
LK: In her bedroom.
The NFL last week instituted a handful of new rules aimed at making the game safer. But the players I talked to said the same thing: If you're looking for a safe game, play something else. Free agent safety Rodney Harrison (above), for instance, was with the Patriots last year when they lost Tom Brady on a play that beginning next season, will be against the rules: A defender who's on the ground can no longer lunge at a quarterback. Still, Harrison was against the changes and said he thought Brady would be too. "Football is a violent sport, played at 100 miles an hour with reckless abandon," Harrison said. "Guys are going to get hurt. The game is really being soft now. What about the days of Dick Butkus? That's football. Now it's like patty-cake." And it's not just the defensive players who are upset. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (left) said that offensive players relish being able to pop defenders with crackback blocks, which are now tougher to deliver legally. "We should get back to the way people played in the '70s," he said. "I like when people are on the ground, you step on them."
The Fabulous Four
THE WORLD of modeling can be just as competitive as college hoops, so I had Brooklyn Decker (below, right) of SI Swimsuit fame give us her top four seeds in the fashion game. For the record, Decker, who is a huge North Carolina fan, considers herself something of a Gonzaga. "I'd probably be a mid-major," she said of her own seeding.
1. GISELE "She's the overall Number 1, the North Carolina of models."
2. ADRIANA LIMA "She'd be Pitt."
3. MARISA MILLER "She's UConn."
4. NATALIA VODIANOVA "I'm going to take a fashion girl," said Brooklyn of the Russian, who spends a lot of time on the runway.
THE FINE PRINT: The NFL okayed major rule changes. Starting this season, Tony Siragusa will no longer be allowed to use the red challenge flag to wipe his mouth.
Go to DANPATRICK.COM on Monday to hear Dan announce this week's 'Got It Done' award recipient.
PRESENTED BY grape-nuts
ILLUSTRATION BY KEITH WITMER
TOM CROKE/ICON SMI (HARRISON)
JOHN BIEVER (JONES-DREW)
RAPHAEL MAZZUCCO (DECKER)
LALO YASKY/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (BUNDCHEN)
PATRICK MURPHY-RACEY (KIFFIN)