Posted: 8:05 am Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Lane Kiffin still talking 

By Post Staff

Credit Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin with one thing: He knows how to play to his crowd.

His charm, wit and sarcasm were once again on display Wednesday at a Big Orange Tipoff Club meeting in Knoxville, Tenn. Kiffin wasn’t exactly sorry for lobbing verbal hand grenades at Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier in recent weeks.

“We’ll make sure that we don’t offend anyone in the conference or any other school,” Kiffin said, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “We’ll be very nice.”

In the last seven days, Kiffin has been reprimanded by the SEC and has had to apologize in to Meyer, the SEC and Pahokee football coach Blaze Thompson. He has also traded shots with Spurrier and Nick Saban since becoming head coach in December.

Wednesday, he didn’t apologize for his overall body of work.

“I like to have fun with some things,” Kiffin said. “The example I can give you is that Steve Spurrier came out the first day I was here and accused me of recruiting without having passed the test (as required by the NCAA).

“I didn’t call the (SEC) commissioner whining about it. I just shot back at him, joking around with him. We’ll make sure we’re aware of how sensitive people are around here.”

Kiffin has been a thorn in Florida’s side of late. He stole away one Florida recruit in Nu’Keese Richardson, and now is going after another in 2010 recruit Matt Elam from Dwyer.

That’s in addition to wrongly accusing Meyer of cheating and offering a back-handed public apology.

Kiffin also on Wednesday admitted what everyone expected. His big-talkin’ mouth is all a stunt to draw attention to his rebuilding program.

“We’re not going to be able to continue to recruit without a great fan base,” Kiffin said. “The sense I’ve got is we have an energized fan base right now, and an energized state that’s excited about it. If it took that stuff to get that done, it’s working. And if it took that stuff to get our players motivated at 5:30 in the morning, it’s working. I like the way it’s going.”

Kiffin is, indeed, making quite an impact in Knoxville. Tennessee basketball coaches Bruce Pearl and Pat Summitt preceded Kiffin with the microphone on Wednesday.

“My goal was to be the least popular coach in the SEC,” Pearl said of his mindset when he took the job four years ago. “It took me one year. It took Lane Kiffin one week.”

“When I was in Florida (for Sunday’s game), they were still talking about Coach Kiffin,” Summitt said. Then she turned to Kiffin: “You’re quite popular in Florida right now.”