Lane Kiffin has burned numerous programs in a long and storied career of being a bit of a troublemaker. Are you convinced after his image rehab at Bama and FAU that he’s ready to be back in the SEC?
Adam: No, but I think that might have to be a risk that Arkansas takes if more stable options say no. I’m not convinced he really “burned” any program other than Tennessee. His USC tenure looks better now that the coaches who followed him -- Sarkisian and Helton -- have done worse than he did, and he was dealing with scholarship reductions from the end of the Pete Carroll era.
Saul: I’m not convinced he’s ready and I’m not sure how rehabbed his image is. People in SEC country still know what he did at Tennessee. But, at some point, his name is going to come up and for good reason. He’s brought a sense of stability to FAU and looks to be on the cusp of winning in 2 of his first 3 seasons. I don’t think that necessarily means he’s “grown up” but it’s worth noting. And like Adam said, his time at USC looks better in retrospect.
Tucker: I think he’s probably ready to take the leap to a higher level job, but I don’t think it’s Arkansas. We need stability now more than ever, and Lane Kiffin is the opposite of that. Even in his best years, there has been constant uncertainty, and I’m just not sure that the grown up streak he’s on is convincing enough.
What would you like about this hire?
Saul: IF, and I mean IF, this “grown up” streak is the real deal, then Kiffin could really get the Hogs moving on offense. It’s easy to forget because of all the extracurriculars, but Lane Kiffin is a pretty innovative offensive mind. I think he could really do some cool stuff with the type of athletes Arkansas usually recruits.
Tucker: The Joey Freshwater on Dickson Street memes would probably be pretty funny.
What would give you reservations about this hire?
Adam: That he’d get restless and leave before actually building anything. I’m also a little worried that he’d be unfocused as a recruiter and not do a good job upgrading the talent. Running an SEC program is so much more than X’s and O’s.
Saul: Lane Kiffin is like putting all your money on red during roulette. It could work, but also there’s a good chance it won’t. This is a hire that has a chance to fail and fail spectacularly. He could leave before really establishing himself and we’re back in the same boat except the boat’s on fire. It always seems like there’s uncertainty surrounding him. I don’t want to feel uneasy when I think about my head coach.
Tucker: Uh, where do we begin? His career record in the NFL is 5-15. His career record in college before FAU was 35-21. That’s at Tennessee AND USC, two programs with more money, history, and recruiting advantages than Arkansas. Maybe he didn’t stay at Tennessee long enough to see it come together, but failing at USC and then being expected to turn around Arkansas is laughable to me. FAU is an interesting story, and he’s had the best 3 year stretch ever in Boca Raton, but aside from his first year where he won 11 games, he’s been 5-7 and is 7-3 this year. That’s not exactly impressive to me. I just think we could do better.
Would you personally be happy with this hire?
Adam: He’s not the worst option, in my opinion. But he’s definitely not the best. He’d probably be a high-risk, high-reward swing for the fences that could end in a massive strikeout.
Saul: There are worse people out there! I don’t think he’s the worst option. I do think he might be the most dangerous. It could not work out in just the biggest way, but it could also be great! So, personally, I don’t think I would because I’d be too nervous. It’s the uncertainty that kills.
Tucker: Not really, no. I’ve had a streak of these where I’d be less than thrilled, and while I agree that beggars can’t be choosers, I don’t think we’re beggars to the state where Lane Kiffin is attractive to me. Maybe he’s grown up, but gosh I wish he’d prove it somewhere else. If his dad’s name wasn’t Monte Kiffin, would he even have a job now?