Kiffin kicks Tennessee to curb for USC job

Tennessee VolunteersLane Kiffin has agreed to become the next head coach of the USC Trojans, multiple sources told ESPN‘s Chris Low Tuesday night. Kiffin, whose sole season with Tennessee was shrouded in controversy both on and off the field, will bring his father Monte Kiffin along as defensive coordinator. Ed Orgeron is expected to follow and continue his role under Kiffin as assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator, and Norm Chow plans to return to the program as offensive coordinator.

“We are really excited to welcome Lane Kiffin back to USC,” Trojans athletic director Mike Garrett said. “I was able to watch him closely when he was an assistant with us and what I saw was a bright, creative young coach who I thought would make an excellent head coach here if the opportunity ever arose. I’m confident he and his staff will keep USC football performing at the high level that we expect. Lane brings a lot to the table. He has a coaching background both in the pros and in the best collegiate conferences. He has a great command of the X’s and O’s. He is familiar with the Trojan landscape and will be a great representative of our university. He keeps the game fun. And, very importantly, he has proven to be one of the finest recruiters anywhere.”

An assistant with USC from 2001-06, Kiffin left to become head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2007. He spent just over one season in Oakland, going 5-15 before being fired by owner Al Davis in September 2008. His sole season with the Volunteers ended with a 7-6 record and 37-14 loss to the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Peach Bowl.

Kiffin made it a point to become public enemy No. 1 for the Florida Gators and their fans after he claimed his team would be singing “Rocky Top all night long” after defeating UF in The Swamp. He furthered his villainous stature by not only insulting head coach Urban Meyer but also falsely accusing him of recruiting violations after nabbing wide receiver Nu’Keese Richardson away from the Gators.

Ironically, Kiffin and his staff incurred six minor recruiting violations over the last year, and Richardson was dismissed from the team after committing armed robbery outside of a gas station in Knoxville, TN. Florida would go on to defeat Tennessee 23-13, leaving Meyer undefeated against Kiffin in Southeastern Conference play.

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Gator Bites for Sunday, December 6th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across too many news items we want to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

- Reports were released early Sunday that Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer was hospitalized late Saturday night with chest pains. However, Meyer actually checked himself into Shands hospital in Gainesville, FL, early Sunday morning. He was treated and released for dehydration. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Meyer “worked late recruiting Saturday night after the Southeastern Conference Championship game loss to Alabama, which may have contributed to his dehydration.” ESPN has the story:

- Four-star linebacker Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, FL), a recruit who was highly coveted by the Gators, committed to the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday according to Aaron Shepard, one of his high school coaches. “He said he’s been a fan since he’s been a little kid and it just felt like home since he went up there this weekend,” Shepard told The Orlando Sentinel on Sunday.

- Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong told reporters on Saturday that he has not yet spoken to the Louisville Cardinals and had no planned meeting with the school on Sunday. Sunday morning, the Cardinals spoke with Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and received permission to speak with Strong about the job opening. According to ESPN’s Joe Schad on twitter, Strong and Louisville AD Tom Jurich have plans to meet Sunday night in Gainesville, FL.

- The Gators will likely face the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl. Meyer played defensive back for the Bearcats from 1983-1986.

- Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Shaun Alexander, a close friend of senior quarterback Tim Tebow for some time, was seen consoling him late after the game in the Georgia Dome.

– Prior to the Miami Dolphins game on Sunday, former middle linebacker Channing Crowder ran out of the tunnel and gave a huge Gator Chomp to the crowd (which received a surprising ovation). Crowder was responsible for the game-clinching interception with 0:35 left in the fourth quarter as the Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots.

- Also a huge day for former Florida wide receiver Louis Murphy with the Oakland Raiders. Murphy caught four balls for 128 yards and two fourth quarter touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers to give his team a 27-24 win.

- Competing in the 2010 Under Armour All-American Game are the following Florida commitments: Joshua Shaw (CB; Palmdale, CA), Jonathan Dowling (S; Southeast, FL), Demar Dorsey (S; Boyd Anderson, FL), Solomon Patton (WR; Murphy, AL), Leon Orr (DT; Gulf, FL), Mack Brown (RB; Martin Luther King, GA), Ian Silberman (OT; Fleming Island, FL). These recruiting prospects (among others) will also be playing in the game: Chris Dunkley (WR; Pahokee, FL), Kadron Boone (WR; Trinity Catholic, FL), Lamarcus Joyner (CB; St. Thomas Aquinas, FL), Cody Riggs (CB; St. Thomas Aquinas, FL), Chaz Green (OT; Tampa Catholic, FL), Devin Gardner (QB; Inkster, MI), Eric Mack (OG; Calhoun County, SC). For the star ratings of the Gators commits found in this list, visit OGGOA‘s recruiting page.

OGGOA will continue to update you with news throughout the day, so stay tuned.

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Florida breezes by Vanderbilt 27-3 in The Swamp

Looking to rebound from a week full of criticism and questions, the No. 1 Florida Gators (9-0, 6-0 SEC) did little to quiet their critics even though they rolled to a 27-3 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-8, 0-6 SEC) Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida extended its winning streak to a nation-high 19 games but continued to struggle on offense even through all of their personnel were healthy and active.

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow scored the 52nd rushing touchdown of his career in the third quarter and threw one that was tipped by senior wide receiver Riley Cooper to redshirt senior David Nelson with 9:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. Tebow ran 16 times for only 27 yards and went 15-for-20 for 208 yards through the air, including a 64-yard catch-and-run by sophomore tight end Aaron Hernandez in the fourth quarter. The Gators also scored on a 25-yard run by sophomore Jeff Demps in the first quarter and two field goals by sophomore kicker Caleb Sturgis of 27 and 45 yards in the first half.

Florida’s defense did not lose a step without senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, giving up only 199 yards of total offense to the Commodores. Redshirt senior linebacker Ryan Stamper grabbed an interception in Spikes’ stead. The special teams, however, did allow Vanderbilt’s senior punt returner Alex Washington to gain the first return yards on junior punter Chas Henry all season.

One week after finally showing signs of life by putting up 41 points on the Georgia Bulldogs, the Gators offense once again looked anemic, just as it did four of the five weeks prior. Along with Spikes, Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin and Oakland Raiders WR Louis Murphy watched from the sideline as both are on their team’s respective bye weeks.

Florida goes on the road to Columbia, SC, next week for its final Southeastern Conference regular season game this year against the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 14. Full coverage will be available throughout the week here on OGGOA.

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FOUR BITS: SEC referees; no-huddle offense; Florida WRs in NFL; Kiffin can’t shut up

1 » The work of Southeastern Conference referees has been shaky at best this season, especially that of the crew who was responsible for horrible calls both in last week’s Florida Gators vs. Arkansas Razorbacks game and the previous week’s LSU Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs game. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated contends that these calls are nothing for Arkansas fans or college football fans to be crying about. “Obviously, they were bad calls,” Mandel said. “You know what else they were? The type of bad calls that take place in almost every single football game. Egregious as they were, those calls did not cost Arkansas the game. They happened with nine minutes left. The Razorbacks still had their chance to kick a go-ahead field goal and/or stop the Gators’ own game-winning drive.” He’s right.

2 » The newly installed “Banzai” offensive package, taken in part from the Oklahoma Sooners‘ hurry-up offense, worked well for the Gators at the beginning of the season. As defenses have gotten tougher and more confusing, senior quarterback Tim Tebow has been taking audibles from offensive coordinator Steve Addazio on the sideline, slowing down the offense. Both Addazio and head coach Urban Meyer don’t want the offense to “stand there so long watching” and lose momentum in the process. Beginning again Saturday against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, expect Florida to employ a more rapid-fire approach, capitalizing on their talent, athleticism and conditioning.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: SEC referees; no-huddle offense; Florida WRs in NFL; Kiffin can’t shut up

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