Manning: Give Kiffin Two Years
"Everybody Wants To Rush A Relationship" - Peyton Manning On Lane Kiffin.
By: BE Coleman
When Peyton Manning speaks, fans listen. On Monday, Manning noted that in his opinion, it would take him at least two years before he would evaluate the job Lane Kiffin has done - is doing at Tennessee.
The NFL's 3 time MVP winner was back in East Tennessee for a second Golf-Charity Fund raiser to benefit another Tennessee children's hospital. The former Volunteer All American signal caller was in Jonesborough, on the 8th of the month headlining with former head coach Phillip Fulmer.
Manning took time out of his busy day that saw him at the Fox Den Country Club, back to UT to give out his 12th annual Peyton Manning Scholarship – that pays for every need of a student for four years at Tennessee, working out with the Vol footballers, then talk about the current state of UT Football.
The Colts quarterback noted he was in Knoxville; back in March, "to talk some football with Coach (Lane) Kiffin, and spent a lot of time with his father - Monte, personally to help me," said Manning. "Because I played against him a number of times (professionally).
"This is my third time being around them (the new UT coaching staff), I was at the Vols Letterman's Function, (where former Volunteer letter winners were invited to meet the new staff) and talked some football."
Manning noted, "that he and Kiffin communicate about what's going on at UT. "He and I are getting to know each other; everybody wants to rush a relationship."
"Coach (Phillip) Fulmer and I have a special bond because I played for him. I - like all of the (current) players are getting to know Lane Kiffin and what he is all about," noted Manning.
"I am a diehard Volunteer, I am a big supporter, I am pulling hard for them, and I know all the players are working hard. He (Kiffin) has hired a high energy bunch of coaches to coach hard, and I think that is important," says Manning.
Manning noted that he himself had only played in three systems during his football career. One in high school, one in college and one more in the NFL with the Colts.
"I think it is a little easier when they are younger to adjust a little bit," of learning a new system. Manning added, "It does challenge the continuity; in my fourth year -- with the Colt's and here (Tennessee) I felt the most comfortable with the offense."
The former Volunteer great knows that the road is more difficult for this current squad of Vols; knowing they have worked under three and some have worked under four sets of coordinators. It is more like being in the NFL than it is college.
"Playing under a number of different coordinators, it can be a challenge," says Manning. "I know this coaching staff is working to get these guys as comfortable as possible."
In thoughts to any quick fire take off for the program. "It does take some games to play and get used to it," added Manning. "You can simulate it in practice, but you can't quite simulate it in games."
Manning said that, he "was probably the wrong person to ask," about the current status of the Volunteer program. "I was around here some in the spring, I'll work out with them Monday, I can probably give you a better sense the next time I am around."
"There's always going to be differences when there is a change, noted Manning. "But players should be working hard right now and excited."
Were a little more than a month away from starting the season, in my opinion the SEC is kinda like the NFL, noted Manning. "Anybody can beat anybody on a Saturday-Sunday."
"It's competitive (in the SEC) and it's a challenge, but I know this bunch (in Knoxville) is working hard," right now to get ready. He's watching them.
Manning noted the grade of difficulty that (Jonathon) Crompton has faced as a quarterback.
Manning graded the 5th year red shirt senior by saying, "The times I have been around Jonathon and see him, he is a very talented player, he has a very live arm, which is important."
"Obviously the mental side of it is as important as well, that is where he is trying to grow and to learn," added Manning. "While it is no excuse, it is his third system in 3 years of time, and it is a challenge, it's not easy."
"I think for him, he needs to learn as much about this system, (Kiffin has installed) he needs to get as comfortable as he can, with the receivers."
Manning said, "You want to know exactly where every receiver is going to be so you don't have to look for them, you hope and trust they will be there."
Hopefully, without the line issue that plagued the Vols in 2008, with a line flop from side to side on each down will give whoever is back there, more time to react to the opposing defense.
"I'm pulling hard for him (Crompton) and I want him to have a great year, its special being the quarterback of this school and conference," added Manning. "I hope he has a good year and I hope the receivers and running backs around him help him out."
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