Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

The Nightly Daily will be taking a few days off to contemplate its navel and enjoy the start of 2009. Happy New Year to all. Look for something new on Sunday or so.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quote of the day: Recipe for 'Duck Soup'

"Take two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages, but no duck, and mix them together. After one taste, you'll duck soup the rest of your life." -- attributed to Groucho Marx.

Duck Soup is The Marx Brothers best movie. If you're local library has it, check it out.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quote of the day

"It's kind of freaky knowing you're diving into somebody's grandpa." -- Coco Crisp, Boston Red Sox outfielder after being told earlier this year that the team had decided to stop fans from spreading cremation ashes at Fenway Park.

I pinched this quote from this week's Sport's Illustrated, which included a year-end round up of quotes from 2008.

I miss baseball.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

George W. Bush about to ride off into the sunset

In 23 days, the tumultuous administration of President George W. Bush will end, and it won't come soon enough for many people.

To say Bush has been an unpopular president would be an understatement. As the Iraq War has marched on and the economy has failed, the president's popularity has sagged. Of course, Congress' approval ratings have stunk, too, but most reporting about approval ratings usually focus on just Bush.

Recently, I've heard many speculate on how kind history will be to his administration. When looking back at the Bush presidency 50 years from now, will historians be kinder to him than people are now?

Obviously, there is no way to know that. However, if we are going to deal with hypothetical questions for a moment, I've wondered how Bush’s presidency would have been different if the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, had not happened.

From my seat way out here in Tennessee, I believe Bush took those attacks very personally. On the political level, he should have taken a lot of heat because he is the president and one of the president's primary obligations is to protect the public.

But looking at this from strictly a personal angle, I believe the tragedy tore deeply into his heart. Whether a person is the president or just a regular person, there is no worse feeling than letting people down who are depending on you.

Personally, I think this explains the intense zeal the president showed in pursuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Did this cloud his judgment at times? Perhaps.

Recently, he stated that one of his biggest regrets was his handling of intelligence reports regarding Iraq.

I thought that was a compelling admission. We don't often hear that type of candor from politicians, but I guess one the blessings of being a lame-duck president is that a person can talk more frankly. A lame duck doesn’t have to worry about the next election.

It's too bad that more politicians don't feel comfortable enough to talk candidly with constituents on the issues. We are quick to criticize the honesty of politicians, but if politicians really leveled with us, we would reject them.

This is because most of us look at government as something that should serve us, and if it doesn't, we howl until we get what we want. We are not the country that President Kennedy envisioned when he implored us to ask what we can do for our country and not what our country can do for us.

Don't get me wrong; it's important to howl at politicians at times. However, the older I get, the more I am realizing that it is often the public that should be on the receiving end of the howling.

As for Bush, it will be interesting to see if he will continue to be candid as his administration closes. Though a lot of comments directed his way are negative, I do believe there is one area that he deserves credit.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, it was widely believed that more would come soon on American soil. More than seven years later, this hasn’t happened, and this surprises me.

Given the ease in which people can enter the country illegally, I thought it would be only a matter of time before that would be exploited.

If Bush gets the blame for our problems, shouldn’t he receive credit for this success? Of course, he should.

Only a person incapable of setting aside their political affiliation would think otherwise.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas to all...

The Nightly Daily will be taking some days off to enjoy the Christmas holiday. Merry Christmas to all.

Luke 2:1-20 (NIV): In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Jesus vs. Santa Claus: You make the call

I don't have much to say this evening so I'm posting this e-mail from a friend. Santa brings a certain element to Christmas, but even he takes a back seat to Jesus.

Santa Claus lives at the North Pole...
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa Claus rides in a sleigh...
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa Claus comes but once a year...
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa Claus fills your stockings with goodies...
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa Claus comes down your chimney uninvited... JESUS stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa Claus...
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa Claus lets you sit on his lap...
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa Claus doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy (or girl,) what's your name?"...
JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa Claus has a belly like a bowl full of jelly...
JESUS has a heart full of love.

All Santa Claus can offer is HO HO HO...
JESUS offers health, help and hope.

Santa Claus says "You better not cry"...
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys...
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa Claus is a "jolly old elf"...
JESUS is the King of Kings.

Santa Claus may make you chuckle but...
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa Claus puts gifts under your tree...
JESUS became our gift and died on a tree.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Barack Obama sidesteps scandals

Through the years, we have all heard about how corrupt politics are in Illinois, especially in Chicago. I've never been quite sure how to separate fact from fiction regarding some of the stories I've heard, but there is no question it is a colorful and sometimes corrupt place.

Of course, a remarkable chapter was recently added to the state's political history when federal prosecutors accused Gov. Rod Blagojevich with attempting to auction off the vacant Senate seat of President-elect Barack Obama.

If the allegations in the FBI's affidavit against him are correct, then he earns high marks for chutzpah. Unfortunately for him, he will also inherit the crown for being the stupidest politician of this generation.

Obviously, this man is innocent until proven guilty. However, the contents of the affidavit are strongly incriminating. I'd like to quote some of the alleged comments of Blagojevich, but most of them are so filled with profanities that I'm afraid this blog would be shut down if I did.

With the charges against him, many focused on whether President-elect Obama had any knowledge of his alleged activities. Nothing in the affidavit remotely implies that Obama was involved in any way with this.

However, Obama's ascent to the presidency as a candidate of 'change' is pretty ironic when considering that he emerged from a political place primarily known for its machine-like politics.

The Chicago Democratic Machine is perhaps the most powerful political machine in the country, but Obama opponents failed to associate him with it during the recent presidential campaign.

Some campaign commercials attempted to link him to Chicago's history of dirty politics, but it did not resonate with the public. Of course, Obama supporters will state that this is because it wasn't true. They would claim that he largely side-stepped machine politics, but that would be oversimplifying the issue.

Obama's friendship to Antoin 'Tony' Rezko who provided financial support to him has been well documented. Rezko was recently convicted of corruption, according to the Associated Press.

Plus, there is Obama's friendship with Blagojevich. Obama did call on him to resign as governor after his arrest, but it is a little hard to believe that Obama didn't have detailed knowledge of the process being used to select who would take his seat in the Senate. However, that's just my opinion.

While observing Obama during the last year or so, I believe that he has been blessed with the gift of being a 'Teflon' politician. Nothing sticks to him.

I don't mean that as an insult. Sometimes having a Teflon coating can be the best resource a politician can have.

Ronald Reagan had it, and so did Bill Clinton to a certain degree. The ability to sidestep scandals is an important trait to have. Some people call it 'crisis management,' and given the scrutiny politicians are under, they better be good at it.

All of which takes us back to the plight of Blagojevich. If he is guilty of these charges, what in the world was he thinking? As the governor of one of our nation's largest states, he certainly had a lot of power. Perhaps he thought he was untouchable. If so, it wouldn't be the first time pride reduced a politician to rubble.

We've seen it a lot over the years whether it was Richard Nixon resigning as president because of the Watergate episode or Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton being forced from office early because of his role in a 'cash-for-clemency' scandal.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Steelers vs. Titans: AFC championship preview?

Well, it has been talked about for weeks, and this Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers visit Nashville to play the Titans in what many are considering an AFC championship game preview. I don't know about that, but this game has a terrific opportunity to be a blockbuster.

Both teams excel on defense. The Steelers have ranked near the top of all NFL defensive categories for most of the season, and the Titans haven't been far behind. This game will likely come down to two or three big plays. The team that makes them will win.

Injuries and general inconsistency have plagued the Steelers' offensive line all year. On the other hand, the offensive line has been one of the Titans biggest strengths. Chris Johnson has already rushed for more than 1,000 years and LenDale White has more than 700 yards.

The Steelers are a good team, and their rabid fan base will likely find ways into LP Field that will make Titans' fans upset. However, they won't win.

The pick: Tennessee 20 Pittsburgh 14

Other picks: Dallas over Baltimore, Atlanta over Minnesota, New England over Arizona, Denver over Buffalo, Chicago over Green Bay

Last week: 4-2 (.667), Overall: 57-32 (.640)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tennessee's men's basketball team cooling off after hot start

There is a lot to like about the Tennessee men's basketball team this season. The team is coached by Bruce Pearl, who is easily one of the most dynamic coaches in the game today. The team is stocked with talent. The athleticism of the team is the greatest I've seen in my lifetime, which should translate to on-court success.

However, much of the talent is young and untested. Four freshmen are contributing significant minutes, plus the point guard position is being manned by a junior college transfer. Bobby Maze is the point guard, and I love what I've seen out of him so far. He handles the ball well against pressure and has a knack for distributing the ball to the right people.

The four freshmen are led by blue-chip signee Scotty Hopson from Hopkinsville, Ky. He has a sweet jump shot that brings rain, and he is an effective scorer off the dribble as well. Mix in the contributions of fellow freshmen Emmanuel Negedu, Cameron Tatum, and Renaldo Woolridge, and it looks like the Vols will have a deep bench this year.

Of course, the team begins and ends with junior Tyler Smith. Against North Carolina-Asheville, he recorded the first triple-double in school history. He is a clear frontrunner for SEC player of the year and is the glue of the team. J.P. Prince is also another significant contributor, and he must get healthy if this team is to reach its potential.

As might be expected with so much new talent, the team is experiencing growing pains. The Volunteers opened with five straight wins, including an impressive victory over Georgetown. Since then, there have been ups and downs. The Vols have lost two of their last four. One was a single-digit loss to Gonzaga in which the talented and experienced Bulldogs simply were one step ahead of Tennessee all game long. The loss to Temple was more troubling because the Owls jumped on Tennessee early and won by 16.

To Tennessee's credit, it is playing a tough non-conference schedule to get the team ready for SEC competition. The non-conference features two dandies in early January: a trip to Kansas to play the Jayhawks and a rematch with Gonzaga in Knoxville. The Vols also host Memphis in Knoxville in late January.

This has the chance to be an exciting season as the Vols try to win back-to-back SEC championships. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Please go listen to 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' soundtrack

If it's the Christmas season, then it must be time to listen to the soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas.

This is probably my favorite Christmas album. Propelled by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the music put a memorable stamp on the cartoon and nicely fit the love and melancholy the storyline produced.

Among other things, one of the major statements the cartoon made (remember when cartoons actually had something to say?) was that commercialism was ruining Christmas. Keep in mind, the cartoon was made in 1965 so it really was ahead of its time when it comes to this subject.

As a boy, I quickly learned to love the Peanuts comic strip, as well as many of the films and television specials that came from this franchise.

Obviously, this is a CD you must own.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Glad Heath Ledger got Golden Globe nomination for 'Joker' role

As much as I like going to the movies, I don't do it that much anymore. However, Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight was one of the strongest performances I saw this year. I was glad last week when he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Some might claim that his untimely death might have been a motivating reason for the nomination, but I don't think so. His performance was sinister and engrossing, and it easily beat Jack Nicholson's turn in the same role two decades ago.

Then again, comparing Ledger's performance with Nicholson's might be comparing apples and oranges. The tone of the two movies they appeared in were totally different and their performances reflected that. Still, Ledger deserved the nomination.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yuletide cheer contagious?

In theory, this time of year is a time of happiness and good cheer as friends and family members celebrate the holiday season.

Of course, I am oversimplifying the emotions people feel during the holidays. For some people, this time of year can be a time of extreme isolation, loneliness, and depression.

However, for most, this time of year is a time of joy. It's too bad that everybody can't experience this, but emotions can be both complicated and fragile at the same time.

We all strive for happiness, and the results of a recent study suggest that a person's happiness is not only the result of their own thoughts and actions, but also the social networks to which they belong.

In a study published in the British journal 'BMJ,' the study's authors analyzed the results of questionnaires in which people described their level of happiness, according to an Associated Press story.

Happy people tend to be involved in active social circles with many friends who are also upbeat, according to the story. These people also tend to have family and friends who live nearby to them.

The study determined that each happy friend a person has increases their chance of being happy by nine percent. Conversely, the study found having unhappy friends decreased the chance for happiness by seven percent.

It's easy to be cynical about a study like this. After all, studies can be developed that prove just about anything. Every day, we are bombarded with new studies that claim to prove one thing or another.

However, I believe the authors of this study are on to something.

As I studied these findings, I couldn't help but think about how applicable they are in the work place. After all, there is a wide range of emotions to be found in the work place, and the people we interact with certainly have an impact on us.

For example, aren't we more likely to grumble and be negative about our jobs if we surround ourselves with people who are unhappy? Every work place has its positive and negative attributes, and I believe it is part of our human nature to drift toward being negative.

If we surround ourselves with negative people, then their comments and actions feed right into whatever frustrations we feel about our jobs. And if we dwell on that too much, it will certainly make us less happy.

Don't underestimate the power this can have. Most of us spend at least 40 hours a week in the work place. Exposure to unhappiness for that length of time on a regular basis will wear us down.

Additionally, if we are exposed to unhappiness on that level, it only seems natural that it would spill over into other aspects of our life. If we are entombed with negativity eight ours a day at work, we will likely take it home with us. Unhappiness isn't a switch that we can turn on and off. It's tough to leave it at the office when we walk out the door.

On the other hand, imagine how this impact would be different if we made an effort to remain positive and stay close to happy people as much as possible. If we try to stay near optimistic and upbeat people, this would have an impact on us, too.

Don't get me wrong. Just hanging around the right type of people won't make us happy. Happiness comes from within us.

However, those around us can have a positive impact if we allow them to.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Look for Titans to surge to 13-1 against Houston this week

The Titans' express continues to roll, and this week the team revisits its roots with a trip to Houston to play the Texans. Of course, the Titans began as the Houston Oilers before moving to Nashville. I don't see any reason why this won't be a sweet homecoming for the team.

The Texans started the season slow but have shown signs of life lately. Two weeks ago they whipped Jacksonville, which continued a trend in which they have played well at home. Currently, the Texans are enjoying a three-game winning streak, primarily because of a strong offense. The return of quarterback Matt Schaub, and the tandem of running back Steve Slaton and wide receiver Andre Johnson has propelled that unit.

Earlier this season, the Titans beat Houston 31-12 in Nashville. This game will be much closer and higher scoring. The Titans had their 'flat' game a few weeks ago in losing to the Jets. The wake-up call has been received, and that means win number 13 will occur this week.

The pick: Tennessee 30 Houston 28

Other picks: Green Bay over Jacksonville, Atlanta over Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh over Baltimore, New York Jets over Buffalo, Dallas over New York Giants

Last week: 4-2 (.667), Overall: 53-30 (.639)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

If Volunteers fix QB problems, 2009 has potential

The University of Tennessee's lamentable 2008 football season now belongs to the ages, which means we can start looking to the 2009 season. Here is the schedule:

Sept. 5 – vs. Western Kentucky
Sept. 12 – vs. UCLA
Sept. 19 – at Florida
Sept. 26 – vs. Ohio
Oct. 3 – vs. Auburn
Oct. 10 – vs. Georgia
Oct. 24 – at Alabama
Oct. 31 – vs. South Carolina
Nov. 7 – vs. Memphis
Nov. 14 – at Mississippi
Nov. 21 – vs. Vanderbilt
Nov. 28 – at Kentucky

The schedule looks manageable. I don't think anybody expects the program to return to prominence next year, but if the quarterback situation can be sorted out, the result should be a winning season.

The Volunteers play eight of their 12 games at home, including five of the first six. If new coach Lane Kiffin can pull the team together, he has a chance to get off to a quick start. There is no way we will beat Florida. However, despite last season's lousy performance, the Vols can never be counted out of any game at Neyland Stadium. Though we play some tough opponents at home, none are world beaters. Our toughest games are on the road next year.

Despite how bad our offense was in '08, we were only a few points from going to a bowl. If things fall together, Tennessee should at least qualify for a bowl in '09.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bonnaroo 2009 dates set

Bonnaroo 2009 will take place June 11-14 in Manchester, TN. I offer this as a public service announcement so that residents of Manchester can make plans to be out of town, and so that non-attendees of the festival who don't live in Manchester can make sure not to drive down here during that time.

Consider yourself warned.

Retailers offering good deals this Christmas season

For those of us on a tight Christmas budget, the good news is that retailers are offering a lot of good deals to encourage spending. Last Saturday was the first day I devoted to Christmas shopping, and I was pleased with what I found. In Manchester and Murfreesboro, there were deals to be had. This was especially so at the Manchester Walmart and the Murfreesboro Books-A-Million. I like Books-A-Million’s new location in Murfreesboro. I could go in there and stay all day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Be patient with economy

The all-important Christmas shopping season is under way, and most merchants are afraid of the impact our slowing economy will have on sales.

These fears are legitimate. It seems like every week there is another bank that needs bailing out by the federal government, plus unemployment continues to rise.

Money is tight for most families. We’ll find out in the coming weeks just how much that will impact spending.

The holiday shopping season either makes or breaks many businesses so the stakes are high. If most households pull back the reins on spending, the impact could worsen an already wobbly economy.

If spending is good, then maybe our problems won't be as deep or as long as they appear to be right now.

However, whatever happens, I have one piece of advice when it comes to our economic problems: Be patient. When it comes to economics (and most things in life), there are periods of advancement and periods of regression. We will have times when we prosper and times when we won't.

This isn't a new concept. In the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, the writer cautioned us that there is a season for everything, and that would include economics.

Lots of other writers have built upon that theme over the centuries, and they are right.

Now, does this mean this will be easy? Of course not. If a person has been laid off from their job, I can understand how it would be difficult for them to be patient right now. He or she needs to earn a living, and the immediate future does not look bright.

For a person in this situation, this time of year can be especially frustrating. A key part of celebrating the Christmas holiday is giving gifts to loved ones to show them how much they are appreciated.

A person won't be able to do that to the degree they want to, and this will cause a lot of frustration. In most cases, frustration will conquer patience.

However, we have to remain patient and look at the big picture. Throughout our country's history, there are repeated examples of how our economy tumbled, but we worked our way through it.

Our nation made it through the Great Depression of the '30s, and if we can do that, then I feel good about our chances now.

We didn't get into our current economic mess overnight, and we won’t be able to pull out of it quickly. But, if we commit ourselves to a disciplined approach, we will work through this.

For example, look at how we responded to the gas crisis we experienced last summer. Prices soared to $4 a gallon, and there were sporadic shortages that tried the patience of everybody.

I even predicted in this column that we would be lucky to see $3 a gallon prices, and that prices of $2 a gallon were a thing of the past.

Well, obviously I underestimated the American public. We adjusted our driving habits, and we have seen prices drop to $1.60 a gallon throughout the area.

This is specific proof that economic difficulties can turn around if we adjust what we do and remain patient.

As for right now, this might be a good opportunity to focus more on the true meaning of Christmas. Materialism has cut into what Christmas is really all about for several years.

Since we won't be able to spend as much as we like, maybe we should re-connect with the reason this holiday is celebrated in the first place.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Browns latest road block as Titans try to clinch top playoff seed

The Cleveland Browns visit Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, and the Titans must win to enhance their chances to be the AFC's top playoff seed. If this happens, the Titans will play all their playoff games at home. If not, the Titans will play at least one playoff game on the road (depending on how things shake out).

The Browns have been disappointing this year. They were a trendy pick in the pre-season to make the playoffs. Last year, they finished 10-6 but were edged out of the final playoff spot by the Titans. This year, their offense has sputtered, and the defense has resembled Swiss cheese. Additionally, the Browns top two quarterbacks (Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson) are both out for this game, which means third-stringer Ken Dorsey gets the call.

Obviously, the Titans took a lot of frustration out on the Lions last week after losing to the Jets. The big question is whether they can sustain that level of play. The Titans were razor sharp against the Lions, but a lot of that had to do with how bad Detroit is. The Browns defense isn't as bad as the Lions, but they do give up a lot of big plays.

Because of this, look for the Titans to roll on.

The pick: Tennessee 27 Cleveland 10

Other picks: San Diego over Oakland, Indianapolis over Cincinnati, Chicago over Jacksonville, Green Bay over Houston, New York Giants over Philadelphia

Last week: 4-2 (.667), Overall: 49-28 (.636)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Terrorism in India stark contrast to Thanksgiving

As we celebrated Thanksgiving back on Thursday, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who followed the terrorist attack that unfolded in India. More than 150 were killed and more than 300 were injured in an act of evil. There is no other way to describe it. It was an evil act.

Of course, we celebrate Thanksgiving in America to thank God for the ways He has blessed us. The irony is pretty obvious. As a nation, we were taking a break from daily life to thank God while evil was running amuck on the other side of the world.

I don't really have a point. If I do have one, it is that evil doesn't take a day off.

So, I guess I do have a point after all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mixed emotions about Tennessee hiring Lane Kiffin as football head coach

Well, the Lane Kiffin era as University of Tennessee head football coach officially began Monday, and I have to admit that I have mixed emotions about his hiring.

For a program of Tennessee's stature, I was hoping that we would hire a higher profile coach with a track record. I know Kiffin is well-respected for his work as an assistant coach at USC, but I wanted a coach with at least some experience as a college head coach. I know he has head coaching experience with the NFL's Oakland Raiders, but I don't know how much we can learn from that. After all, the Raiders are a mess.

The Southeastern Conference has four head coaches that have won national championships (Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, Urban Meyer at Florida, Nick Saban at Alabama, and Les Miles at LSU). With Kiffin's lack of experience, I kind of feel like Tennessee will be bringing a knife to a gun fight when we play those teams.

Additionally, I have read in multiple media reports that the biggest asset Kiffin may bring to the job is the top flight staff he will likely assemble. While I agree that it is important to have great assistant coaches, it shouldn't be the top attribute a coach has to offer. That sounds like the type of talk a job applicant would provide if he knew he didn't have the qualifications for the job.

On the other hand, I do feel good about this in some ways. Since taking over the job, athletic director Mike Hamilton has shown an uncanny ability to hire the right person (most notably, men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl.)

Also, Tennessee has a long history of hiring coaches that have had little or no head coaching experience. Each of those coaches were considered top flight assistants who were looking for a break. Of course, Phillip Fulmer fit that category. If he hadn't gotten the Tennessee job in 1992, then he certainly would have gotten one some place else. Before that, Bill Battle in 1970 and Doug Dickey in 1964 also fit that category. Dickey's tenure was a tremendous success, while Battle was a classy man who started well but fizzled at the end.

I wish Kiffin well as he recruits and attempts to get the program back on track. However, he has huge shoes to fill.

Time will tell.