Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Take your shots, SEC

I imagine that when Lane Kiffin was a rising assistant at USC, he didn't envision his first collegiate head coaching job going like it has. Granted, most of his problems so far have been due to his own big mouth and lack of thinking, but I think we'll just have to file this news under the "karma" category:
With senior Austin Rogers out for the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Friday, the Vols now face the likelihood of going into the season without junior Denarius Moore.

Moore, Tennessee's top returning deep threat, has a broken bone in his left foot and will be sidelined for eight to 12 weeks. He's currently in a walking boot and is facing surgery.
Yikes. Kiffin was already in for a challenge at Tennessee, but I'm not sure "challenge" quite covers it anymore.

The only remaining options at quarterback are disappointing senior Jonathan Crompton and uninspiring redshirt junior Nick Stephens (third-stringer B.J. Coleman transferred and Kiffin declined a commitment from five-star dual-threat QB Tajh Boyd, who ended up at Clemson).

Talented freshmen Bryce Brown and David Oku will help Montario Hardesty in the running game, but there was plenty of backfield talent last year, too, and Tennessee finished 88th nationally in rushing offense behind a surprisingly poor offensive line.

And with three of last year's top four receivers -- Rogers, Moore and graduated senior Lucas Taylor -- now out of the equation (junior Gerald Jones is all that's left), I just don't see where the offense will come from this year unless Eric Berry (pictured) quickly learns how to pass, run, catch and return kicks.

Relying on Crompton seems like a dicey proposition at best, and unless the running game makes MASSIVE strides, competence seems like the best-case scenario at this point (and abysmal remains a distinct possibility). And considering that Kiffin -- and Tennessee, by extension -- will have a gigantic target on his back after the Piss Off Everybody Tour he's embarked on since his arrival ... well, for Kiffin's sake, I hope his offensive prowess is all it's cracked up to be.

Meanwhile, to the rest of the SEC: Enjoy.

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