(A classic from the Mrs. Hooper archives)
Those were the days, right? The Kiffin Chimera was in full force, making so much noise we didn't even have to worry about the actual results...one head for Monte Kiffin and his awesome old school defense, one head for Ed Orgeron and his sure-fire recruiting skills, and one head for Lane Himself, who chopped off the head of Jim Chaney to call his own plays. Thankfully, it was the only part of the chimera that Derek Dooley was able to revive.
It all sounded great...right up until the part when the chimera turned on us, tried to breathe a little fire, then flew for the west coast.
So do you want the mad dog, or do you want the guy who let him off the leash?
From an outside perspective, Kiffin's most notorious hour in Knoxville can at least be rationalized - the whole "dream job" bit and all. We took it personally because for us football is; Kiffin's failure to understand that is one of the reasons he was a bad fit from the beginning. So while his secondary violations didn't really help the program, and the transfer of Kevin Revis makes nine members of Kiffin's 2009 class who are no longer with the team (counting Janzen Jackson), at least he had Tennessee's best interests in mind while he was Tennessee's head coach.
Kiffin was fond of saying that he left this place better than he found it - a statement that was true up until the second he left, but more than a year later rings much more hollow. Even if USC was/is Kiffin's dream job, leaving a major program in the middle of the night in the middle of January threatens the future of the program immensely. The jury still doesn't have enough information to reach a verdict on Derek Dooley, but his work in keeping the Vols' recruiting class afloat in 2010 was tremendous; if not, UT would've had three consecutive disasters in recruiting, from which it takes a very long time to recover.
Still, based on the information we have, Kiffin never tried to intentionally hurt the Vols. Orgeron isn't such an angel - his phone calls to early enrollees - in a team meeting, no less - urging them to not go to class stand out as the most intentionally harmful thing anyone has ever done to Tennessee from within, even though it didn't work. If you want to tell me Kiffin told Orgeron to make those calls, I'm sure there are plenty of people who will believe you.
As two heads of the chimera, Kiffin and Orgeron often get lumped together in that one bad memory, and so it'll be interesting to see what kind of pull dacoacho gets when we separate them here today. More and more each day they are becoming a blip on Tennessee's historical radar, though there's still enough angst to get one of them through to at least the final four. Kiffin was in command, but Orgeron has the single most villainous act. Who gets your vote?