You can't stop Monte Kiffin. Sure he's 69, but don't dare bring that up as a negative in front of him. According to Lane, Monte is fond of saying he's "69 going on 49," and of reminding people that he was born on a leap year, so he ages one year for every normal person's four. Incidentally, that would make him about the same age as the players he's now coaching.
And whatever you do, don't tell him to take a break. Monte's wife recently phoned Lane and pressured him to send Monte down to Tampa for a visit. "Will you please send him on vacation?" she asked. "I haven't seen him."
As a dutiful son, Lane did just that, but when he followed up with his father a little later, he found out that the Tampa Bay Bucs had set up an office for him, and Monte had simply started going to that office every morning instead. "He ain't been here one time," Lane's mother told him.
No wonder Ed Orgeron gave up more lucrative offers to work for the Google of Football. No wonder several other well-respected coaches in their own right gave up their current gigs to set up shop in Knoxville. And no wonder Tennessee is again receiving attention from blue chip defensive players all over the country.
It's not just Monte's knowledge and experience that draws people to him, it's his energy. And because energy and enthusiasm are both highly contagious, Vol fans should at least expect the team to emulate the passionate effort of their defensive coordinator in 2009.
And when they do finally exhaust themselves in directed effort, they can go back to their dorms and rest. But Monte? Monte will just wait for them. He'll be in the film room.