I love the righteous backtracking about Junior and Bryce Brown that the Tennessee media is indulging in these days. Here’s Dave Hooker on former UT wide receiver Todd Campbell:
“I was not the biggest Lane Kiffin fan,” Campbell said with a chuckle on the News Sentinel’s radio show, The Sports Page. “Me and Lane? Nah.”
The bad blood dates back to last summer, when Campbell was abruptly informed that his No. 11 jersey had been given to incoming freshman tailback Bryce Brown.
“I didn’t get asked,” Campbell said of the number switch. “That was a situation where I come back in June and there’s a note on my locker that says you’ve been moved to ‘No. 85’. This is your combination to your (new) locker.”
Where was the indignation at the time it happened? It took a backseat to winning the recruiting wars, of course. And not just with the media.
… Campbell didn’t mind the switch per se, especially since the promised jersey number likely helped the Vols land Brown, who many considered the top prospect in the nation in 2009.
David Climer works himself up into a lather over the Laner and Brown, as well.
… Note, please, that none of this makes Brown a bad person. To the contrary, he seems to be a bright, pleasant young man as well as a talented football player. There’s no way he really was the No. 1 prospect in the nation as a high school senior, but that’s the fault of some recruiting know-it-alls, not Brown.
Meanwhile, we wait for closure.
This is more ugly residue from Lane Kiffin’s 14-month reign of error. Brown was considered Kiffin’s biggest recruit, and he came with strings attached.
Kiffin knew he couldn’t unseat senior Montario Hardesty as the Vols’ No. 1 tailback in favor of a freshman without risking a player rebellion, but he inserted Brown at No. 2 even though many believed Tauren Poole deserved the spot.
At the conclusion of spring practice, Poole said it was “nice to get a fair shot from these coaches,” an indication that he felt he was the odd man out in ’09.
“I deserved to be behind Montario last season,” Poole said. “But there were just some things that were out of my control.”
Translation: Kiffin made some promises when he recruited Brown.
He had to pay up with playing time.
Again, where was all this in the media when it was happening? All we heard then were gleeful observations about Kiffin’s plans for world domination.
Which brings us to Seantrel Henderson, missing in action at Southern Cal. And, yes, while you have to wonder what Junior’s and Coach O’s sales pitch was like – particularly since Henderson and his dad expressed concerns throughout the recruiting process about the possibility of NCAA sanctions – you’ve got to give the kid some credit for having the sense to take another look at whether it’s worth buying into the hype. As the old saying goes, fool me once…