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Lane Kiffin might have to answer questions about Tennessee recruiting

USC FYI

Trojans' coach says he didn't do anything wrong with the Volunteers. Stanley Havili will be away from the team indefinitely after altercation with teammate.

August 06, 2010|By Gary Klein

Not that Lane Kiffin or USC needed more distractions, but…

On a day when fullback Stanley Havili was suspended indefinitely for his role in an altercation that led to surgery for a teammate, USC's coach once again was answering questions about possible NCAA violations during his short tenure at Tennessee.

Kiffin on Friday said he told Havili to stay away from team activities, including meetings, a morning walkthrough and an afternoon practice that went more than three hours.

Meantime, cornerback T.J. Bryant was recovering from Thursday cheekbone surgery that was necessitated by a blow delivered by Havili during a conditioning drill last week, four days before the Trojans reported to training camp.

"We just don't condone that behavior," Kiffin said.

Havili, a senior, had sat out the second half of Thursday's practice because of a sore hamstring. Asked how long the three-year starter would remain away from the team for the incident with Bryant, Kiffin said, "I don't know yet. I'm still thinking about it."

Kiffin visited Bryant on Friday and said the junior from Florida was expected to make a "speedy, full recovery." Bryant could be sidelined three to four weeks.

"Unfortunately, T.J., who had really finished spring strong after a slow start and put himself in position to compete for starting spot, will now be set back a little," Kiffin said.

Neither Havili nor Bryant could be reached for comment.

Kiffin also responded to questions about published reports that the NCAA had interviewed several current and former Tennessee assistants in regard to possible recruiting violations during Kiffin's 14 months with the Volunteers.

ESPN.com reported that NCAA investigators last spring questioned two Tennessee assistants and a Florida State assistant.

"I think, based upon what I know right now, that there's a possibility we will get a letter of inquiry," Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton told govolsxtra.com

Kiffin said he was not concerned.

"I have great confidence in what we did there — that we didn't do anything wrong and so I'm not concerned one bit about it," Kiffin said.

Kiffin, who succeeded Pete Carroll in January, said he was informed by a USC official that the NCAA would eventually come to Los Angeles to question him and several assistants.

Kiffin hired four former Tennessee assistants for his USC staff, including defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, assistant head coach for defense Monte Kiffin (who is Lane's father), offensive line coach James Cregg and defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza.

Orgeron didn't sound worried about meeting with the NCAA.

"I know exactly what we did in recruiting and I feel very confident that we did it the right way," he said. "If they come, they can ask me any question they want."

Quick hits

The Trojans practiced in shoulder pads for the first time….Redshirt freshman Simione Vehikite moved from linebacker to fullback to help fill the void left by Havili's absence….Receivers Brandon Carswell (thigh), De'Von Flournoy (shoulder) and Kyle Prater (hip) remained sidelined….Kiffin awarded a scholarship to sophomore offensive lineman Abe Markowitz. "He was definitely worthy of it and we've got a lot to go around," Kiffin said. USC began training camp with 70 scholarship players, 15 below the allowable limit.

gary.klein@latimes.com

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