Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For Vandy coaches, there's losing and there's losing

Does it matter that these days Vanderbilt is losing every game by four or five touchdowns instead of one?

I think it does, and apparently so does David Williams, Vanderbilt’s Vice Chancellor of Athletics But Not An Athletic Director Because We’re Too Progressive for Those Sorts of Things.

"There's losing and there's losing," Williams told the Tennessean recently. "To be down 41-0 at halftime (to Florida last week), that wasn't one of my happiest days."

Williams has also said he’s evaluating Coach Caldwell based not only on his win-loss record but how his team plays in games they lose.

Um, that’s not so good for Caldwell.

This season Caldwell has had the good fortune to face the worst Florida and Georgia teams in recent memory. But whereas Bobby Johnson and even Woody Widenhofer would barely lose to the Gators and Dawgs when those schools had Top 10 teams, Caldwell has lost to much weaker versions by a combined score of 98-14.

Oh, and on Saturday Vandy plays one of the weakest Tennessee teams in recent memory. Can’t wait to see how that turns out.

Remember back in 2002 when Bobby Johnson inherited a terrible team and lost his first game 45-3 to unranked Georgia Tech? He finished that season 2-10, but if you spotted him seven points in his losses, he would have finished 6-6. Spot Robbie Caldwell seven points in his losses and Vandy would be 3-7 right now instead of 2-8.

Johnson finished his career with a winning percentage of 30.5%. But spot him just three points and that jumps up to 47.4% and bowl eligibility in five of his eight seasons. Spot him seven points and he wins 59% of his games and has only two losing seasons, his second and his last.

I can hear some of you screaming right now that a loss is a loss is a loss. But wouldn’t you feel better about the future and about Caldwell if the Dores had lost by a field goal to Georgia and a touchdown each to Florida and Arkansas?

I sure would.

Here’s how Vandy coaches since Watson Brown rank in winning percentage, and, just for kicks, if you spot them a field goal and a touchdown:

1. DiNardo: 19-25 (43.2%), never bowl eligible
2. Johnson: 29-66 (30.5%), bowl eligible once, one bowl victory
3. Widenhofer: 15-40 (27.3%), never bowl eligible
4. Caldwell: 2-8 (20%)
5. Dowhower: 4-18 (18.9%), never bowl eligible
5. Brown 10-45 (18.9%), never bowl eligible

1. DiNardo: 22-22 (50%), twice bowl eligible
2. Johnson: 45-50 (47.4%), bowl eligible five times
3. Widenhofer: 23-32 (41.8%), bowl eligible once
4. Brown 17-38 (30.9%), bowl eligible once
5. Caldwell: 3-7 (30%)
6. Dowhower: 4-18 (18.9%), never bowl eligible

1. DiNardo: 27-17 (61.4%), four times bowl eligible (in four seasons)
2. Johnson: 56-39 (59%), six times bowl eligible (in eight seasons)
3. Widenhofer: 26-29 (47.3%), bowl eligible twice (in five seasons)
4. Brown 25-30 (45.5%), bowl eligible twice (in five seasons)
5. Dowhower: 8-14 (36.4%), never bowl eligible
6. Caldwell: 3-7 (30%)


Anonymous said...

Good post, but unfortunately all this confirms is the lack of game-day adjustments by the coaching staff. It starts with poor position coaching and not putting the best players on the field (regardless of class). Seems like after we recruit athletes, the coaching staff has done a poor job of preparing them and "coaching them up" for SEC play. Small margins of victory or loss are also from lack of preparation and not putting your best players (and the team)in a position to win games. By and large, teams that don't have depth want the game to remain relatively close until the 4th quarter and then either make a play to result in victory or have the other team make a mistake. Problem with Vandy this year is that our coaching and preparation has not put us in a postion to win games this year in the 4th quarter. How can we (recruit) have 2-3 qb's on this team going back 2 years and have this pathetic showing. It's much more a coaching issue than the players. As awful as our offense was this year, it took late in the season to play Jordon Mathews along with Krause (clearly our 2 best wr's); as another example of poor coaching. The margin of victory or loss in my view only supports the argument of poor position coaching and preparation by this staff. I don't like hearing Caldwell talk about "needing another year to get the program in place". These players deserve better.

Greg M said...

Both these posts are music to my ears!! I bought season tickets for thr first time ever this year on a whim. Please give me something different next year!!!!

Anonymous said...

What he said ^. A fresh set of eyes are needed to evaluate the underutilized talent on this team. The new staff needs to recruit, motivate, innovate, instruct and be able to make decisive in-game adjustments. Too much to ask? I don't think so.


I think we're gonna see a new coach. Caldwell's a good guy and he's tried like heck to make adjustments instead of just standing around doing nothing, but there have been more breakdowns in execution and more penalties than any Vandy team in recent memory. Even Bobby Johnson's first team, which was less talented than this group, played better together.

Anonymous said...

I just want them to beat Tennessee this weekend and I want Caldwell and his staff to coach like it is the last job they will ever have.
These players work hard and put alot on the line. For example,Did you see Stokes catch that UK player in mid-air last week and throw him back across? He had nothing to lose.

Will said...

Awesome is a somewhat different conclusion; over the past 20 years (basically your benchmark), I have seen far to many cases of Vanderbilt coaches playing "not to lose", instead of "playing to win"!....hard to support this belief with stats, but somehow I have the feeling that CRC is really trying to the expense of moral victorys!! Hard to have it both ways.

Kevin said...

The UT game will determine if Robbie comes back. Win = 1 more year. A Loss = new coach next season. Its that simple.

Will said...

Simple always beats analytical when it comes to whether or not a coach stays or goes....Dore Up!!

Anonymous said...

Will -- I don't see it the same way you do. I see this coaching staff playing 'not to lose' on too many ocaisions.

Examples -- (a)taking a knee with over 1 minute to go in the half versus trying to get into FG position, (b)punting from inside the opponent's 35yd line instead of going for the 1st down or kicking a long but makeable FG, (c) repeatably (and ineffectively) rushing only 3-4 D-linemen instead of bringing the house on 3rd down, etc. Granted, we've been calling some trick/gadget plays, but the we don't 'sell' them well enough to make a difference.

What we need is a culture of change -- but one that is led by someone with proven credentials and can better utilize the talent that DOES indeed exist on this young team. Bringing out talent from within is a combination of matching the skill sets available to the proper system (including recruiting and coaching up where needed) and motivating the players to buy into that system. The latter comes more easily with results.

Of course CRC is trying to win, but 'trying' and 'doing' are two different animals.

Greg M said...

Going to the game tomorrow. Expect us to get BLOWN OUT by superior coaching.

I guess the bigger the blow out the better to move us one step closer towards a new coaching staff.

Players deserve better. I feel sorry for them


It's not like our coaches have squandered our talent. Tennessee had superior talent even before we lost our entire starting backfield. If you expect our coaches to make something out of nothing, then yes, they're a failure. I think Caldwell will revamp his offensive staff if he keeps the job, and I'm not jumping ship if he does.

Ex Player said...

Why shouldn't we wipe the slate clean? These guys have shown us nothing. Absolutely pathetic! Both the offense and defense are worse than ever. Offense couldn't get much worse but it has droped to #115 out of 120,and the defense has collapsed all the way down to 106!!! WTF

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse.

All I'm saying is the players deserve better than this crap!!

BTW We sucked "before our top two RBs" got hurt.

No way what so ever shoukd these guys should be given "one more year to see what they can do. No more Mr. nice guy. SEC football is a business and this product these guys are putting out there is embarrasing.

WE HAVE TO CLEAN HOUSE and hire someone who has been a winner somewhere, CBJ was 60% at FURMAN, are you kidding me. You call that hiring a winner.

Lets get a wave of change going now.

Who's with me?

BTW. Thanks for the forum. I plan on using it to the fullest.

Anonymous said...

Good post and I agree with "Ex-player". While I think that Caldwell is a solid coach and really wants to win at Vandy, the school and staff needs a total change to reinvigorate the program. Let's not forget that these coaches are primarily BJ left-overs and thier approach has clearly gone stale. When you look at the roster on both sides of the ball, there is significant talent for a new coaching staff next season. My view is that Kitchens and Hand are very good and will land on thier feet at another job next season. I also feel that poor position coaching resulted in Larry Smith's lack of development of his qb mechanics; poor position coaching is also responsible for poor wr play. Mathews , Krause, and likely Boyd should have played early this season; no serious independent football mind (after last seasons wr play) would have put Udom, Wimberly, Cole, and Herndon ahead of Krause, Mathews, Boyd, and likely even Brady Brown. That all happened on WR Coach Charlie Fisher's watch. It was obvious that "paying your dues" rather than "talent" dictated who played at wr this season. Hand did a great job given the OL injuries. I also feel that Coach Caldwell was let down by several assistants who had grown complacent from the BJ era and clearly did not approached the game with the same serious committment to winning as at other sec schools. Time for a change. Go Dores !

Anonymous said...

Possible New Head Coaches. In no particular order.

1. Mark Stoops - DC at FSU, access to recruiting hotbeds Ohio and Florida. Great bloodlines. Likely no upward mobility at FSU.

2. Mark Whipple - OC at Miami, "Whipple has made no secret of his desire to become a head coach at a BCS-level school or move on to the NFL as an offensive coordinator", proven winner in NFL and as HC at UMass.

3. Dave Yost - OC a Missouri. Proven development at QB and overall offense. Previous OC took Wyoming HC job, so VU HC job could be considered on par.

4. Kirk Ciarocca - Co-OC at Rutgers, proven QB/WR development at Rutgers, proven winner at Deleware. May not be ready for HC job yet.

5. Calvin Magee - OC at Michigan, previously OC at WVU where he was finalist for assistant coach of the year in 2007. One of top minds in modern spread-option offense. Played at LSU and for the Tampa Bay Bucs. Good recruiter.

6. Paul Chryst - OC at Wisconsin. Proven winner and QB developer at Wisconsin. Under his watch, Wisconsin has averaged 30.5 pts/game and 399 yds/game.

7. Mike Bobo - OC at UGA. Developed QBs Greene, Shockley, and Stafford. Richt may be nearing an end of an era, so Bobo may want to jump ship beforehand.