Saturday, November 20, 2010

Who should be Vanderbilt's football coach next year?

We've had some good, spirited debate lately about the coaching situation. There are several schools of thought which stem from our general frustration as we appear headed to, at best, a 3-9 record:

1. We're playing terrible because our coaches are terrible, and they must go.

2. We're playing terrible because our players are terrible, and the coaches need time to get better players or we need to find some coaches who can.

3. We're playing terrible because our best players are young and inexperienced and they just need to be developed, either by these coaches or some new coaches.

So the consensus is that we're playing terrible, with the majority of fans seeming to want a new coach and a new start ("Wipe the slate clean," comments Ex-Player), while some think Caldwell deserves a full year, including spring practice, to show what he can do, while others say we should wait and see how the season plays out. (Though it seems to have played out enough already.)

Everybody seems united in the opinion that we need an overhaul among offensive coaches.

As for a new head coach, we could go in one of several directions:

1. The big name head coach. Yep, many fans are convinced we could get Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy or maybe a reincarnated Knute Rockne. Why don't we add Nick Saban to the list?

2. A former big-time college coach who's fallen out of favor with the establishment. Think Mike Leach, Terry Bowden or any other Bowden.

3. A coordinator from a hot college team. Think Gus Malzahn from Auburn.

4. A head coach from a so-called lesser FCS team (is there a lesser FCS team than Vanderbilt?) or a head coach from a successful FBS team. Some names bouncing around are Ken Namemimolulu (my spelling not his) from Navy and some Mickey McMickey guy from James Madison which isn't having a great season but did beat Va Tech.

5. Some people have even suggested Mr. Hand, our offensive line coach. There's an original idea. Hey, let's wait till the last minute and then give the head job to our offensive line coach.

What do you think?

Oh, and I think we really get blasted today by Tennessee. Hope not, but I think we do. It will be interesting to see the comments to this post pre-blowout by UT and post-blowout by UT.


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.

Bob Loblaw said...

Two options: Either hire Mike Leach, who can use his scheme to hide lesser talent and score a ton of points, or find another guy like the Navy head coach or Paul Johnson who runs the option. I think the option is the best bet because while you might not necessarily have the athletes to match up against your typical SEC lineman (and Vandy probably never really will, or at least not enough of them), if you execute the play properly, the offense works great. GT isn't a terrible team, and neither is Navy, and it's not because they've got more talent than the teams they beat. The option or the veer is the way to go, because the Dores just can't compete playing straight up.

Anonymous said...

I'll add one more to the list...

8. Bryan Harsin - one of youngest OC's in country at 34 for Boise State.

Anonymous said...

Some predicted us to be 1-11 this year and winless in the SEC. If Robbie keeps this game close/ respectable or wins, and wins against WF he will be back. If Robbie wins today we will be saying hes "the coach" which would be a sad turn around from a fan base who all of sudden expects greatness cause we went won a bowl game in 2008.

Robbie isnt the problem, its his staff. He would fire and cut people if he got one more year. Give it to him! Hes done well on the recruting trail as an interim and what if guys like Norman want to transfer if Robbie leaves? Be careful what you wish for you Vandy faithful...

IF Vandy wants to build up a good program they need loyal coaches like Robbie and Bobby. Turning down other jobs, swapping pay raises for facility upgrades and things like that. We get a young coach like everyone wants, the first time he gets to a 5-7 season he will bolt for a better job. We arent a top teir program. Its happened here before. You really want Mike Leach? Let Mike have a good year here, its off to bigger and better things then we are back to square one.

This year was never supposed to be a good year and now all of sudden thats Robbie fault? Give the guy one more year to promote Herb Hand to OC, fire some dead weight, and have a year to put in his system. As frustrated as I am with this season, I think we will be making a mistake to get rid of him.


Good comments, everybody. Bob Loblaw, who by the way runs an interesting VU/UK site called Anything But Gatorade that you can click on from our home page, is right when he says we need to settle on a scheme that doesn't require big studly players. Leach did it with a passing attack featuring 2-star QBs and receivers (except for Michael Crabtree) who trained by running in sand and pretending to be pirates. Johnson uses a running attack that's tough to stop regardless of how bad your players are.

But I agree with anonymous that we should be careful about thinking we'll solve our problems with a big-name coach or even a new coach. I believe a case can be made to keep Caldwell. And in four years, it'll either be considered a stroke of genius or an abject failure.

Turning around this program for longer than one Music Bowl season in which we finish a game over .500 is going to take more work and heartache and uncertainty. There is no quick fix, though hiring a shiny new coach seems like one... until he coaches his first game here.

Oh, and ask any Georgia fan what they'd think of Mike Bobo being our head coach. They'd love it, because they wouldn't have to worry about us anymore.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Holmes! Look, Im a Vandy fan and this season has made me so frustrated, but remeber how it started? A close loss to NW, and a win at Ole Miss. Im one who doesnt think Bobby Johnson would have gotten that win at Ole Miss. We had a solid game plan and it made me think we had a chance to get 4 - 5 wins this year.

We have had some blowout losses that concern me, but I still think we should give Robbie a full year to do things his way. He messed up in the begining of the season when he DIDNT run things his way and ran them the Bobby Johnson way. He had time to make more than just "tweeks." First time as a head coach, you live and you learn.

This team is YOUNG and we have stockpiled injuries. Robbie and co. have recruited well despite two bad seasons, they deserve another year. Our recruits all say they really like Robbie, I believe hes very appealing to high school kids. Robbie knows he has to make changes bc we have heard him talk about "significant" changes for next year.

Stop acting like we are some powerhouse and accept the fact we are rebuilding and it will take time. Next year if everything sucks then get rid of him! But he deserves one year to do things his way.

Robert said...

Did you really say rebuilding...?I am 34 years old, except for the 1982 and 2008 season we are ALWAYS rebuilding. I am sick and tired of the same crap every year. Going to games seeing more fans in the stands from the other schools. Seeing the same product on the field.

Coach Caldwell is a great guy, and I respect him. However, you have been in coaching 30 years and this is your first head coach gig. Come on. We need someone with a name to recruit or a special scheme to out think the other teams.(we are suppose to be able to out think other teams we are Vanderbilt) You cannot tell me there aren't a few 4 and 5 star athletes that have decent grades that cannot be recruited to go to Vandy. Not every 4 & 5 star athlete is dumb.

We need someone who will inspire people to come to Vandy. You need someone who can out scheme teams.
Or,I agree with Mike Loblaw. Mike Leach who can put points on the board. Or a scheme that no one practices against like the tripel option or the veer.

I am not looking for National Championships or SEC titles. But 6-7 wins and a bowl trip every other year, with an upset against UT, Florida, Alabama, or LSU every once in awhile is not asking too much. ANd developing a program that will build back a fan base so I don't feel like I am at Death Valley, the Swamp, or Playing between the hedges in my own back yard would be nice....

thank you
Tired Fan

Robert said...

I will also add, I am not a football coach and do not claim to be an expert. However, It might be harder to run the option in the SEC with all the speed teams bring to the table. Just my 2 cents...I know its not worth much.

Very Tired Fan

Anonymous said...

Robert, then give Robbie one more year to see what he can do in the offseason. I believe it will be better next year if we keep Robbie. Spurrier has come after Robbie more than once to be his OL coach and both times Robbie turned the man down. Didnt even interview. He is dedicated to this program and I believe will do whatever it takes to win. Everyone was expecting this year to be rough and now all of sudden thats Robbie fault? I dont get it. He deserves one more year, its not like one more year will kill the Vandy football program?

Wanna get mad at someone? Get mad at VC Williams. He is the one who promises upgrades to facilities and the stadium, and nothing happens. If this whole Robbie experiment makes me mad at anyone, its Williams. We need an AD, bc Williams isnt cutting it when it comes to getting the best for the football team.

Anonymous said...

Pro Robbie camp is just odd...o and d ranked in bottom 5th percentile in NCAA...there's no debate...none...absolutely none...Robbie seems like a fantastic human being...but, bottom of the bottom in BOTH offense and defense...wish I had such lattitude at my job.

Robert said...

I just cannot invest anymore time in a program that does not want to win. Vandy "says" they want to win, but they honestly do not care. Vandy has it made in the SEC. They get millions of dollars from TV contracts and all the other teams that go to bowls. They compete very well in other sports so they do not have to care about football.

I really like many of the guys that have been coaches at Vandy. I remember George MacIntire when I was a kid. Great guy. I loved Watson Brown, I respected Woody,I loved Bobby Johnson and Caldwell is a great guy. But, it is going to take a lot more than being a great guy to win at Vandy.

Everyone loved Bobby Johnson. I love Bobby Johnson and respect him a lot, however, 1 bowl game in all the years he coached. We have accepted 5 wins as a great season. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE ANYMORE. Make some major moves such as building a multimillion dollar facility for the players to entice recruits like Florida and hire a big name and lets win some games....OR, move to the Big East or ACC....OR, disban the football program and stop giving die hard fans like myself NOTHING to cheer about. (a win against Eastern Michigan is not anything to cheer about)

Everyone I know cheers for teams that win a lot. My in laws went to LSU, my best friend is a Gator, other people in my family are from Kentucky. They ALL have things to cheer for year in and year out. Look at Kentucky, they have been to several bowl games in the last few years, they have not always done that, so it can be done.

Anonymous said...

I like and respect Caldwell and torn between wanting him replaced or giving him another year. My problem with Caldwell is his NOT over-ruling some assistants when things were clearly going bad this season. He should have over-ruled Coach Kiser early in the season; he should have made the switch from Larry Smith early in the season. Anyone notice that when Smith went out against TN that the qb throws were much more accurate ? Special teams breakdowns during most of the season; while Caldwell took the heat for the losses, the early season special teams breakdowns (Coach Ted Cain) were never addressed. While our wr core was bad last season, Caldwell never over-ruled Charlie Fisher and allowed the same bad wr play (and drops) to continue and the same depth chart(with maybe the exception of Krause) to play out all season. Critical drops all season from the same bunch that we had the year before??? This despite a recruiting class of several solid 3 star guys (Mathews and Boyd) who were clearly better than the existing wr group. Brady Brown's talent has been wasted so far; not 1 catch in 2 years ? Chris Boyd should have played early this season along with Mathews, clearly the 2 best wr's from early season workouts (reportedly by Tensean and other media covering Vandy). As the season wore on, even Caldwell looked embarrassed at the wr play from Cole, Udom, Herndon, and Wimberly. WR Coach Charlie Fisher obviously felt the older guys were "entittled" to play ahead of taller and more athletic wr's. Is there any reasonable Vandy fan that would argue that Jordon Mathews should have been forced to wait until late in the season to get on the field ? I would rather lose with the best players on the field than the same bunch from the prior season. Caldwell's assistants let him down and at a minimum should all be fired with the exception of maybe Coach Hand. A winning culture must be established by either Caldwell or a new coach.

Will said...

I'm getting ready for the WF game and Senior Night...should be nothing but Black and Gold in the Stadium!! Here's a thought...a home schedule with WF, Purdue, Colorado, Mizzu, etc.....nothing but Black and Gold!! Might not win any more games, but much more pleasing to the eye.....Dore Up!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Vanderbilt alum from the 70's and a faculty member at a university with a large athletic program (2 National Championships/Basketball) and 5-6 bowl games over the last ten years. I believe that Gordon Gee's little eight year "Let's do away with the VU Athletic Department" Experiment is up. This situation might work for Ivy League schools with club sports, but does not work for schools in big-time conferences with legitimate athletic scholarships. Vanderbilt needs to (1) hire an athletic director (AD) who is serious about competition in the Southeastern Conference as far as revenue sports is concerned, and (2) Reinstate and develop the Athletic Department as a separate self-supporting entity.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments above, keep the defensive coaching staff, Robbie, Hand, and Ketchings... the rest have got to go. We have promise but the same people, coaches, and cordinators have plauged this program for too long. Robbie will do it if he stays. One more year.

Ex Player said...

Can't handle one more year of this. Can't hurt to "clean house" now. We are already at the bottom of the nation in O and D. Can't get worse. New coaches mean nowhere to go but up!!!

Anonymous said...

What about pro coaches?

what about Herm Edwards? He would be an excellent recruiter. I believe he could bring a new level of talent to campus.

I think you could do worse than Steve Crosby. Former Vandy offensive coordinator and current special teams coach for the San Diego Chargers. Remember that Crosby actually recruited Cutler and developed the offense under Zolman. If you keep the defensive staff and add Crosby as head coach, that could be interesting.

If Leslie Frazer gets fired at Minnesota, that could be an incredible hire. I know he would probably never come, but that would be huge.

I think if Vandy would open the check book, you would be surprised at who we could get.

Anonymous said...

A quinque:

The head of Owen School of management.He would focus on ROI!