Saturday, July 23, 2011
James Franklin acts like he's been there before
James Franklin performed masterfully at SEC media days. In other words, he acted like he's been there before and just kept repeating what he's been saying since he got here: Vanderbilt offers something nobody else does, he's got good players but not enough of them, there's no depth chart and everybody's fighting for his position, etc.
Nothing against Robbie Caldwell, who's one of the best position coaches in college football and was thrown into an exceedingly difficult situation. The guy had been interim head coach for less than a month, and that's why at SEC media days he was like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but way funnier.
He was a breath of fresh air because he acted like he'd never been there before and was never going back.
Franklin is a career head coach. He's got big goals, and like Nick Saban, he's a process guy and he's building a foundation for future success. At media days, he got national questions like what he thought about eliminating kickoffs and could he ever win in the SEC, and he kept saying that he was focusing on improving Vanderbilt and not college football as a whole. He didn't compare Vandy to Stanford, he said Vandy could be better than Stanford.
For a fan, his online chat earlier this week was far better than his Q&A at media days yesterday. The most interesting question he got was about Jared Morse, a sophomore defensive tackle who's been flying under the radar. Not sure who asked it, but it was probably from one of Jared's relatives from nearby Oxford, Ala.
Our guys are flying way under the national radar. The Morse question highlights the fact that we've got some great position battles on the defensive side of the ball.
Jared will be competing for a starting position against senior T.J. Greenstone, juniors Colt Nichter and Rob Lohr, redshirt frosh Vince Taylor and even true frosh Barron Dixon.
At end, senior Tim Fugger will likely start at one spot, but the other is up for grabs between junior Johnell Thomas, sophomore Walker May and redshirt frosh Kyle Woestmann.
At corner, a bunch of guys are fighting for the spot alongside Casey Hayward: juniors Trey Wilson and Eddie Foster, sophomores Andre Hal and Steven Clarke and even true frosh Derek King.
At safety, Sean Richardson and Kenny Ladler return as starters, but they face a challenge from junior Eric Samuels, sophomores Javon Marshall, Karl Butler and Andre Simmons, and talented freshmen Larry Franklin, Jahmel McIntosh and Andrew Williamson.
This sort of competition is unprecedented. We've got depth we've never had before on the defensive line and in the secondary, and we're looking to vastly improve our talent at receiver and linebacker, and develop our talent on the offensive line.
Franklin has a plan, and it doesn't end with having a scrappy team that gets lucky every 53 years and backs into a second-tier bowl game.
Sure, his plan probably doesn't end with him coaching 30 years at Vanderbilt, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, won't we?