Sure, we got screwed by the officials last night on a do-or-die play, and it killed us. If you've been following Vandy football for any amount of time, it was impossible not to feel cursed.
It was a do-or-die play for us, but this was not a do-or-die game for us. James Franklin is building a winning program and it's not a matter of if he's going to knock off a big team but when. He's impatient but he's not desperate.
Listen to what he said at the post-game press conference:
"We gotta learn how to win... We have a blue-collar, fighter’s mentality... (but) we’ve got to find a way to win these close games we haven’t been able to win yet and that’s when we’ll be able to build a culture of winning here."
"That play didn’t define the game. When your opportunity comes you have to make the play. Our margin of error just isn’t that big."
And finally this: "Good days are coming."
That should be our motto and we should repeat it to ourselves this season when things like what happened last night happen. Because they will happen.
Why do these things keep happening? Because we don't have the talent the other teams have and our margin of error is much lower than theirs. Bad things happened to South Carolina last night, but they overcame those.
And when your margin of error is much lower than the other team's, then you're not in a position to win consistently and to build a tradition of winning. Right now, James Franklin has the mindset of a winner, which served us well last season, when we beat everybody we should have beaten and scared the daylights out of nearly everybody else.
Now he's building the talent he needs to compete consistently. He's not doing it fast enough to please himself but he's doing it at a stunning pace. Consider this:
Currently, Vanderbilt has no upperclassmen who received a 4-star rating in high school from any of the top scouting services.
Counting this year's verbal commitments and Franklin's last two recruiting classes, here's how many 4-star recruits we're looking to have on campus next season:
1. Dillon van der Wal, sophomore tight end
2. Brian Kimbrow, true freshman running back
3. Darreon Herring, true freshman linebacker
4. Caleb Azubike, true freshman defensive end
5. Andrew Jelks, true freshman offensive tackle
6. Jacob Sealand, true freshman linebacker
7. Stephen Weatherly, true freshman defensive end
8. Jonathan McCrary, prep quarterback
9. Chad Kanoff, prep quarterback
10. Carlos Burse, prep wide receiver
11. Dominic Walker, prep wide receiver
12. Jay Woods, prep defensive tackle
13. Landon Stokes, prep defensive end
14. Mack Weaver, prep tight end/defensive end
15. Nigel Bowden, prep linebacker
16. Ryan White, prep cornerback
17. Tre Bell, prep cornerback
18. Malik Greaves, prep safety
Amazing, huh? What you're seeing is an influx of talent that has recruiting insiders buzzing. How often in the past has Vandy ever signed a 4-star quarterback, receiver, cornerback or defensive tackle?
It will take a while for this talent to develop. The South Carolina game - and even this season - is not our only hope to produce a winner. It's not do-or-die. It's not a question of if, but a question of when, and I plan to be on board when it happens. How about you?
Good days are coming. Don't forget it.