Monday, November 2, 2009

No, I am not ashamed of the Commodores

Maybe you noticed that I went two whole days without posting, which coincided with our woodshed whipping at the hands of Georgia Tech. And maybe you made the logical conclusion that I like many so-called Commodore fans had simply gotten fed up and went off to a quiet place to sulk.

Not so, my friends. My computer crashed while I was starting to watch the game online and somehow I was unable to log back onto my blog.

Rest assured that I'm a Vandy fan for the long haul. Unlike some fans, I didn't expect the Commies to land a BCS bowl berth this year.

Sure, I'm disappointed in this season. But we were supposed to win two games last season and we won seven. And remember that we won those seven games playing with inferior talent, catching storied programs in a slump, and getting a whole lot of lucky bounces.

This season we've played an even tougher schedule, trading a five-win Auburn team for a Top 10 LSU team, and a Wake Forest team that went to the Eagle Bank Bowl with a Georgia Tech team likely headed to a BCS bowl. And we've lost a third of our projected starting lineup to injuries. And we've installed a brand-new offense with a brand-new quarterback. Oh, and take away all those lucky breaks.

I think our program is getting stronger. Sure, we may win only two games this year. But next season we'll have our most talented team in the past 20 years, with tons of talented redshirt freshmen and a bunch of true freshmen that will play right away. No, we still won't be in the top three-quarters of the league talent-wise, but we're headed in the right direction.

I despise all those whiners who spent the fourth quarter of the Georgia Tech game in an online chat room slamming Bobby Johnson and Larry Smith and Mackenzi Adams and Myron Lewis and Casey Hayward and the waterboy and the tuba player and the cheerleader on top of the pyramid. Do you know you're rooting for what's by far the worst team in the history of the SEC, and it's going to take more than one Music City Bowl victory to change that? If you don't really love Vanderbilt — and if you lack the patience of Job — then get yourself another team. Florida and Alabama are both fine teams, though you might want to wait until after the SEC championship game and pick the team that wins.

As for me, I'm sticking with the Dores. It's a tough uphill climb, but if you overlook our current season for a moment you'll see that we're in a better position than we've been in a long time. Let's just keep reminding all those three-star verbal commitments that if they keep their word they'll be starting in the SEC before they know it. Oh yeah, and let's load up our non-conference slate with teams we can beat. And maybe schedule a bye week.


VandyPhile said...

I agree with your assessment. Patience is [always] required

Stanimal said...

The schedule was brutal. We knew it was going to be an incredible uphill climb. I'm with you on not giving up on the Dores. I definitely did not expect a repeat bowl performance. I also agree that the program is heading in the right direction, getting talent that certainly wouldn't have considered Vandy before.

I do think it's unfair to assume that a two win season is ok just because it's been that way in the past. Sure we've gotten some bad breaks with injuries, and obviously our talent level is nowhere near the vast majority of the SEC. But regardless of that fact, a fan reasonably can expect 1) that a program will review problems that plagued them in the previous year, and 2) that they will take intelligent measures to correct those problems.

The fact of the matter is that CBJ and his staff took a rather hasty gamble installing a new offense. Fortunately we've emerged with some weapons running the ball. But the passing game is straight up terrible and it kills the one strength our team has, our defense. Because of the new offensive philosophy, we have lost our ability to control the ball and eat clock. In that regard, we are worse on offense than we were last year. Last year we were in the middle of the pack in the NCAA in average TOP. This year, we're at rock bottom. It's a game of numbers. The more the other team has the ball, the more chances they have of putting one in the end zone.

I understand your frustration with people who may have been on the bandwagon after last year's win, and suddenly jumped off when this season went south, but let's not give the coaching staff, players, etc. a free pass simply because history says we should. Perhaps claims that we should fire Bobby Johnson are extreme and premature (less so with Ted Cain), but he certainly deserves some criticism from a fan base that has come to expect more now, and certainly deserved to see some offensive improvement. That in itself is vastly better than the situation that existed for most people who graduated before 2005 (i.e. me).


Good post, Stanimal. Thanks. I'm not saying a two-win season is acceptable, especially one involving a loss to Army (even if it was Armed Forces Day). B Johnson had better be making some changes in the off-season and weighing his loyalties to assistant coaches against giving his team new opportunities to improve and win. It is tough to install a new offense and break in a new quarterback at the same time (see Auburn and Michigan last season). I do think Bobby and Ted Cain fantasize about having a big, powerful ball-control offense that wins every game 13-3 no matter the opponent. We'll never be able to do that at Vandy. Right now, we need a whole new set of wide receivers and we're getting one if Krause, Roby, Boyd and Dudchock keep their commitments.

You're right to think that fans should voice their displeasure and try to effect change when it's needed. But during the Georgia Tech game? Coaching didn't lose that game for us, though they might have cost us the Miss State and Army games.