Sunday, October 31, 2010

So Jared Funk lost the game for us?

Why is it that when a team gets their butts handed to them in a football game, their fans want to pinpoint the exact moment or the exact person that cost them the game?

In the case of Vandy's 49-14 loss last night, it apparently all boils down to the moment Jared Funk took the field.

Greg M. even blasted me for saying I loved the idea. Well, I do love the IDEA. I love that somebody in our coaching brain trust was planning for the game and said, "Hey, we're having trouble scoring. Larry Smith can't even get a freaking pass out of his hand before he's on his back. Maybe that's because he doesn't have time but maybe it's also because he's not reacting quickly enough. Jared Funk's been moving the ball in practice. So let's let him play the third series of the game."

When you score once out of every 30 drives or whatever, and you go three-and-out on 25 of them, it's not like you're throwing away a sure touchdown by substituting your quarterback for one drive in the first half. Fans have been wondering for the past two seasons why Larry hasn't gotten a breather here and there and a chance to settle himself down.

So we plan to do that. And yes, I love the IDEA of doing it and planning for it. In fact, when I saw Funk enter the game, I wondered if perhaps Larry hadn't performed so well precisely because he knew he'd have two series before he came out. And Caldwell practically said as much after game.

Now would I have ACTUALLY pulled Larry after the Dores opened the game with two touchdowns? Probably not. But if you tell Funk you're going to play him regardless of Larry's performance but then you wait for Larry to screw up before you make the substitution then you're sending the wrong signal to both guys.

And it wasn't Jared's fault that Barden couldn't catch the ball.

Bottom line, we didn't lose the game because Jared replaced Larry on the third series. If Larry had taken us to two more scores, we'd have lost that game 63-28. Petrino called off the hogs early in the fourth quarter.

It's like last year's Georgia Tech game. We put up a surprising number of points early, which only served to jump-start the other team's offensive machine. We weren't going to outscore the Razorbacks in a million years.

We used every bullet in our holster on those first two drives, while getting lots of help from Arkansas in the form of poor tackling and stupid penalties.

We were outmanned and we were going to lose that game. But the reason things went downhill so fast? (1) Our coaching staff failed to make adjustments on offense. (2) We lack game-ready SEC linemen on both sides of the ball — we couldn't get past their mammoth offensive line to pressure Mallett, and we couldn't stave off their mammoth defensive line to protect Larry. We were outweighed by 30 or 40 pounds on either side of the ball.

Sure, we lost by 35 points because Jared Funk played one series in the first quarter. If that makes you feel better about having the inferior team, then go ahead and believe that.


Anonymous said...

didn't the Funk get a second chance amd throw an int for a td? it wasn't bobbled either! VU will never win with the Funk



Yeah, Larry would have never thrown that pass... he'd have eaten it for a 10 yard loss but at least he wouldn't have given up 6 points.

Funk's situation is kind of like his head coach's. His time is running out and he's got to make something happen fast.

Anonymous said...

Agree that Funk definitely had nothing to do with our loss. Complete team effort on the loss--players and coaches. The move was odd, but I don't think he did anything much worse than Larry would've--which is a sad way to look at things, haha.

Anonymous said...

But you can’t deny it was a game changer. Took the momentum away from us and gave it to the Razorbacks. It was a stupid move to do it that early. Really stupid move. Larry doesn’t do what he did in the Arkansas game often, so why not keep him out there to see what else he can do. Let him play with the lead against an SEC team. We know Larry is a shaky QB but he started the game great yesterday. Why did they put Funk in when Larry was playing with confidence, something we don’t see often from him. Not saying we would have won the game but we will never know. Again, really stupid move.

Brooks said...

Dimon -
I agree with 99% of your material and opinions about Vandy football. Thanks again for a great site. There is nobody who understands our program better. That being said, I must say that regardless of whether you believe that we need to hold to a game plan to avoid conflicting messages to Funk/Smith, you never take a qb out with that kind of rhythm. That was the main comment that Couch made all day that made sense. Funk belongs on special teams. If we want to change things up, try Goro. Funk belongs at Tufts or another school up the road from his high school that could use his talent. Cole is shocking how bad he is...another guy that is a waste of a scholarship. Like you have said all season, they can't get open. Udom is a complete bust. Our season was always going to be a mess with these guys starting and our o-line. We just need to hope that we see the light at the WR position next year and maybe start the Rodgers era. Sorry for ranting, but I'm a frustrated Vandy fan.

Andrew VU '04 said...


I'd like to commend you on your sense of perspective once more. I'm a Vandy alum, but am working on a PhD at LSU currently. The common refrain down here is, "LSU would be a National Championship team if they had a better QB." I always reply, "Perhaps, but so would about a dozen other teams." Further, there's this firm sense that the sole reason LSU's been such a success on the football field in the last decade plus is that the fanbase refuses to accept anything but perfection. I'm constantly told the reason Vandy doesn't win is because the fans "don't expect them to." The logic behind this is absurd.

Obviously, boosters can provide for attractive facilities for recruits, or programs can even go so far as to allow boosters and/or agents to pay/bribe certain recruits or players, which brings another level of attraction to certain athletes. Further, there's a sense that these factors, as well as the prestige of having a big name coach, is all that affects recruiting. Ex: Les Miles apologists claiming, "Well he does recruit well..." as the reason for keeping him employed.

Once again, this is specious reasoning. Schools like LSU are helped by such factors, sure, but the main factor in these monster recruiting classes is being in a talent-rich state (Louisiana is consistently ranked in the top 5 states w/r/t HS talent--Tx, Ca, Fla, and Oh/Ga being the others), they're the only BCS program in the state, and damned near every baby in the state has LSU feety pajamas (a fancy way of saying they grow up dreaming of playing for LSU). The linemen are all 300lbs plus while playing in high school, and the RBs and WRs run sub 4.5 times. And they all wait by the phone for LSU to call.

Vandy's the 2nd best program (in most recruits' and parents of said recruits' eyes) in the state, and the state of Tennessee does not produce as many highly ranked recruits as any other SEC state. Very few babies, save for babies of alums, sport the black and gold.

Admitting this is not having a defeatist attitude. Nor is rooting for the players we do have--especially the freshmen and sophomores we see potential in--while knowing we're the inferior team in most SEC games. Nor is admitting that a few positions are woefully lacking on our team (O-Line, D-Line, WRs). Nor is admitting we will probably never bring in a top-10 recruiting class, let alone consistent ones like LSU.

We do have one thing in common with LSU this year, sadly--we're blaming the QB. There's no problem with urging Caldwell to give Goro some playing time, or pointing out that Larry often looks over his head, but let's not let this devolve into the ridiculousness I've been seeing at LSU, where the QB's being booed during starting lineup announcements.

All you can expect from the coach is to put out the best and most ready team he has, and all you can expect from the players is that they give a maximum effort. If this is not done, boo. If there's a coaching staff that you feel could bring in better talent, urge David Williams to consider it. Short of that, see things for what they are.

Rant over. Once again, Dimon, great job keeping things in perspective.

Anonymous said...

Andrew 04.....your comments are so pointed and exact that I will not rant anymore today....a masterful closing argument on Vandy football to-date.

Greg M said...

Looks like our lose to Ark combined with UTC's lose to Elon has given VU a ONE point edge again over them in the Sagarin rankings. I once again have bragging rights in Chattanooga.

Anonymous said...

Dimon, in regard to some of the comments that Andrew 04 made, I too am surprised at how bad the wr core is. Even with a poor offensive line, it seems like we should be running shorter routes and encourage LS to get rid of the ball sooner. In Larry's defense, there were times when this happened and the balls were dropped thereby putting Vandy in 2nd or 3rd and long situations. I agree that Clole is not very good; nor is Wimberly and Herndon. However this is the fault of the coaching staff. Its hard to imagine that Brady Brown, Chris Boyd, and Jordon Mathews along with Krause would not present a very credidible SEC wr core compared to what's on the field now. Putting LS issues aside, the fact that our freshman wr have had little impact and that Brady Brown still does not have a catch in 2 years tells me that Charlie Fischer is not a very good position coach. Are the Vandy faithful to believe that we are playing our best wr's ? Kiser was a really bad choice and has not improved LS qb skills in 2 years. Assuming he stays, it seems like the future looks bright with OL Coach Hand and the existing line and incoming guys. No doubt that the line must get bigger and more physical to compete each week. My gut tells me that the problems are more than Caldwell can fix and since these are all Bj holders, they should be fired at seasons end. The SEC is is Big Boy football and coaches get fired every year for poor performance..... and please stop saying if we beat Tenn and / or Ken or wake that it was a good year...that's pathetic. We should have a higher standard and be better than that. Go Dores !


Dude, I never said we could call the season "good" if we win two out of our last three games. Four wins is never good. But we're not a good football team. What we're looking for is improvement we can build on in 2011 and 2012. Four wins next season would be an abject failure. And yes, Wake Forest is pathetic and we should beat them at home this season. We've got to win that one. But I'm saying I'll be happy if we can beat EITHER Kentucky OR Tennessee, something that frankly I don't believe we'll do. So, again, if we win four games this season (we were favored to win one) I think we should keep Caldwell and see what he can do with his young talent. If that were the case, I believe he would overhaul the offensive coaching staff at the end of the season.


Way to break it down, Andrew.

Greg M said...

Got bragging rights although I can't spell. Should be our "loss" and their "loss". Didn't proof read. Thanks for all the good commnetary.

Anonymous said...

Dimon, thanks for all that you do on this blog. It may not seem like it sometimes but your defense of Vandy football is always logical and rational even when we disagree. We all want what's in the best interest of Vandy football. As an "anonymous" Vandy football player dad, I respect your arguments. Keep up the good work. Go Dores !


Thanks, anonymous dad. I have a great amount of respect for all the young men who play football for Vanderbilt. All the best to you and your son, and keep on reading and posting.

Anonymous said...

As another Vandy football parent reading your blog, I have to say this football team is comprised of young men who work hard on the field as well as in the classroom and deserve our support win or lose. Your encouraging comments are most appreciated. GO DORES!!!