Friday, December 17, 2010

Vanderbilt fans should give James Franklin a chance

So James Franklin is our new coach. I will not be at lunch today with other VU alums plotting to fire David Williams. Some of you will be, and you certainly have that right.

We're Vandy fans. For many, many years, being Vandy fans has made us feel bad, and we don't like feeling bad. What would have made us feel instantly good? Why, getting the offensive coordinator for the best college football team in America. Or getting another big-name coach.

Wake up, people. We're not capable of getting a big-name coach who's going to make us feel instantly good. And that's not David Williams' fault. While he was interviewing coaches and asking them questions about what they plan for the future, they're asking him to explain Vandy's past. It's not an easy task, unless you choose to make fun of yourself and form a blog called Moral Victory!

So there was no way we were getting a big-name coach. Sure, big-name coaches were talking to us so they could more than double their current salaries as coordinators. Instead, we had to find somebody who's good but nobody knows he's good until he turns out to be good.

So is James Franklin good? We won't know until he turns out to be good.

I'm giving him a chance. If I could, I'd ask him these questions:

• Who's your offensive coordinator?
• Who's your defensive coordinator?
• Who are you keeping from Vandy's current staff?
• How in heaven's name do you plan to jump-start the offense?
• What are you looking for in a quarterback?
• Which Vandy players are you most impressed with?
• Which high school players that you were recruiting to Maryland do you hope to lure to Vandy?
• Which current Vandy verbal commitments are you trying hardest to keep?
• Which current Vandy verbal commitments don't fit your plans?
• Do you know how to get to every high school in the metro Atlanta area?

I see a guy who's worked with Aaron Rodgers, who's a highly respected recruiter, who's young and energetic, and who's thought of highly enough to have been the coach-in-waiting for a job considered to be at least a step above the Vandy job. No, I didn't want to hire a coach because he's black, but the fact that he's our first black coach sure doesn't hurt us with recruiting, especially in metro Atlanta.

Right now, some of you want to jump out of a building.

I'm hopeful. I'm looking forward to seeing what James Franklin does on the recruiting trail, in spring practice, in preseason, and when the season starts.

Go Dores!


Anonymous said...

Good write up. No way can we bash this guy before hes even coached a game. Since we have no idea what next season is going tp be like, Im kind of excited about it. The schedule looks softer than last years, plus we will be a little older and experienced. I think we will be fine. Good luck CJF! Go Dores!

Now back to the right sport of the season, MBB.

Orsocron said...

I'm not going to bash Franklin, because I mostly agree that he was the best we were going to do. Nobody is touching Leach with a 10-foot pole because of the (whether it's bogus or not) lawsuit. Tuberville was a blitering idiot when he had Auburn's brass paying the players, so what makes anyone think he would succeed at Vandy?

My question for David Williams is: Did you talk to Ken Niumatololo? If so, did he show interest as he stated he did yesterday?

Niumatololo's triple option has a better chance of success at Vandy than Williams' "West Coast offense".


I agree with you that Vanderbilt needs an offensive system that is tough to defend even if you lack talented players. So I guess Franklin will need to recruit some 5-star players.

even more anonymous said...

I believe in this guy. Maybe not the most exciting hire the Commies could have made -- but definitely the most exciting hire since I've been following the program, starting back in the early 60s.

Vandygal78 said...

He's young, passionate and wanted to be the coach at Vandy. When have we ever seen that before? I'm starting to get a good feeling about this.

Btw, I distinctly remember that two weeks ago the Navy coach said he wasn't interested. The press is just trying to mess with us once again. We got a guy who is putting his entire future and coaching dreams on the line with us. Once he pulls in the first four star, everyone will get on board. I'm looking forward to the next season.

Anonymous said...

In response to Ken Niumatololo: I'm personally glad we weren't able to pursue this because I think it would've been a bad idea. The triple option would do poorly in the SEC. There is simply too much speed.

As for James Franklin, I'm looking at the positives. I feel like this is a pretty good hire for us really. I mean our last coach came from Furman--at least we've moved up to picking from the big boys. As you mentioned, we aren't the type of program that draws a big name (and we shouldn't, really). Personally, I don't even think Malzahn was THAT big of a name. Of course it is to us, but no one else was looking his way and that says something. Most people see he's still six years removed from the high school game and I'm sure many are interested to see him perform as an OC in the SEC without the likes of Cam Newton.

Simply put, James Franklin, albeit relatively unknown to us, is a bigger hire than we've really ever made before (as far as past experience is concerned). I'm personally thankful we weren't turned down, and forced to sink back to hiring a DII coach or another long-time assistant.

Now after he finishes his press conference, he needs to hit the recruiting trail looking for a QB.

Greg M said...

our right. I do want to jump out of a building. No way ever should this be as good as we could do. I don't like it one bit. It sucks turtles!


Tell me how you really feel.

Anonymous said...

i like this hire...admittedly I wasn't pumped at first because the lack of name brand and cache...but after the presser I think this guy is a BA who will make it happen. additionally, i love the fact that he is only 38 and highly energetic (ala Tim Corbin who turned a laughable baseball program around in 12 months).

He also is not married to a system (e.g., he mentioned he would tweak offense based on what skill players emerge). The last staff was reactionary in that they picked a new system after their offense sucked only to find the system sucked too. But instead of tweaking the offense, they stuck with it and failed. Franklin seems to be nimble and realistic. He seems to be someone that will be out in front.

Everyone likes to harp on his 85th ranked offense. That's a great argument when you hand pick stats to support your argument. But consider this...

In 2010 Maryland's offense scored more points per game than: Miami, UNC, Duke, GT, Clemson, Virginia, Wake Forest, and Boston College. Guess how many of those schools Maryland outscored had better coaches, players and recruiting classes than Vandy? All of them.

Malzahn, Leach, Tubberville, and Bowden would've been great to kick start the program. But, these guys would have been short sighted and would not have stayed the course. Proven coaches won't possess the drive and patience necessary to right the ship. We need a hungry, energetic, bright, and highly dedicated person to do that.

Is Franklin that guy? I don't know, but I think he's got a great chance.


Good comments. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

thoughts on assistant coach hires and rumblings?

Anonymous said...

MV needs more contributors

even more anonymous said...

Coach Franklin has reportedly decided to retain Herb Hand.

Greg M said...

Dimon Jim must be in a deep stste of depression. He hasn't put out a new post in over a week. Can't blame him though.

At least our BB teamis looking up!!

Anonymous said...

I like our new coach and the way that the staff is coming together. Who can argue that this coaching staff so far is not a tremendous upgrade from last year. Glad to hear that Herb Hand is coming back. Wonder if he will be coaching the line again or if JF will give him the offensive coordinator role to jump-start the offense. If anyone knows the Vandy talent or lack thereof at certain positions (mainly at qb, Larry Smith) it would be coach Hand. Would not be surprised to see JF bring in a talented freshman qb just to shake things up and create more competition at the qb position. The last key hire that would make this a very solid staff would be securing Randy Shannon as Defensive coordinator. Go Dores !

Will said...

Also anxious to see how the staff comes together. In the recent past, at least back to Watson Brown, the head coach (and thus the emphasis) has been to recruit to the defensive side of the ball. This meant that most of the talent went on that side, and the best coaches were on that side. I think that coach Hand, started to tip the scales to the offensive side, and this trend should continue with CJF. I am very hopeful regarding the rumors that coach Hand will be retained, and hopefully have a bigger hand in game planning the offense.

I continue to be excited about naming the rest of the staff and the balance of the recruiting process....we should finally see more emphasis on offense and more excitement on West End. I can't wait for spring ball!!

Anonymous said...

MV - I was hoping you could write another post on one of the following topics. You're blog plays a big part in my lacking work productivity...especially in the holiday rut.

1. Football assistant hires and rumors.

2. Disappearing football recruits, and potential new recruits (e.g., is there a new QB on the radar that forced Fleming to drop, or perhaps Fleming just didn't want to play for Franklin).

3. Franklin's repeated dodging of question about whether he would've even been the next MD coach. Does this even matter to us? Even in rumored context of Malzahn being in the running for MD job.

4. How might Franklin's past offensive schemes at MD and KState bode for VU's future offense? What player(s) might emerge or disappear because of Franklin's tactics.

5. School leaders have verbally committed to making football a winner, and in doing so allude to the successes seen both outside (e.g., Northwestern, Standford) and inside (basketball, baseball) the school. Is making football relevant an achievable goal or are there unique restrictions at Vandy?

6. Or, anything else...


Anonymous said...

In response to Will, I think that all players will come to off-season conditioning and camp with the expectation that they will need to earn thier positions. I'm not sure if that was the case with the previous staff. It's very doubtful that the new offensive staff will put LS at the top of the "preseason" depth chart. After seeing for 2 years very little progress at qb, I'm hopiong that CJF will play a freshman or take a chance on another qb similar to what Dooley did at Tenn this past season. There appears to be more talent on defense than offense at present (when you consider the redshirts). I also jhope that CJF will immediately play the young guys at wr; mainly Mathews, Boyd, Krause and see if Brady Brown is an SEC wr after 2 years on campus. If our OL can stay healthy, I am looking forward to a full off-season of Herb Hand working with the unit. The SEC eat will be down again next season and another opportunity for Vandy to make a move. Most of us felt that this coming season would be the time that our fresh and redshirts would emerge. I like the staff so far. Go Dores !