Tag:Vanderbilt
Posted on: December 1, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Vandy fans lobby for Randy Shannon as next coach

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's hard to say that the Vanderbllt football community can be left "reeling" by any bad news these days; the program is traditionally the worst in the SEC, after all, reaching a bowl game less than once per decade since World War 2 and usually not coming close. All the same, Vanderbilt's considerable admission standards discourage many high school prospects of limited discipline or character, so scandals are few and far between at Vandy; it's just year in and year out, three wins a season or so. That breeds plenty of turnover in the coaching ranks, as one might imagine, so a coaching change in Nashville is hardly the headline material it is in, say, Tallahassee or Lincoln.

And yet, the resignation of first-year head coach Robbie Caldwell on Saturday was something of a surprise, even to Vandy fans; while the Commodores were just 2-9 (and screaming headlong into 2-10) on the season, Caldwell was still a first-year head coach, and um, Vanderbilt isn't exactly a "win very very immediately or go home" type of program. So Caldwell's departure wasn't exactly a foregone conclusion, even if it's sort of par for the course at Vandy.

All the same, the fan base is scrambling to find a replacement that'll hold up Vanderbilt's academic standards without capitulating on discipline, and some Vandy alums already have such a candidate in mind: Randy Shannon.

Miami 's recently ousted head coach caught the attention of some Vanderbilt alums, and here was their pitch to other alumni in an email being circulated (and posted to a premium Canes website ):

Dear Vanderbilt Alumni, friends and fans:

With the recent resignation of Coach Robbie Caldwell, the Vanderbilt football team needs a head coach who has had success both on and off the field.  A group of us strongly believe that Randy Shannon should be the next head football coach at Vanderbilt.  Our goal is to get several hundred names affixed to the email below and send it as our recommendation to Vice Chancellor David Williams .

As quoted by the SunSentinnel.com, "Randy Shannon was hired as the head football coach at the University of Miami on Dec. 8, 2006. He replaced Larry Coker, who was fired after a 7-6 season. Shannon, who played at Miami from 1984-88, has long been affiliated with the program. Born Feb. 24, 1966, Shannon was a four-year letter winner when he played linebacker for the Hurricanes. He won a national title in 1987. He was selected in the 11th round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. He became the first rookie to start at outside linebacker for the Cowboys since 1966. He played just two seasons before going into coaching. He became a graduate assistant at Miami in 1991, winning a national title that season. He was then promoted to defensive line and linebackers coach before taking a job with the Miami Dolphins as an assistant coach in 1998. Shannon returned to the Miami Hurricanes as the defensive coordinator in 2001. He held that job for six years, building one of college football's top defenses. In his first season, he led a defense that was ranked in the top 10 nationally in three categories.

According to the Miami Official Athletic Site -- "All of Shannon's teams have continued to uphold to UM's academic success off the field. His UM football teams have achieved NCAA Academic Progress Rates (APR) of 978, 977, 969 and 966, which have all ranked in the top 10 nationally. The 978 APR in the 2010 APR report was tied for the sixth highest rate in the country. The 977 APR in the 2009 report was the 7th-highest rate in the country out of 119 Bowl-Subdivision football programs. Those rates also were the second highest in the Atlantic Coast Conference and highest among all schools in Florida."

We believe that Coach Shannon is a proven winner and would be the right coach at the right time for Vanderbilt.  He is a winner on the field and academically in the classroom.  If you agree that Vanderbilt should strongly consider Randy Shannon as its next football head coach, please affix your name to the email below.  Please feel free to send to other alumni, friends, or fans who you believe share the same sentiments.  Please have them affix their names to this email.  We ask that you copy us on any outgoing emails so that we know who is being added.

There's no telling how much regard Vanderbilt has or will have for this petition, of course; Shannon's track record is something that those in charge of finding Vandy's next coach will (or at least should) already be aware of. Still, it's interesting to see that while Shannon didn't succeed in Miami's eyes as a coach, college football fans are still noticing what he and his team accomplished off the field and recognizing him for it. Perhaps Vanderbilt is a better environment for Shannon. Perhaps Minnesota is. Regardless, it seems evident that Shannon's time between jobs will be brief.

Posted on: December 1, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Vandy fans lobby for Randy Shannon as next coach

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's hard to say that the Vanderbllt football community can be left "reeling" by any bad news these days; the program is traditionally the worst in the SEC, after all, reaching a bowl game less than once per decade since World War 2 and usually not coming close. All the same, Vanderbilt's considerable admission standards discourage many high school prospects of limited discipline or character, so scandals are few and far between at Vandy; it's just year in and year out, three wins a season or so. That breeds plenty of turnover in the coaching ranks, as one might imagine, so a coaching change in Nashville is hardly the headline material it is in, say, Tallahassee or Lincoln.

And yet, the resignation of first-year head coach Robbie Caldwell on Saturday was something of a surprise, even to Vandy fans; while the Commodores were just 2-9 (and screaming headlong into 2-10) on the season, Caldwell was still a first-year head coach, and um, Vanderbilt isn't exactly a "win very very immediately or go home" type of program. So Caldwell's departure wasn't exactly a foregone conclusion, even if it's sort of par for the course at Vandy.

All the same, the fan base is scrambling to find a replacement that'll hold up Vanderbilt's academic standards without capitulating on discipline, and some Vandy alums already have such a candidate in mind: Randy Shannon.

Miami 's recently ousted head coach caught the attention of some Vanderbilt alums, and here was their pitch to other alumni in an email being circulated (and posted to a premium Canes website ):

Dear Vanderbilt Alumni, friends and fans:

With the recent resignation of Coach Robbie Caldwell, the Vanderbilt football team needs a head coach who has had success both on and off the field.  A group of us strongly believe that Randy Shannon should be the next head football coach at Vanderbilt.  Our goal is to get several hundred names affixed to the email below and send it as our recommendation to Vice Chancellor David Williams .

As quoted by the SunSentinnel.com, "Randy Shannon was hired as the head football coach at the University of Miami on Dec. 8, 2006. He replaced Larry Coker, who was fired after a 7-6 season. Shannon, who played at Miami from 1984-88, has long been affiliated with the program. Born Feb. 24, 1966, Shannon was a four-year letter winner when he played linebacker for the Hurricanes. He won a national title in 1987. He was selected in the 11th round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. He became the first rookie to start at outside linebacker for the Cowboys since 1966. He played just two seasons before going into coaching. He became a graduate assistant at Miami in 1991, winning a national title that season. He was then promoted to defensive line and linebackers coach before taking a job with the Miami Dolphins as an assistant coach in 1998. Shannon returned to the Miami Hurricanes as the defensive coordinator in 2001. He held that job for six years, building one of college football's top defenses. In his first season, he led a defense that was ranked in the top 10 nationally in three categories.

According to the Miami Official Athletic Site -- "All of Shannon's teams have continued to uphold to UM's academic success off the field. His UM football teams have achieved NCAA Academic Progress Rates (APR) of 978, 977, 969 and 966, which have all ranked in the top 10 nationally. The 978 APR in the 2010 APR report was tied for the sixth highest rate in the country. The 977 APR in the 2009 report was the 7th-highest rate in the country out of 119 Bowl-Subdivision football programs. Those rates also were the second highest in the Atlantic Coast Conference and highest among all schools in Florida."

We believe that Coach Shannon is a proven winner and would be the right coach at the right time for Vanderbilt.  He is a winner on the field and academically in the classroom.  If you agree that Vanderbilt should strongly consider Randy Shannon as its next football head coach, please affix your name to the email below.  Please feel free to send to other alumni, friends, or fans who you believe share the same sentiments.  Please have them affix their names to this email.  We ask that you copy us on any outgoing emails so that we know who is being added.

There's no telling how much regard Vanderbilt has or will have for this petition, of course; Shannon's track record is something that those in charge of finding Vandy's next coach will (or at least should) already be aware of. Still, it's interesting to see that while Shannon didn't succeed in Miami's eyes as a coach, college football fans are still noticing what he and his team accomplished off the field and recognizing him for it. Perhaps Vanderbilt is a better environment for Shannon. Perhaps Minnesota is. Regardless, it seems evident that Shannon's time between jobs will be brief.

Posted on: November 30, 2010 4:09 pm
 

Paul Wulff may be on way out, per Paul Wulff

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

On paper, the stakes don't look all that high for this year's edition of the Apple Cup : Washington is 5-6 and a Pac-10 afterthought (again), and 2-9 Washington State is just hoping for another small step forward on the road to respectability. The Iron Bowl this is not.

But for the teams involved, this will be the biggest game of the year. The Huskies have a chance to end a bowl drought dating all the way back to 2002, an unthinkably long dry spell for a team with Washington's Pac-10 pedigree, and send seniors like Jake Locker off on a high note. The rest of the Pac-10 will have a vested interest in a Husky victory as well; of the league's three 5-6 teams aiming for bowl eligibility this weekend -- Washington, Arizona State , and Oregon State -- the Huskies have by far the easiest task with the Sun Devils facing Arizona and the Beavers the Oregon juggernaut.

But to hear Wazzu head coach Paul Wulff tell it, there still might be more on the line on the Cougar sideline, or at least for Wulff himself. As tweeted by the Seattle Times 's Bob Condotta:
Wulff, on Pac-10 conference call, says he's confident in the job he has done, but stops short of saying he knows for sure that he will be back next season. Said no question that WSU will be a bowl team next season.
Putting aside the 2011 bowl talk (which would represent a quantum leap forward for a program that's still being outscored 34-18 on average in conference play), you'd think Wazzu would be happy to keep Wulff in place. The Cougars have consistently played hard for him, have dramatically improved the past two seasons (that average conference score for Wazzu in 2008? 50-9 ), have loads of Wulff's recruits returning next season, and frankly won't have a lot of top-tier candidates beating down their doors to coach on the Palouse if Wulff is dismissed.

But Wazzu athletic director Bill Moos has declined to make any kind of assurances that Wulff will be returning. That, paired with Wulff's own lack of confidence in his job status, would seem to point the tea leaves in the direction of Wulff's firing. After all, we saw this same movie a few days ago, when Vanderbilt 's Robbie Caldwell surprised many by saying midweek that he might be coaching his last game at Vandy; sure enough, he was gone before the week was out.

The good news for Wulff? An upset victory over the Cougars' most hated rival in front of the Wazzu faithful (the very faithful, by this point) would make Moos's decision to let him go dramatically more difficult, and maybe impossible. Wulff could quite possibly still save himself, even if it's highly debatable he ought to need saving in the first place.

Posted on: November 30, 2010 12:07 pm
 

Vandy considering Temple's Golden

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's still something of a mystery why Vanderbilt ever removed the "interim" tag from recently ousted (or "resigned," if you believe the press releases) Robbie Caldwell if the Commodores were just going to go coach-shopping again after just one season with college football's most famous turkey inseminator , but at least the Vandy brass appears to be going about that shopping the right way. As in, according to the Tennesseean , taking a look at one of the hottest properties on the coaching market in Temple 's Al Golden .

Golden's overall record of 27-34 may not look overly impressive, and this year's 8-4 mark has actually been something of a disappointment for an Owls team that was expected to win the MAC and instead finished a surprising third in the conference's East division. But that a program as punishingly downtrodden as Temple ever had those kinds of expectations to begin with is a minor miracle; the Owls had gone 3-31 the three years prior to Golden's arrival. And this season hasn't exactly been a disaster, especially by typical Temple standards, not with accomplishments like a win over potential Big East champion UConn , eight wins, and back-to-back bowl berths for the first time in the program's history.

With a resume like that and the rampant similarities between Vandy and Temple -- both academics-first afterthoughts in major metropolitan centers with zero tradition of winning football -- Golden would appear to be the best-case scenario for the Commodores. The bigger question is if their interest is reciprocated; Golden has been rumored for jobs at places like his alma mater Penn State (assuming Joe Paterno isn't immortal, a dangerous assumption at this stage) and Virginia before they hired Mike London . Like fellow alleged Vandy target Gus Malzahn , he may be able to land a better (and certainly easier ) gig down the road even if one doesn't come available this offseason.

But if the 'Dores can get Golden to listen, the Caldwell fiasco might start to make a little sense after all.

Posted on: November 27, 2010 2:09 pm
 

Vandy interested in Gus Malzahn

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The news just broke this morning that Vanderbilt head coach Robbie Caldwell had resigned, and that today's game against Wake Forest would be his last. This happened barely two hours ago, but the rumors about who Vanderbilt will be pursuing to replace Caldwell have already begun.  It seems that Vandy isn't looking outside the SEC for its top choice.

Not surprisingly, that choice seems to be Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.


Now, as Schad mentions in his tweet, Gus Malzahn will be one of the most sought after coaches during the offseason.  Everyone has seen what he's done on the offensive side of the ball during his coaching career, particularly this season with Cam Newton and Auburn.  So it isn't surprising at all that Vanderbilt would be interested.

What would be surprise would be to see Malzahn take the job at Vanderbilt.  Listen, I don't mean this as an insult to Vanderbilt, but let's be real here. Gus Malzahn can find a lot better head coaching job than Vanderbilt. He'll have his choice of any position that becomes available, be it one we already know of, or one that will come open after the season.

Vanderbilt is not the kind of school that Malzahn could walk into and experience success quickly, as the Commodores have a long mountain to climb if they want to contend in the SEC.  Sure, Malzahn would be a fantastic start to getting that accomplished, but I just can't see it happening.
Posted on: November 24, 2010 3:47 pm
 

Barrett Jones likely to miss Iron Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's obvious that this year's Alabama team is not the same as the squad that won the national title last year.  All you have to do is look at the Tide's record, and see those two blemishes in the loss column to figure that out.  While there are a few reasons for this, one of the bigger factors has been the offensive line's inability to block for Greg McElroy.

Only Tennessee and Vanderbilt have allowed their quarterback to be sacked more often in the SEC this year than Alabama, who have given up 27 sacks. In the Iron Bowl on Friday, while Auburn's defense as a whole hasn't been all that impressive, the Alabama offensive line is going to have its hands full with Nick Fairley and company.  A task that may be even tougher now that it looks like guard Barrett Jones isn't going to be able to play.

“Barrett Jones is still struggling a little bit,” said Nick Saban after practice on Tuesday. “He hasn’t been able to practice much. He may try to do some things tomorrow and I think that would be the indicator of whether he would be able to participate in the game or not.” 

Jones suffered a sprained left ankle in the Mississippi State game, and sat out of the team's ritual sacrifice of Georgia State last week.  He has been practicing, but he's been wearing the black "no-contact" jersey.  If he can't go on Friday, he'll be replaced up front by Anthony Steen who filled in for him against Georgia State.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 4:29 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Caldwell on the hot seat at Vandy?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

If there was ever a head football coach that deserved some patience, you'd think Vanderbilt 's Robbie Caldwell would be him.

He took over as head coach just weeks before the start of the Commodores' season when Bobby Johnson stunningly resigned. He inherited a team with a highly suspect offensive philosophy and a major talent disadvantage against nearly every team on its SEC schedule. He was given essentially no shot at implementing his own staff or schemes in the miniscule timeframe allotted. He is in his first season. And, just once more for emphasis, he is the coach at Vanderbilt . You could argue that the 'Dores 2-9 record is actually better than you'd expect from Caldwell, since his team has played a difficult nonconference schedule (featuring bowl-bound UConn and Northwestern ) and have been major underdogs in 10 of those contests.

And still, to hear Caldwell tell it, none of that might matter to his bosses in Nashville :

Caldwell is hopeful Saturday night's season finale with Wake Forest isn't his last game as Vanderbilt's football coach.

But if it is, Caldwell said he understands ...

"If it is my last game, well, I'll be sad because I've enjoyed my time here at Vanderbilt," Caldwell said. "Hopefully it won't be. But if it is, I understand. It's the life of a football coach, unfortunately, this day and time."
Caldwell may understand, but frankly we don't. What, exactly, was the Commodore brass expecting after the chaos of Johnson's retirement? Why, after years of conservatism when it comes to hiring and firing, are they suddenly getting an itchy trigger finger with a coach who's done almost nothing to desrve it? If they were always intent on giving Caldwell just one season at the helm before going after a bigger fish, then why remove the interim tag from his title in the first place?

Since none of those questions have obvious answers (and since Vandy's athletic department may not be in the kind, it will still be a major surprise if Caldwell is given the boot. But if he is, it'll be the clearest sign yet that the SEC's win-now-or-win-never attitude towards the employment of its head coaches has filtered down to even its lowest -- and most academically-oriented -- rung.

Posted on: November 20, 2010 11:42 pm
 

What I Learned from the SEC (Nov. 20)

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

1. South Carolina learned its lesson. The last time Carolina won a game as big as last week's SEC East-clinching victory over Florida , they had downed No. 1 Alabama before going out the following week and laying their biggest egg of the season against Kentucky . Now, sure, the Gamecocks got a lot of help early on from a Troy team that for some reason played like a nervous team with lots to lose rather than the massive underdog with nothing to lose they were. But the previously-hapless Gamecock secondary held a statistically potent Trojan passing attack entirely in check, the Marcus Lattimore -led offense ruthlessly punished every Troy mistake, and by halftime it was already 56-7, 'Cocks . Not only did Carolina avoid the letdown, but they looked ready to give Auburn all they want and more when the SEC championship game rolls around in two weeks.

2. It's time to put the defense-first image of the SEC to bed for good. Maybe the SEC really is home to better athletes, maybe they really do hire better coaches, maybe they take defense more seriously than some other conferences ... but none of that, even if true, is making a lick of difference on the field at the moment. This week gave us only four games between SEC teams and FBS competition, and those four games produced 268 total points (in regulation) and as average score of 42-25. And that 's with Tennessee and Vanderbilt battling to a low-fi 24-10 Volunteer win, and the conference's best offense and ninth-ranked defense at Auburn taking the week off.

You get the point: very few teams in this league are playing defense. When even the consensus best unit in the league -- LSU's entered the weekend No. 1 in total defense at 274 yards per-game -- is getting gashed for 36 points and 420 yards at home against the conference's No. 5 offense, the SEC's image as a collection of grind-it-out attacks and impregnable defenses is officially as current as Bob Dole . If SEC fans want to argue their conference is superior, fine. If they want to argue their conference is superior because of the SEC's brand of defense, they need to acquire a clue.

3. LSU should be an underdog going to Arkansas. Full kudos to Les Miles for exorcising his clock management demons , but it's the Hogs who appear to be playing the better football at the moment after surviving what might have been Mississippi State 's best performance of the season on the road in Starkville while the previously stout LSU defense was busy getting gashed by the up-and-down Rebels. If Masoli and Co. can do that in Baton Rouge, what can Ryan Mallett and the suddenly scorching-hot Knile Davis do in Fayetteville?

(And while we're playing the transitive property game, the latest compelling evidence of how much stronger the West is than the East? The Razorbacks went to the East champion three weeks ago and rolled to an easy win. Then they went to the fifth-place team in the West tonight and were fortunate to escape with a double-overtime win.)

4. This Tyler Bray kid might just be one worth watching. Not that you'd expect it from his taste in tattoos , but the skinny kid from California has taken to SEC football like a duck to some very forgiving water. No, the pass defenses of South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt aren't the most intimidating the conference has to offer. But after another productive outing in Nashville (16-of-27, 232 yards, 8.6 yards-per-attempt, 2 touchdowns), Bray has collected some seriously impressive numbers in his last three league performances: 43-of-76 (57 percent completion rate), 714 yards (9.4 YPA), 7 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions.

And he's a true freshman. If Derek Dooley can keep his head on straight and his brittle-looking body remains intact, Bray should be one of the SEC's best in due time ... and maybe as soon as 2011. (As for 2010,the Vols are one win against Kentucky away from scraping their way to a bowl berth. Not bad considering they stood at 2-6 not so long ago.)


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com