Monday, December 14, 2009

Note to VSL Nation: If Bobby Johnson Makes Changes to His Coaching Staff During the Offseason, It's Not Because You Told Him To

Jeff Lockridge had a very interesting article in yesterday's Tennessean that I think sheds light on the pressure CBJ is currently under to make changes to the Vanderbilt coaching staff in the offseason. Vice Chancellor and Athletic-Director-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named David Williams said he's standing firmly behind Coach Johnson and, moreover, will not force him to make any changes to the coaching staff (not yet anyway).

But there is much more going on in the subtext of this article than the title would lead one to believe. For starters, Lockridge not-so-subtly points out that offensive woes were the prominent theme in the Dores' 2-10 (0-8) follow-up to their successful 2008 season, and he notes that four members of the offensive staff are guys CBJ brought with him from Furman in 2002: offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Ted Cain, quarterbacks coach Jimmy Kiser, wide receivers coach Charlie Fisher, and offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell. The implication is clear: eight seasons of consistently disappointing offensive output, particularly in years without Jay Cutler under center, is a long time to go without doing anything to shake it up -- especially given the asymmetry in terms of success on the defensive side of the ball.

Even more interesting to me is this quote from CBJ: "We're going to look at what the cause is for our season. But I'm not changing coaches because I hear a few fans talking. I'm not afraid to make changes. I've made them before." Not afraid? Who said anything about being afraid?

My stab at what's going on here: David Williams had the chat with Bobby and basically said the administration supports him 100% -- BUT, if CBJ were to decide that it's time to drop Ted Cain or Jimmy Kiser, I don't think the powers that be are going to stand in the way one bit. They may have even cleared a path for the coach to do it. In his comments, Vice Chancellor Williams hinted at just that: "Bobby is our head coach and he'll be our head coach," Williams said. "Bobby basically will go and do his evaluation of his team and coaching staff. I wouldn't ever think about going in and saying you've got to do this and you've got to do that. We're still very, very happy with Bobby."

With Bobby. Not with Ted, not with Jimmy, not with "the entire staff." With Bobby. I don't pretend to know the intricate details of these private conversations, but I've got a pretty good hunch that CBJ has been given a green light to fire members of his staff if that's what his "evaluation" deems appropriate. We know this man is loyal, and we've called him loyal to a fault. Will he have the stomach to shed a coach he's worked with for many years? Is his defensiveness a sign that he's going to stick by these guys 'til DW & Co. actually force his hand? Only time will tell.

While Lockridge concludes from all this that we shouldn't expect many -- if any -- changes to the football staff in the offseason, my takeaway is a bit different. Bobby Johnson appears to be feeling the heat from the fans (who generally like him but hate the offense they've been watching), whether or not he's getting it from the Vanderbilt administration. My own two cents: under the circumstances, I sure hope that's the case.

15 comments:

VandyGold28 said...

not a single vote in the AP or coaches poll this week. can we blame them? i can't.

VandyGold28 said...

ummm, can someone delete this advertisement on the post? what the heck?

i'm hoping the vandy team can turn these ugly losses into what this team did:

http://vucommodores.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/archive/vand-m-baskbl-sched-2006.html

Davis said...

@VandyGold Let's quit focusing on being miserable about the Vandy team with no defense and get back to the point of the post, being miserable about the Vandy team with no offense =)

I don't see Bobby making any drastic changes this offseason. I think the best we can hope for is moving Ted Cain into another role (a little further again from OC this time) and bring in some new talent on offense.

Joseph said...

we would have better offense if a 12 year old kid sat on the sideline and called plays from madden. at least the playbook on the game stretches beyond 2 pages.

VandyGold28 said...

i know it's still a football post but it's basketball season and it's what i can't stop focusing on. mr. lunardi updated his bracketology and as of today he still has us in at an 11 seed (bubble team) even after the 3 losses.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology

Most likely he's done this because he has Illinois in as a bubble team (9 seed), and Cincy in as a 6 seed. WKU is not in the tournament so that loss is not good. He has North Texas in from their conference. He does have St. Mary's in which is a good win however he doesn't have Missouri or DePaul.

Jason said...

Hey...I saw this post on another blog (as part of my Big 10 fanboy behavior). That conference is looking to add a 12th team, and the blogs are calling for Vanderbilt. Interesting right?

http://withleather.uproxx.com/2009/12/my-12th-team-for-the-big-ten#more-24580

VandyGold28 said...

that's the only blog i've seen talking about this. i've seen pitt, ruters, and others in the east, i've seen texas, i've seen notre dame.

but i really don't see this happening. vandy is an original SEC member and has been and will be til the end of.... well the world i or ncaa as we know it.

Aaron said...

Fire Ted Cain!

Bobby O'Shea said...

Any "talk" of Vanderbilt going to the Big Ten is being perpetuated by a consortium of Clemson and Louisville who think they'd be the 12th member in case of a Vanderbilt defection. To quote T.O.'s publicist, "[Vanderbilt] has [$15,000,000 plus] reasons" to stay in the SEC

Anonymous said...

american idol still sucks (is it even still on?)

Anyway, the result of his "not going to change anything rant" will be several of out best up-and-coming offensive players leaving from what a certain well-known blog board for Vandy Maniacs sounded like. High schools in this state fire football coaches at the drop of a hat. And Vanderbilt doesn't have as much balls when it comes to sports (coaching changes) as the average large high school in Tennessee? What a crock. I've stayed out of this long enough. I will be emailing Williams tonight.

Eric Adams said...

Yeah, I wrote a story on my blog a while back about Coach Bobby and how he deserves pressure.

He has only had one winning season. You can blame a lot on Vandy's academic standards, but that doesn't mean you are satisfied with a losing record.

No matter how good Johnson is, if he can't put together winning seasons, its time to give somebody else a shot.

Anonymous said...

We let guys in to play football who couldn't sniff admission to VU as non-athletes. (while valedictorians and national merit finalist non-athletes are turned down or waitlisted for admission if they are from middle TN)

american idol still sucks and so does our football program...and I did email a rant to David Williams.

Anonymous said...

And futhermore, I'll put Jan VBK's winning % up against Johnson's any day...and we all know what happened to Jan (a former SEC player of the the year at VU)

Aaron said...

FIRE TED CAIN

VandyGold28 said...

bobby won our first bowl game since the 50's. i'm fine w/ him.