Wednesday, September 1, 2010

VSL Hotline: Climer's at it Again, Edition

Perhaps against my better judgment, I'll start today's Hotline with David Climer's column in today's Tennessean. Climer says the Commodores should look to Northwestern as a model to base their football program after and that the Wildcats have "cracked the code" when it comes to mixing success academically with results on the gridiron. I'm conflicted, because on the one hand, Climer is right, Northwestern has found ways to be successful while at the same time continuing to be one of the country's premiere institutions. He's also right that the genesis of Northwestern's resurgence was the hiring of Gary Barnett in the 1992 who fundamentally changed the culture. From there, the Wildcats have had a number of winning seasons led by a string of successful coaches. With all that said, Climer's column ignores a simple fact that, in my view, makes his column fatally flawed: the Big Ten vs. the SEC. I don't think I have to go into how much better the SEC has been than the Big Ten during the time of Northwestern's resurgence. Comparing Northwestern to Vanderbilt makes a lot of sense, but when it comes to football and the conferences they play in, it's not an apples to apples comparison (neither is such a comparison with Wake Forest or Stanford entirely fair given the disparity between the SEC and the ACC and Pac 10). FInally, I take exception to Climer's back-handed swipe at Bobby Johnson. There is no doubt that the Commodore program was not as successful as the team or the fans hoped during his tenure, but Climer ignores all the progress that was made, including a .500 SEC season, and a win in the Music City Bowl win, the program's first bowl appearance since 1982, and their first win since Eisenhower administration. For whatever reason, it appears the Tennessean's columnists (particularly Climer) have it out for the Commodores and will always take an opportunity to criticize the program. Here, Climer has a point, but he's still wrong.

Mike Organ writes in today's Tennessean about Jamie Graham and the fact he finally appears to have "settled" in a position: cornerback. The article goes on to say that while Jamie has a home now, the coaching staff will continue to avail themselves of Graham's versatility should the need arise, especially on the offensive end.

Mark Wheeler writes in today's Nashville City Paper about how the Commodores are looking to block out last season's 2-10 set back, and instead establish a new identity revolving around strength. According to Wheeler: "The current group of players insist that they identify much more closely with the squad of two years ago, and it starts with their mentality."

Looking ahead to Saturday's match-up, the Commodore ticket office expects at least 35,000 to attend the opener against Northwestern. The Tennessean's Mike Organ also delves into some news and notes, highlighting Safety Sean Richardson's recovery, the fact Warren Norman is back in pads and running a week after getting scoped, and the likelihood that sophomore Archibald Barnes will be the third linebacker in the Commodores 4-3 defense. Oh yeah, and Coach Caldwell was seen chalking the field yesterday.

Stay tunes to VSL, Stanimal is back from his honeymoon, and I'm sure will have lots to say.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There will be less than 30k in the house. Who really thinks we will get 35k in there? (besides the paid spin doctors)