Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caldwell Wants to Stay; Understands if He Can't

That's the gist of Jeff Lockridge's article in today's Tennessean. I am ambivalent as to whether Coach Caldwell should be given another year, or should be released after Vanderbilt concludes the 2010 campaign Saturday against Wake Forest. On the one hand, Coach Caldwell inherited an incredibly difficult situation, taking over as the head coach just 7 weeks before the season was set to begin. Despite their struggles, Caldwell has shown a willingness to shake things up, most notably by installing Dez Kitchens as Offensive Coordinator in the middle of the season. On the other hand, Vanderbilt has not been nearly as competitive this season has they had been in previous years. The most illustrative example: between 2005 and 2009 Vanderbilt lost 9 games by 21 points or more; this year, they've lost 4 (and both UK and UConn probably could have been worse were it not for late touchdowns). As David Williams said: "there's losing, and there's losing," and Vanderbilt's losses this season absolutely fall into the latter category (whatever that is).

I don't think Vanderbilt should fire Caldwell and his staff just to fire them. You only fire a coach if you you can get a better coach who will take the program further than its current leadership can. For Vanderbilt, that means getting the program to a point where every year a bowl feels like a possibility. Despite Joe Biddle's vague critique that Vanderbit "lacks commitment" and prognostication of our inevitable doormat status in the SEC, I think expectations of Black and Gold football in December (or dare I say January) is achievable. So the question is two-fold: 1) is Robbie Caldwell capable of that? 2) If he's not, what coach that would be attracted to Vanderbilt, is?

What do you think, VSLNation?

Another wrinkle to consider, according to Jeff Lockridge's blog, is the opening at Furman, where several members of the current staff, including Robbie Caldwell, Ted Cain, and Bruce Fowler coached under Bobby Johnson before his jump to the Commodores. Does Caldwell decide to pull a Tubby Smith and seek greener pastures before being shown the door?


Anonymous said...

We have flat-out been non-competitive this year. Word around those of influence in the program says that there is zero chance that Caldwell is retained and that Vandy will finally step up and chase a proven D1 coach (not a hot assistant, outside of the guy at Auburn).

Caldwell is done and it is time that someone come in that can give us a fighting chance.

Douglas James said...

As little as 2 or 3 weeks ago I was of the belief that CRC should be retained and given a chance to turn this thing around. My thinking was he had been given a raw deal but he was willing to make necessary changes and we seem to have alot of very talented freshman to go along with a still young team.

But looking how we have played against UK/UT. Two teams that (this year at least) we should have been more than competitive with my thinking has changed.

Basically there is just a cloud sitting over the program right now becuase of the 2 disasterous seasons we have had in a row. While I don't think it is CRC's fault, he will be the one who has to take the blame because really there isn't anyone else.

In hiring a coach, I really hope $$$ is not an issue. Only winning ballgames should be. I think the university is committed to improving the facilities (the stadium and an in-door practice facility would be my two goals).

The thing I'm not sure about is if we want to go after a re-tread (Tommy Bowden? Tommy Tubberville, Dare I say Mike Leach?) or do we go after an up and commer (hopefully someone winning at a non-BCS Division 1 school like the guy from Navy or a big time assistant looking for his first coaching job).

Either way I really hope we don't get someone from the FBS. It would just send the wrong message in my opinion.

Heim Thyme said...

I vote Mike Leach. Not sure if he could get along with the administration or not, but he adds a lot of hype and excitement to a program. I've been to Lubbock many a time (lived there for a few months), and it was always exciting to see him coach. In just a few short years he took a bottom dweller in a good conference to knocking off the number 1 team in the country.

Not sure if it's possible to do the same at Vandy (NOTE: academics at Tech are not a real priority, see lazy river on campus in a desert: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/recsports/aquatics/leisure.php), but I agree completely with Doug. Vandy needs to do something. There is no reason Vandy can't do what UK has been doing as of late, consistently getting over .500 and going to bowl games.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Caldwell must go after the Wake game. With the talent on the roster on both sides of the ball, we need a coach who can come in fresh and add some enthusiasum to this program. At present, while being a great academic institution, we are the laughing stock of sec football. While Caldwell was dealt a bad hand with BJ quitting, he still was given the opportunity to lead this team this season. The offensive coaching staff and its evaluation of talent from early training camp forward is one of the worse that I have seen in covering college football for many years. The mistakes during games is more from a lack of good postion coaching than blaming players and making excuses as some coaches have done. The Vandy job will be a sought after job by some very credible coaches around the country. No question that Caldwell and staff must go; a new coach will find a nucleus of good young offensive talent; Jordon Rogers, Stacey, Norman, Krause, Mathews, Boyd and many playmakers on defense. The OL will be very solid next season with the redshirts and the existing OL recruiting class coming in. His 1st job will be to find a quarterback. LS has been given an opportunity and is, without question, not the answer for next season. I have been covering college football for many years and this is one of the most painful Vandy teams to watch in recent years. Caldwell is a good coach but had really awful assitant coaches this season. Kiser (qb); Cain (st); and Fisher (wr) really did not make things any easier for Caldwell this season. I feel that David Williams will do the right thing after the Wake game.

Anonymous said...

How bad would this team be without Cain, Kiser, and Fisher? What if they get rid of those 3 and retain the rest of the staff?

Andrew Smith said...

The fact that any Vandy fan would think, even for a second, that Caldwell should be back shows why this program has never been good.

Vandy's goal should be to have one of the 25 best coaches in the country, generally an up-and-comer who needs to prove his genius before landing a really top gig. Any time we find ourselves with a coach who has demonstrated that he certainly is not one of the top 25 coaches in the country, we need to show him the door and start over.

Does anyone at this forum or on the planet earth believe that Robbie Caldwell is one of the top 25 college football coaches in the county? Obviously not, which is why he needs to go.

Anonymous said...

I just don’t get it. Yall think all of sudden Robbie was supposed to guide us to the promise land and get us to a bowl game. With Bobby at the helm we were expected to go winless in the SEC and only beat Eastern Michigan. I see a guy who is committed to the university and not coaching for another job. Last year we went winless in the SEC, this year we didn’t. Last year our only FBS win was against Rice, we lost to ARMY! I have not been nearly as embarrassed to be a Vandy fan this year as last year. If he beats WF bring him back for one year and then raise the stakes. Bowl Game or bust for Robbie in 2011. Williams isn’t going to get this slam dunk or flashy hire you all think. He will go after a no name from an Ivy League school or a DII coach. All of who think he will get Leach, Malzan, etc are retarded.

Anonymous said...

This is about more than Robbie failing his audition this year. This is about whether the university will take this point in time to go "all in" and HIRE A BIG NAME COACH...PUT A BUBBLE OVER THE PRACTICVE FIELD...FINISH THE RENOVATIONS OF THE STADIUM..PAY WHAT IT TAKES TO GET TOP ASSISTANT COACHES.

Anything short of doing all that is an EPIC-FAIL

Andrew Smith said...

For all I was arguing earlier that we need to expect a great coach, I'm not sure hiring a big name coach is the way to do that.

There may well be exceptions, but generally speaking, the only big name coaches who will coach at Vandy (assuming you don't want to pay your coach $20 million a year and take your pick of anyone) are ones who have already proven themselves to be damaged goods.

I think you have a far better shot of landing a football genius who still has some fire in the belly and some innovations ahead of him, if you take a young coach who has performed brilliantly at a lower level and needs to prove he can do it in SEC-level ball.

Anonymous said...

This university has screwed themselves every time when it comes to taking a stance and committing to athletics. In the end, we are lucky have Kevin, Tim, and Melanie as our most visible coaches. They havent committed to football and they will remain to do so. They wont even close in our less than 40,000 seat stadium, you really think they will go after Mike Leach? They wont out a bubble over the practice feild so it makes sense to go after Gus Malzan(???).

Anonymous said...

Randy Edsall. Brought UCONN from DI-AA to DI, helped get the stadium built, can recruit and is a character guy. Time to get him in a real conference.

AD said...

I think there are reasons to bring Mike Leach here, but one big reason I think it won't happen is because of the defamation lawsuit he filed against Texas Tech, among other defendants, today: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5847181.

David Williams wears many hats at this university. One of them is AD (shhh, I know we don't officially have an AD). One of them is general counsel. DW does not want to bring in litigious employees, and with this suit, Leach, himself a JD, looks a lot like a legal troublemaker. The filing of this suit, along with his other characteristics-- the ones that a lot of us think would make him a good option on the field-- make him look like a headache DW doesn't want, even if he is the best on-the-field option.