The coaching profession is always a fluid situation and change is eminent.
When I was coaching my boss told me you’re either getting hired or fired because you would never be able to stand pat in such a difficult profession. James Franklin left Vanderbilt for Penn State and it was the right move for him professionally. He will go to a football school with the resources to compete for a conference championship and national championship.
He is from the area and everything about the hire makes sense. Vanderbilt may have lost a great coach but it didn’t lose the momentum that was left behind. James Franklin showed the Commodores program how to win and be competitive in the best league in the country. He gave them the blueprint, and now it’s up to them to sustain it with the next hire.
I do think Vanderbilt benefitted from down years at Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. With that said, they deserved every win and the difference in the Commodores under Franklin as opposed to the past was the fight. His teams would battle you for 60 minutes no matter what, and eventually that paid dividends.
I think with the money Vanderbilt is willing to pay and the fact that the fans have actually shown an interest in football makes it a destination job. There are only 14 jobs in the best conference in college football, and that in its own right makes it desirable. David Williams will do the right thing and interview Herb Hand who is on staff, but look for him to go outside and bring in a guy like Derek Mason from Stanford, Greg Roman from San Francisco or Chad Morris of Clemson. This is a chance to make a splash and I would expect him to swing for the fences.
I talked last week about the potential of Lane Kiffin joining Alabama and what that could mean for the Crimson Tide offense. Kiffin is a pro-style guy who could easily come in and speed up the Bama offense. In a four year span from 2009-2012, Kiffin’s starting quarterback’s threw 128 touchdowns. These numbers include Jonathan Crompton at Tennessee, who had done nothing before he arrived. He also recruited Tyler Bray to the Volunteers and Bray left as one of the most productive quarterbacks in Tennessee history.
Kiffin will be a good recruiter and coordinator for Nick Saban. The question is what will he learn from Saban and how long will he be in Tuscaloosa? He is a guy who has had some really good jobs and been unsuccessful, and that experience could help him as he matures. The one thing he needs is stability and working for Saban should help him on focusing on the offense. This could still be a difficult situation for him because he does not inherit an experienced quarterback and any failure or drop off could be left at his feet. One thing is for sure, Kiffin can score points, averaging over 30 points per game as a play caller during that four-year period.
This and that
- Todd Grantham left Georgia for Louisville which sounds like a win-win for both sides. He will get a raise and a long-term deal from Bobby Petrino as well as the opportunity to face ACC offenses. Georgia fans get what they want in the fact that many felt he was overpaid and he under delivered. Mark Richt is looking for a big splash and player development will be key. The Dogs have the personnel but it must be developed into a cohesive unit that has an identity. In Georgia’s last seven losses they are giving up 34 points per game.
- Mark Richt and Georgia has found a new Defensive Coordinator reportedly hiring FSU Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
- Alabama needs a defensive line coach and may raid LSU’s staff for Brick Haley. Saban will also interview Georgia’s defensive line coach Chris Wilson. One other name to keep an eye on is former USC coach Ed Orgeron. He is an outstanding recruiter and position coach and of course he has ties to Kiffin and the SEC.
- Jeremy Hill of LSU is going pro and I think it is the right call. He is physically ready to go play at the next level and at that position you only have so much tread on the tires. He was a headache off the field for Les Miles, but on the field he was the best of a deep and talented group. Miles also needs to find an offensive line coach before spring practice.