Funny how it's all right with the world as long as little stepchild Vanderbilt just takes their lumps and slinks away. Heaven forbid that Vanderbilt rise up and bite back. Can't have that can we? Just giving what they've gotten over the years. Cheap shots? Part of the game, grow up, ya big babies. Coach a jerk? Haven't seen Bobby Petrino on any Most Popular Coaches ballots lately. CJF may be the Kyle Busch of the SEC but he's OUR jerk and he has Vanderbilt's back and the Commodore fans have his.
Last November, when Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was captured giving Florida kick Chas Henry the choke sign before a field goal attempt, there were a lot of folks who came down on Grantham.
We weren’t among them. Was it a juvenile move from a grown man? Sure. But did the act deserve the national attention it drew? Not in our opinion.
Then came Grantham’s dust-up with Vanderbilt coach James Franklin following the Bulldogs’ win last month in Nashville. As we noted at the time, Franklin “seemed calm and composed while Grantham appeared to go haywire.”
We also pointed out that Grantham had at that point been caught twice “acting like an overheated, 20-year-old player.” We wrote that he got “some egg on his face.”
And he did, the national media repeatedly showed the clip of him screaming at Franklin. Grantham later apologized.
We gave Franklin the benefit of the doubt on that occasion. His reputation had been pretty good to that point. Grantham was the known hot-head, not Franklin. And if — as Franklin claimed after the game — a Georgia player had taunted him and his team, we have no problem with him taking it up with the opposing team’s coach.
But now we’re left to wonder what Franklin said to Grantham that got him so riled up. You see, it’s been reported that Franklin has now had his second run-in with an opposing coach after a football game.
Saturday night, Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt in overtime. Vol defensive back Eric Gordon picked off a Jordan Rodgers pass and returned it for the game-winning score. But an official incorrectly blew a whistle and marked Gordon down. Though no Vandy players seemed to slow down or stop, technically the play should have been dead right there, it should not have been revieweed — inadvertent whistles aren’t reviewable — and Tennessee should have started it’s own offensive possession.
Instead, the officials reversed the call after a review and got the call “right,” in terms of what actually happened, but they were wrong in how they arrived at their decision (as even SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw admitted yesterday).
Franklin was livid over the call and he apparently refused to shake the hands of Tennessee quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand after the game. (Photo at left.)
If true, this is now the second time Franklin has gotten into some sort of postgame altercation with an opposing coach.
Making matters worse, Jimmy Hyams of WNML-AM/FM in Knoxville has reported that a witness heard Franklin shout an obscenity toward the Tennessee student section as he left the field.
And tossing in one other nugget at this point, Vanderbilt is also developing a reputation for delivering late clips. Vanderbilt center Logan Stewart was given a half-game suspension by the SEC for a blindside, knee-first that hit he put on Georgia’s Kwame Geathers. On Saturday, the Commodores had a 70-yard pass called back when O-lineman Josh Jelesky delivered a similar clip to a Tennessee defender.
After his team’s game with Georgia, Franklin said, “We are gonna compete with class and we are gonna play with class. And we’re gonna coach ‘em with class.”
Well, as was the case with Grantham, we start to pay more attention when a pattern begins to develop. So if — and we stress if — Franklin snubbed a pair of UT coaches and cursed Tennessee’s student section on Saturday, then he might want to rethink that part about coaching ‘em with class.
And if his team continues to be penalized for delivering low, cheap shots game after game, he may have to tweak that part about playing with class, too.