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Maryland Complaint Just Shows How Much Franklin Has Changed VU

“… We’re also gonna fight.  I want to make sure everybody understands that.  We are not gonna sit back and take stuff from anybody.  Anybody.  No one.  Those days are long gone and they are never coming back.  Ever.” 

 

Those were the words spoken by James Franklin after Georgia had escaped Nashville with a hard fought win over Vanderbilt last October.  Four months later, they continue to resonate.  From Music City all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

At the time Franklin was hot over a postgame run-in he’d had with Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.  A month later he would again show his fiery side when video taken from inside Tennessee’s locker room after its win over Vandy hit the internet.  Also, there were rumblings from inside more than one SEC program that Vanderbilt’s players had mastered the art of the late hit and the clip.

Add it up and it seems clear that Vanderbilt’s football program is no longer your daddy’s Vandy football program.  And if you need further proof of that, simply take note of the fact that the University of Maryland and the Atlantic Coast Conference have filed a formal complaint with the SEC claiming that Franklin and his staff tampered with players on the Terrapins’ roster.

Franklin defended his program last week on a Nashville radio show but he did not deny speaking with the players in question.  Indeed, the ex-Maryland assistant admitted that he maintains relationships with lots of his former players.

Whether you believe Franklin tried to woo quarterback Danny O’Brien and others to Nashville probably depends on your fan allegiance.  But it really doesn’t matter if the accusations are true or not.  What matters is the fact that someone is making an accusation about Vanderbilt.

Vandy vice chancellor of athletics David Williams told The Tennessean that he could not remember anyone filing such a claim against his school in the past.  ”Everybody around here knows the level of integrity of this university.  I’m going to do the investigation (into the tampering charges) — that’s what I’m supposed to do.  At the end, I’ll be able to say, ‘yea’ or ‘nay.’  These are new allegations that arose to us.”

If Williams finds that tampering did take place — and we’re going to have to really trust “the level of integrity” of his university on that one — it’s possible that VU could be hit with a secondary NCAA violation over the matter.  That’s nothing to be proud of and you can be sure some academicians at Vanderbilt won’t be happy that accusations have been made against their fine institution in the first place.

But for Vandy fans who’ve grown tired of being the SEC’s football punchline, tampering charges and secondary rule violations are of little import.  Dores fans are simply thrilled that Franklin is delivering what he promised back in October — that “old” Vanderbilt is gone.

Now “new” Vanderbilt is getting national media coverage, getting higher-caliber recruits… and getting under the skin of other coaches, programs and conferences.  At this point there should be no doubt that Franklin has changed the culture of the Commodores’ program.

 


18 comments
dee6634
dee6634

If Vanderbilt had a decent sports marketing agenda, that quote you used should be the basis of this year's football season ticket campaign. It made most of the Vanderbilt fans I know more enthused than ever about the coach and the upward trend of the program. It is absolutely the right attitude Franklin needs to convey to all those audiences that need to be affected, whether it's alumni, fans, potential fans, recruits and the media. I wouldn't expect fans from any other SEC school to like it.

 

As for the tampering allegation,  the saber rattling got it's publicity.

 

Edsall is desperate to turn around a very ugly public relations nightmare that started when he took the job.

 

The Maryland fan base is fractured. Edsall replaced Ralph Fridgeon (Maryland graduate) who revived a lifeless football program and who went 9-4 his last year. He was fired by a new AD who was influenced by a very wealthy supporter (Under Armor founder) who wanted the infamous Mike Leach as the coach. When the admin got cold feet, Edsall was hired. Edsall proceeded to g o 2-10 in his first year. A year in which he benched sophomore quarterback and former ACC Freshman of the year Danny O'Brien. In the 16 or so months since Edsall has been on the job, approximately 25 players with eligibility have transferred out of his program. Fans and the media took notice.

 

Unfortunately for Edsall, James Franklin, the former OC for Fridgeon and tabbed by the previous admin as the cursed "Coach in Waiting" took the Vanderbilt job when the new AD decided to hire his "own man".While Edsall stumbled, Franklin gained national attention for breathing life into Vanderbilt. Wins on the field were augmented by wins in recruiting. The Washington area media took notice. BUt Edsall fought back. He hired Mike Locksley to his staff to recruit. He signed high profile recruits in a very short period of time. His luck was changing.

 

And then O'Brien decided  to transfer. He's a  high profile player and respected within the Maryland community. A redshirt sophomore, he will graduate in 3 years. He is likely to be successful at his next stop. Even though Edsall benched O'Brien last year, this was the last person Edsall needed to lose. It was well known that O'Brien continued to have a relationship with Franklin, the coach that recruited him to Maryland and served as his position coach. O'Brien even helped Franklin clean out his office when he left Maryland (I don't think the same can be said of Edsall when he left UCONN). One of  Franklin's greatest strengths are his people skills. A young, African American coach, Franklin builds bonds with many of his players. Edsall, an old school task master, isn't blessed with enormous people skills. Combine a prickly personality with a losing record and a mass exodus of players and you've got a full fledged public relations catastrophe.

 

Did Franklin actively pursue O'Brien? Or did he merely continue to act as a confidant and mentor? Did his coach at Maryland look foolish trying to bully his last three transfers including the former quarterback? Did the national media point a finger at Edsall and say let them go? Was there a chance O'Brien would want to follow his mentor to Vanderbilt and find success there? A frustrated Edsall is seeing his so called "dream job" crumble at his feet before it can take root. He's gonna fight for his job by any means possible. He's gonna blame James Franklin for losing the biggest name of his current roster. He has found a scapegoat.

 

O'Brien will probably not go to Vanderbilt. But like many former players, O'Brien will continue to have a good relationship with Franklin. I don't think the same can be said of Randy Edsall.

 

The tampering allegations will be unproven and will dissipate rather quickly. 

Guest
Guest

6-7 overall, and 2-7 in SEC, wow your right, no where near "your daddy's" Vandy. Oh wait, a bowl game, time for Franklin statue.

Dynamite fan
Dynamite fan

This weeks "I loatheJames Franklin" article is tamer than most. But still the same condescending attitude. I trust David Williams to do 10X better investigation than the rest of the SEC presidents have in the past. VU's integrity is something fans, alumni, and staff hold dear. If JF did indeed tamper then bring on all NCAA sanctions. I'm assuming MrSEC will lobby for a 10 to 20 year "death penalty" for all VU sports and Franklin to be blacklisted. I hope the NCAA is fair with VU and does administer the proper punishment like every other SEC school has gotten for this type of infraction. It's not like our coach has lied to investigators, or our QB's father pimped him to the highest bidder, or our players were arrested at an agent's party. If nothing is found I'm 100 % sure this site will properly acknowledge Franklin's innocence ;).

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

Regardless of his prior relationship, wouldn’t it be officially considered tampering to initiate communication with another program’s player without permission? It would seem that the content of the communication would be irrelevant for the simple reason of avoiding any possibility of tampering whatsoever.

sec_fan
sec_fan

The more success you have the more people question you.

Dynamite fan
Dynamite fan

 @dee6634

Guilt by association. For the rest of the SEC this is a minor offense but for a program a clean as Vandy this is an embarrassment. I hope the NCAA doesn't try to make an example out of Franklin and Vandy.

JackRhodes
JackRhodes

I stopped reading after you said 2-7 in the SEC. Do you even watch college football?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Guest...

 

It'd be tough to go 2-7 in an 8-game SEC schedule.  VU was 2-6 in league play.  But they had tiffs with Georgia and Tennessee.  They've now got Maryland and the ACC mad at them.  They've put together their best signing class in history.  And they're getting major coverage from national media like Sports Illustrated.

 

Oh, and yes, they did go to just their second bowl game since 1982.

 

No one said build a statue of Franklin -- apparently you use the same juvenile "put words in someone else's mouth"  tactic that Dynamite Fan uses.

 

If you can't observe or admit that Franklin has changed the culture at Vandy, it says a heckuva lot more about you than it does this site.

 

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Dynamite fan...

 

John Lubbock once said: "What we see depends mainly on what we look for."

 

So I ask... how in the Hell is this piece anti-Franklin?  It's pro-Franklin, you twit.  It's saying he's changed the culture and put Vandy football on the national map.  It's saying his fans love him and his rivals hate him.  It's saying his attitude, swagger, whatever you want to call it has made VU relevant in football for the first time in years.

 

Please, just make sure you do your third-grade homework each night rather than posting here.  It's getting old reading your ridiculous "everybody hates us" junk.  And I'm guessing there are plenty of Commodore fans -- especially actual Vanderbilt graduates -- who'd just as soon a nitwit like yourself not represent them.

 

John

AGator
AGator

I suspect you're right. I wonder how many former players that coach calls who no longer have eligibility left. The coach may have plausible deniability but I think his calls to his former players were essentially tampering.

 

If I were a Vanderbilt alumnus I wouldn't want to see my school behaving like other SEC schools. People don't go to Vanderbilt because of their football team; they go because it is a top quality academic school.

TheTruth
TheTruth

 @sec_fan It's generation-old ignorance. If Vanderbilt appears to be on the verge of having even the slightest amount of success in football, then something fishy must be going on.

Guest
Guest

@JackRhodes Oh my gosh, I hit the 7 instead of 6. That makes the point entirely mute. I watch enough football to know that only Vandy considers a losing season progress.

Guest
Guest

@John at MrSEC Oh yeah, statue comment, sarcasm, you've heard of it. Let's see what Franklin does over a couple of seasons. I believe your being a bit generous on culture change. By the way, it is okay to disagree with you, right?

Guest
Guest

@John at MrSEC Touchy, aren't we. Each school has standards for success. Close loses, a bowl game (lost), a complaint from another school about recruiting. Your right, fantastic culture. Man, you are so smart. Oh yeah, make sure you comment about my hitting the 7 key instead of 6 key, thanks for your help on the 8 game schedule.

Dynamite fan
Dynamite fan

 @John at MrSEC

I noted this article was not as negative as most did I not??? But the statement "Also, there were rumblings from inside more than one SEC program that Vanderbilt’s players had mastered the art of the late hit and the clip." How can that be taken as a positive statement??? Spreading the claim that players are being coached to injure other players is a serious indictment on any coach's character. If you had left that out I would have read it differently.

 

You also insist that Williams will just poopoo the investigation like every other SEC program does. You seem to proclaim Franklin's guilt in this situation without any proof. This could mean NCAA sanctions placed on the program. How is that positive???

JackRhodes
JackRhodes

 @AGator O'Brien has already stated that he contacted Franklin first

JackRhodes
JackRhodes

that is possibly the dumbest thing ive seen all week

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Fellas...

 

First, thanks for reading.  

 

Second, a coach has to have permission from a school before he can talk about a transfer with a player.  Now, most coaches don't want their players talking to other schools' coaches anyway -- because who can prove what's being said? -- but the situation here does depend on whether or not Franklin -- without permission from Maryland -- discussed a transfer to Vandy in any way with O'Brien or the other Terrapins.  Even if O'Brien asked him about a roster spot, Franklin is not supposed to discuss such matters.

 

John

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