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Tight End Chooses Arkansas

Tight end Deondre Skinner from Patterson (La.) High School needed very little time to consider his scholarship offer from Arkansas.

Skinner gave a quick commitment to Arkansas defensive line coach Steve Caldwell when he called on Thursday.

“My coach told me I was supposed to call Coach Caldwell when I got home and I did,” Skinner told 247Sports. “He asked me if I was ready to commit. I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He told me coach (John L.) Smith wanted to offer me a scholarship and I committed on the spot.”

Skinner is the second prospect to commit to Arkansas’ class of 2013. The other is running back Kaleb Blanchard from Denham Springs (La.) High School.

Skinner chose Arkansas over offers from Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Louisiana-Lafayette.

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Trying to Focus On Basketball

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Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

So yesterday was dominated by the news of Coach Caldwell’s resignation and the football team getting man-handled by a pretty bad Wake Forrest team but I was focused on the b-ball game. Vandy beat Appalachian State by a score of 86-73. I could only follow on stat tracker as I was on the Bolt Bus down to D.C. but here are some of my thoughts……


1. At what point do we become concerned about Taylor’s struggles? I know he got hurt in the previous game but he has been basically non-existent on the offensive zone in 3 out of the last 4 games. He is a junior, he should be more consistent then this especially if he wants to be 1st round NBA draft pick.
2. Huge game from Festus. He is still fouling too much but he is surpassing AJ’s production from last year (if you don’t count foul shooting).

3. Break out game from Lance. We can afford to have Taylor struggle if Lance plays this well consistently. But can he?
4. Solid jack of all trades days from Brad and Andre. You guys don’t have to score a ton. Get 5-10 points, 5-8 bds, 5-8 assists. Love it.

5. When Jenkins is feeling it he is unstoppable. Still would like to get him even more shots. He is gonna drop 35-40 on someone real soon. Would love for it to be on ESPN so he can get the attention he deserves (maybe against Mizzou?)
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A Proper Send Off for Coach Caldwell

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Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Like many Commodore fans, I was unable to attend Saturday’s game against Wake Forest. Between the disappointing result and the rampant speculation as to who will be the new head coach, something has been overlooked: a proper send off and “thank you” to Coach Caldwell and the rest of his staff. Despite Saturday’s result and the two incredibly frustrating years, this staff is responsible for Vanderbilt’s first bowl win since the Eisenhower administration. Respect should be paid.

Here’s what I suggest. The Vanderbilt men play a game Wednesday night against Western Kentucky, a very good opponent who beat the Commodores when they faced off last season, in Memorial Gym at 8pm. The students will have returned, and the game is likely to be well attended. At some point during the game, preferably halftime, Coach Caldwell should be honored. It doesn’t have to be much (here, less is certainly more), but he is certainly entitled to a small sign of Commodore fans’ gratitude for the work he did. Coach Caldwell inherited an incredibly difficult situation when he took over for Bobby Johnson 7 weeks before the season began. Despite these difficult circumstances, Coach Caldwell never made excuses and comported himself with class and dignity. That this season was disappointing is, at this point, besides the point. Coach Caldwell deserves one final opportunity to appear before the Vanderbilt community and he thanked. I really don’t think that’s asking too much.

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Initial Reaction on the Caldwell Resignation

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The press conference announcing Coach Caldwell’s resignation is worthy a watch for all Commodore fans. The answers given by both Coach Caldwell and Vice Chancellor David Williams were frank, and it was obviously uncomfortable for both men. I’m sure Coach Caldwell would like to have more time, and I’m sure Vice Chancellor would have liked to have seen more progress. Unfortunately, neither was to be.

I think David Climer was right, Vanderbilt did the right thing by making this announcement prior to the game, as opposed to after it. Now, Coach Caldwell will get the “thank you” from the fans to which he is entitled. He inherited an incredibly difficult situation by taking over 7 weeks before the season began and did an admirable job. He never made excuses, either for the injuries that deleted his squad, or the hand he was dealt by being given the reins less than 2 months before the season was set to begin. Still, as Vice Chancellor Williams made clear, this decision was about the progress the program was making (or not making). After Vanderbilt’s 2008 Music City Bowl win, the team managed just 1 SEC win and no better than 5 wins (4 depending. What Coach Caldwell might have been able to do is, as he said “unknowable,” but the reality is this decision was not about him, but about the program and the direction it was going in. In the days ahead speculation will begin about who will replace Caldwell, and I’m sure the entire VSL Brain Trust (myself included) will weigh in with our views. In the meantime, Vanderbilt and Coach Caldwell have a game win before the season comes to a close. It would be a positive ending to an unfortunate season as both Robbie Caldwell and Vanderbilt look to move forward.

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Caldwell Wants to Stay; Understands if He Can’t

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Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

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?

Should Saturday’s Game Against Wake Forest be Robbie Caldwell’s Last as Vanderbilt’s Head Football Coach?online surveys

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?

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Media Monday with Coach Caldwell

Football head coach Robbie Caldwell met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores’ season finale with Wake Forest. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday in Nashville.
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Vanderbilt Falls to UT 24-10

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Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Watching a poorly played football game is bad enough, but doing so in a sea of orange is almost too much to bear. Statistically, the Commodores played well enough to win. But alas, they didn’t. Vanderbilt’s inability to execute and convert, a problem that has plagued this team for almost the entire season. Tonight’s game was a chance for Vanderbilt to confound expectations and show that, despite everything that’s happened this season, progress was being made. It was also a chance for, in my view, Coach Caldwell to definitively save his job. This is not to say that Vanderbilt’s lost tonight sealed Coach Caldwell’s fate. It’s also not to say that Coach Caldwell shouldn’t be given a full season (including off-season) to see what he can do. Unlike many (if not most) Commodore fans, I am quiet conflicted about whether Robbie Caldwell should be brought back for another season. What I do know is the team’s performance certainly didn’t held his chances.

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Media Monday with Coach Caldwell

Football head coach Robbie Caldwell met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores’ upcoming matchup with Tennessee.
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Media Monday with Coach Caldwell

Football head coach Robbie Caldwell met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores’ upcoming matchup with Kentucky.
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Media Monday with Coach Caldwell

Football head coach Robbie Caldwell met with the media Monday to discuss the Commodores’ upcoming matchup with Florida.
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