Albama Arkansas Auburn Florida Georgia Kentucky LSU Mississippi State Missouri Ole-Miss USC Tennessee Texas A&M Vanderbilt

Vandy’s Bowl Challenge Just Got A Little Bit Tougher With Injury To QB Carta-Samuels

austyn-carta-samuels-throwsVanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels has had surgery on his left knee to repair a torn ACL, ending the senior’s career and making James Franklin’s job a bit tougher heading into bowl season.  Carta-Samuels played three games with the ACL tear  and deserves massive praise for being so selfless.  According to Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean, the coach was “emotional” and “teary-eyed” while addressing his quarterback’s status.

“Really proud of that kid,” Franklin said.  ”He rehabbed and was able to come back and was able to get a brace that he was able to practice and play in.  He put the team above himself, and then he had surgery right when the season ended, and he’s going to try to get ready for his Pro Day.”

One must assume that Franklin and team physicians determined that Carta-Samuels was not in danger of doing any further damage to his knee by playing on it.

With Carta-Samuels out, the Commodores will turn to backup Patton Robinette.  The redshirt freshman is more of a runner than a passer, which will likely impact Vandy’s gameplan against Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

For the season, Carta-Samuels was 193-0f-281 (68.7%) for 2,268 yards, 11 TDs and nine interceptions.  Robinette was 40-of-69 (58.0%) for 488 yards, two scores and three picks.  He did run for six additional touchdowns.  Vanderbilt defeated Georgia and Florida with Robinette at quarterback, but they also lost at Texas A&M.  When Carta-Samuels returned against Kentucky, Tennessee and Wake Forest — all wins — Robinette continued to be used as an occasional change-of-pace quarterback.

Still, going from a two-quarterback attack with an established passer to a one-QB attack with a so-so passer won’t be easy against quality competition.  If the Commodores defeat 8-4 Houston it will be just the team’s third win over a winning team in the past two years.  Also, Franklin will have to make sure his team is up for Birmingham’s BBVA Compass Bowl.  Since Vandy’s holiday destination was announced, VU fans have complained loudly and consistently about their team’s trip.  They now need to hope that their moaning hasn’t impacted their team’s view of the game.

We would expect Franklin to actually use the gripes as a motivation for his team.  ”We deserved better, now let’s go out and prove it.”  They’ll just have to do so with one half of the quarterback tandem that led them to their last three victories.

 

 

Post Comments » Comments (30)

 

 

Let the Interviews Begin

Vanderbilt
Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Jeff Lockridge reports in today’s Tennessean that Vanderbilt has officially begun to interview candidates to become their next football coach. According to Lockridge, David Williams will meet with at least 10 candidates in his first round of interviews. The report mentions some of the “usual suspects,” including Auburn Offensive Coordinator Gus Malzahn and Virginia Tech Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster (both of whom coach today and will not be contacted until their regular season concludes), but also specifically refers to Air Force’s Head Coach Troy Calhoun. Calhoun’s name has previously been mentioned in connection with this opening in passing, but he has not received as much attention as he gets in this piece. Calhoun informed the University of Colorado early this week he was not interested in becoming their next coach, causing one to wonder if he’s got his eye on the opening in Nashville. Last year, Calhoun, when linked to the Tennessee job after Lane Kiffin’s abrupt departure, emphaticly and publicly stated he was not going to be the Volunteer next coach. So far, Vanderbilt’s search process has not be mired or undercut by such statements from potential candidates.

According to Lockridge: “While Williams expects there to be a second round of interviews, he added that someone could ‘jump out’ to him in the first round of talks that would produce an offer.” During the coaching seach, Vanderbilt assistant coaches Des Kitchings, Herb Hand and Rick Logo and assistant recruiting coordinator Norval McKenzie have been traveling all week visiting the 14 recruits who have committed to the Commodores. Of those 12 commits reached by the Tennessean, 11 described their committment to Vanderbilt as “firm” or “pretty firm.”

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

2 Coveted Coordinators Would Listen to Vanderbilt: Tennessean

Vanderbilt
Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Jeff Lockridge’s story in today’s Tennessean adds another name to the list of potential candidates to fill the now vacant head coaching position (Randy Shannon). Perhaps more importantly though, it offers quotes from Virginia Tech’s Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster and Stanford’s Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman indicating both would be interested in coming to Nashville. Shannon doesn’t bowl me over, but I am very intrigued by both Foster and Roman as potential hires for the Commodores.

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

Vandy Talking With Temple’s Golden… Wise Move

Al Golden is an up-and-comer in the college coaching profession.  He’s also on Vanderbilt’s short list to replace Robbie Caldwell.  And that’s a good sign for Vandy fans.

Now, before anyone sends me a nasty email — “I knew we could get a good coach, you weasel!” — just remember that I wrote yesterday that VU will have to start spending more cash if it’s to land a “name” coach.  If Vandy lures Golden into the coaching quicksand at Dudley Field, you can be certain that the Commodores have done two things:

1. Increased — maybe even doubled — what they pay their head coach

2. Promised to improve the school’s facilities

Vandy makes money on football.  It needs to spend some of that money to become more competitive in the SEC.

As for Golden, he has already resurrected one of college football’s most downtrodden programs at Temple.  In five seasons, his record is just 27-34, but that includes a 17-8 mark the last two years.  The Owls went to their first bowl game in 30 years last season (losing to UCLA in the Eagle Bank Bowl) and at 8-4 they’re on pace to go bowling again this season.

Golden has also been mentioned as a candidate for the open Minnesota job.  Last year he was connected to the openings at Tennessee, South Florida and Cincinnati.  He is just 41 years old. 

For a great background piece on Golden from The Philadelphia Inquirer, click here.

Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean reports that Vandy also “would consider” Tommy Bowden.  Here’s the rub: If Bowden couldn’t win consistently at Clemson, could he lift Vanderbilt to another level?  Bowden did have success at Tulane — another tough academic school — before heading to Clemson, but the Green Wave wasn’t trying to compete in the SEC.

There are also reports that Vandy is interested in Greg Roman, the associate head coach and run game coordinator at Stanford.  Roman might not be as much of a name hire as Golden, but Vanderbilt’s decision to pursue someone who has had success at an institution with tough entry requirements is quite sound.  (I would link to the site reporting that, but they’re a site that grabs info from others and doesn’t provide links.  If they link, we’ll link.  Til then, “there are also reports…”)

So far, Vanderbilt’s search seems to show that Commodore officials are serious about improving their program.  We’ll see if the pay-off is as good as the search.

Post Comments » Comments (3)

 

 

Caldwell Wants to Stay; Understands if He Can’t

Vanderbilt
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?

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

Is David Williams Softening the Ground for a Coaching Change?

Vanderbilt
Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Jeff Lockridge’s piece in today’s Tennessean is incredibly interesting, especially in light of the reports that surfaced last weekend when Vanderbilt was getting throttled by Florida. Vice Chancellor David Williams talks about his displeasure with the Commodores’ performance this season. That, however, is not the story. Williams cites lack of competitiveness as perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this season. I couldn’t agree more. Consider this: between 2005-2009 Vanderbilt lost 9 games by 21 points or more; this season, the Commodores have lost 4 games by 3 touchdowns or more (and there’s still 3 games left to play). I get that 3 of the 9 21+ point losses were last season, but somehow this season feels worse

I am on record as being completely in the tank for David Williams. I think he has done a fantastic job spearheading Vanderbilt athletics and that the Commodores, as an athletic program are in better shape now than when I started in 2001. And despite this criticism he has taken in the comments section here and on other Vanderbilt sites, this article says to me not only that he’s listening, but that he also gets its. As Williams says, “There’s losing and there’s losing.” This years losses have been of the particularly bitter variety.

Williams admits the last 3 games will be important in evaluating Coach Caldwell and his staff. Vice Chancellor Williams concludes with this: “You want to be fair [to Coach Caldwell]. But I’m committed to making this program competitive. And we’ll do what we need to do to make that happen.” Vanderbilt fans can’t ask for more.

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

BBL: Calipari ready to ink a No. 1 class again today

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

Big Blue Links for Wednesday:

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

Vanderbilt loses 2 more Running Backs Crushing Loss to Gators

Vanderbilt
Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

Jeff Lockridge reports that both Zac Stacy (concussion) and Wesley Tate (ankle) might miss next week’s game at Kentucky. If neither Tate nor Stacy return, the Commodores will only have 1 scholarship running back in Lexington. When it rains it pours.

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

The Tennessean’s Jeff Lockridge Clears up Contract Questions Surrounding Coach Caldwell

Vanderbilt
Content provided by Vanderbilt Sports Line.

In the Vanderbilt blog on the Tennessean‘s website, beat-reporter Jeff Lockridge clear up the “multi-year” contract extension reportedly being worked out between Vanderbilt and Coach Robbie Caldwell:

“Absolutely nothing has chan ged with Caldwell’s con tract since the pre sea son, Van der bilt offi cials con fir­med after Florida’s 55-14 win.
When the inte rim tag was remo ved from Caldwell’s title before the sea son began, his con tract was rewor ked as a ‘multi-year deal.’ It is widely known to be a two-year deal, although vice chan ce llor David Williams and Cald well choose to remain non-specific on the record to pre serve Vanderbilt’s pri vacy poli cies regar ding contracts.”

Lockridge offers this to bewildered Commodore fans: “All Vanderbilt fans need to know is that nothing has changed. Nothing is in place that would prevent Vanderbilt from going another direction after this season, or making a commitment to keeping Caldwell and his staff on board.” If Vanderbilt doesn’t look more competitive in their final 3 games than they have in 3 of their last 4, another direction might be the proper course to chart.

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 

SEC: LSU-Alabama today’s highlight game

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

SEC links for Saturday:

Share/Save/Bookmark

Post Comments » No Comments

 

 



Follow Us On:
Mobile MrSEC