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Franklin Wants An Indoor Practice Facility At Vandy

When Vanderbilt hired James Franklin last December, chancellor Nick Zeppos said that the new coach would be given every tool necessary to recruit and compete in the SEC.

“I told James if he needs a rocket to go to the moon to get a player — get the rocket.”

Fast-forward to yesterday.  An electrical storm forced Vanderbilt off its practice field for a full 45 minutes.  Franklin saw an opportunity to reiterate a request he’s made before.

“Here’s another example of why we need an indoor facility,” the coach said.  He also pointed out that even Tennessee State — an FCS program just down the road from Vandy — has an indoor facility.

That’s all well and good, but The Tennessean’s Jeff Lockridge writes:

“While Vanderbilt’s campus is virtually landlocked, Franklin is adamant that there can be some solution.  However, right now an indoor facility is merely a discussion point and not in the administration’s plans.”

Maybe Franklin should ask for a rocket instead.

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Vandy “Talking” To Franklin, But No Deal Yet

Vanderbilt vice chancellor David Williams has told The Tennessean that no official offer has been extended to Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin.

“Been talking to him, still talking to him.  That’s where we’re at.  There are so many moving parts and you have to come to that agreement.  You have to talk to (candidates), then you have to talk to the people that represent them.  Sometimes that goes good.  Sometimes it doesn’t go good.  But we’re talking.  It can go a little slower sometimes, and it can also go faster than you think.”

Vandy fans, we at wish you the best of luck.  But we’re done with the VU search until someone actually accepts the job.  No more of Mr. Williams’ double-talk for us.

Yesterday, ESPN’s Joe Schad reported that a source told him Franklin was set to accept Vandy’s offer.  (Maybe his source really was Dan Mullen’s wife.)  The Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell wrote that “two sources close to Franklin” said he was expected to take the job.  (Just as Gus Malzahn was “expected” to take the job a day earlier.)

Maybe Franklin is ready to accept.  Maybe Franklin thinks the process is further along than it actually is. 

Or maybe Vanderbilt’s search has simply turned into a train wreck.

Nearly a month ago, VU forced out Robbie Caldwell in order to get a jump on other schools whose jobs would also soon come open.  Since then, Minnesota, Florida, Miami, Indiana, Colorado and others have all come open… and been filled.

Vandy decided to spend more money on its football program and targeted several “name” candidates for the job this time around.  We praised that decision.  But we also said no “name” candidate would likely accept a job that came with Vandy’s baggage (ie: decades of losing).

Turns out, no “name candidates” — Al Golden, Troy Calhoun, Gus Malzahn — were interested enough to actually put pen to paper.

Over the weekend, VU officials allowed rumors to spread regarding their pursuit of Malzahn.  Commodore fans got excited.  Other candidates pulled out of the running (which is a sure sign a deal was believed imminent). 

And then Malzahn backed away.  Williams told The Tennessean that he didn’t even know that Malzahn had backed away.  Result: Most Vandy fans were disappointed/angry… while Vandy officials looked clueless.

Now it appears we’re in the rinse/repeat mode with Vandy and Franklin.  Well, no thanks.

To the Vanderbilt administration, best of luck in finally landing a coach.  (Though at this point, it looks like going without an AD and football coach might be a possibility.)

To Vandy fans, we feel for you.  You deserve better.  Those of you who have been loyal to VU through the years — in both attendance and donations — shouldn’t be treated to an emotional roller-coaster such as this. 

Vanderbilt’s search has gone on longer than any of the other schools’ searches mentioned above.  It’s been littered with more turndowns and dead-ends than any of the schools’ searches mentioned above, too.

Well, until Vandy finally inks Franklin or someone else, we’re done with the rumor mill of VU’s search.

We want to cover SEC football and basketball.  Not train wrecks.

UPDATE — Here’s The Baltimore Sun’s take on the Franklin situation.  The Washington Post — wisely — has decided to walk away from this story this morning.  Meanwhile, ESPN’s Chris Low has reiterated Schad’s report from yesterday.

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VU Update: No Update

Anybody else notice that no one is saying anything new on the James Franklin-to-Vanderbilt front?

I just got off the phone with a source in Nashville who said vice chancellor David Williams and the rest of the Commodore brass have gone stone silent as a result of this weekend’s Gus Malzahn implosion.

For that reason, The Washington Post remains the only outlet to suggest that Franklin is currently working on contract details with Vandy.

A number of Vanderbilt and Maryland backers are saying that The Post has been wrong on this story once before, so why pay attention to them now?  But the paper was only a sorta/kinda wrong on its “Malzahn’s the guy” story from last weekend.

Here’s what we mean by that:  The Post was told by a source close to Franklin — perhaps Franklin himself — that he was no longer in the running for the Vanderbilt job.  And despite what Williams has said, half of Nashville knew full well that Vandy had placed an offer on the table for Malzahn.  Franklin (and/or the source close to him) knew that, too.

So The Post got word that Malzahn was the top candidate and that Franklin was pulling out of the search… it added 2 plus 2… but the numbers didn’t add up to 4 because Malzahn backed away from the negotiating table.  And to be fair, Williams sounded just as surprised by that — “I don’t know where they stand” — as The Post’s reporter must have been.

Maybe Franklin (or a source close to him) has a hard time getting a read on where the coach really stands in Vandy’s search which might explain why he (or a source close to him) continues to give “I’m in” and “I’m out” signals to The Post.

Point: The Post wasn’t completely wrong on its Malzahn’s gonna get the job report.  The Post seems to be sharing info straight from the Franklin camp. 

And at this point it sounds like Franklin (or a source close to him) believes he’s going to get the Vanderbilt job.

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