January 13th, 2014 12:34 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: New Jersey, Nick Saban, South Florida, Vandy
According to Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com, Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Bob Shoop will not be the man to take over for James Franklin in Nashville. That’s because he’s going to join Franklin at State College as Penn State’s new defensive coordinator.
Shoop was expected to be on David Williams’ list of possible replacements for Franklin, but with the ex-Vandy coach taking as many Commodore commitments as possible with him, it might be best for a clean break from the previous regime. And there’s certainly no shortage of potential candidates (at least in terms of who the media has been throwing out):
* Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh head coach who just finished his first year
* David Cutcliffe, Duke head coach with an SEC background at Tennessee and Ole Miss
* Herb Hand, Vanderbilt offensive line coach who was a holdover from before Franklin’s era
* Mark Hudspeth, UL-Lafayette head coach and former Dan Mullen aide at Mississippi State
* Pete Lembo, Ball State head coach
* Jim McElwain, Colorado State head coach and former Nick Saban offensive coordinator at Alabama
* Mike MacIntyre, Colorado head coach for one year whose father once served as Vandy’s head coach
* Derek Mason, Stanford’s defensive coordinator appears to be an early favorite for the job
* Chad Morris, Clemson’s offensive coordinator who some view as a potential Gus Malzahn clone
* Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State defensive coordinator
* Greg Roman, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator
* Kirby Smart, Alabama defensive coordinator
There is one name that’s popped up on very few lists and gotten little attention. But it’s the one name we believe Vanderbilt’s athletic director should have at the tip top of his list — Greg Schiano.
Schiano’s no-nonsense approach didn’t work with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In going 11-21 he never gave the grown men on his roster a reason to buy into his dictatorial system. No surprise. Nick Saban and Bill Belichick can shhh and criticize their players because they win. Guys who take that approach and lose are typically run out of town on a rail (Derek Dooley, being a recent SEC example).
Forget Schiano’s brief NFL tenure. The man built Rutgers — traditionally the very worst football program in Division I — into a program that’s now respected. Before Schiano the Scarlet Knights had been to one bowl game in school history. Since Schiano took over they’ve been to eight (six under the man who built them and two under his replacement, Kyle Flood).
Schiano — a former Miami assistant — recruited South Florida heavily and likely still has plenty of connections in that talent-rich area. After a four-year building phase, Rutgers posted winning records in six of the coach’s last seven years at the New Jersey school.
Could a coach who just bombed out of the NFL afford to try and kickstart his career at a school with a sad tradition? Good question. Schiano might believe there are better gigs than the one at that toughest academic school in the toughest conference in America which also boasts some of the smallest and oldest facilities. VU has made plenty of recent improvements, yes, but enough to lure in someone like Schiano?
Also, how would he handle the academic restrictions he would face on the recruiting trail as Vandy’s coach? On that front, we suspect pretty well. Hey, if you can sell South Florida kids on going to the worst D-I program in the country — in New Jersey — you can sell kids on getting a world-class education in a world-class city while playing football in a world-class conference.
Williams has shown that he can spot talent. He offered Malzahn the Vandy gig three years ago and when Malzahn balked, Williams found Franklin. Franklin came from way off the radar. Vanderbilt’s next hire might come from off the radar, too.
But if we were manning the controls in Nashville, we’d make sure Schiano was on the radar and then we’d contact him. Immediately.
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