HOOVER, Ala. — Vanderbilt has a new football coach.
That’s not news. James Franklin is the third head coach at the Nashville school in the last three years.
What is new is Franklin’s style, brash and bold compared to the bookish image Vanderbilt possesses, a style he’s taking to the recruiting trail.
“Very few schools have all three aspects – academic, athletic and social – like we have,” said Franklin, formerly the offensive coordinator at Maryland (a job now occupied by ex-LSU play caller Gary Crowton). “That plan, that vision, that mentality has really been helping us (in recruiting).”
Franklin’s brashness is also helping the current team, according to senior linebacker Chris Marve.
“He’s committed to every small detail,” said Marve, a second-team All-SEC pick. “He’s passionate, family oriented. We’re a more disciplined team now.
“Everything we needed as a team, coach Franklin brought.”
Vandy has succeeded in luring some stronger prospects, but history says Franklin and the Commodores face a stiff challenge. Only one Vanderbilt coach in the last 60 years has left the school with a winning record. That was Steve Sloan, who went 12-9-2 in 1973-74.
Changing the culture of a team that has lost 16 of its last 17 SEC games dating back to 2008 (and gone 4-20 overall the last two seasons) is Franklin’s immediate challenge.
“The past is something I have no control over,” Franklin said. “All I can do is say that from the day I got on the campus (the players) understand our plan and vision and how we’re going to do it.
“These kids are very, very hungry.”
- Scott Rabalais