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A Bobby Johnson Replacement Primer

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↵Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson just threw in the towel at Vanderbilt, declaring that he's "tired of fighting the fight" according to Tom Dienhart and that he started thinking about retirement "20 years ago." Vanderbilt, a serious academic school without a separate athletc department in the midst of the dolla-dolla-bill-y'all SEC, is truly one of the soul-withering jobs in college football. ↵

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↵And that's before terrible tragedies start befalling your recruits. The end may have taken another five months or so but given the defeated nature of Johnson's comments it's hard not to see the roots of today's hastily-assembled press conference in another of the same ilk given in February: ↵

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↵Johnson's 59, financially comfortable, and was until today clearly the best coach in the modern era of Vandy football. He managed a winning season in 2008, the first in Nashville since 1982; the bowl win that year over Boston College was the program's first since 1955. He also beat Tennessee for the first time in 30 years in 2005; a couple years later he was one field goal that hit an upright from making it two of three. With Johnson around, the Commodores were plucky irritants instead of road kill. If the Commodores hadn't been stuck in the brutal SEC, there's a chance they could have experienced a "wake up the doormat" season" similar to those experienced by Rutgers and Wake Forest when their conferences either shed teams or competence. ↵

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↵But the cycle must move on. Who will replace Johnson? ↵

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↵THE HEAVY FAVORITE: Random Interim Guy. With fall practice just weeks away, noises have been made about making a quick promotion from within and sticking with the guy through the season. With Vandy's regression from competitive to horrible last year, chances are minimal that the guy surprises sufficiently to prevent Vandy from making a switch at the end of the year. ↵

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↵Would this crush recruiting? You're Vandy. You always recruit late anyway, once guys emerge as seniors and figure out they're not going to Florida (Vandy currently has two recruits.) And you won't be going to a bowl game so you can make the switch quickly. ↵

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↵THE GUY EVERYONE WILL BRING UP BECAUSE HE'S BEEN BROUGHT UP FOR EVERY JOB IN THE SOUTH FOREVER: Terry Bowden! He did great at Auburn that one year, which is basically the same as coaching at Vanderbilt, and his squeaky voice will distract from the fact that this is a school where a guy who went 29-66 is regarded as tough to replace. ↵

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↵THE GUY JUST CRAZY ENOUGH TO TRY IT: Hhhhhyarrrr. ↵

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↵Vanderbilt kids would thank you for letting them stand in a closet. It's better than running onto the field against Alabama, and it's nice and cool. Also there's no way a rubber-armed QB with a license to slant would find the SEC inhospitable. ↵

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↵THE OTHER GUY JUST CRAZY ENOUGH TO TRY IT: John L. Smith. I admit I'm just trying to get the wackiest characters from the past decade of college football back in the game. It's not like Vanderbilt is going to be interesting on the field; they may as well be interesting off of it. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.