Vanderbilt first-year coach James Franklin is eager to turn around the football fortunes of the Commodores after three season’s as Maryland’s offensive coordinator. Vanderbilt University Photo
New Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin has a gigantic goal of “turning around a university’s football history,” but he isn’t in a rush.
Franklin has not released a depth chart since Sunday night’s spring game and doesn’t plan on revealing one until days before the Sept. 3 season opener against Elon. The former Maryland offensive coordinator also hasn’t decided whether he will call the plays or if offensive coordinator John Donovan, who was running backs coach for the Terrapins, will have that responsibility.
“My job is to be the CEO of Vanderbilt football, and I understand that,” Franklin said, “but I do think that I can help and have an impact offensively also. John and I talked about this in detail before he took the job, and we’re just going to keep working through the summer and summer camp and make a decision we feel is in the best interest of our program.”
The Terrapins went 9-4 last season with a disciplined offense that made only 12 turnovers, the third-fewest nationally. After Franklin accepted the offer from Vanderbilt, Donovan called the plays in Maryland’s 51-20 whipping of East Carolina in the Military Bowl.
Vanderbilt ended a 26-year postseason drought with a Music City Bowl upset of Boston College in 2008, but the Commodores were 4-20 in the two years since and 1-15 in SEC play. Only once since 1960 has Vandy produced a winning league record (1982), and Franklin realizes a turnaround won’t occur overnight.
“I’m not really a results-oriented guy,” he said. “I’m a process-oriented guy. What we focus on here at Vanderbilt is that we wake up every single morning and attack the day.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...