Blog...Vandy’s Johnson Should Get Notice
Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson’s stock has risen noticably.
By: BE Coleman
No one has wanted to give Bobby Johnson the proper credit for any of his previous wins over SEC schools since his tenure began in Nashville. This week Johnson and his highest GPA players in the SEC should certainly get some way overdue notice.
Johnson has led Vandy from a “we will beat you in your own backyard,” to a “we will beat you at home,” team slogan as he and his coaching staff continue finding ways to knock off conference opponents.
On Thursday night, while a broadcast network was rolling out all of its stops for an anointment of South Carolina, saw the Johnson coached Commodores beating up on their division opponents for a second straight season.
The end result saw a ranked team going down at Dudley Field for the first time since 1992. Fans clad in Black and Gold saw Vandy handing back to back losses for “the head ball coach,” after he had won at three schools over the Commodores during his own coaching tenure’s.
"Hopefully some recruits were watching, some potential ticket buyers were watching and potential donors were watching," Johnson happily noted. They were watching coach, they were watching – the whole football playing world was glued to the TV set on this night.
Perhaps the greatest aspect in winning their SEC opener is that Vanderbilt sits atop the SEC East standings, and will until another division foe wins two games in week five of the season.
Last season the Gamer’s were ranked at 6th when Vandy won its 7th conference game under Johnson and knocked them from the Top 10 after being a doormat program since the 1980’s. Johnson now has eight conference wins in his sixth season at the Music City program.
Three conference wins in 2005 should have put folks on an alert notice, but little was expected when they went into the heart of Georgia back in 2006 and came out with an implicating victory.
Johnson guided the ‘Dores to its ninth victory during 05-06 that was the most at the school since the 1993-94 seasons. The last time Vanderbilt owned a winning record was in 1982, and before that looked back to 1955 under Art Guepe -- both with 8 wins.
A raucous crowd of 36,850 in attendance saw the first back to back wins over an SEC opponent since the 1998-99 seasons, when the victims were – South Carolina.
Turning Vanderbilt is not an easy chore with their academic standards and available classes; after all it is a medical school that ranks as one of America’s very best. It is not a school players can breeze through. 90% of today’s collegiate players could not qualify to gain entrance into the university.
Johnson gets more from his players pound for pound than most all of the member institutions in his conference. One, maybe two of these players will every see the NFL, most all will go into their professional fields after graduating.
Vanderbilt now has two of Johnson's best playing on Sundays with WR Earl Bennett from 07 and in 05 with QB Jay Cutler. Bennett was the school’s 1st All American in seven years.
While Johnson’s players are smart, they also play tough nosed - inspired football, something that is way off the agenda’s at other member institutions today. He gets more from lesser players
When people begin asking where did this guy come from, inform them he was a two time Division 1AA National Champion coach that had guided Furman University to three Southern Conference Titles as well. The Southern is where Appalachian State resides for those not keenly aware.
During Johnson’s tenure has seen 11 regional or national televised games after taking control of the Vanderbilt program. The former two way player at Clemson makes every SEC coach nervous when they meet him.
No, it is not the Steve Martin similarity; it is the fact that he will beat any of them with much lesser players on their home field – or maybe his own, it has earned him a noted spot at the coaching roundtable.
Each year Vanderbilt knocks off another opponent, and get a few more players as they have risen from a two annual win program to one on the verge of .500% the last two seasons.
Under Johnson, Vanderbilt has knocked off Kentucky, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina twice since 2004. Who’s next?
Vandy will not win its conference or a division title anytime soon, but will do more than enough to make headlines with Johnson in control of the Commodores. The administration has begun making changes to the schools facilities and stadium.
Vandy backers, boosters and the administration in Nashville need to make sure that this skipper continues guiding the Cornelius flag ship in the future. Without a doubt, things have not looked this bright for the Commodores in decades of gridiron play.
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