On Sunday, reports swirled that Vanderbilt had found their new offensive coordinator. A few hours later, news broke that a familiar face would be coming back to Nashville to take over the Commodore defense.
FootballScoop.com reported that Wesley McGriff will be Vandy's new defensive coordinator for 2015. McGriff is a 23-year coaching veteran who served as the team's defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator under James Franklin in 2011. After one year, he left the program to take a position as co-defensive coordinator at Ole Miss.
McGriff spent the last two seasons in New Orleans as the Saints' secondary coach. He has also coached at Miami (FL), Baylor, Kentucky, and Eastern Kentucky in his Division I tenure. His defensive backs helped limit opponents to under 200 yards per game with the Saints in 2013.
McGriff's 2011 season with Vanderbilt was dynamite. The Commodores allowed 21.6 points per game - a mark that placed them 29th out of 120 FBS programs. His defensive backs came up with 16 interceptions in 13 games that season. Comparatively, Vandy had just six interceptions in 12 games in 2014. However, that 2011 team was stacked with future NFL talent in the secondary; Casey Hayward, Sean Richardson, Kenny Ladler, Andre Hal, and Trey Wilson all logged significant playing time for those 6-7 Commodores.
The veteran coach will also bolster Derek Mason's staff on the recruiting trail. With McGriff at the helm, Vandy's class of 2012 featured players like Adam Butler, Stephen Weatherly, Darreon Herring, and Caleb Azubike. All four of those players will be counted on to provide veteran leadership for this team in 2015.
The job will be McGriff's first as a solo coordinator at the FBS level. However, his familiarity with the Commodores - and the heart of their defense - should help to ease his transition. We'll have updates on any adjustments he makes to the coaching staff as they develop.
Update: Former Vandy running back Warren Norman weighs in on the reported McGriff hire on Twitter: