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Vanderbilt 2020 Football Mail Bag #4 (Part I): Answers to Your Questions

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Letters... we get letters... we get sacks and sacks of letters...

People Go To The Polls On First Day Of Early Voting In Texas Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Due to the SEC-Big XII match-up of Vanderbilt versus Missourah’s postponement, and the plethora of questions we have received this week, I will break the mail bag into two parts. This is Part I.


Question(ish back and forth in the comments of the Call For Submissions Post) from WestEndMayhem, Andrew VU ‘04, and Parlagi:

WestEndMayhem: Was A&M a big red herring, considering the stats from it, our second half performance against LSU, and our total inability for our defense to handle the Fighting Muschamp’s?

Andrew VU ‘04: Umm... we answered that in the last mail bag.

Parlagi: No no, he added the South Carolina part to the end this time. (That was the joke.)

WestEndMayhem: Kazoo sound, crying in the distant background

Andrew VU ‘04: Will be answered in the mail bag.

Answers from AoG:

Andrew VU ‘04: I still say no, and not just because the logical fallacy of the red herring needs the intent to mislead. Rather, the aTm game was, as the first game of the season, the point of the year where our team—and our offensive line in particular—was the healthiest and strongest they will ever be during the course of the season. Our issue this year is not just an incompetent coach, no out of conference games to pad the win record (though it’s debatable we would even have won more than one of them), a pandemic ravaging our country, an untested (though obviously talented) true freshman QB, and the loss of the skill position three horsemen (Vaughn, Lipscomb, and Pinkney) to graduation and/or NFL rosters. Our issue, much like the Toll Booth Woody and Non-Cussin’ Steve Martin years, is the lack of depth.

Against the South Cackalacky Game Penises, we barely had enough scholarship players healthy and active to be able to play the game. Expect a lot of 2nd half blowouts moving forward. Think the time Smokin’ Jay Cutler had us only down 3 to LSU at half... only to get our asses handed to us in a laugher of a second half. You know, but all year.

If you’re a gamblin’ man, bet us to cover the first half, but not in the 2nd half in every non-Covid-suspended game moving forward. I’m not at that level of degenerate gamblin’ yet, but I am fast becoming pandemic-bored and human-contact-desperate enough to start throwing down $10K bets with local leg-breakers on single half covers just to feel something, anything, again. I wouldn’t advise watching this team with an eye towards winning the game this year. Watch like I do, with an eye towards the future. Root for the development of Loose Seals. Root for our young skill position players to get more playing time. Root for me to come through with a backdoor cover of a Campbell Camels intramural quidditch match the day before I have to sell a kidney to an unlicensed foreign wet market to pay off the Turkish mob.

Yes, I am contemplating becoming Chevy Chase in the film Dirty Work as an aspirational life goal during the era of Covita, mother. He was a doctor...

Tom Stephenson: I mean, the South Carolina game got ugly, but the game I watched had a team that looked competitive for a half, couldn’t put the ball in the end zone, and then fell apart after a truly misguided fake punt call. I think both of the last two games, the team just allowed it to get out of hand and it got uglier than it should have been. That said, this team isn’t very good.

Stanimal: Same answer. First team isn’t terrible, two to three is.

DoreonthePlains: Stan is mostly right. Against a team like SC, the depth would normally be there to win or at least keep it competitive. Unfortunately, the Commodores were down both starting safeties and a starting corner against SC along with who knows who else. Yeah, we should have expected that second half collapse. I do not agree with Andrew’s complete pessimism though. There are just as many, if not more, reasons to put the SC game aside as the A&M game. If the Commodores can get healthy and fix the offense’s red zone woes, there might be a chance to steal a game or three since Mike Leach’s offense seems to have completely stalled, Kentucky’s offense appears to be in park, and who knows what else may happen with this whacky season.


Question from DenverDore:

I know it’s hard to watch for a fan, but I can’t help but just feel awful for the players who invest so much time and energy to go out and play. So having said that,

1. If you were the head coach, what would you do TODAY to motivate the team to bring their best effort for the rest of this season?

2. If you were the head coach, what is your recruiting pitch TODAY to get players to come and play at Vanderbilt?

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: I will preface this by saying that I would be a very bad coach. Now, what would I do to motivate the team? I would tell them that if they win at least one game this season, I will streak down West End Avenue on the coldest day of the year.

As far as my recruiting pitch, did you read my answer to the first part of the question? Actually I would just say that it’s Vanderbilt, and should you not make the NFL, would you rather have a Vanderbilt degree as a fallback or a Tennessee degree? This seems like it should be an easy sell and I do not know why people make it out to be harder than it needs to be.

Stanimal: Football players are prideful people. It doesn’t matter what level you’re playing at, not a single person wants to be the one getting their a$$ kicked around. This team is outgunned and outmanned from the get-go, but it’s very young. I would focus on a theme centered around them as a foundation. I know it’s a little cliché, but the program has nowhere to go but up. They’ll probably go 0-10. It can’t get any worse.

Coach Stanimal’s First Meeting with Candice Storey Lee: THIS IS THE PART WHERE THE ADMINISTRATION STARTS HELPING ME OUT AND COMMITS TO A LONG-TERM ATHLETICS VISION THAT I CAN SELL RATHER THAN THIS BANDAID BULL**** THAT WE’VE BEEN DEALING WITH.

Seriously, James Franklin already told you how to pitch it! It was perfect! Stackhouse is basically doing the same thing in different wording! All you need is for the RESOURCES to start matching the sales pitch.

DoreonthePlains: As someone who has coached a really terrible and hopeless soccer team, the best response that I can offer is to focus on improvement. Now is not the time for a “rah rah” motivational speech. Now is the time for a challenge. You have to look each player in the eye and ask how he is going to get this team a win. Then you look around at the players, each having taken responsibility for something, and tell them to hold each other accountable.

The City. The Degree. The SEC. The sales pitch actually used by Vanderbilt right now makes a lot of sense. Commit to it. Vanderbilt is unique. A fair share of NFL players have come from West End, too, even if the on-field results have not always been up to standard.

Andrew VU ‘04: I’d sacrifice a bucket of chicken to Jobu. Same answer for both questions.


Question from ConquerAndPrevail:

The Wake Forest series, as we all remember, proved to be an interesting out-of-conference matchup back when we played THEM before Thanksgiving. With the regrettable delay (get or stay well everyone) Vandy finds itself again with a regular-season-ending OOC opponent. Should we return back to playing THEM the week prior to Thanksgiving and develop a season ending rivalry with this Big XII foe?

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: That Big XII foe annually plays an SWC rival on Thanksgiving weekend so that’s a no.

Stanimal: I’m confused...............who is that Big XII foe? Maybe I need to turn my AoG card in on that one.

If you’re talking about Wake, google some of their new facilities and see if that’s a good idea. Not sure Vandy would be killing it in the ACC either.

Andrew VU ‘04: Pretty sure Wake Forest isn’t in the Big XII—though with conference realignment, who knows? I will answer this as the only way I know how: we should absolutely bring back the Wake Forest rivalry game at the end of every season. Should play Northwestern, too. You know who else? Duke.

DoreonthePlains: Andrew, this is not about Wake being in the Big XII. Back to the question, no, I cannot support playing this Big XII team as a season-ending rivalry. If they were a rival, we would have to recognize them. That will NEVER happen.


Question from VandyImport:

With apologies to Dave Chapelle:
“What can we say about Vanderbilt football that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan?”

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: We haven’t spent enough money on this nonsense.

Stanimal: Afghanistan probably has a nicer stadium somewhere?

Andrew VU ‘04: No response. Just a slow clap for the question.

DoreonthePlains: Unlike Afghanistan, Vanderbilt has rejected rule by religion.


Question from Your Uncle Mike:

Since you scan the mask usage of coaches on the sidelines. Why are mask-wearing coaches covering their mouths with their play card while calling plays?

Faithfully submitted,

Your Uncle Mike

Answers from AoG:

Tom Stephenson: Because the mask isn’t covering their mouth, so something has to keep the other team from reading his lips. You didn’t say that the coaches are wearing the masks properly.

Stanimal: GAWTA MAKE SURAH THEY DON USE THEM X-RAYS TO READ MAH LIPS

DoreonthePlains: Habit. Oh? Were we not supposed to give real answers? Oh well.

Andrew VU ‘04: Barry Switzer won titles on the college and pro level, respectively. Feetball coachin’ ain’t a smart man’s game.