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Vanderbilt 2020 Football Mail Bag #12: Answers to Your Questions

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

To the start of the letter project for the Freiburg city anniversary Photo by Philipp von Ditfurth/picture alliance via Getty Images

Question from ConquerandPrevail:

I don’t much care for THEM, and although I got to attend the 2018 game (Shurms!) I also got to attend 1994 (0-65, with a safety on a VU interception return.) I wasn’t alive when there weren’t games in say 1918. What will the VU-THEM game most resemble – 1994, 2018, or 1918?

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: 2016. Yes, the Hired Auburn Man can read. No, he does not care you didn’t offer 2016 as an option. I will say that I do NOT expect the defense to hold THEM to 3 points in the second half. I just think the offense will move the ball and drain enough clock to keep UT around that 34 number. Also, Jim Chaney is an idiot, so UT will probably throw the ball 35+ times while we only have 5 DL to stop their potent rushing attack.

Stanimal: The 2008 Music City Bowl against Boston College.

Tom Stephenson: I predict it will be like 1918. I’m not sure you knew this when you asked the question, but Vanderbilt did not play UT in 1918. (Granted, that time it was UT that didn’t field a team, but you get the point.)

Andrew VU ‘04: There’s no chance in hell it’s 2018, as even though they stink, they presumably have enough players available to not have to use the mascot at left tackle... so throw that one right out. It will be 1918 in the sense that it will be played during a pandemic for no ostensible reason, but it will also be 1994 in that we’re likely to have the ever-loving tar kicked out of us. Either way, it won’t feel like ‘98.

Question from GhostofZeppos:

Why, dear god, why?

...and a similar statement from VandyImport:

All right, which one of you pricks threw a black cat under a ladder through a mirror and opened an umbrella inside to block the shrapnel?

Seriously, this program needs an old priest, a young priest, and the lanky fella off of Princess and the Frog. (actually we already hired Stackhouse, nvm)

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: We are paying in advance for thinking we could actually hire Chadwell. Way to go, Tom.

Stanimal: To Ghost of Zeppos: YOU. You are Jacob Marley approaching Daniel Diermeier at Christmas and highlighting your mistakes you turd.

To Import: wait, isn’t it just as likely you did this? Prove I did something.

Tom Stephenson: We are paying in advance for the multiple SEC championships that Jamey Chadwell will win.

Andrew VU ‘04: (Picks up martini glass) I don’t understand that question and I won’t respond to it.

Question from VandyNova:

Are the football players who are opting out or threatening opting out actually negotiating/protesting their working conditions?

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: Sustained negligence by the administration, both inside athletics and the university at large, is probably part of the situation. The real answer is probably a little different for each player but is likely death by a thousand papercuts for each of them. It is important to note that the offense is staying intact. The side of the ball that is struggling has been the one losing bodies left and right.

Stanimal: Man you should meet my old blogging buddy Douglas James. He LOVES this stuff. The assumption there is obviously that they are employees, a step the NCAA has clearly fought tooth and nail. So since no one has actually found that an NCAA athlete is an employee yet, at this point, no.

Tom Stephenson: Who the hell knows, I think everybody is attaching their own motives to any opt-outs in order to fit a narrative. My guess is that with the NCAA basically giving everyone a free pass to not play and also keep their scholarship (and, really, nobody is going to question whether players are really terrified of COVID when they decide to opt out), some guys are deciding that they’d rather just pack it in than play a couple more games for an 0-8 team that just fired its head coach.

Andrew VU ‘04: I don’t think so, as if they were, it would make much more sense to organize a walk-out over an opt-out. For protests to work, much like strikes, you’ve got to get enough people to commit to actually doing the thing, and doing it publicly. As we’ve seen from Mama O’s tweets, the eldest Odeyingbro opted out to prep for the draft (as he did, as she said, stay through to when the season was supposed to be over). Think of his opt out in the same way you think of draft eligible players opting out of a bowl game. Honestly, I can’t blame anyone for opting out this year, either. Going 0-10 whilst risking catching and spreading a contagious disease? Come on... let’s give them some freaking grace.

Question from Stress Fracture:

How much will it cost to bring in a “hot commodity” coach, and how much is the administration willing to spend? Given COVID, I would be surprised if Kirkland is willing to go into to rocket-building business again. Depending on other job openings, I can’t see the administration willing to get into a bidding war if a Texas / USCw job is open.

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: It seems really unlikely Vanderbilt goes with a bargain bin hire. The two names mentioned the most are both very good options, too. Mason was paid a little north of $3.5M annually based on documents detailing his pay from 2 or 3 years ago with some expected annual raise, as is typical with these coaching contracts. Any coach who would be willing to come to Vanderbilt will be well within finanical range.

Stanimal: I think Diermeier is serious about changing the narrative. I don’t think Vanderbilt is serious about doing it during COVID, but I do think they are serious about putting a plan of action together, and they understand they have to present that to a coach. Otherwise, there’s no reason to make a change. As to the bidding war, it’s not open yet, and I also don’t think the administration is going after candidates at issue in those positions.

Tom Stephenson: I can’t see the administration getting into a bidding war with Texas or USC because this administration is not interested in hiring Urban Meyer for a lot of reasons. Seriously, though, what candidate who would realistically take the Vanderbilt job in 2020 is also a realistic candidate for Texas or USC?

Andrew VU ‘04: Let’s just say it looks like however much it costs, we’ve agreed to spend it.

Question from DenverDore:

How does the extra year of eligibility work with COVID? Like if you were a sophomore this year, are you listed a JR next year? Or is it a RS? Just curious if they’ve said how they are going to record the changes?

1. For Vanderbilt, do we know of any Seniors who has said they are/are not coming back next year, even with an extra year of eligibility?

2. If not, do we know when they have to announce that for the sake of recruiting to get to appropriate roster sizes?

3. In your opinion, what Seniors do you think should come back for another year with a new coach and who should just graduate and be done with it?

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: The only thing I will add to Tom’s statement is that I could see Chris Pierce back next season because NFL teams salivate over big-bodied Red Zone threats. No other names really come to mind.

Stanimal: Tom’s got this.

Tom Stephenson: As to the first one, none that I am aware of, but I would assume the guys who are not on this week’s depth chart are not going to be back. As far as the second question, it doesn’t matter; the NCAA has already said that the roster size limit doesn’t apply to seniors who come back for an additional year (basically, your roster limit is 85 plus the number of this year’s seniors who opt to return next season.) Anyway, Vanderbilt’s going to have a tough time even getting to 85 so I don’t see why this would matter. I doubt anybody’s going to come back but if I had to pinpoint one who could maybe benefit, it’s Andre Mintze, who might have some interest in putting film out showing what he can do as a 4-3 defensive end.

Andrew VU ‘04: See above. I’ve got too many papers to grade to do this additional homework.

Question from Vault boy:

If 14essee lucks out and dodges the inevitable loss to Vandy, who do you think delivered the worst loss to them this season?

Bonus question: how wide was your smile while watching that?

*Editor’s note: I believe he means the bUTtchuggers.

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: Us for not getting Pruitt fired because he is majorly in over his head.

Stanimal: Again, Tom has it.

Tom Stephenson: 34-7 to Kentucky. Aside from the fact that it was only their second loss of the season (with the first being a somewhat expected and competitive loss to Georgia), (a) it’s Kentucky, which ranks just slightly above Vanderbilt on the list of teams your average Chugger thinks that they should absolutely never lose to, and (b) they lost 34-7, with Jarrett Guarantano throwing pick sixes on consecutive pass attempts. And somehow, Guarantano remained the quarterback after that.

Andrew VU ‘04: 24-13 to Arky. That one felt the least like ‘98 since they all collectively said it feels like ‘98 after game 2.

Question from JesseCuster44:

Why is there so much dislike for Jordan Rodgers when the meat of his message seems to ring true re: Vanderbilt not investing in athletics? He can’t possibly just be spiteful because he got locked out of the gym one day, can he?

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: Being right while being an assclown means you’re still an assclown. Can I say “assclown” in an actual article post? Well, I am. I highly doubt Jordan Rodgers gives a damn about Vanderbilt or the current student-athletes here. He just wants to get the air time as “alumnus bashing his alma mater.” It is performative and self-serving assclownery.

Stanimal: So I differ from my fellow bloggers here in one sense, I don’t absolutely hate Jordan Rodgers. Don’t get me wrong, I think he probably needs to tone it back. But a MAJOR fault I have with the university is their inability to listen to anyone about anything. So I sort of cheerlead when it comes to the press giving them hell, at least as that related to events from 2017-2020. Vanderbilt administration has to learn to LISTEN and McGugin needs to stop being pushed to the kids table. Jordan may have ulterior motives for this, but I don’t know what they are, and I support people who try to move the dinosaur. (*Note I do not endorse AoG blockage)

Tom Stephenson: Because Jordan Rodgers isn’t a Vanderbilt fan, he’s an SEC Network analyst. While some people like the idea of Rodgers using his platform to “put the pressure on the Vanderbilt administration,” (a) there’s no evidence that the Vanderbilt administration cares what Jordan thinks, and (b) Rodgers’ platform means that his rather consistent trashing of VU is frequently seen by recruits. In other words, Rodgers isn’t the person and SEC Nation isn’t the time or place to be going out of your way to trash Vanderbilt’s football facilities.

Also, Jordan Rodgers gets into fights with Vanderbilt fans on Twitter (some of them ones who have donated a lot of money and time to the university’s athletics) and also blocked the AoG Twitter account for calling him out for this behavior.

Andrew VU ‘04: He’s a human haircut who did a reality TV dating competition and then a sexually charged Velveeta commercial. He’s Lord Douche Von Douche-ington III and even his brother hates him. Other than being a Vandy QB alum, there is objectively nothing to like about the guy.

Confusing Comment from DoreonthePlains:

Appropriately sized

Answers from AoG:

Stanimal: If DotP answers this mailbag question with anything other than blah...

Tom Stephenson: What would be considered inappropriately sized?

Andrew VU ‘04: There all is aching.

DoreonthePlains: Oh come on! This was a response to Tom posting...ya know, nevermind. Eff all y’all.

Now what, Stan?

Question from Rubber Hell:

Almost everyone agrees that Vanderbilt need “facilities upgrades.” While the stadium is the most obvious facility need glaring at fans, fans are mostly mixed that a stadium upgrade should be a priority. Beyond that, there doesn’t seem to be much consensus to be had. So:

What are the top three facility upgrades that Vanderbilt football needs to help the new coach be successful? Extra points if you can attach an approximate cost to each.

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: Really not sure what is in worst condition or situation. Stan probably has the 2 of the 3 facilities correct with the weight room and other training facilities being #1. The dining hall is likely less of an issue than the limited staffing that has been reported, but it could almost certainly stand to be nicer and more welcoming. I would differ on the dedicated football building, though that building likely includes the 3 individual facility titles. My third would be player lounge and locker room. Those spaces are where players spend their leisure time and can be a major recruiting draw or disappointment.

Stanimal: They need a dedicated football building, a dedicated weight room, and a dedicated dining hall. Clemson’s facility is stupid expensive at 55 million, but it is filled with a lot of “extras”. Vanderbilt can trim the fat, especially since they own the properties in question. Obviously, the dedicated football building encompasses everything (the other upgrades are going to be in the facility).

Look, Vanderbilt raised money for a $600 million West End construction. This can be done.

Tom Stephenson: What do I look like, a contractor?

Andrew VU ‘04: This, too, seems like homework.

Question from alex12353:

By all accounts we seem to be in a pretty solid position right now. We should be one of the top jobs available and the list of candidates seems decent enough. Healy seems to be the worst case, and while he’s far from my first choice he’s also someone I could get excited about.

So how are we gonna screw this up? Because I can’t shake away the sense of impending doom.

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: Probably in the same way most coaching searches are screwed up around the country. The decision makers could be too fixated on certain check boxes instead of finding the right coach.

Stanimal: Jeff Fisher.

Tom Stephenson: Honestly? The way we screw this up is by just flat-out misevaluating the candidates for the job.

Andrew VU ‘04: Counterpoint: We may well not screw this one up after all.

Question from Parlagi:

Who was the most underrated MLB player of the 1960s?

It has nothing to do with football, feetball, or Rex Ryan, but I figure Andrew deserves one question about something that isn’t slowly killing him.

Answers from AoG:

Andrew VU ‘04: Without a doubt, that one is Phillies legend, ridiculous Hall of Fame snub, and all-around misunderstood bad-ass Dick Allen. Allen passed away this Monday, so my Spidey sense tells me Parlagi asked this specifically knowing it would be my answer. See Bob Brookover’s obit on Allen and Matt Snyder’s article on why Allen should already be enshrined for more.

Also, this is the feetball mail bag. I fully expect everything in it to slowly kill me.

Stanimal: A question that doesn’t involve any Braves players post 1985. Pass. Also, screw the Phillies Andrew.

*Editor’s note: With the lack of comma here, Stanimal seems to endorse people engaging in sexual congress with me, and I, for one, welcome this endorsement.

Tom Stephenson: Curt Flood, mostly remembered today as the guy who sued MLB to do away with the reserve clause and open up free agency, not remembered as a consistent .300 hitter and Gold Glove center fielder, whose career was rudely ended at age 31 because of said lawsuit.

DoreonthePlains: Who cares?

Question from VU1970:

You guys seem to drink a lot. Ever heard of drugs?

Also, among all the rumored coach candidates, how many combined wins over Those People Over There?

...and a similar question from VandyFrog:

Since the AoG community collectively consume so much alcohol:

1. How many alcohol sponsorships have we turned down?

2. Which company are we holding out for?

3. When the sweet sin business cash begins rolling in, who gets to be the site bagman to woo recruits?

Answers from AoG:

DoreonthePlains: Drugs are bad, mkay. I will be the only one to answer the wins question and go out on a limb to say 1 loss every 3 years barring THEM actually making a good coaching hire post Pruitt.

Do you think we would EVER turn down any alcohol sponsorship? We normally drink enough that we can’t tell the swill from the rotgut at least 3 hours before kickoff. As such, I am not holding out for anyone. Also, I would be the worst bagman ever. But I would NEVER talk if caught. Ever.

Stanimal: I don’t think it’s wise for Tom and I to discuss the drug topic, however, alcohol-wise, I can see why we are holding out (I’d hold out for Dickel). But yeah, DotP is the bagman.

Tom Stephenson: I have heard of drugs, we have not turned down any alcohol sponsorships, we are holding out for Hapsburg XC Original Absinthe, and of course the hired Auburn man becomes the bagman.

Andrew VU ‘04: I went to suburban public schools in South Jersey. As such, we had a semester of health every year from 3rd grade to 12th grade, with most of it being sex education, drug education, and wellness-based health education. I have seen the movie of the cat who eats too much catnip and then wrecks her car—killing her kittens in the process. I have seen the one where a young Helen Hunt tries Angel Dust and then self-defenestrates through a third story school window. I have seen enough medical grade pictures of the effects of STDs (now called STIs, but I am an STD purist) to be able to empathize with Alex from A Clockwork Orange (this one doesn’t have to do with drugs, but it is true, so I included it). I personally know my DARE officer, as his wife brought me cookies in the 5th grade. At least once a year, a former addict would speak to us in an all school assembly, and one of them then died of an overdose later that year. I have been The Dude from The Big Lebowski at Halloween once. Yes, I am aware of las drogas.