One of these days, we’ll have a photo of Clark Lea in Vanderbilt gear we can use. Until then, well, we can have weird photos of a coach in Notre Dame colors while we discuss new additions to the coaching staff (and one key off-field role.)
SOURCES: Wisconsin defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield is expected to be named the new D-line coach at Vandy, joining Clark Lea’s staff. The Badgers led the Big Ten in total defense and run defense this year.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 3, 2021
There are two ways to fill out a coaching staff. (Okay, three, but “hire your buddies” is way too common and also not recommended.) The first is to scour the ranks of lower-level guys, grad assistants and analysts looking for hidden gems, guys who are looking for their first opportunity at the big-time. The second is “hire Wisconsin’s D-line coach.” This is a straight power move that needs little explanation.
Sources: Syracuse special teams coach Justin Lustig has agreed to become the new special teams coach at Vanderbilt. A deal is being finalized. Syracuse has finished in the Top 6 of overall special teams rankings in two of the past three years.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 31, 2020
Again: power move. You’re telling me we hired a special teams coach who has a really good special teams unit at his current school? I am guessing this guy will not be sending two guys with the same jersey number out on the kickoff team.
Sources: Vanderbilt is hiring Louisville RB coach Norval McKenzie as the new RB coach. He's a Vanderbilt alum and was a teammate of Clark Lea there.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 3, 2021
Okay, that might fall under “hiring your buddies,” but Norval McKenzie is also currently on a Power 5 coaching staff. So, Clark Lea is 3-for-3 here.
Sources: Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea has hired former @247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons on staff. His title will be general manager, which will effectively be a director of player personnel role. https://t.co/JPH4x9RNhy pic.twitter.com/TPSKHKnU7Z— Robbie Weinstein (@rwweinstein) January 3, 2021
Hiring the senior director of scouting at 247 Sports to be your director of player personnel is like some kind of cheat code. For the record, this also falls under “hiring your buddies” what with Simmons being Lea’s former teammate at Montgomery Bell Academy (and for the record, Inoke Breckterfield was on staff at UCLA with Lea, too); it just turns out that Clark Lea knows people who are good at their jobs.