September 4, 2021
- Johnson City Press: Bucs set for showdown with Vanderbilt
- Justin Hershey at the Hustler: The Clark Lea era is here and you should be too
- Bristol Herald-Courier: College Football Preview: ETSU at Vanderbilt
- VandyImport: I Want To Believe
- College Sports Journal: 2021 FCS Season Preview: East Tennessee State
- Game Notes: ETSU | Vanderbilt
It’s time for football again.
The Clark Lea era begins tonight at 7:00 PM CT, under very different circumstances than the last time a Vanderbilt head football coach made his debut. That game was a Thursday night game, moved there to showcase the then-new SEC Network, and Vanderbilt was coming off a 9-4 season, deserving of a national audience.
Lea, on the other hand, will start his head coaching career in anonymity, in a Saturday night game on the SEC Network+, coaching a team coming off an 0-9 season against an FCS opponent, a game that only the diehards will watch. The “diehards” are you and me.
As I wrote in the Tailgate this morning, the hope that comes with a new coach at least makes this season, no matter what happens, a lot better than last season. I could deal with 2-10 in Bobby Johnson’s first year — when Clark Lea was a player on the team — because none of that had anything to do with him, and I can deal with 2-10 this year.
What I want to see tonight is that my optimism is not misplaced. I want to see a team that plays hard and doesn’t beat itself with mental mistakes. Vanderbilt should beat ETSU either way, but there’s a difference between a businesslike 42-7 win and Vanderbilt letting ETSU hang around.
Have fun, expect to win, and Anchor Down.