Franklin needs to go on a tirade
James Franklin (VM/Reid Harris)
James Franklin (VM/Reid Harris)
Publisher, VandyMania.com
Posted Nov 7, 2011


Someone warn Missouri. If you wear Black & Gold in the SEC you get screwed. Watching replays of the fourth quarter scandalous no-call on Florida for pass interference got me to thinking. Maybe James Franklin does have one deficiency as a head coach. What’s that deficiency? It’s the deficiency of having too much self-control during stressful situations.

We saw it several weeks ago after the close loss to Georgia when Franklin only stared blankly during the infamous Georgia assistant Todd Grantham’s idiocy. We saw again on Saturday after Franklin watched another classic example of pathetic Southeastern Conference officiating. James Franklin has good self-control, almost too much.

Vanderbilt had rallied from a 17-point first half deficit and was doing the unthinkable. Trailing 20-14 with 6:20 remaining in the game, the Commodores faced a third-and-9 situation at the Florida 38. Commodore quarterback Jordan Rodgers, who passed for 297 yards on the day but should have had over 300, threw to Jordan Matthews who had caught nine passes during the game.

As the ball approached Matthews Gator freshman cornerback De'Ante Saunders suddenly delivered a very obvious shove to Matthews pushing him out of position to make the vital catch. The ball bounced harmlessly on the ground as the Gator partisan crowd roared its approval over another home win over the Commodore who have not beaten the Gators since 1988 or won in Gainesville since 1945. A stunned Matthews walked around in disbelief with his hands in the air as no flag was thrown.

Remember, this wasn’t even a close judgment call or a situation where the official just couldn’t see the shove. It was blatantly obvious that the officials just didn’t want Vanderbilt to win the darn game. And there were other “no calls” throughout the game. Florida, the worst penalized team in college football before the game, suddenly has a sparkling 3 penalties for 17 yards against the Commodores.

Franklin has been a godsend for Vanderbilt as a head coach. So far he’s got nearly all the boxes checked. Recruiting is 10 times better than before. His public relations skills are second to none. He is solid with game preparation and in-game coaching. He’s got the best strength and conditioning coach in college football. His players absolutely love him. What’s his final box to check? He has to figure out a way to deal with the horrible SEC officiating.

After the horrendous no call Franklin did look angry but kept himself under control on the sidelines. He could be seen shaking his head and turning from side to side. The TV announcers said Franklin went “absolutely bizzirk” but I didn’t see that. To make matters worse these terrible officials threw a flag for delay of game after that no call.

Back in 1981 in Oxford, Miss., in a game against Ole Miss Vanderbilt was also looking to end an embarrassing losing streak similar to the winless streak against the Gators. The Commodores had not won a conference game since 1975, a span of over five stinking years.

Sometime during the game third year head coach George MacIntyre saw a call he didn’t feel was fair. MacIntyre went what I’d call “bizzirk”. The normally reserved MacIntyre threw not only his arms high above him but also flung his legs out to the side as he screamed at the officials. Vanderbilt went on to win the game 27-23 and MacIntyre’s display of displeasure during that game became sort of a symbol of the Commodores’ resolve the following season as the team finished 8-4 and earned a bid to the Hall of Fame Bowl.

The next time an SEC official pulls this crap against Vanderbilt hopefully Franklin will be out on the field in the official’s face, daring him to throw him out of the game. Bobby Johnson complained for years about the poor conference officiating in his private letters to the SEC. It hasn’t worked and isn’t getting better; something has to be done. Franklin, who seemingly has all the boxes checked as a head coach, needs to go on a tirade and check the final one.

External Link: Youtube, blown call.


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