Sprints Thinks Bobby Johnson's Retirement Might Not Be the Last Weird Thing // 07.15.10

BOBBY JOHNSON WALKS AWAY -- OR, THE LOONIEST OFFSEASON IN SEC HISTORY, PART XXIII

Year2: Bobby Johnson Retires: Answers to Your Questions

cocknfire: The Legacy and Legend of Bobby Johnson

His own man
This to me sounds so quintessentially Bobby Johnson.

"I know people have a lot of questions about why now and why I didn’t just retire after the season. Football commands every second of your life in the season, and if you’re thinking about retiring at the end of the season, I don’t see any way you’re going to have the right mindset to give it everything you’ve got. I don’t think I could have looked the players in the eye.

"So just trying to make it through one more season so I could retire didn’t make sense to me."

Sure, he was a more conventional and predictable football coach than almost anyone else in the conference. But anyone who coaches at Vanderbilt for eight years has to march to the beat of their own drummer, at least sometimes.

In the end, it didn't make any sense to Johnson to stay. So he didn't. While the timing might not be ideal, there's something honorable about that.

Vanderbilt Sports Line: 'A Reminder That Coaches Are Human'
Well, except Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, of course. Duh -- they're cyborgs.

There are fair arguments on both sides of that question, but Bobby Johnson has earned the right to go out on his own terms. He's done the University and the football program proud, even if it hasn't resulted in perennial success. He's given us a bowl game, something no one could do in over 20 years, and a step up in our recruiting. He's made the Commodores a team that must be respected, even if they aren't a stalwart. He's also maintained integrity in a conference that sometimes sacrifices it in the name of the almighty dollar.

VSL also clears up why Johnson didn't tell his players first, as probably should have happened.

So maybe Coach Johnson's retirement, while seemingly poorly-timed to us, actually was the best way to get out. My only qualm with all that is that he should have told the team first, even if the news had already leaked. But that's less on Coach Johnson, and more on the powers-that-be in the Division of Student Life. They felt that it was important to face the rumors head-on with the press conference first, and then let CBJ talk to the team.

This is why you have an athletics department: College administrators are generally not really good at handling these things and get panicked when "the media" starts reporting things. Athletics departments see the media as troublesome fleas who can be ignored until you're ready to talk.

Is this an opportunity for the 'Dores?
Bobby O'Shea at VSL thinks so.

With the installation of Robbie Caldwell as interim Head Coach, Vanderbilt officials will have a chance to dispassionately evaluate the coaching staff in place to see if this is the correct one without the blind loyalty to Bobby that would have most certainly hindered a frank conversation about the best way forward (loyalty, I might add, that was deserved). ... For example, I fully believe that if Caldwell wins 4 or more games this year, it's a no-brainer he should have the interim removed from his title.

Which seems fair enough. Unlikely, given Vanderbilt's schedule, but fair.

Vanderbilt players react with dignity, respect and level-headedness
Of course. This is Vanderbilt we're talking about. Even the freshmen know the drill.

"He recruited me and I loved him to death as a coach," Woestmann said. "I want to make him proud. I don't feel betrayed because of the fact the rest of the coaching staff is still there. If it had been the whole coaching staff leaving, I would have felt betrayed."

Which is a good point. The players will still be interacting mostly with the same people they always have. (They probably don't see the head coach as much as you might expect.)

Ladies and gentlemen, Robbie Caldwell
Who sounds like he might even be more interesting at SEC Media Days than you might expect.

"I've spoken to groups of all sizes, from several thousand to two or three," Caldwell said. "I went there one year for one day and saw some things. I just can't imagine all the questions that will be asked. Boom, it's on you so fast. But I have a plan in mind."

Please tell me this isn't Vanderbilt's answer to Lane Kiffin.

Pre-Snap Read has some good candidates
We'll talk more about potential replacements in a bit, but there's an interesting list at PSR, which is going along nicely when ...

If I’m Vanderbilt, my first call to a current F.B.S. coach goes to [Dave] Clawson, the former Tennessee offensive coordinator coming off a solid debut season at Bowling Green.

Or, you could just go ahead and dissolve the football program now and save five years. I mean, it's Vanderbilt, but they're not that desperate -- right? At least you don't list Steve Kragtho--

Oh, come on. You're kidding, right?

Not to be mean, but ...
How much does the average Vanderbilt fan really know about football? I'm not talking about the bloggers or those who visit this site regularly, but the problem with these man-on-the-street interviews is that we just don't know who these people are. How do we know that any of these people have ever been to a Vanderbilt football game?

Perhaps, though, the sign of Johnson's success comes in the fact that a newspaper reporter was able to find enough people who cared about football enough to react in the first place. "Football. Whatever, man. When does basketball season begin?"

How much did Vanderbilt's win in 2008 contribute to the firing of Tommy Tuberville?
Probably more than a bit.

Prescient?
Vanderbilt's schedule posters? They don't include Bobby Johnson. Just a coincidence, I'm sure. Right?

BRAWLUNTEERS

Two more police reports, no more clarity
At this point, I think we've crossed the "information overload" threshhold in the Bar Knoxville case. One thing that's becoming more clear: Whoever is responsible for the injuries to off-duty police officer Robert Capouellez is likely going to get away with it unless police know more now than they did then -- which is possible.

The suspect in Capouellez's assault was listed on the report only as an unknown male age 18-30.

Capouellez was released Monday from the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He has not returned to work.

"He's still under a doctor's care," KPD spokesman Darrell DeBusk said Wednesday.

One bar employee apparently told police he didn't want to prosecute Da'Rick Rogers for assault despite getting pushed and having a swing taken at him. It's worth pointing out here one of the few things I learned in my occasional journeys into police reporting (which were thankfully few, my beats usually being in other areas): It doesn't take a heck of a lot to get charged with assault. If I bump into you really hard and you can convince a police officer it was intentional, I could be looking at an assault charge. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

All of this to say -- and this is way too much defending of Tennessee over the last couple of days for my taste -- that we shouldn't go crazy with "HE COULD HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT SO DEREK DOOLEY IS EVIL IF ROGERS ISN'T KICKED OFF THE TEAM NOW NOW NOW!!!" Let the police do their jobs and investigate.

I think Volunteer fans will vouch for me when I say that when that's over, I'll be the first to call out Derek Doolely if he doesn't do his job.

GEORGIAPOCALYPSE

Still following Damon Evans' example
Dontavius Jackson is out at Georgia, deciding to transfer rather than be suspended for the first six games of the season. Does Jacksonville State have any scholarships left?

The Mayor vs. Georgia Sports Blog
That's taking things a step too far, but I was just trying to get your attention. In all seriousness, Kyle lays out a credible case for why DUI is a big enough deal for a player to face worse consequences than running the stadium steps.

OTHER NEWS

Brandon Golson will still go to South Carolina if he can
This is probably a bit easier for me to say because I'm a Gamecock fan, but I say good for Golson for deciding he wants to play for a team and doing what it takes to get there. I'll be cheering for him to do so.

Baseball defeats football in head-coach-in-waiting trend
Now, they're hiring people specifically to be head-coaches-in-waiting, which is just ... I don't even know what word to use for it. South Carolina could stand to lose some other assistant coaches more than Mark Calvi, who oversaw a great pitching effort in 2010 ... but, really? Offering someone HCIW as a job? After searching for a HCIW? This is a very odd move by South Alabama. (Then again, as a native of North Alabama, I can tell you that most things in that part of the state are odd.)

Pete Carroll is delusional
Just one question: How long would it take Southern Cal fans to say Alabama fans were paranoid if they made the same statement Pete Carroll did in his interview with HBO?

On if the NCAA Infractions Committee had it out for the Trojans

"Without question."

So, Trojan fans, I'm waiting to hear you say that Carroll was way out of line.

And Dr. Saturday highlights another curious statement
At which point you have to stop giving the benefit of the doubt to Carroll and wonder if he's not more than forgetful; maybe he's just lying.

Paper cut
The director of football operations for Michigan has decided to go to work for an even shadier employer than Rich Rodriguez: An insurance company. The possible (real) reason?

Labadie and coach Rich Rodriguez were among the several people who received a letter of reprimand from the school for playing a role in what the NCAA said were major rule violations. Labadie was blamed for failing to correctly and promptly file forms tracking hours players spent with the team.

Yes, someone who couldn't keep up with paperwork is a perfect employee for Blue Cross Blue Shield. They don't have anything like that.

I don't know if this is more sad or mind-numbingly stupid
Maybe this is the part of me that's Cherokee, but this is maybe the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Dumber than Lane Kiffin's first year at Tennessee? Yes, that dumb.

The Mayor wants your money
But for a variety of good causes.

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