Vanderbilt and James Franklin capped off a magical 2012 season skull thumping NC State 38-24. The score wasn’t indicative of just how lopsided the game really was, even though the Wolpack’s stat sheet may look prettier.
The Commodores won with a strong secondary that was up to the challenge against a potential NFL first rounder in Mike Glennon and a physical running game that produced three touchdowns. Glennon finished with three interceptions on poorly thrown balls, leaving his draft status laying somewhere around LP Field.
Not since 1915 has Vanderbilt won nine games in a single season, and Franklin, his staff and players aren’t content with just nine or the success they had this season. The Commodores also boast the SEC’s longest active winning streak with seven in a row.
So, it begs the question(s): Is Vanderbilt a one-hit wonder, or are they going to bring a five- or ten-year run like never seen before? How long will Franklin stay in Nashville?
Franklin insists that the Commodores aren’t going anywhere, and we can all get used to it.
And the plan’s next stop for continued success is national signing day, where the Commodores currently have the 14th and 16th best commit list according to Rivals and ESPN.
After signing day, however, Franklin and his returnees will turn their attention to 2013 and building a program, not just a stepping stone to another job.
“There’s going to come a point where we’re going to start talking about things that people think we have no business talking about. I’m going to leave it at that. I know everybody would like me to say it. We talk about it privately. We have very, very high expectations for this program, where we’re going, who we can be and what we can achieve.”
The Commodores, however, are losing quarterback Jordan Rodgers and running back Zac Stacy, and it’s likely that junior wide receiver Jordan Matthews will enter the NFL Draft after his monstrous season in 2012.
Likewise, the defensive line will look totally different with losing three of four starters, including staple tackle Rob Lohr. But the strength of the ‘11 and ‘12 teams will once again be the strength of the ‘13 team in the defensive secondary. Safeties Kenny Ladler and Javon Marshall return, along with corner Andre Hal, to once again form a strong pass defense.
Who says that Vandy’s success will be short lived?
“Well, this thing is (going to) keep going,” James Franklin said. “With the support of (athletics director) David Williams and Chancellor (Nick) Zeppos, and the community is jumping on board right now, the sky is the limit.”
I’ll let you tell the determined James Franklin that it can’t be done.
Photo Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports