Throughout the history of college football, there are a handful of major college football programs that have had a hard time finding sustained success.
While they've reached bowl eligibility a handful of times the past few decades, Vanderbilt is certainly considered one of those programs. This off season, the decision makers at Vandy tabbed Notre Dame defensive coordinator and Commodore alumnus Clark Lea to turn around their fortune.
According to Clark Lea's comments on a story from 247 the lack of success with the program is because it has never really been given a chance to develop.
"Vanderbilt is an undervalued stock that has never quite been given a chance to develop long term, and even some of the past successes have come in short spurts, but not been able to sustain."
The "undervalued stock" line is one you'd expect from a head coach in Lea's shoes, but he's certainly right about the short spurts of success for the program.
Following an initial 6-7 initial campaign in 2011, James Franklin managed to put together back-to-back 9-win campaigns with the program, but then left for Penn State in 2014.
Prior to that, you'd have to go all the way back to 1915 to find a 9-win season for the Nashville based program.
So what do they need to do in order to turn around those fortunes and succeed? Well that's a question that requires an answer with many layers.
For starters, Lea notes that they have to think outside the box.
"We need to be able to look at things from a different vantage point and stay true to the things that we know that will deliver us the results on the field."
Lea also notes in the 247 piece that they're going to be very specific about the type of players they're bringing into the program, and how they're modifying the behavior and habits of the roster they inherit. Those recruiting efforts will fall largely on the former 247 recruiting staple Barton Simmons, who spent a decade with 247 and the past five recruiting cycles overseeing the site's ranking process.
"I think the sooner we redirect behaviors and mindsets and habits within the building, the sooner we'll find the traction. We feel like success off the field begets success on the field," Lea adds.
Vanderbilt's non-conference schedule in 2021 includes East Tennessee State (FCS), Colorado State, Stanford, and UConn with SEC road trips to Florida, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Tennessee.
Head over to 247 to read the full piece with more from both Lea and Simmons.
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