This is my sixth column as Vandy sports columnist for the Nashville Newzine
Modest proposals for Vanderbilt Football
by Robert Funke
How does a sports columnist approach a defeat at the hands of Army, especially when the reasons for defeat were the very same things that have plagued us all season long? Things like an impotent offense that magically seems to get worse with practice? Things like another dozen penalties?
First: congratulations. To myself. Last week, I correctly identified the problems in our offense. I also correctly identified our strengths. I am a great Vanderbilt sports columnist. Tell your friends.
Second: write a column. I did some soul searching. I felt like I had three choices for how, exactly, to approach this thing.
Option 1: A cuss-word-filled tirade against Ted Cain, who makes a very qualified applicant for any job that isn’t “Vanderbilt Offensive Coordinator”—keep an eye on this one, potential employers!* Nope. Did that a couple weeks ago.
Option 2: Start talking about basketball season. This was a tempting option, but I think I’ll hold off at least another week. Vanderbilt doesn’t do “hype” well.
Option 3: Babble inanely about ways to make our team more successful that have nothing to do with coaching, athletic skill, or strategy.
First idea: Let’s talk mascots. I love Mr. Commodore as much as the next guy, but frankly, he’s not getting the job done. I’ve come up with two alternate mascots: the Vanderbilt Blacksmiths (Smithie the Blacksmith) and the Vanderbilt Vampires (Count Cornelius). For more detailed plans of my proposed mascot rebranding, visit VandyVendidad.tumblr.com.
Next idea: Also mascot-related. A couple years ago, Vanderbilt debuted “Big C,” a large, inflatable, Big-Boy-esque rendition of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Like the Sarah Palin of Vanderbilt athletics, he’s a polarizing, but nonetheless entertaining, figure. He’s wacky! What’s he going to do next? Stand in front of the student section, obstructing the students’ view of a game-changing play? Bounce upside-down on his head? Run around and look crazy? It doesn’t matter what he does; it’s always going to be terrifying.
Because Big C is creepier than your Uncle Paul. Which is why I propose we buy 49 more Big C costumes.
Imagine an army of FIFTY BIG C’s, running around the field, bouncing on their heads, convulsing on the ground! It would freak you out! Lane Kiffin would think someone slipped acid into his coffee! Think about it, boosters!
Final idea: Change the stadium. While I appreciate the time and money and enthusiasm that has gone into updating our facilities over the last few years, especially Dudley Field’s recent renovations, I think we’ve been going about things the wrong way.
Trying to make our football stadium more intimidating in the SEC is like trying to run a simple running offense against SEC defenses. We aren’t big enough for that. Seriously. You dolts. So how can we leverage Vanderbilt’s unique offerings into a more threatening home field environment?
Solution: Memorial Magic.
I propose we start playing football games on Ingram Court in Memorial Gymnasium. Think about it. Memorial Gym is our single greatest asset. It throws off other basketball teams with its unique raised court, odd goal-post placement, and bench location. Think of what it could do to football teams! Have you ever tried to wear football cleats on a wooden surface? Good luck!
Our students can get loud in Memorial. Imagine trying to hear a snap count with cries of “Walsh You Suck!” thundering across the mezzanine. Nearly impossible.
That’s my brainstorm. Granted, these proposals are unorthodox. But since when does Vanderbilt go about sports according to orthodoxy? We’re revolutionary, remember? Less than a decade ago, we dismantled our athletic department!
I’ll see you at the homecoming game.
*As a sympathetic member of the country’s booming unemployment sector, I’ve decided to stop calling for Mr. Cain to be fired, and instead call for someone else to hire him away from Vanderbilt.