Thursday, February 16, 2012

Men of Honor

Part and parcel of the anti-Edsall careening bandwagon is the idolization of former Maryland assistant James Franklin. With a fawning profile and subsequent musings following Vanderbilt's surprising first season under the rookie coach, WaPo's done its part. Vandy's 6-6 year and loss to Cincy in the Liberty Bowl was, of course, a dramatic sea change for a program that went 6-6 with a win over a ranked Boston College team in the Music City Bowl under Bobby Johnson three seasons earlier. Cultural change complete; Vanderbilt ascendant; Terps miss out; Kevin Anderson is a miserable failure.

The Tennessean's Jeff Lockridge's short tweet summarizing Coach Franklin's characterization of de-commits as "not men of honor" and "not men of integrity" in a pep speech at the beginning of the month probably won't register up here. But it certainly raised a few eyebrows in other ACC circles. Per Michael Carvell at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, UNC Coach Larry Fedora waxing poetic on Coach Franklin's sense of honor:
North Carolina’s Larry Fedora: “What does [Franklin] say about the kids that were committed elsewhere and de-committed from their places to go to his place? That’s my comment. What is his comment on those people? He’s got someone in his recruiting class that did that very thing. He’s saying those guys are not men of honor? Basically, he’s saying he has got kids in his own recruiting class that are not men of honor. He said that, and I didn’t.”
Sour grapes for losing Patton Robinette? Sure. Fine. But after crediting Coach Franklin with answering his questions and conceding the inconsistency of some of his views, Carvell included this Vandy recruiting Valentine's in a blog post Tuesday:
Sandy Creek DB Shaq Wiggins, who committed to UGA last weekend, was offered by Vanderbilt on Monday. “I got to talk to about four coaches, including the head coach [James Franklin]. They all knew that I committed to Georgia but they wanted to let me know that I had an offer from Vanderbilt, and they invited me to their Junior Day.”
Beautiful: Coach Franklin loses formerly committed Josh Dawson to the Georgia Bulldogs. Coach Franklin opines that some honor or integrity is lost by de-committing. Coach Franklin retreats from comments when called on them by Carvell. Coach Franklin, three days later, then gouges return eye by openly recruiting a Georgia Bulldog commit after public announcement is made.

Whatever justification may exist (or, more likely, doesn't exist) for the action, refusing to release players to transfer to Vanderbilt was another incompetent public relations misstep. At a minimum, it further fueled the perception that Coach Edsall is unreasonable, petty, and dictatorial. But before gilding the Commodores any further, let's be clear about what we're talking about. Men of honor. Men of integrity.

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