Believe it or not, T.J. Greenstone hasn’t been glued to his computer, checking the Internet every five minutes for the latest information on Vanderbilt’s search for its next football coach.
That is not to say Greenstone, who plays defensive tackle for the Commodores, isn’t interested to find out who is next coach will be. Greenstone, a team captain, is just a little busy right now.
“I’d like to say it is all I have been worried about but I actually have a final Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,” Greenstone said on Tuesday night. “It is one of those things you have to put toward the back of your mind for right now.”
Greenstone and the rest of his Vanderbilt teammates, though, would love to know who will succeed Robbie Caldwell as head coach before they had home for Christmas break.
It appears they will have their answer soon enough if reports hold true that Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin is the choice. Those reports have not been confirmed by those in the Vanderbilt athletic department.
“We can’t confirm or deny the reports,” director of external relations Rod Williamson said earlier Tuesday. Williamson added that there wasn’t “restless anticipation” to set up a press conference to introduce a new coach on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Messages left for David Williams, the vice chancellor of University Affairs and Athletics, were not returned on Tuesday. His secretary said he was in an all-day meeting that had been scheduled for “a very long time.”
Williams hasn’t had much contact with the football team either.
Greenstone and quarterback Larry Smith said they hadn’t talked to Williams or Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos during the search process. Watching from afar, Greenstone has been impressed with the university’s efforts.
“I think they have done a great job so far,” said Greenstone, who will be a senior next fall. “I think when it comes down to it, especially for some of us older guys, we are here for another year and that is really it. This coach will be here for a lot longer than that. So it shouldn’t be up to us and who we think but who the administration thinks gives us the best chance to win.”
Still, it is hard for Greenstone, Smith and the rest of the Commodores not to get caught up in the search and what they read online. For example, a report came Sunday night that Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn had accepted Vanderbilt’s job offer.
“I think we were all pretty much pumped,” Smith, who will be a senior next fall, said. “Being how we have struggled on offense the past few years [getting] the offensive-minded guy ... that would have been huge for us.”
On Monday, however, Malzahn signed a contract extension to stay at Auburn, ending the short-lived anticipation that he would be the guy for the Commodores. In less than 24 hours, though, the attention quickly shifted to Franklin and early Tuesday morning, the Washington Post — the same newspaper that reported Malzahn had accepted a job offer — was the first to report Franklin would be the next Vanderbilt coach.
“I try to stay out of it because nothing is true until it shows up on [the Vanderbilt] website,” Greenstone said. “It is a lot of emotions wrapped in one. It is kind of exciting to see who they are going to bring in and people throwing names around. I’m glad we are getting publicity at a time that we’re usually not. Most people are focused on our basketball team right now so it is great as far as football getting publicity. It is stressful. It is exciting. It is really a mix of emotions.”
It has indeed been a roller coaster that everyone involved would like to see end very soon.
“I’m just ready to have a coach before I go home for Christmas break,” Smith said laughing. “That would be nice.”