James Franklin: 'That's why you see people scheduling the way they do'
Posted by: Josh Kendall on October 18, 2012
Vanderbilt's stout schedule has prepared the team for the second half of the season, head coach James Franklin said, but he's not sure it's the best formula for long term success.
"It's a fine line," Franklin said Wednesday on the SEC coaches teleconference. "I think the best thing that you can do to teach your team how to win is by winning, and that's why when you look across this league and across the country, that's why you see people scheduling the way they do early in the season, to try to get some success."
The Commodores have played the third-toughest schedule in the country, according to USA Today's Jeff Sagarin, and are 2-4 overall in part because of that. In addition to playing the SEC East's top three teams already, the Commodores have played at Northwestern out of conference.
"This whole strength of schedule thing only matters if you are playing for the national championship," Franklin said. "At the end of the season, if you are 12-0, people are not going to say, 'Well, this was an ugly win or this was against this team or this was against that team.' They say you are undefeated."
Last year, the Commodores started the season 3-0 by beating Elon, UConn and Ole Miss "and there was a buzz about Vanderbilt and an excitement," Franklin said. That external excitement has evaporated, and Franklin has had to ensure his players they still are on the right track despite a lack of acclaim.
"I think we are very similar to where we were last year," Franklin said. "If you look at our team and study the tape, yeah I think (the strong schedule) has prepared us. The perception of it, I don't know. That's something that I really try to control with our team to make sure they understand the big picture."
Victory, no matter who it comes against, leads to more victory, Franklin said.
"The more you win, that becomes the expectation and people get used to that and they do whatever they have to do to keep doing it," he said. "I think that's a big part of it is the confidence that you are going to win week in and week out."
In the next two seasons, the Commodores have out-of-conference games scheduled against Ohio State, Northwestern and Wake Forest.
Below Franklin discusses Vanderbilt's loss to Florida on Saturday.
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Josh Kendall is a staff writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered the SEC for more than 15 years for papers such as the Athens Banner-Herald, Macon Telegraph, and The State. He’s the father of two boys who he’s hoping don’t inherit his wide receiver frame and offensive guard feet. Follow @EyeOnCoaches on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org