On Monday, a surprising report surfaced that suggested the Vanderbilt Commodores could be eyeing former Tennessee Titans/Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher to replace current head coach Derek Mason (if they decide to move on from Mason).
Here’s what ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported:
I’m told former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher is a potential target for Vanderbilt. Fisher remains popular in Nashville, and new Vanderbilt athletic director Malcolm Turner wouldn’t hesitate to make a nontraditional hire.
When I first heard this report, I thought it was a joke.
Fisher has never coached at the collegiate level. And he hasn’t been involved in the college game since his playing days at USC in the early 1980’s.
On top of that, I don’t necessarily think Vanderbilt should fire Mason.
Sure, Mason hasn’t had the same success as his predecessor, James Franklin, but he’s still done a decent job. Mason has led Vanderbilt to two bowl game appearances. He’s also led the Commodores to three straight wins over Tennessee.
But Vandy is currently 2-5 this season. With games against Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee left on the schedule (plus a matchup with East Tennessee State), it’s certainly possible the Commodores could finish as a three win team (which would equal Mason’s worst record since taking over at Vandy).
If Vanderbilt only wins three games this season, I could see the program deciding it’s time for a change.
In that case, I’m sure there would be plenty of “up-and-coming” coaches who would want the chance to coach in the SEC. But if the Commodores don’t want to be a stepping stone anymore, then hiring Fisher could be wise.
Look, I don’t think Fisher is going to set the world on fire if he goes to Vandy. I have no idea how he would even handle recruiting. But he’s clearly a good football coach (the jokes aside, he has a career winning record in the NFL in a career that spans two decades).
And Fisher moved back to Nashville in 2017, so it’s plausible he could be interested in a job that would keep him in a town he clearly loves.
There were plenty of doubts about Herm Edwards when he took over at Arizona State last year. It seemed like an odd fit for a career NFL coach that had been relegated to an analyst role on television. But it’s worked out pretty well so far for the Sun Devils.
Fisher could be a long term solution that would bring stability to Vanderbilt’s football program. He’s a known commodity that will at least make the Commodores a respectable program on a yearly basis.
I’m not necessarily in on the “fire Derek Mason” talk, but I’m not out on the “hire Jeff Fisher” talk, either.
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