Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BobbyBall 2009

A friend of mine recently pointed me to a new t-shirt, pictured above, being marketed by Vanderbilt's athletic department. Wait, hold that, actually Vanderbilt doesn't have an athletic department (see here) so this must be marketed by Vanderbilt's Division for Student Life, which covers both Division I intercollegiate athletics and intramural sports like flag football and ultimate. Anyway, back on point, the BobbyBall'09 shirt had me wondering about its meaning and the lasting impact of WoodyBall, which if you don't recall, is the particular brand of football developed by Woody Widenhoefer, Vanderbilt's head football coach from 1995 to 2001. Since my own career at Vanderbilt coincided with the last half of the WoodyBall era (1998-2001), I was lucky enough to witness it at its zenith. As far as I can tell, WoodyBall was characterized by a stagnant offense, erratic and risky play calling---especially on 4th down or in the 4th quarter (a fake punt from our 20 yard line late in the 4th quarter up 7 on a ranked Georgia team comes to mind), a low winning percentage (4-36 in the SEC), turnovers at key moments in the game/season (a fumble in the waning moments against Kentucky within field goal down by 2 and needing a win to secure your first bowl game in 15 years), and other generally inexplicably horrific events (one football player fell down an elevator shaft---he did survive). However, Vanderbilt did have an outstanding defense one season (1st in the SEC in 1997) and a good one in a couple of other seasons, which must be why they kept Woody around for 6 years despite a 15-40 record. Or it could have been the prevalence of "We've got a Woody" signs at the football games. Hopefully, BobbyBall will continue to be nothing like WoodyBall. Although, if Bobby doesn't start winning some of these close games, like this past week's 23-9---closer than it score indicates---game to LSU, it may start to come close. Only time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Did you know this?
    5 Vandy players on the Chicago Bears? I guess that explains blowing a 4th quarter lead to the Vikings.