College football coaches always seem to be trying new ways to inspire their players to work harder, but a newly revealed tactic by first-year Vanderbilt head coach Clark Lea has left many scratching their heads.
The Commodores removed all of the numbers from their team’s online roster in an update this weekend, continuing Lea’s philosophy that the jersey numbers must be earned. The first-year head coach started this tactic earlier in the spring and clearly feels like no player on his team has earned the “honor” just yet.
“We are going to earn everything in this program,” Lea said earlier this offseason. “Until we understand that we rent those numbers, we don’t own them, until we are ready to work within them, leave them better for the next person to wear them, that will come. I don’t want to put a timeline on it.”
The reaction to Vanderbilt’s decision was widely negative. Numerous college football fans questioned Lea’s choice to implement this move with a struggling football team and to players that have dedicated years of their life to the Commodores’ program.
Much like Clarence earning his wings in It’s A Wonderful Life, Vanderbilt football players must perform a miracle to earn their jersey numbers, and that miracle is breaking .500. https://t.co/svmIsv6zxe
— Andrew Goldstein (@AndyGold24) July 18, 2021
I’m sorry. I don’t have the mental energy right now to take Vanderbilt football this seriously. Somebody else is going to have to make an appropriate joke here. https://t.co/kWosi0PMRi
— Dawg Sports (@dawgsports) July 18, 2021
Just ridiculous. You’re telling the players that have fought and given so much effort for the Commodores that they have to now EARN their number?
Maybe Clark Lea should have to earn his title of “head coach” as well. https://t.co/di7zuU20du
— Brian Stultz (@brianjstultz) July 18, 2021
Man, what? 😂🤣 https://t.co/l62LV5JWgy
— Gabe Kuhn (@G_Kuhn71) July 18, 2021
Other media members chimed in and lamented the fact that reporters and broadcasters would have to identify Vanderbilt players without their digits. During fall camp, that sounds like a nightmare.
The confusion for reporters at fall camp 🥴 https://t.co/Omufla8KNO
— Lyndsey Gough (@LGonTV) July 18, 2021
Good luck SEC broadcasters https://t.co/duQdtyriCD
— Jake Ostrove (@JakeOstroveWBOY) July 18, 2021
It’s hard to disagree with any of the above comments. Jersey numbers are typically pretty important to college athletes, so Lea’s decision to take that aspect away from his new players doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to potentially bother his new Vanderbilt team.
In fairness, the Commodores haven’t had a winning season since 2013 and Lea clearly wants to shake things up as much as he can. Vanderbilt players will have to get their numbers eventually, so we’ll have to see when the first-year head coach starts to dole out the digits.
The post College Football World Reacts To Vanderbilt’s Roster Move appeared first on The Spun.