New Vanderbilt Coordinators not Getting Respect in Rankings

Greg Arias

The guys at Saturday's Down South have released their rankings of the 14 current Southeastern Conference offensive and defensive coordinators, and despite what the current tandem of Commodore coordinators have done previously, they're still not getting much love. 

Todd Fitch, who is one of the up and coming names of play-callers in college football, looks like an excellent hire for head coach Derek Mason as he looks to rework an offense that was horrid in 2019. He has a lot of work to do, however, as Fitch will be tasked with getting a brand new quarterback ready to play.   

How bad were the Commodores on offense last season?

Vanderbilt scores 21 offensive touchdowns for the season. It took them 744 total plays to score those touchdowns, which, when you do the math, shows that the Commodores 35.4 plays to score each touchdown in 2019. That total was worst in the SEC and fifth-worst nationally. 

Defensively, Ted Roof, who won a national championship as the defensive coordinator at Auburn in 2010, takes over a defense that was equally as poor last season, giving up points in bundles. 

So, where do Fitch and Roof rank among their conference peers, according to SDS?

No. 13 Todd Fitch — Vanderbilt

"Louisiana Tech ran an efficient offense under Fitch in 2019 (the unit ranked No. 1 in 3rd-down conversion rate and 2nd in scoring in Conference USA), but the main reason for ranking Vanderbilt’s new offensive coordinator so low has to do with the fact the Commodores completely turned over their quarterback room this offseason. Nobody has experience. There’s a chance true freshman Ken Seals starts under center, and losing NFL draftee Ke’Shawn Vaughn is likely going to make for a rough season of offense for Vanderbilt." 

Of the 14 offensive coordinators, only Jeff Lebby at Ole Miss ranks lower, but will Lebby even be the play-caller for the Rebels considering who his head coach is? 

On the defensive side, where does Roof rank?


No. 12 Ted Roof — Vanderbilt

"One of the more experienced coaches on this list, Roof did an outstanding job running Appalachian State’s defense in 2019. Roof also has SEC experience, as he served as Gene Chizik’s defensive coordinator at Auburn from 2009-2011, which included the 2010 national championship season. Considering the success Roof had with Eli Drinkwitz last season, it was interesting to see Missouri’s new coach go in a different direction on defense, but that likely says more about Troy Walters than it does Roof. Getting the opportunity to combine knowledge and defensive schemes with Derek Mason could prove to be a big plus for the Commodores in 2020."

Again, low in the rankings with only two, Mississippi State's, Zach Arnett, and Ole Miss' DJ Durkin ranked lower. 

All this means little in the grand scheme of things but would seem that at least Roof, who has a ring to his credit, would have ranked higher than some of the names ahead of him. 

Perhaps it's the Vanderbilt effect where things are ranked low simply because, or maybe these others are just better. 

One thing is sure, both Fitch and Roof will have a chance to improve those rankings before next season, depending on how their respective units perform in 2020. 

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