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Thread: VanGoober to Bowling Green

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    Quote Originally Posted by gasouthern01 View Post
    Unfortunately the article link does not work bc it's been years, but Joe person at usc called me and interviewed me about van gorder. I told him he wouldn't even be at usc a year and within a few days he had left.

    http://www.thestate.com/sports/story/283339.html


    Seeking SECurity

    Brian VanGorder is a much-traveled coach known for his defensive skills. But can he help breathe new life into the Gamecocks’ defense?

    By JOSEPH PERSON - jperson@thestate.com

    New USC defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder talks to the media, Tuesday, January 8, 2008.
    Following a series of handshakes and interviews with the media and a quick photo shoot outside the South Carolina locker room, Brian VanGorder turned to leave.

    “Where am I going?” VanGorder asked a school official.

    “Where are you trying to get to?”

    That seems to be the million-dollar question regarding USC’s new defensive coordinator.

    The 48-year-old VanGorder arrived in Columbia last week to start his fifth job in a 37-month span. There are Army lifers who have not moved that often.

    VanGorder admits to chasing the head-coaching carrot when he left Georgia in 2005 following a successful, four-year stint as Mark Richt’s defensive coordinator. What followed was a flurry of three one-year stopovers, leaving VanGorder with a resume that reads like a temp worker’s.

    Though VanGorder will win no popularity contests in Statesboro, Ga., following his tumultuous turn as Georgia Southern’s head coach in 2006, his reputation as a defensive teacher and tactician remains intact.

    So when Bobby Petrino left behind a lame-duck Atlanta Falcons staff after bolting to Arkansas with three games remaining in the NFL season, USC coach Steve Spurrier swooped in on the university plane and hired VanGorder to toughen up a unit that finished in the bottom third of the SEC in total defense in each of Spurrier’s three seasons.

    VanGorder received a three-year deal from USC (the school has yet to release the terms). He and wife Pollie hope they are here for the length of the contract, at least.

    “She’s disappointed in having to move the last three years. Obviously, she’d like to find a place that we can call home,” said VanGorder, who has five children between the ages of 6 and 19. “And that’s what she’s anticipating here — Columbia will become our home.”

    The irony is that VanGorder seeks stability at a school whose coach cycles through defensive coordinators like his trademark visors.

    VanGorder is the 12th coordinator to work for Spurrier in his 19 years as a college coach. None has stayed with Spurrier longer than three years; three have been fired or demoted.

    The flipside: three of Spurrier’s coordinators at Florida became head coaches, including two who were in BCS bowl games this month — Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Illinois’ Ron Zook.

    But VanGorder insists he is done running down the head-coaching dream.
    “I’ve fragmented my career enough at this point and time that that’s not something I’m thinking about. I want to come to South Carolina and do a great job for coach Spurrier. That’s really my focus,” he said. “I’m anticipating developing college players again and trying to create a defense that’s among the best in the SEC.”

    BIG ON BASICS

    Before he was a teacher, VanGorder was a student of the game.

    As a 24-year-old high school coach at a small private school in south Florida, VanGorder drove several hours to Orlando to hear Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger speak after the Hurricanes won the 1983 national championship.

    VanGorder arrived early, took a seat in the front row and was shocked when he saw other coaches stroll into the room 30 minutes late.

    “I was like, ‘What the heck?’” VanGorder said. “I was right in that front row. I couldn’t wait to hear Howard talk.”

    VanGorder soaked up Schnellenberger’s remarks and can recall his tips about dead areas in cover-2 zone coverage 25 years later.

    A Florida high school coach for seven years, VanGorder also gleaned pointers from Jimmy Johnson, Schnellenberger’s successor at Miami. With a staff that included Dave Wannstedt, Butch Davis and Dave Campo, VanGorder was a frequent guest at the Hurricanes’ practices.

    VanGorder returned to his native Michigan at Grand Valley State in 1989, and took his first head-coaching post at his alma mater of Wayne State from 1992-94. VanGorder served as defensive coordinator at Central Florida, Central Michigan and Western Illinois, but was a relative unknown until landing on Richt’s first Georgia staff in 2001.

    His first two years in Athens, VanGorder said the Bulldogs did not have enough defensive backs to run a nickel package.

    But VanGorder had plenty of talent elsewhere: Six of his players were first- or second-round NFL draft picks, including defensive linemen David Pollack and Johnathan Sullivan, safety Thomas Davis and linebackers Boss Bailey and Odell Thurman.

    With Pollack and Co. able to generate a pass rush from the Bulldogs’ 4-3 base defense, VanGorder blitzed sparingly and allowed his athletic linebackers and safeties to make plays in zone coverage.

    “We didn’t always have the great perimeter presence,” VanGorder said. “But we had some good pass-rushers and that was just the smart thing to do.”

    Georgia ranked fifth nationally in rushing defense in Richt’s first season and finished in the top 10 in the country in scoring defense the next three years as the Bulldogs captured an SEC title, two SEC East crowns and three consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games.

    VanGorder won the Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant in 2003 when Georgia ranked in the top six nationally in three major defensive categories.

    Willie Martinez, who succeeded VanGorder as Georgia’s defensive coordinator, has been friends with VanGorder for 20 years and worked with him at three schools. He called VanGorder a teacher, motivator and “fundamentalist” who preaches the importance of basics.

    “I don’t want to say ‘old-school,’ but he doesn’t really leave a stone unturned,” Martinez said. “A lot of people say it, pay lip service, but don’t really come through with it. Well, he really believes in it.”

    Martinez said VanGorder is an intense competitor, whether on the golf course or practice field. “I guarantee you that if he tells them to run to the ball in practice, they’re going to run to the ball. And if they don’t, there’s consequences.”

    A TRAVELIN’ MAN

    Anxious to improve his chances of becoming a head coach again, VanGorder left Georgia in 2005 to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars’ linebackers under Jack Del Rio. VanGorder said his year in Jacksonville was like coaching two seasons, given the 21-game schedule the Jags played from preseason through the playoffs.

    VanGorder left the NFL after accepting a head-coaching offer from Georgia Southern, a perennial Division I-AA power that had gone 8-4 in 2005 in Mike Sewak’s final season.

    VanGorder angered much of the Eagles’ fan base by scrapping a couple of the school’s traditions. Besides shuttering the triple-option offense favored by legendary Georgia Southern coach Erk Russell, VanGorder also ditched the yellow school buses that transported the Eagles to Paulson Stadium as part of a popular, game-day ritual.

    “He changed a lot of traditions that really alienated people in Statesboro,” said Brian Brennan, a financial analyst in Atlanta and member of Georgia Southern’s alumni board.

    The changes might have been tolerated had VanGorder not posted the worst record (3-8) in school history. But Brennan said fans also were chafed at VanGorder’s use of quarterback Jayson Foster, who won the Walter Payton Award as the top I-AA player in 2007, a year after playing primarily receiver under VanGorder.

    “People would have been OK with the changing of the offense if he would have stuck with it,” Brennan said.

    Instead, VanGorder fled Statesboro with a couple years remaining on his contract to join Petrino’s staff. VanGorder said he was up front with Georgia Southern’s administration about his plans for the program, but admits going to the Southern Conference after SEC and NFL stints was a mistake.

    “There was a part of me that always felt like I kind of went back into something that I’d already done,” VanGorder said. “I remember we were playing Citadel and there were 6,000 people there. I did that back when I was at Wayne State in the early ’90s. I just felt like, what did I do?

    “But I did enjoy transitioning that program and kind of getting it updated from a facilities standpoint, an academic standpoint, a training standpoint, a teaching standpoint. It just needed so much. What we did was really solid and good. If we could’ve kicked extra points and field goals, you probably wouldn’t be hearing that kind of talk. But we just didn’t that year.”

    Georgia Southern lost six games by a touchdown or less in 2006, including five losses by four points or fewer. Sam Baker, the school’s athletics director, declined to comment about VanGorder other than to wish him well at USC.

    VanGorder figures his experience at Georgia Southern probably will keep him out of head-coaching conversations for a while.

    “The reality of the situation is I made a decision a couple years ago, and based on that decision it’s kind of put the head-coaching position in the background at this time,” he said. “That’s unfortunate. ... But I don’t have anyone else to look at or to blame.”

    Spurrier said he hired VanGorder, who will coach the Gamecocks’ linebackers, based on his track record and will give him the freedom to run his schemes. USC returns 10 of 11 starters to a defense that played well early in 2007 before giving up a combined 99 points and 1,188 yards in consecutive November losses to Arkansas and Florida.

    “I think Brian will bring some good solid fundamentals and physical play,” Spurrier said, “something that will help us as we go forward.”

    After taking the job, VanGorder called Houston Texans secondary coach Jon Hoke, a former Florida defensive coordinator, to talk to him about working with Spurrier.

    “The one consistent thing (Hoke said) was, ‘We learned a lot of football,’” VanGorder said.

    Martinez believes Spurrier will appreciate VanGorder’s take-charge approach on the defensive field.

    “Being around Brian, I’ve always felt that if he’s in charge of the defense you don’t have to worry about the defense,” Martinez said. “I think any coach would like that.”

    Likewise, VanGorder should enjoy the family atmosphere at USC, where coaches’ wives and children attend weekly staff dinners during the season.

    VanGorder’s wife and four school-age children will join him in Columbia this spring after school ends in Georgia (his oldest son, Molloy, is a walk-on defensive back at Georgia). The family plans to keep its house on Lake Lanier north of Atlanta.

    “I was hardly ever home when I was at Georgia. And when I was, I was working the kids real hard. One day I said, ‘I’ve got to start having some fun with these kids,’” he said. “I told Pollie, ‘I’m going to go buy something on a lake. I’m going to get a boat and start enjoying life and living some life and enjoying these kids.’”

    After a dizzying series of moves, VanGorder realizes he needs to slow down if he is to enjoy anything.

    “I didn’t search those opportunities out. They came to me. That’s always a good sign,” he said. “In this line of business you have to constantly re-evaluate your goals and what you want to do. But there’s a lot more to my life than just football.”

    Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Guessing Pollie didn't like Columbia any more than she did Statesboro

    Scott Guy
    c/o '93 - BS in Computer Science
    Cumming, Ga
    Tailgating in B31

  2. #32

    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    Quote Originally Posted by GaSou93 View Post
    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Guessing Pollie didn't like Columbia any more than she did Statesboro
    Yep. I told that reporter 10 years ago he would be gone within a year and he didnt believe me. Then not even a few months later, before ever even coaching a game he leaves. He called me the next day to tell me he was running my quotes in a follow up article and asked if I wanted to add anything more. All i said was i wished he had left us as quickly as he left USC and now you realize why we at Georgia southern cant stand that man. He agreed.
    Brian Brennan
    1995 BBA Finance
    Eagle fan since 1982

  3. #33

    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    He's a dead horse. You can beat a dead horse for only so long until you feel better unless your addicted to redundancy. Hatcher's mediocre performance and Summers embarrassing attempt at HC is history. Were back on track right now. That's what is important. But hey, misery loves company.

  4. #34

    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    “But I did enjoy transitioning that program and kind of getting it updated from a facilities standpoint, an academic standpoint, a training standpoint, a teaching standpoint. It just needed so much. What we did was really solid and good. If we could’ve kicked extra points and field goals, you probably wouldn’t be hearing that kind of talk. But we just didn’t that year.”


    WTF??? The only thing we needed were fans after he drove this ox into the ditch. F... HIM

  5. #35

    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    Van Goober in a nutshell -

    “There was a part of me that always felt like I kind of went back into something that I’d already done,” VanGorder said. “I remember we were playing Citadel and there were 6,000 people there. I did that back when I was at Wayne State in the early ’90s. I just felt like, what did I do?

    “But I did enjoy transitioning that program and kind of getting it updated from a facilities standpoint, an academic standpoint, a training standpoint, a teaching standpoint. It just needed so much. What we did was really solid and good. If we could’ve kicked extra points and field goals, you probably wouldn’t be hearing that kind of talk. But we just didn’t that year.”
    He was too good for us. We were lucky to have him. He "fixed" us and gave us so many things we needed, including our worst losing season to date.

  6. #36

    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    despicable
    Once poked Chad Lunsford in the eye.

  7. #37

    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    Dead Horse subject. Whiskey for my men. Beer for my horse. Walmart greeter will be his ultimate recourse.

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Evans, GA
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    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    Quote Originally Posted by PowerEagle View Post
    Van Goober in a nutshell -



    He was too good for us. We were lucky to have him. He "fixed" us and gave us so many things we needed, including our worst losing season to date.
    I remember the guy put a windsock around the practice field and a deer stand on it and acted like it was some major upgrade. He also acted like John Mohring was just some average Joe linebacker until HE showed up. Mohring was a beast before and certainly didn't need any tutelage from him to become great.

  9. Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfart View Post
    “But I did enjoy transitioning that program and kind of getting it updated from a facilities standpoint, an academic standpoint, a training standpoint, a teaching standpoint. It just needed so much. What we did was really solid and good. If we could’ve kicked extra points and field goals, you probably wouldn’t be hearing that kind of talk. But we just didn’t that year.”


    WTF??? The only thing we needed were fans after he drove this ox into the ditch. F... HIM
    BVG needed to get inhale vigorouslyer punched right smack in the middle of his stupid goatee.

  10. #40

    Default Re: VanGoober to Bowling Green

    I really hate to see this, other than having no idea who we were before the bowl game in Mobile I really liked most of the BG fans I met. They seemed to really love their program and with them hiring this guy only bad will follow. The only saving grace for them is if someone else is desperate enough to hire this guy before the season starts, who knows the Falcons might hire him again, they are that dumb.

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