Friday: A message from Coach Franklin
This is the fifth and final part of a weeklong series on VUCommodores.com titled Changing the Culture, which highlights the changes that have been made in the offseason. These changes were implemented after receiving feedback from the fan base through a fan forum, an online suggestion box and multiple conversations.
During this past week, VUCommodores.com has taken you through a number of changes fans can expect to see during the 2011 football season that have been put into place to help improve the experience fans receive on gameday and to improve the overall program as a whole.
Changing the culture has been a priority for Head Coach James Franklin since he arrived on campus in December. He has a plan for the future and is attacking each day on the job with a contagious passion and relentless work ethic that has been felt throughout the entire program.
"This is an opportunity to be a part of something special ... turning a program around ... building something with your own hands so that when you look back, three, four, five years from now, you can be very, very proud of what you've accomplished," said Franklin regarding the future of the program.
Franklin has much more to say to Vanderbilt fans regarding the future of the program. His entire message can be viewed below or by clicking here.
What to do on gameday By Rod Williamson, Director of Communications Whether you have been coming to Vanderbilt football games since you were knee-high to a grasshopper or are planning to attend your first Commodore game ever, we're going to share with you our idea of how to spend a football Saturday on our campus.
For many of us, the football game itself is the main event but it is not the entire reason we show up. We want to be with people who enjoy what we enjoy. We want to be part of a community of friends and gridiron neighbors. We want to hear the marching band off in the distance, to sense the excitement - we love to feel alive. This is fun!
This season the Commodores begin a new tradition; their walk through Vandyville will soon become a can't-miss event. The busses roll up to Children's Way and Natchez Trace (the south end of Vandyville) two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff. Getting off those busses and strolling through the tailgaters are some of the hardest-working, high achievers we will ever encounter. They are worthy of our support.
If you brought the kids, just a few steps away is another new addition - the Vandyville Too Kids' Zone, where inflatable games, cotton candy, face-painters and other fun stuff await. It's grassy, fenced-in and a good place to toss the ball with little Johnny.
We then walk toward the stadium through Vandyville, stopping to play a little beanbag toss or sample some tailgate chow. There are upwards of 75 tents and you're bound to know somebody; if you don't, people are easy to meet here.
At the northern tip of Vandyville you'll find another new element, the Coca-Cola Picnic Area, which is conveniently located next to the huge video screen that is always tuned to the moment's best college game. You won't be alone here, that's guaranteed!
By now you're probably amazed that an hour has evaporated and it's time for the traditional Star Walk. Commodore coaches and team cross Jess Neely Drive from McGugin Center into Vanderbilt Stadium as hundreds of fans and the marching band swarm the street. Players will carry the coveted anchor at the front of the line.
We might be tempted to return to the Vandyville area at this point, probably heading into the parking lots where a whole lot of tailgating is going on. If you are hosting your own tailgate, it's getting time to wrap it up and to be sure, listen for the blast from the stadium horn that will let you know it's nearing time for the kickoff. You will find large signs that detail not only the events but what the horn reminders signify.
We're going to get into the stadium between 30 and 45 minutes before kickoff. Why? We like to watch the teams go through the final parts of their warm-ups but we also love the electricity that you feel in the stadium bowl. The Jumbotron is going to be amped up with information and special content throughout the pre-game, the bands and cheerleaders are in the house and the flags are flapping in the breeze. Welcome to college football!
Our favorite moment might be the seconds just prior to each team taking the field for the final time. That entry marks the culmination of a hard week of practice and even a career's worth of preparation. This fall the Commodores will come through a brand new tunnel.
We're ready for kick-off, time for James Franklin and Company to take over for the next three hours.