Report: McGriff back to Vanderbilt as DC

It seems that Derek Mason had something of a busy Christmas. While most of us were sitting around the house opening gifts and generally having a good time, Mason, along with the powers that be at Vanderbilt, were putting the finishing touches on contract terms for his new hires at the coordinator positions.

Just hours after it was announced that Wisconsin offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig was poised to take the same position at Vanderbilt, new broke that the ‘Dores were also close to agreement with New Orleans Saints assistant coach Wesley McGriff for the defensive coordinator position. If the McGriff hire goes as expected then it makes sense as to why it took so long for the new to break. The saints after all finished their season on Sunday, so the timing makes complete sense.

The McGriff hire, just like the Ludwig hire beforehand, is one that the staff at VandyMania is very much on board with. McGriff has spent time with Vandy before, he was the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator under James Franklin in 2011. He has also spent time as a coordinator at the collegiate level (albeit as a co-coordinator at Ole Miss) and he was most recently a secondary coach at the pro level in New Orleans.

If his one season at Vandy is anything to go by then the ‘Dores can expect big things with McGriff back in the fold. His 2011 defense allowed just over 21 points a game, a mark they placed the Commodores in 29th out of the 120 programs which were playing at the FBS level that year. Most noticeable though was that the defensive backs pulled down an outstanding 16 interceptions that year, giving the offense extra possessions and dynamite field position. That compares to the 2014 defensive back class making just six interceptions on the season.

McGriff is known as a high energy guy, something which will be key with a defense which steadily improved throughout 2014. His 2011 defensive backfield was loaded with guys who went on to make an impact on Sundays, but with the right coaching up there is no reason he can’t achieve similar standards with the current group. Add in his ability as a high level recruiter and in McGriff the Commodores have picked up a defensive coordinator who is both ready for the challenge and another sparkplug hire.

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