It’s unusual when neither the head coach nor offensive coordinator is calling plays for their football team, but that is the case for Vanderbilt. Head coach Clark Lea made the surprising revelation that pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joey Lynch has taken over playcalling duties since a week into preseason practice.
“About a week into fall camp, just made the decision looking kind of big picture that we were going to lean on Joey Lynch’s experience in that role as play-caller,” Lea said Tuesday. “It’s always been a collaborative effort and planning and the design of the plan and certainly Coach Raih’s fingerprints were all over that still and they worked together along with (run game coordinator) Norval (McKenzie) and then the rest of the offensive staff but really more of a lean-to Joey’s experience in doing that.”
Lynch certainly has the edge in experience, serving as offensive coordinator at Ball State from 2014-2019, and at this week’s opponent Colorado State in 2020, before coming to Vanderbilt. Raih has never served as an offensive coordinator at any level, with the majority of his coaching career spent working with wide receivers in the NFL. It appears Coach Lea wants him to continue in that role with the Commodores.
“I wanted for David to be able to focus on his receiver group that we think can be a feature in our offense,” Lea said. “We have a bunch of playmakers in there and needed to get the most out of them and so that was the precipice for the move and again that happened about a week into fall camp. It’s been still collaborative, still a group effort but just leaning on Joey’s experience in the play-calling.”
Whether this move hints at dysfunction on the coaching staff, or it’s just Lea continuing his learning curve as a first-time head coach, is anyone’s guess. The bottom line is no matter who is calling the plays, what we saw Saturday wasn’t good enough. The game plan, from rotating quarterbacks in and out, to continuing to force difficult fade routes most of the game, was disastrous. It was also distressing to see no real adjustments made at halftime, or at any point in the game. We will need to see a much better effort this weekend if Vandy is going to upset Colorado State.