Clark Lea determined to make Vanderbilt Commodores football ‘the best program in the country’

ATLANTA — Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea is undeterred by last season’s 2-10 record and the program’s eight straight seasons ending under .500.

At Tuesday’s SEC media days, Lea made a bold proclamation about the future of Commodores football.

“We know ahead of time that Vanderbilt Football is going to be the best program in the country,” he said.

Never mind that the program has never won 10 games in a season or appeared in an SEC championship game. Lea, who is in her second season as head coach after spending three seasons as defense coordinator at Notre Dame, sees a path to prosperity.

But he made no secret that there are “no cheat codes” and that it takes “the long, hard road” to get there.

“We are committed to a unique form of team building,” said Lea. “We are a relational, student and athlete focused program that prioritizes the holistic development of our people above all else. For us, this is not an outdated concept. It’s still important. If you do the right things, the right way, with the right people, with respect and appreciation, you won’t be denied.

“If you’re smart in design and disciplined in your approach, you’ll win in time. This is Vanderbilt football.”

Lea said he learned from last season’s experience and wants to better manage the tactical aspects of the games. Vanderbilt’s only wins came from conference against Colorado State and UConn.

But when Vanderbilt opens fall camp in the coming weeks, Lea will know, among other things, who his starting quarterback is.

On Tuesday, Lea named Mike Wright the starter, naming him one of the best QBs in the country when it comes to mobility.

In 10 games last season, Wright threw eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He ran for 376 yards, averaging 4.1 yards on 91 carries.

“We want him to develop into an absolute quarterback, which he has,” Lea said. “He’s also shown leadership. We’re excited to have him going into the fall as our starting quarterback. He knows he has to earn it every day. It’s part of our bond.”

Vanderbilt opens the season on August 27 in Hawaii.

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34269134/clark-lea-determined-make-vanderbilt-commodores-football-best-program-country Clark Lea determined to make Vanderbilt Commodores football ‘the best program in the country’

Emma Bowman

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