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VanGorder: I never insulted the option

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Posted: November 19, 2006 10:12 p.m.
Updated: December 18, 2006 9:51 a.m.
    Brian VanGorder wants to make one thing clear – he never bashed the triple-option offense.
    Although the first-year Georgia Southern coach ditched it, he said he has high regards for the non-conventional approach that powered the Eagles to more Division I-AA national championships than any other team in the country.
    “I want to be very direct in everybody understanding – I never said, ever, a negative word about an offense that I have great respect for,” VanGorder told a group of reporters following the 2006 season, a three-win disappointment that concluded Saturday.
    “But (the media) kind of created a lot of that situation because there were comments that I must have made about the option, which I never did,” he said. “I had nothing but respect for that offense, and I’ve said that over and over. And I don’t know where that was ever started, where that came from. (I) never said anything negative about it – ever.”
    VanGorder may not have outright criticized the storied offense, but his statement in a preseason television commercial was certainly interpreted as such. In the advertisement, Georgia Southern’s marketing department promoted the 2006 season with a series of video clips that ended with VanGorder pointing at the camera and proclaiming “There is no option.” The school later chose to edit out the coach’s comment.
    The four words drew criticism, became a catch phrase for the season and spawned t-shirts reading “Win Coach. There is no option.”
    Eleven games and eight losses later, VanGorder said he wishes he wouldn’t have uttered the phrase.
    “But I’m saying that right now, and we are 3-8,” he said. “I think some people thought it was kind of funny. Some people might have thought it was kind of tacky, but you can’t please everybody in this business, and I’m not out to please everybody. The people that I need to take care of are my players and coaches and my bosses. I tried to do that to lighten it up a little bit and have some fun.”

Taylor likes future
    So can the Eagles get better next year? Senior defensive lineman Charrod Taylor thinks so.
    “Most definitely,” said Taylor, who recorded a career- and team-high nine tackles in his final game in blue and white on Saturday.
    All it will take is practice, something he thinks will be smoother now that the team knows where it’s headed.
    “It’s definitely been a growing process since January,” he said. “We came out, learned a new offense and learned a new defense in a short matter of time. Now they have a head start. They know what to expect when they come in in the spring. We just need to keep doing what we are doing, and it will be Eagle football again. I just look forward to seeing them do something big next year.”
    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.
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