Thursday, December 11, 2008

Looks like Bobby Johnson and Vanderbilt are practicing to play to win

Here's a fact: Vanderbilt has just about the worst offense in America and Boston College has a stout defense.

So how do the Commodores plan to put points on the LP Field scoreboard on New Year's Eve? More to the point, who do the Commodores expect will put those points on the board?

In other words, who'll be passing the ball, catching the ball and running the ball? And when they make these decisions, will the coaches be taking some risks and playing to win instead of treating this like a farewell party for the seniors?

There's hope. I was reading Mo Patton's coverage of yesterday's practice, and it sounds like Bobby Johnson's making moves to put the ball in the hands of the best people — regardless of their age or experience — and playing to win. Maybe injuries have forced him to do this, but I'm glad he's doing it.

For example:

• Chris Nickson and Larry Smith are splitting time at quarterback. Good. You can't deny that Nickson has won several games almost singlehandedly with brilliant running, but you also can't deny that he contributed mightily to the Miss State, Tennessee and Wake Forest losses. And you can't deny that Smith seemed like the better option — and by far the best option for the future — when he was forced to play against Wake. Would Smith have even played or be getting so much practice right now if Mackenzi Adams weren't hurt? Probably not.

• Jamie Graham is playing tailback. I thought he ran well against the tough Wake Forest defense, but we got behind and needed to go to the air. With Jared Hawkins on the mend, I think Jamie's our best option. Hawkins will be back for the bowl, but I'm not sure to what extent. Also, Kennard Reeves is getting some reps, and he's an exciting young player.

• Jamie Graham's absence in the receiving corps leaves a spot for D.J. Moore. Remember how well we played against Kentucky, scoring 31 points against a pretty tough defense? That's because Graham — who's a fine young talent — was out with an injury and we were forced to play D.J., who could be one of the best receivers in the nation if he weren't starting on the other side of the ball. Let's face it, nobody else on our team could have made the catches D.J. made in the end zone in Lexington against an all-conference cornerback.

Of course, the x-factor is the offensive line. We need those guys to play well for those skill guys to have a chance to score. And we've been tinkering with our lineup all season, which means the line is still a work in progress.

What do you think?

No comments: