Thursday, July 23, 2009

The D in D-Line stands for "deep" and other things we learned about the Commodores from SEC Media Days

Sure, Bobby Johnson got some stupid questions yesterday at SEC Media Days. I mean, how many ways can you ask what it felt like to win the Music City Bowl? And hasn’t he been answering that question since New Year’s Eve?

But I think we learned a few things from what he said, if we read between the lines a bit.

1. The quarterback competition is an illusion. Johnson said Mackenzi Adams “likes to get out there and mix it up” and Larry Smith “helps us win the Music City Bowl.” He’s not showing his hand, and both guys may play about evenly in the opener against Western Carolina, but expect Johnson to take the wraps off Smith in Baton Rouge. And Jared Funk? “You know,” Johnson said, “we've got some confidence in him, if need be.” If need be. Hopefully it won’t be.

2. Johnson really likes his depth on the defensive line. He singled out his front four (Stewart, Stone, Smotherman, Billinger), then added, “We’re going to have some people to push them.” Those people will likely be Tim Fugger, Terriall Brannon, Theron Kadri and Johnell Thomas at end, and T.J. Greenstone, Taylor Loftley, Rob Lohr and Colt Nichter at tackle.

3. The freshmen running backs will get a chance to tote the rock. Johnson said, “I think we'll be better at tailback. That's gonna make your offensive line better, too.” I don’t think he means Kennard Reeves, Gaston Miller, Jermaine Doster and Ryan van Rensburg have miraculously transformed themselves over the summer. I think it means he likes Zac Stacy, Wesley Tate and Warren Norman.

4. The front seven returns all starters and goes three deep at every position, but don’t forget about the secondary. Johnson calls safety Ryan Hamilton “an underrated player” and Myron Lewis “one of the best cornerbacks in the country.” The other starting positions, including nickel back, appear to be locked down by Casey Hayward and Jamie Graham (one at corner, one at nickel) and Sean Richardson (safety).

5. Expect to see freshmen play at defensive back, too. Johnson mentioned Javon Marshall last week. Yesterday in his interview, Myron Lewis mentioned freshmen cornerbacks Eric Samuels, Trey Wilson and Eddie Foster. Foster’s awfully light, but is probably the fastest guy on the team. Expect safety Jay Fullam to redshirt.

6. Vanderbilt players are smart “upstairs.” "You always have to have the smarts upstairs,” Myron Lewis told reporters. “Being much smarter helps you out with studying more film, carrying the film to the practice field and to the game." Guess it beats being smart downstairs.

7. Bradley Vierling is a fine center. He also just made the bulletin board in Gainesville. “Like Ole Miss and Florida last year, who would have known Ole Miss would win that game?” he told reporters. “Everyone thought Florida would go undefeated. Florida was playing great, but Ole Miss beat them. It might be Vanderbilt vs. Florida this year. You never know." OK, we never know.


Bob Loblaw said...

Oh we know, Bradley, we know. Although I hardly think that Florida pays enough attention to Vanderbilt to merit a bulletin board posting.


I hear the bulletin board in the Gator locker room has a special section dedicated to humor.