Thursday, July 16, 2009

Five Commodores make coaches' preseason All-SEC team

The SEC coaches have voted for their preseason all-conference team, and five Commodores are on it:

• Patrick Benoist, Sr., second team linebacker
• Myron Lewis, Sr., second team cornerback
• Brett Upson, Sr., second team punter
• Chris Marve, R-So., third team linebacker
• Ryan Hamilton, R-Sr., third team free safety

That's four of Vanderbilt's back seven, plus the guy who boots the opposing offense into a hole.

Only Florida (7) and Georgia (5) had more defensive selections than the Commodores. (By the way, Florida's entire secondary was on the team.) LSU and Alabama tied the Dores with four total defenders.

Coach Bobby Johnson said he thought "several" Commodore defensive linemen deserved consideration, which would include senior Greg Billinger and redshirt junior Adam Smotherman, and perhaps even redshirt sophomore T.J. Greenstone, who made the All-Freshman team last season.

That's reasonable. And who knows? Maybe redshirt freshman linebacker DeAndre Jones will be this year's Chris Marve. That is, if he can get Benoist, Marve, senior Brent Trice or junior John Stokes off the field.

As for the offense, Vanderbilt was the only team with nobody represented. Johnson said he thought redshirt senior tackle Thomas Welch and redshirt senior center Bradley Vierling deserved consideration.

I'd even throw in Brandon Barden, the redshirt sophomore tight end who also made All-Freshman, but none of those battles are worth fighting. Hey, we had the third-worst offense in America.

I will tell you this, though: Larry Smith will be a more highly regarded quarterback by the end of the season than either of the quarterbacks who tied for third team, Mike Hartline of UK and Stephen Garcia of SC. And Terence Jeffers could make a strong bid for second or third team wide receiver.

Here's how each team fared:

1. Florida: 16 picks (6 offense, 7 defense, 3 special teams)
2. LSU: 10 (5, 4, 1)
3. Alabama: 9 (3, 4, 2)
3. Georgia: 9 (4, 5, 0)
5. Ole Miss: 7 (4, 2, 1)
6. Tennessee: 7 (4, 3, 0)
7. Kentucky: 6 (3, 3, 0)
8. Vanderbilt: 5 (0, 4, 1)
9. Arkansas: 4 (3, 1, 0)
9. South Carolina: 4 (1, 2, 1)
11. Auburn: 3 (2, 1, 0)
12. Miss State: 2 (1, 1, 0)

What does all this mean, besides the fact that Florida's loaded? Not a lot. But if you're tempted to take all this too seriously, remember this: Chris Nickson was preseason third-team All-SEC before his nightmarish junior season.


Brooks said...

DKH - you run a great site. Keep up the good work. Good point about Barden and Jeffers. Larry has the arm to keep both of those guys heavily involved. My buddy and I are happy to be season ticket holders despite not living in Nashville. As you pointed out, it just makes sense.


Thanks, Brooks. It should be an interesting season.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, Nickson looked all SEC until his shoulder injury. A great shame that he could not ever get back to form after that.


Good point. Nickson had a dynamite sophomore year and hopes were high for him. But Tim Tebow was not on that team, and he went on to win the Heisman that year.