Saturday, July 18, 2009

Larry Smith's right on track to be Vandy's starting QB

Seen the latest Vanderbilt preview by College Football News? The writer, Pete Fiutak, thinks Mackenzi Adams will start at quarterback but will be part of a three-quarterback rotation. For what it's worth, he also thought Adams would be the starter at the start of last season.

So what does he have to say about Larry Smith, who we and a bunch of other Commodore followers think should and will be the starter?

He says that Smith's Music City Bowl numbers (10-of-17 passes for 121 yards, 25 yards rushing) were "hardly good enough to hand the starting job over to him," though his performance was "conservative, mistake-free, and he got the win."

He adds: "While he’s not quite the runner that Adams is, he’s mobile enough to be used as a regular runner."

Of all three quarterbacks, he writes, "There isn’t anything special to get excited about with this group, but there’s plenty of experience and three decent options to work with."

Did Fiutak watch the Music City Bowl? Smith's performance was "conservative" because the Vandy game plan was conservative. On the first two drives, Smith threw long passes to get the Dores into field goal range and then Nickson entered the game and set up both kicks to put us up 6-0.

Did Fiutak watch the Wake Forest game? Smith would have an 85-yard touchdown bomb to his credit if it hadn't been dropped by Sean Walker. Nobody's thrown a pass like that since Jay Cutler was here. No, there's plenty special to get excited about with Larry Smith.

As for the assertion that Adams is a better runner than Smith, let's not forget why we signed Smith in the first place. Here's a bit of his evaluation before his senior year of high school:

"Smith is big, athletic and dangerous as a dual-threat QB. He reminds us of current Vandy QB Chris Nickson only Smith is much more imposing in terms of stature and is more likely to make more plays with his legs... Buys a lot of second-chance passing opportunities with his feet. Is an efficient passer when on the run and is extremely difficult to defend when he breaks contain. He can make people miss on the run and yet run over defenders when he lowers his shoulder. Makes quick decisions and does a good job of avoiding sacks... Overall, Smith has huge upside both as an athlete and QB in the spread. He has the physical tools and he is capable of creating plays on his own when things break down."

Keep in mind that those comparisons to Nickson were made after Nickson's stellar sophomore season.

We look for Smith to get the start against Western Carolina and work out the kinks before facing LSU.

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