Monday, August 10, 2009

Vandy freshman running back Zac Stacy getting a good long look, and other notes from Sunday practice

While the preseason magazines, especially Sports Illustrated, touted Wesley Tate as the freshman running back expected to make the biggest contribution this season, Zac Stacy seems to have other ideas. Stacy, who wears No. 21, has been in tons of photos of practice these first three days. Look at the above Tennessean photo accompanying Jeff Lockridge's excellent story about Thomas Welch. That's Welch blocking as Larry Smith hands off to... Zac Stacy. Observers of Vandy's early practices say Stacy brings a quickness and athleticism we've been lacking and is clearly the standout so far of the three freshmen. Oh, and Stacy can catch the ball out of the backfield.

GET A GIRLFRIEND BEFORE GAINING WEIGHT: In the Tennessean story, Thomas Welch, who has a good sense of humor, said he's glad he started dating his girlfriend before he was moved to the offensive line from tight end and gained 90 pounds. He says he thinks he looks fat. After this season, looking fat might help him be rich.

CALL HIM NATE: Junior LB Nate Campbell continues to impress after being listed as a backup at two different positions on the preseason depth chart, which is quite impressive considering the fact that highly touted redshirt frosh DeAndre Jones is nowhere to be seen on that chart. Anyway, the athletic department releases are calling Mr. Campbell "Nathan." Come on, a long-haired linebacker like him needs to go by "Nate," even though his mama probably calls him "Nathaniel." And what's up with linebacker Archie Barnes? These days the athletic department is listing him as "Archibald." What's next? Quarterback Lawrence Smith?

OTHER STANDOUTS: These guys are looking good so far:

• Senior Brett Upson and redshirt freshman Ryan Fowler are duking it out for the placekicking job, each nailing a 42-yarder on Sunday.

• Casey Hayward and Jamie Graham are both demonstrating lock-down coverage skills at corner. Expect one to start at corner and the other at the nickel.

• Guard/tackle Kyle Fischer and tackle Reilly Lauer have been practicing well, and that's good for them, because neither's listed as a starter right now. Lauer's natural position seems to be left tackle, but he's now playing behind all-star candidate Thomas Welch, who moved there in the spring, and Ryan Seymour's being groomed as a future left tackle. Meanwhile, it appears that James Williams has nailed down the right tackle position, though he's getting a fight from Fischer, who's also battling Ryan Custer to start at right guard.

• On defense, John Stokes appears to be back in true form after returning from injury. And Tim Fugger and Theron Kadri are standouts so far in the battle for key backup roles at end.

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