Sunday, September 6, 2009

Vandy-WC recap: Things Commodore fans can feel good about, and some things to worry about

I'm on the road this weekend, but wanted to leave you with a couple of thoughts from last night's 45-0 Vandy victory.


1. A smooth transition to the new offense: If you watched Auburn play last year, you know it can be murder for a team, especially the offensive line, to adjust in a game environment to a new offense. But last night Vanderbilt ran 95 offensive plays (way more than Johnson had expected) with only two penalties (probably fewer than expected).

2. The running game looked great: Sure, it's the Catamounts, but how nice is it to break in two brand-new tailbacks and a new quarterback and have them run for a combined 313 yards and three TDs on 49 carries. And the backups gained 137 yards on 19 carries, with Ryan van Rensburg scoring the first TD of his career. Johnson said after the game that he'll need plenty of fresh running backs in this new offense. "If you're running that offense the we it's supposed to be run," he said, "you get gassed."

3. The defense looked great: Johnson singled out T.J. Greenstone and Sean Richardson as sophomores who had nice games. And as always, Chris Marve was a beast at middle backer.

4. True freshmen contributing right away: In addition to Stacy and Norman, Eric Samuels starred in the secondary and got himself an interception, and fellow corners Eddie Foster and Trey Wilson also played well.

5. Justin Green is the big target we need: We're done weeping for Terence Jeffers-Harris. When Larry throws a beautiful pass to a 6-foot-6, 240-pound guy running 46 yards downfield, well, that's pretty unstoppable.

6. The Commodores are confident: How about this quote from Johnson heading into Saturday's game in Baton Rouge: "It's one of the greatest places to play, and it's a great place to get a win."


1. Larry Smith's still developing as the starter: Not a biggie, but Larry did work out the jitters in his first start at Dudley Field. His end-zone fumble on the opening drive could have been a killer, and later he made a big error, Johnson said, when he failed to recognize a blitz. Wonder how his first-game-at-Dudley jitters will compare to his first-game-in-Baton-Rouge jitters?

2. Brett Upson looked terrible: The Music City Bowl MVP averaged 27.5 yards on four punts, which included a 7-yarder. When the team switched to the rugby punt, he hit one of his own players in the back of the head.

3. Ryan Fowler still adjusting: The redshirt junior has a great leg and all that, but he missed a chip shot, though Johnson wasn't worried about the 42-yarder he missed. At least he hit all his PATs.

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