Monday, September 14, 2009

Should Vandy move Jamie Graham to wide receiver?

Wow, have you seen the Vandy-LSU video our athletic department just posted on its official site? It includes Alex Washington's assist for an interception and it ends rather abruptly with Washington's drop on fourth down. That sound you just heard was Alex getting run over by an official Vanderbilt University bus. And that other sound is the bus backing up.

More then a couple of Vandy fans are offering a solution to our pass-catching woes: Move Jamie Graham back to wide receiver.

It's a natural conclusion. I mean, Jamie's a big, physical receiver who can get open, make tough catches in traffic, and then turn upfield. I am suddenly reminded, though, of a certain play late in the first half of last year's Tennessee game when Mackenzi Nickson or whoever was playing quarterback hit Jamie in stride deep in Vol territory and he bobbled the ball into the hands of a UT DB, who returned it all the way to the VU goal line, essentially breaking our backs.

But I digress. Moving Jamie to DB made sense with Terance Jeffers-Ineligible-Harris and Justin Wheeler still in the mix. But now it's impossible not to think about Graham catching passes, especially the two end zone jump balls he grabbed in the UGA game.

Here's the problem: We also need Jamie in the secondary, especially with true freshman cornerback Eric Samuels and now safety Ryan Hamilton injured. And on the LSU game depth chart, Graham was listed as Hamilton's backup at safety, in addition to being the starting nickel back and Hayward's backup at corner. He's a pretty important part of our secondary right now, and he got banged up Saturday night and missed some action, forcing true freshman featherweight cornerback Eddie Foster onto the field.

Nobody seemed to notice at the time, but Alan Strong's decision this summer to transfer to Tennessee State was a major blow to our depth in the secondary. Now, especially after the injuries, we really need Graham in the secondary.

Here's what we could do:

• Play Jamie on defense, but move him to offense when we absolutely need a clutch catch. You know, like we did against UK when we played D.J. at receiver and started the game with two quick touchdowns.

• Keep him on defense full-time and let our receivers gain experience and confidence and try to rush the development of bigger targets like Justin Green, Akeem Dunham and Brady Brown.

• Move him to offense full-time and take our chances with Samuels, who's hopefully on the mend, and fellow true frosh Foster and Trey Wilson, as well as Al Owens and Micah Powell, two redshirt freshmen DBs who've played a little but not a lot.

• Clone Jamie.

What do you think we should do?


Greg M said...

Just watched it. Lookslike they are giviing credit where credit is due. Alex's drops look more costly each time I see more of the game. Watched some of the relpay yesterday in ESPNU and wanted to throw Alex under teh bus myself.


So where should we play Jamie?

even more anonymous said...

I'm not ready to give up on Alex after one tough game. There were some badly-thrown balls as well as some drops.

Greg M said...

Whereever he can help us win. Right now we probably need him both ways. Losing Ryqn Hamilton for the season really hurts.