Well, my list of "expendable" players caused a bit of a stir.
I realize these kids work hard and are true student athletes, and I realize it's tough when you're third or fourth on the depth chart, or some clown on some blog who was barely able to play intramural football at Vanderbilt is calling you expendable.
But all of the fine student-athletes I mentioned have been on past depth charts and, because of the influx of new talent, are now in danger of either losing playing time or failing to get the playing time everybody expected they would.
And yes, being relegated to special teams.
Vandyphile is right, special teams are not insignificant, and I really appreciate feedback from him and others.
I wasn't saying that these guys suck; I was saying that no fans would talk about them if they were gone. Nobody notices the special teams guys who are doing the blocking and tackling. For example, has anybody said our team will be worse off this season because we lost fifth-year senior Chris Johnson, who was an absolute special teams demon his entire career? Nope. Nobody on this site besides me has mentioned him once in the past two years.
And if Coach Caldwell, who's already said he's going to play more true freshmen than Bobby Johnson would have, really values special teams, then some of those "expendable" guys may not even play special teams this season because we've got a boatload of talented true freshmen defensive backs and linebackers.
Take guys like LB Chase Garnham and DB Steven Clarke, sure-fire redshirts under the Bobby Johnson plan. But both of them can run like the wind and deliver a solid blow. So maybe, instead of sitting them on the bench for a year, Caldwell values special teams so much that he puts them on the kickoff coverage team or another special team. Which means they take the spots of juniors and seniors who can't crack the depth chart but had found a niche on special teams.
I admit that Ryan van Rensburg was a bit of a stretch for my list. He's a victim of the Vanderbilt system, and he's a great utility guy. He'll likely play an important special teams role in every single game of his Vandy career, and he'll also get into some big games as a blocking back and even an extra tight end.
But now that Austin Monahan is back, RVR won't even be listed on the two-deep. Nobody but a few astute fans would miss him when he's gone.
And guys like Turner Wimberly and Akeem Dunham? Those guys had better work their tails off if they expect to play this season, and even then that will be no guarantee. I'm not saying they don't work hard and that they don't deserve to be rewarded with a little playing time, especially Wimberly, who's been at Vandy for five years. But I'm not necessarily saying they are SEC-caliber players either, and they're now facing competition from guys who are SEC-caliber players.