Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Walker May makes a move on Vanderbilt's depth chart
Only one noticeable change to the latest Vandy depth chart: After catching everybody's eye since spring practice for his nose for the ball and motor, Walker May has cracked into the depth chart and has made second team, supplanting Teriall Brannon, a redshirt senior who started the season opener.
This is perhaps a small, unimportant change, but I believe it says volumes about (1) the young talent we have, and (2) the mindset of this coaching staff.
For the longest time, we've rewarded hard-working student-athletes by putting their names in ink on the depth chart, even when the team continues to struggle.
Early on, Jonathan Krause booted Turner Wimberly out of the starting lineup and Jordan Matthews bumped out the likes of Akeem Dunham and Brady Brown. Now Matthews needs to get more touches. He's got one this season, for 35 yards. Oh, and he needs to replace John Cole or Udom Umoh in the starting lineup.
Did you know John Cole has touched the ball more than any other Commodore except for our quarterback and two running backs. Why?
Krause needs to get the majority of Cole's touches, which come mostly on punt returns and against weaker competition because the guy can't get open deeper than three yards downfield against an SEC defense. And Umoh's caught nine passes in seven games.
It will be interesting to see who gets the ball this week as Des Kitchings takes over as offensive coordinator.
On the offensive line, freshman Logan Stewart may have been on track to replace senior center Joey Bailey by season's end but Bailey missed Saturday's game with injury, precipitating Stewart's baptism by fire. Caldwell, who's never been terribly impressed with Bailey, said Stewart struggled but did some things better than Bailey does. Expect Stewart to improve dramatically this week.
Lots of "or"s in our starting lineup:
• Norman or Stacy at running back: Those guys are co-starters anyway.
• Bailey or Stewart at center: Bailey not expected to return this week from injury.
• Greenstone or Nichter, Smotherman or Lohr at defensive tackle: Also depends on upperclassmen's ability to return from injury.
In addition to May, lots of young guys are making a move on defense:
• Chase Garnham began the season stuck behind five redshirt sophomores at linebacker, but now he's the fourth- or fifth-best linebacker on the team behind upperclassmen Marve, Stokes and Campbell, and even with sophomore Archibald Barnes.
• In the secondary, true freshmen Steven Clarke and Andre Simmons are on the move and getting more playing time on defense. Kenny Ladler has replaced Jay Fullam as the starting free safety.