Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vandy's 2012 NFL draft class should top this year's

With the 2010 NFL draft now behind us, your thoughts have already turned to which Commodore(s) will or could be drafted next year.

Or maybe not.

But CBS Sports online has interesting if not accurate ratings for draft prospects from the classes of 2011, 2012 and even 2013.

Here are as many of the Commodore prospects as we could find during our lunch break:

• John Stokes: No. 41 outside linebacker
• Theron Kadri: No. 58 defensive end
• Adam Smotherman: No. 60 defensive tackle

• Chris Marve: No. 7 inside linebacker
• Brandon Barden: No. 8 tight end
• Sean Richardson: No. 11 strong safety
• Casey Hayward: No. 19 cornerback
• T.J. Greenstone: No. 38 defensive tackle
• James Williams: No. 45 offensive tackle
• Jamie Graham: No. 49 cornerback
• Tim Fugger: No. 80 defensive end
• Kyle Fischer: No. 84 offensive guard
• Udom Umoh: No. 151 wide receiver

• Warren Norman: No. 12 running back
• Trey Wilson: No. 50 cornerback
• Zac Stacy: No. 58 running back
• John Cole: No. 59 wide receiver
• Brady Brown: No. 128 wide receiver

Um, do you really believe we have three NFL prospect wide receivers on the current roster?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Myron Lewis and Thomas Welch get drafted

No surprise that cornerback Myron Lewis was drafted, going to the Buccaneers early in the third round. Tackle Thomas Welch was a guy most Vandy fans believed should have been drafted, but nobody was completely confident it would happen. This evening, though, Welch was the first pick in the seventh round, to the Patriots, and all was right with the world.

And to top it off, Ryan Hamilton got an invitation to the Saints camp. Man, Ryan's worked hard to recover from a torn pectoral in the LSU game, and I wouldn't bet against him.

Just think, our entire starting secondary from the 2008-2009 season is in the NFL in some form or another — corner Moore with the Bears (though he'd better get crackin'), corner Lewis with the Bucs, safety Langford with the Eagles practice squad and Hamilton getting a shot with the defending Super Bowl champs.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poll: Jonathan Krause most likely to play, but Chris Boyd most likely to start

So you think Jonathan Krause is the player most likely to play as a true freshman, but you also think Chris Boyd has the best chance to be the third starting receiver. Hmmm. So you didn't fill out the polls at the same time.

Anyway, we've kept some polls going for the past few months, and you voted for the following:

• Jonathan Krause, WR

• Udom Umoh
• John Cole
• Chris Boyd
• Jamie Graham (will play DB instead)
• Brady Brown

• Jamie Williams (currently injured)
• Ryan Seymour (currently injured)
• Kyle Fischer
• Joey Bailey
• Wes Johnson

Here are the complete lists:


1. Jonathan Krause, WR (43%)
2. Chris Boyd, WR (34)
3. Rajaan Bennett, RB (deceased) (28)
4. Kenny Ladler, S (21)
5. Jordan Matthews, WR (20)
6. Vince Taylor, DT (18)
6. Kyle Woestmann, DT (18)
6. Carey Spear, K/P (18)
9. Grant Ramsay, OL (17)
10. Andre Hal, CB (15)
10. Chase Garnham, LB (15)
12. Trent Pruitt, WR (12)
12. Blake Gowder, TE/HB (12)
14. Jared Morse, DT (10)
15. James Kittredge, DE/DT (07)
16. Andre Simmons, S (06)
17. Fitz Lassing, TE/LB (4)
18. Logan Stewart, OL (3)
19. Chase White, OL (1)
19. Steven Clarke, CB (1)
19. Karl Butler, CB/S (1)
19. Thomas Ryan, DE (1)
23. Andrew Bridges, OL (0)


1. Udom Umoh, RJr (73%)
2. John Cole, RSo (71)
3. Chris Boyd, Fr (50)
4. Jamie Graham, RJr (45)
5. Brady Brown, So (33)
6. Jordan Matthews, Fr (23)
7. Jonathan Krause, Fr (20)
8. Akeem Dunham, RSo (16)
9. Tray Herndon, RJr (15)
10. Turner Wimberly, RSr (13)
11. Trent Pruitt, Fr (8)
12. Charlie Byrge, RSo (0)
12. Jameson Sackey, RSo (0)


1. Jamie Williams, RJr (94%)
2. Ryan Seymour, RSo (89)
3. Kyle Fischer, RJr (83)
4. Joey Bailey, RSr (70)
5. Wes Johnson, RFr (48)
6. Caleb Welchans, RSo (40)
7. Mylon Brown, RFr (24)
8. Jabo Burrow, RSo (18)
9. Chris Aaron, RSr (16)
10. Justin Cabbagestalk, RFr (8)
10. Grant Ramsay, Fr (8)
12. Richard Cagle, RSo (5)
13. Rob Ashabranner, RJr (2)
16. Logan Stewart, Fr (0)
16. Chase White, Fr (0)
16. Andrew Bridges, Fr (0)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Zac Stacy and Warren Norman to share backfield, Branden Barden must lead, Dexter Daniels is a beast... and more Joe Fisher knows about Vandy football

You can learn a lot from listening to Joe Fisher, the voice of the Commodores. While fans and armchair quarterbacks are beating down Larry Smith's spring performance, for example, and screaming for him to be replaced by Jordan Rodgers (did you hear his brother starts for the Green Bay Packers?), it's Fisher who's quick to remind fans that:

(1) Teams have something called an offensive line, and when the offensive line is undermanned and inexperienced, the quarterbacks are running for their lives...
(2) And all the Vandy quarterbacks were running for their lives on Saturday...
(3) Because our defense has a pretty sophisticated blitz scheme...
(4) And guys like Walker May and Tim Fugger were taking open shots at the quarterback, Smith in particular getting his bell rung by Fugger on the first drive and never recovering...
(5) But none of the quarterbacks, Rodgers included, looked very good...
(6) And they would have looked much better if Bobby Johnson had let them wear red jerseys, which he most definitely did not, even declaring open season on them because it would get them used to getting hit, and (my add) maybe one of them would be lost for the season and make the job of picking a starter easier.

OK, Joe didn't say that last part. But Joe doesn't make the kind of snap decisions that most fans do (Larry went completed only one pass so let's revoke his scholarship now, etc.)

You can access audio to a bunch of recent conversations between Fisher and the guys from 104.5 FM in Nashville about Commodore football and even other sports by clicking here.

These points came out of his conversations this week:

• Brandon Barden needs to lead the team in receiving if the team's going to be successful this season.
• Johnson plans to employ two-back sets this season, to give his quarterbacks more protection, get his best playmakers (Zac Stacy and Warren Norman) on the field at the same time and (again, my add) probably keep at least one of below-average wide receivers on the bench.
• Dexter Daniels, the linebacker who wasn't as highly touted as fellow redshirt sophomores DeAndre Jones or Tristan Strong, got added reps because of Chris Marve's shoulder surger and is having a terrific spring.
• Chris Marve's shoulder surgery went well and his injury wasn't as serious as initially thought. Marve played in a great deal of pain last season and gutted it out despite being a game-time decision during a bunch of games.
• Ryan van Rensburg, the fullback/H-back who caught a one-yard TD pass against Tennessee, is running more pass patterns, for whatever that's worth.
• Kennard Reeves, a hard-running fifth-year senior tailback who plays primarily on special teams, may get more playing time this season because of the two-back sets but also because he's improved his ability to pick up opponent's blocking schemes.

Interesting stuff, huh? Won't see much of that on the "Vandy" chat boards, which seem intent on lowering ticket sales to Commodore football games. You know, because there's no way we can win more than one game next season.

Take your Prozac, guys. I prefer not to listen. I'm listening to Joe Fisher.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Newsflash: Vanderbilt's defense is better than its offense

So Vandy's only TD in the spring game was a pass from walk-on Matt Casas to junior Tray Herndon. And now Vandy fans are whining about the offense and predicting a 2-10 record. What, have you been asleep the past two seasons? Our offense stunk when we won the Music City Bowl and our offense stunk when we won two games last season.

I prefer to remain optimistic. Consider this:

• Our top offensive threats, running backs Zac Stacy and Warren Norman, deferred on Saturday to Kennard Reeves and Reece Lovell. What do they have to prove? Reece Lovell will not be playing in September.

• Starting tackles Jamie Williams and Ryan Seymour missed the game and hopefully will be ready this fall.

• Not counting Williams and Seymour, six of our top eight offensive linemen are freshmen or sophomores. Those guys are still learning. Remember the progress Jamie Williams made in preseason practice late last summer?

• The quarterbacks — Smith, Goro, Funk and Rodgers — were running for their lives and none of them looked particularly sharp, though many fans really want to believe Jordan Rodgers is another Aaron Rodgers. That's because the line hasn't gelled and the receivers were getting locked down by our DBs.

• Four receivers didn't play in the game: Jonathan Krause, Chris Boyd, Jordan Matthews and Trent Pruitt are still in high school. Let's hope those guys are an improvement over what we've got.

If the line can gel and at least one of the freshmen WRs can step up, then the offense could be vastly improved.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fullam cracking heads, BJ talking up redshirt for Rodgers

Bobby Johnson spent about 10 minutes on the air the other day with the fellas from 104.5 in Nashville, which is always a good chance to get some new info, or at least read between the lines. A few key points:

• Fullam settles in at free safety: Johnson says it's fair to compare redshift freshman Jay Fullam to Ryan Hamilton, who started at FS for four years after redshirting. Fullam, you remember, was going to play as a true frosh before needing hand surgery during preseason. BJ says he's smart and a hard hitter, always a good combination.

• Young linemen stepping up: With right tackle James Williams still recovering from a nasty break and a rod in his leg and with left tackle Ryan Seymour having shoulder surgery, redshirt frosh Wes Johnson's been getting lots of work at tackle. He's a talent but still awfully light in the britches. Caleb Welchans and Kyle Fischer also fit into plans, and Joey Bailey's a lock at center.

• Warren Norman sharp at tailback, no surprise, but Kennard Reeves has been a beast as well.

• Archie Barnes, DeAndre Jones and Dexter Daniels expected to step up at LB alongside Marve and Stokes (no mention of Tristan Strong).

• Johnson says the offense has change "a lot" and cites the change at OC.

• Also says Jordan Rodgers progressing as expected, is very mobile in the pocket and may very well redshirt. Also not getting as many reps because Smith needs them (fair enough) and Funk does too (why?). Goro looks "pretty good." I still think Goro's a dark horse and he'll sneak up on people because Rodgers and his bloodlines are getting all the press.

That's all for now. B&G game tomorrow at 10:30 CST.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Quick spring football update

At the beach and not exactly thinking about football. Hey, if anybody still wants to deconstruct the Vandy hoopsters' tourney failures, I'd advise you to remember that the same Murray State team we supposedly handed the game to also came within a bucket of upsetting Butler.

Anyway, here are two spring stars heading into Saturday's B&G scrimmage:

JARED FUNK: yes, the Funkster shows off his cannon for the fourth straight spring. Then the regular season will begin and it'll be back to the punt coverage team, right?

WALKER MAY: The redshift freshman is emerging as a dominating pass rusher, at least against our offense. This kid will get real minutes this season.

If you can, check out the free scrimmage at the Dud at 10:30 am Saturday. Then let me know what you see. Go Dores.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Charlie Goro most productive Vandy quarterback on Saturday ... but does he really have a chance to play?

The not-worst-in-the-nation-but-almost Vandy offense ran 11 drives today, according to the official Commodore Web site. Of course, the site's not going to disclose information that would contradict Bobby Johnson's assertion that all four quarterbacks are locked in a competition that's just too close to call.

That's why we're here... to read between the lines.

The winner of the quarterback race, at least on this day, was Charlie Goro, who apparently led three drives, ending in a punt, a field goal and a touchdown.

Jared Funk also led a touchdown drive, but also had an interception and another drive that ended in a punt.

Returning starter Larry Smith had two drives end in a punt and another that ended with an interception on the goal line.

As for Jordan Rodgers, it appears that he led two drives, both of which ended with punts.

What does this mean? Who knows? The past two years, Bobby Johnson has talked about how he had no idea who he was naming his starting quarterback and then at the last minute he picked the guy who was supposed to start from the beginning. So everybody thinks Larry Smith will get the nod.

Everybody's also excited about Jordan Rodgers' bloodlines, but Charlie Goro is making a run here. Goro's a winner, he's a leader and he can run the spread. Larry Smith's been talking about how he's 90 percent healthy from his hamstring tear and how he'll never be 100 percent again. For a guy whose main selling point was his physical attributes, that's not good. And now he's throwing goal line interceptions in spring practice.

Maybe Larry will be our starter for the next two seasons and maybe he'll be great. He certainly didn't get any help last season. But maybe Goro will emerge as our best bet at quarterback.

Even if that happens, there's no guarantee that Bobby gives him the nod. Remember in 2008 when we start 5-0 and then Nickson and Adams both self-destruct — physically, psychologically and every which a way? It took both of those guys getting injured in the Wake Forest game before Bobby would play Larry, who he clearly thought was the future of the team. After all, he needed just one out of seven victories to become bowl eligible, and he barely got it.

So what if Bobby now thinks Goro is the future of the team? But he needs x number of victories to convince the administration that the program is progressing? Would he play Goro?

Bobby Johnson has started only one redshirt freshman quarterback, and that was Jay Cutler in Johnson's first season, when he had plenty of time to rebuild.

He's got some time now, but not as much time as he had then.

So would he play Goro early or even start the season with him?

We'll see.