Just watched the Vandy basketball team choke once again. So would you rather root for a team that loses to a weaker opponent or a team that loses to a much stronger opponent?
In other words, do you already miss Vandy basketball or are you ready for some Vandy football?
I'm ready for some Vandy football.
Speaking of which, the Commodores just released their spring football prospectus — and as usual, we're happy to point out some of the highlights for you.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Turns out we were right about James Kittredge and Jamie Graham not returning to the team. We'd been hearing about Graham for quite some time, and it's not clear whether he left under his own accord or was not invited back for a fifth year on scholarship. About a month ago, we noticed that the player profiles for Graham and Kittredge didn't include any notes from last season or any comments about their future. Graham wasn't a huge surprise — redshirt seniors miss their final year of eligibility all the time, as WR Tray Herndon and FB Ryan van Rensburg are doing this season. But Kittredge, a rising sophomore, was a tough lineman who could play on both sides of the ball. The prospectus says he is "not available for the 2011 season" and "plans to return as a student next January." Not sure the deal, but we wish Kittredge the best.
So we noticed on signing day that Vandy was five scholarships over the 85 limit. That's now down to one, now that Kittredge and Graham are gone, as are DB Jay Fullam (transferring to Air Force) and OL Justin Cabbagestalk (career-ending knee injury).
KINDER, GENTLER PROFILES
Charlie Goro's fans were mighty ticked off when we quoted his profile as saying he needed to work on his "arm strength." Well, you'll be happy to know that the sports information department has actually edited that comment and replaced it with "Goro could develop into a contributor with a strong spring." And Larry Smith's profile now uses words like "athleticism" and "toughness" instead of "shaky" and "struggling."
SPEAKING OF QUARTERBACKS...
Here's how the first section of the prospectus introduces the upcoming candidates in the quarterback battle:
• Larry Smith: "The two-year starter"
• Charlie Goro: "The only other healthy quarterback on scholarship"
• Jordan Rodgers: "The player most observers believe could compete with Smith for the starting job"
SPEAKING OF NOT COMPLETELY HEALTHY...
The prospectus says Rodgers should be at "full health" by the close of spring. Other guys who will be limited during spring practice are TE Austin Monahan and DE Walker May. Guys who'll miss contact altogether include RB Warren Norman, TE Mason Johnston, OL Grant Ramsay, DT Rob Lohr and DE Thad McHaney.
GREAT NEWS FOR MONAHAN
We'd speculated that R-SR TE Austin Monahan might not be back for a fifth year. Turns out he's gained an additional year of eligibility and is now a junior, which makes sense because he's only played in 20 games during his four years on campus. Of course, the NCAA doesn't always make sense but in this case they appear to have gotten it right. He's a huge kid and a great talent, and it'll be nice to have him next year after Brandon Barden graduates.
GOWDER MOVES TO DEFENSE
Monahan's extra year of eligibility likely helped the staff decide to move R-FR Blake Gowder from tight end/H-back to linebacker. Gowder, undersized for a tight end at 6-2, 215, is an athletic kid who'll give Vandy some options at linebacker at least after the four redshirt juniors (Barnes, Jones, Strong, Daniels) are gone. Fitz Lassing, another kid who could have moved to linebacker, will stay on offense to play fullback and emergency tight end.
As we've mentioned before, walk-on Marc Panu is moving from defensive end to fullback, where he has a legitimate shot at some playing time. R-SO Javon Marshall is moving from cornerback to safety after the departure of Jay Fullam, and JR Eric Samuels is moving back to cornerback from running back, where he held down the fort last season after injuries to Norman and Stacy. Looks like R-JR Micah Powell, who last year moved from safety to linebacker to running back, will stick at running back and will challenge Wesley Tate in the spring.
Bet you forgot that John Cole was actually an all-star candidate in last year's spring prospectus. Ah, that was a long, long time ago. This year the VU sports information department once again tries its hand at picking all-star candidates... and has more on offense than on defense. What? Sure enough, there are a whopping six all-SEC candidates on offense, five on defense and one on special teams. Here they are:
• R-SR Brandon Barden, TE (All-SEC)
• R-SR Kyle Fischer, OL (All-SEC)
• R-SO Wesley Johnson, OL (All-SEC)
• JR Warren Norman, RB (All-SEC)
• R-JR Ryan Seymour, OL (All-SEC)
• JR Zac Stacy, RB (All-SEC)
• R-SR Tim Fugger, DE (All-SEC)
• R-SR T.J. Greenstone, DT (All-SEC)
• SR Casey Hayward, CB (All-American)
• R-SR Chris Marve, LB (All-American)
• SR Sean Richardson, S (All-SEC)
• R-JR Richard Kent, P (All-SEC)
We'll see how it all shakes out. Practice starts at 4:40 on Friday.