Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vanderbilt players battle for jobs in spring and summer

Here are some key matchups to watch out for in the spring and summer. Most of the pre-season battles involve incoming freshmen, except for quarterback, which will kick into full force then because Jordan Rodgers is coming off shoulder surgery and will likely be on light duty in the spring.

• Defensive tackle: R-JR Rob Lohr vs. R-FR Vince Taylor and SO Jared Morse
• Defensive end: R-SO Walker May vs. R-FR Kyle Woestmann
• Outside linebacker: SO Chase Garnham vs. R-JR Tristan Strong and R-JR DeAndre Jones
• Cornerback: JR Eddie Foster vs. SO Andre Hal
• Kicker: R-JR Ryan Fowler vs. SO Carey Spear
• Guard: R-JR Jabo Burrow vs. R-SO Mylon Brown

• Quarterback: R-JR Jordan Rodgers vs. R-SR Larry Smith
• Third running back: FR Jeron Seymour vs. R-SO Wesley Tate
• Fourth receiver: R-JR John Cole vs. FR Jacquese Kirk
• Second tight end: R-SR Austin Monahan vs. FR Dillon van der Wal
• Backup left tackle: FR James Lewis vs. R-FR Andrew Bridges
• Backup offensive lineman: FR Jake Bernstein vs. R-JR Caleb Welchans
• Third cornerback: FR Derek King vs. SO Steven Clark and JR Eric Samuels
• Third safety: SO Andre Simmons vs. FR Larry Franklin


Anonymous said...

I am hoping that both lines of scrimmage can avoid major injuries this spring and fall. We have some very good prospects on the offensive line and I feel that Coach Hand will mold them into a really effective line. Good line play will open up other options for the running game and WR's.As far as the qb position goes, I am ok with just decent qb play until the O-lines gells into a really quality line. This coaching staff will adjust wr routes do some other things get rid of the ball out from the qb until the line matures. I really think that Herb Hand will get this line ready. Our skill players on offense appear to be ready to have a breakout season. The maturity of the O-line will be key.

Dimon said...

Yes, in retrospect Hand was the perfect coach to keep because offensive linemen take the longest time to develop (with the exception of maybe QBs). Robbie Caldwell was an excellent O-line coach and he was more than qualified to pick his successor, which he fortunately had the opportunity to do.

So while the offensive line has continuity and is likely improving, there's no doubt that we needed a fresh start at the other coaching slots, especially at the offensive skill positions.

Anonymous said...

Dimon -- During spring and preseason competition, do you foresee this coaching staff favoring the underclassmen (those with the most remaining eligibility) when the more experienced player's performance doesn't significantly distinguish himself from the other? Seems like this may give the staff more flexibility on future recruiting. In the past, it seems like experience always won out.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes said...

Yes, I do, especially if the younger kid is the better athlete. Franklin has been talking a lot about players who can make a play when things aren't executed perfectly. Remember how Bobby Johnson seemed obsessed with everybody executing everything perfectly? Franklin seems more interested in getting his playmakers — or "difference-makers" as he calls them — on the field so they can make plays and make a difference. I mean, on signing day he's talking about finding players to replace the players he just got, and he's not talking about in four years, he's talking about as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Dimon, I agree with your comment. CJF seems to want to win with the best playmakers on the field. I also think he wants to shake things up on the team and send a message to several players who were a little complacent and given the opportunityt to play because of an "upperclassmen sense of entittlement" that happened with the Caldwell and Johnson staffs. It was not a secret that we did not have our best athletes and playmakers on the field last season. I think even Coach Hand made that pretty clear in discussions with CJF. If CJF is going to struggle, he will not struggle with his best athletes on the sideline. The real battle will be at the qb position with a solid qb coach now on staaff; while LS had the job for the last 2 seasons, you have to wonder if CJF wants to go with another qb and win or lose with his own guy. It will be fun to see the position battles at LB and CB in spring workouts; looks like we have strong athletes on the defensive side who are going to push for playing time.

Anonymous said...

Six (some not so bold) Predictions for 2011:

1. Jordan Rodgers starts opening game, Goro logs first minutes in mop up duty against Elon, Smith falls down depth chart

2. Lafonte is VU's Slash guy (ala Trey Burton at UF) and will log meaningful minutes at WR, HB, and QB.

3. One of Dexter Daniels, Tristan Strong, or Deandre Jones breaks out with a big season.

4. Eric Samuels makes the 5 man DB rotation and excels.

5. CJF wins 6 (Elon, UConn, Army, Arkansas, Kentucky, Wake)

6. Walker May gets 7+ sacks.

Anonymous said...

I'm going out on a limb and will say 7 wins...(Elon, Ucon, Army, Arkansas, Kentucky, Wake , and an upset of UGA at our place). UGA will struggle again this year. I also expect WR's Mathews, Krause, and Boyd to have a breakout season as a group.

Anonymous said...

Anybody go to cjf's shindig tonight in Atlanta?

Will said...

Is it just me, but was anyone else getting tired of CJF's late entrance just prior to tipoff during the last few home MBB games. It would be like Stallings coming on the field just before kickoff with his patented "fist pump"....come on, man!!
And I am ready for some Spring Ball!!