Wondering why Vandy’s offensive line has been struggling? One reason: the Commodores have lost a whopping seven players in the past year or so. Here’s the list, with their class if they’d stayed in school:
• James Williams, RSr (academic casualty in summer of 2010)
• Rob Ashabranner, RSr (left school in summer of 2010)
• Jabo Burrow, RJr (still on roster; career-ending injury in second game of 2011)
• Michael Bryant, RJr (transferred to Tennessee-Martin in 2009)
• Richard Cagle, RJr (transferred to Abilene Christian in summer of 2010)
• Justin Cabbagestalk, RSo (left team in 2010 due to career-ending injury)
• James Kittredge, So (suspended, transferred to Michigan State in spring of 2011)
Most Commodore fans will agree that Williams was a huge loss. We watched him blast huge holes for Zac Stacy against LSU before breaking his leg; he returned for spring practice and then left school, reportedly an academic casualty.
And nearly everybody will agree that we'd be better off right now with Jabo Burrow, whose career ended in the UConn game after a concussion, instead of Chase White, who was a weak link against South Carolina and game way to Logan Stewart.
While few fans are mourning the loss — or would even recognize — Ashabranner, Bryant or Cagle, we could definitely use more upperclassmen. Right now, we should have at least nine upperclassmen on our depth chart. But thanks to the loss of Williams, Ashabranner, Bryant, Cagle and now Burrow, we have four upperclassmen, and one of them, Josh Jelesky, converted a couple of weeks ago from defensive end.
So the bad news is we've got no experience.
The good news? We've got lots of young guys, who'll one day be veterans, if they can just stay in school and injury-free.