Thursday, November 19, 2009

2009 Vandy football slogan: Have fun, expect to get injured... but expect to be much better next season

Go to Vandy football message boards, and you'll read angry missives about how our lousy quarterbacks, lousy receivers, lousy offensive line, lousy head coach and especially lousy offensive coordinator led to the demise of this year's team.

Give me a break. And listen up, people: WE LOST TOO MANY KEY PLAYERS THIS SEASON.

Oklahoma was supposed to lose zero games this season and compete for the national championship. The Sooners lost quarterback Sam Bradford and have lost four games — four more than expected.

Vandy was supposed to lose, say, five or six games this season. We've lost an unbelievable number of players, and we're going to lose probably 10 games — four more than expected.

We've played almost the entire season without SEVEN starters (five of them on offense) and four key backups, and another EIGHT starters (six of them on offense) have missed at least one game. In fact, Bradley Vierling was the only preseason offensive starter not to miss a game this season. (That's if, like me, you'd projected Wheeler, Jeffers-Harris and Cole to start at receiver.)

Now we're facing Tennessee without NFL cornerback prospect Myron Lewis and probably linebacker Patrick Benoist.

Here's another thing: Even with our improved depth, we can't reload as quickly as other teams when we lose key players.

Consider this partial list of losses:


• Terrance Jeffers-Harris, starting receiver: Academically ineligible
• Justin Wheeler, starting receiver: Career-ending knee injury
• James Williams, starting offensive tackle: Broken leg
• Jared Hawkins, starting running back: Foot injury
• Austin Monahan, starting tight end: Knee injury
• Steven Stone, starting defensive end: Broken foot
• Ryan Hamilton, starting safety: Torn pectoral muscle
• Nate Campbell, backup linebacker: Dismissed from team
• Tristan Strong, backup linebacker: Knee injury
• Alan Strong, backup cornerback: Transferred to TSU
• Jay Fullam, backup safety: Injured hand

• Thomas Welch, starting offensive tackle: Injury
• John Cole, starting wide receiver: Broken hand
• Ryan Custer, starting guard: Injury
• Jamie Graham, starting defensive back/receiver: Concussion
• Larry Smith, starting quarterback: Torn hamstring
• Zac Stacy, starting running back: Ankle injury
• Sean Richardson, starting safety: Injured hand
• Myron Lewis, starting cornerback: Knee injury
• Eric Samuels, backup defensive back: Injury and a possible team issue

For the love of Dan McGugin, let's stop talking about who should replace Bobby Johnson. This is not "Same Old Vandy." If Johnson had experienced this kind of attrition his first season, he'd have been losing games 70-0 by the end of the season.

Sure, this has been a nightmarish season because of all the players we've lost. But the fact that we can still hang tough with bowl-bound teams like South Carolina, Florida and Kentucky is a testament to our depth, especially our defensive depth.

And consider this: Because of this one bad season, we'll be deeper and more experienced than ever next season.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you: the injuries, the 12 straight games, and setting up a new offense have just been too much. UF orBama couldn't have handled this type of situation. We have gottn better as the year went on. Well except for scores off of our turnovers. I just hope the recruitswill stay with us. Boy how nice a win in Knoxville would be. Do whatever it takes. Go Dores.


Yes, I didn't mention the 12 straight games but you're right. The schedule, especially the absence of a bye week, was a killer.

We've got to schedule four games against teams the caliber of Rice and Army instead of our annual game against the ACC champion (GT this year, WF a few years ago.) And I'd prefer not to play a lousy I-AA team like Western Carolina; you learn absolutely nothing about your team from a game like that.