Thursday, June 17, 2010

2011 will be the year of the Commodore

Everybody’s already spreading the gloom and doom about this year’s version of the football Commodores. And things may get a bit dark this year. But they should get much, much better by 2011.

Here’s a quick prognosis:

• Stronger: Running backs, receivers, tight ends, linebackers, cornerbacks, kickers
• Holding steady: Safeties
• Weaker: Quarterbacks, defensive tackles, defensive ends, punters
• Much weaker: Offensive line

• Much stronger: Linebackers, cornerbacks, safeties
• Stronger: Quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive tackles, defensive ends, kickers, punters
• Weaker: NOTHING

• Much stronger: Offensive line, defensive tackles, defensive ends
• Stronger: Running backs, receivers, cornerbacks, kickers, punters
• Holding steady: Linebackers, safeties
• Weaker: Quarterbacks, tight ends

Let’s not panic. There’s plenty of talent to develop this season, especially at the skill positions and on both lines. We’ll have some growing pains, especially on the offensive line, but it would be a huge mistake to dump Bobby Johnson and staff if we go 3-9 or 4-8, which everybody’s predicting us to do. 2011 will be better than 2008 for us. Just watch. In two years, Johnson will have a powerful defensive front, something we've always lacked, plus a greatly improved receiving corps and offensive line. In the meantime, with no true freshman to redshirt this season, we really need to recruit a top-notch quarterback or two.

Here’s a closer look at how each position breaks down over the next three seasons:

2010: DOWN: Larry Smith returns from injury with no proven backup.
2011: UP: Much improved as Smith returns for his senior year with depth from Charlie Goro and Jordan Rodgers, one of whom should have some snaps under his belt
2012: DOWN: Unless Goro or Rodgers (if he redshirts) have already grabbed the reins, expect some growing pains

2010: UP: A huge boost as sophomores Warren Norman and Zac Stacy return from solid rookie seasons, with support from fifth-year senior Kennard Reeves
2011: UP: Norman and Stacy should be even better with help from an experienced Wesley Tate, who looks like a prototypical every-down tailback
2012: UP: Norman, Stacy and Tate enter their fourth year on campus. Look out!

2010: UP: Returning starters John Cole and Udom Umoh should be improved, but their backups are unproven
2011: UP: Cole and Umoh will know the ropes, big target Brady Brown will have much-needed reps, and true sophomores Jonathan Krause, Chris Boyd and Jordan Matthews will be game-tested and ready to shine.
2012: UP: The Dores will have at least five upperclassmen with blue-chip pedigrees and extensive game experience.

2010: UP: If Austin Monahan returns from injury, he’ll take some heat off the talented Brandon Barden.
2011: UP: Barden and Monahan should form one of the nation’s finest tight end tandems in their senior season.
2012: DOWN: Promising prospects Mason Johnston and Blake Gowder step in for the graduating seniors.

2010: WAY DOWN: The Commodores lose a whopping seven linemen with starting experience, replacing them with a talented but inconsistent junior (Kyle Fischer), a steady senior (Joey Bailey), a heralded but underweight redshirt freshmen (Wes Johnson), some promising sophomores (Ryan Seymour and Caleb Welchans), and a bunch of guys who’ve never played (sophomore Jabo Burrow, redshirt freshmen Mylon Brown and Justin Cabbagestalk and true freshman Grant Ramsay).
2011: UP: Great improvement as only Bailey departs and a bunch of kids have a year of experience under their belts.
2012: WAY UP: Fischer departs but the Dores will be two-deep with three-star kids who’ve had time to bulk up and get some big-game experience.

2010: DOWN: Super sub junior T.J. Greenstone, backup sophomore Rob Lohr and prep stars Vince Taylor and Jared Morse are promising, but they can’t immediately replace the departed Greg Billinger and the injured Adam Smotherman.
2011: UP: Four returning players, plus a bulked up James Kittredge, could give the Dores their best defensive line in recent history
2012: WAY UP: Greenstone departs, but by then Vandy will have a powerful front of Taylor, Morse, Lohr and Kittredge

2010: DOWN: Upperclassmen Tim Fugger, Theron Kadri, and Teriall Brannon add experience, and redshirt freshmen Walker May and Thad McHaney and true frosh Kyle Woestmann add fire, but it’ll take a while to replace the departed Broderick Stewart and Steven Stone.
2011: UP: Senior Fugger and youngsters May, McHaney, Woestmann and Thomas Ryan form a deep, talented group.
2012: WAY UP: Now battle-tested, these guys will be a force to be reckoned with.

2010: UP: Pat Benoist and Brent Trice are gone, but the Vandy backers will be even better, thanks to a surgically repaired Chris Marve, senior John Stokes, and a quartet of athletic sophomores in Tristan Strong, DeAndre Jones, Dexter Daniels and Archibald Barnes.
2011: WAY UP: Watch out! If Marve doesn’t jump to the NFL, he’ll have a killer supporting cast in Barnes, Strong, Daniels, Jones and youngster Blake Southerland.
2012: HOLDING STEADY: Marve is gone, but Vandy has four outstanding, versatile senior linebackers, with support from Southerland, Chase Garnham and Fitz Lassing.

2010: UP: Sure, Vandy will miss Myron Lewis, but Casey Hayward replaces him as an all-star candidate, junior Jamie Graham showed flashes of brilliance last season, and sophomores Eddie Foster, Eric Samuels and Trey Wilson are fast and dangerous.
2011: WAY UP: Everybody’s back, and Andre Hal and Karl Butler have a year under their belts and are ready to make some noise too.
2012: UP: Hayward and Graham are gone, but Vandy shouldn’t skip a beat with seniors Foster, Samuels and Wilson, heir apparents Hal and Butler, and likely even more new talent.

2010: HOLDING STEADY: Sean Richardson’s a sure-fire all-star candidate, and redshirt freshman Jay Fullam and true frosh Kenny Ladler should be an improvement over the departed Joel Caldwell. Plus, Vandy’s got corners like Graham, Samuels and Wilson who can shift over to safety.
2011: WAY UP: Richardson’s a senior, Fullam and Ladler are seasoned and ready to go, and Andre Simmons has joined the mix, with even more depth from seniors Al Owen and Micah Powell, who has potential to be a Brent Trice-like safety/linebacker combo.
2012: HOLDING STEADY: Richardson’s gone, but Fullam, Ladler and Simmons should be established forces, with plenty of support coming from a loaded corps of cornerbacks.

2010: SLIGHT DIP: Ryan Fowler should be deadlier than ever, but the amazing Brett Upson will be replaced by walk-on Richard Kent at punter.
2011: UP: Fowler and Kent will both be tested by strong-legged Carey Spear.
2012: UP: Fowler, Kent and Spear should all return.


Anonymous said...

Good comments but I hope that the Dores are more competitive than you suggest. I know that this incoming recruiting class is not arriving on campus expecting a "rebuilding season" with help coming in the 2011 class. All of this years recruits are coming out of winning programs and should expect upper classment to either earn thier playing time or expect to be pushed by the incoming class. Its hard to imagine after last years record that the coaching staff would not declare several positions wide open for new starters, especially on the offensive line and at wide receiver. It was painful watching the passing game and wr's last season. Don't forget that other than Florida, all sec east teams will have thier issues to resolve especially early in the 2010 season.... 2010 should be the year of the commodore....not wait until 2011. Go Dores !

Dimon said...

Believe me, I know the 2010 recruiting class is full of winners. Many of them will be huge upgrades over what we have... eventually. The dilemma will be whether to play them right away so they'll be ready for the future or play the guys who know the system and have SEC experience.

chris said...

Great Article thank you for all you do. I am a die hard Vandy fan and you have by far the best inside news out there.

Keep up the great work!!!

God Bless


thanks much, chris.

Will said...

Well developed post....I was thinking about spending the next year in Denmark (my pick for WC Champions) to see how this health care thing shakes out, so since I'm not going to miss anything this year, I will probably go ahead with those plans.


Copenhagen is a nice city in the fall. And if we go 5-0 you can always come back to the states and watch us go 1-6 and get a Music City Bowl berth.