Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who on the Vandy roster won't be playing next season?

A couple of weeks ago, after Vandy signed 21 incoming freshmen, we noted that the Commodores are five scholarships over the limit. We also predicted that these five players would be leaving to make room for them:

• Jamie Graham, R-SR, WR/DB
• Austin Monahan, R-SR, TE
• Justin Cabbagestalk, R-SO, OL
• Charlie Goro, R-SO, QB
• Brady Brown, R-SO, WR

We also said we were looking forward to seeing the updated roster and getting some clues. Well, the roster contained no changes (except for the absence of walk-on QB Matt Casas) but the profiles did have some clues, as we mentioned yesterday.

1. Cabbagestalk has had a career-ending knee surgery.
2. Graham is listed but his profile hasn’t been updated since last season. He has been rumored to be graduating.
3. James Kittredge, who played last season as a true freshman offensive lineman, also lacks an updated profile. Don’t want to speculate, but that could be an indication that his return is in jeopardy.

That leaves us with two scholarships over the limit of 85. Who else might be gone? Here are the guys we recently mentioned:
• Monahan: Listed as being questionable for spring practice. He’s had his expenses paid at Vanderbilt for four years. While big and talented, if he’s not making progress toward a 100 percent recovery, he’ll likely be done.
• Goro: With junior Aaron Rodgers likely still recovering from shoulder surgery in the spring, Goro and returning Larry Smith will get all the reps. Goro’s profile mentions that he’s a good athlete but lacks arm strength and accuracy. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Don’t be surprised if the preseason depth chart lists Smith first, Rodgers second and true freshmen Lafonte Thorougood and/or Josh Grady third. That would mean Goro could be moving to wide receiver… or to a lower-level school if he wants to play quarterback.
• Brady Brown: His new profile says he didn’t play last season – he’d already redshirted with injury the year before after limited play – because he’s been building his strength. Again, not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Coach Franklin wants to carry the full contingent of scholarships while still having plenty of room for next year’s signing class. So what does he plan to do if he weeds out too many guys during spring practice? Well, notice that Graham, who’s been considered as good as gone, and Ryan van Rensburg, who was honored on senior day and is not even counted in our scholarship tally, are still on the roster. I’ll bet both those guys have applied to graduate school and if some players leave after the spring because of injury, academics or the desire for more playing time, then Graham and/or van Rensburg can hop into their slots. Linebacker Chris Johnson did that a couple of years ago.


Unknown said...

Where do you get your information? You list Goro as highly inaccurate when he finished his high school career at 72%, just under the all time national record. Rivals called his arm weak only after his junior year when he was recovering from a dislocated shoulder. He's been timed repeatedly at 4.5 in the 40 a lot faster then any of the QBs including the recruits. Only a week or so he set a record in the weight room during winter works outs for a skill player. He never planned on leaving the school. You and a few others will be eating a lot of crow once you see him on the field...., as a quarterback.

Anonymous said...

My issue with Goro is that he has been given every opportunity to compete and beat out LS and failed to do so. Rivals is only 1 source of information; but when guys get to the college level and have to compete against other strong / good athletes, sometimes they realized that they may have already peaked as may have been the case with Goro. If Goro was an SEC caliber qb, he would hve pushed LS by now. Time to move on to see what the other qb's can do. Go Dores !

Unknown said...

Hey Anonymous, you're a funny guy. As a former division I college athlete I have seen first hand many outstanding athletes never get a chance to play for any number of reasons. Make no mistake about it every college football team has players who dont' get a good opportunity to compete. Any time a player doesnt get on the field then he hasn't had a real chance to compete. Anyone who watched the Vandy QBS during spring and summer could see there wasn't much of a gap between them. Then again those knucklehead coaches pretty much stuck to redzone scrimmages never allowing anyone to see what they could do. It was obvious from the start that LS was the guy as far as the QB coach was concerned. He recruited him. Turns out he didn't recruit Goro or Rodgers. Why wouldn't you play a young QB once the season was lost. Ever hear of any other major college bringing in a 5th man to play a lot in the last 2 or 3 games when the season was a bust. Heck no. Good coaches take a look at youth. I was told from two pretty good sources who talk to the players that Goro was the best QB but was hated by the QB coach. No one seems to know why. Apparently he was pulled from the scout team because his accurate passing was making mince meat out of the defense and Caldwell got mad about it. I also heard he was told they wanted him on kick offs which he refused. Could be a reason for Caldwell to not like him but lets face it, how many college QBs have you seen going down on kick offs. That seems rather insane when you think about it. So let me see if I have this correct. This kid was a parade all american, nearly broke the career percentage mark for high schoolers, runs a 4.5 is 6'2" 205 pounds or so and you dont' think he's SEC caliber? Wow Good thing you're not a coach.

By the way if you dig around on the internet for info on Thorogood. You'll find he wasn't even an all state QB. One service rates him 4 stars as a receiver which apparently is what Virginia wanted him for, and that probably explains his switching to Vandy

Anonymous said...

Ok Mike, Don't get carried away with your defense of Goro. It's not personal. I would love to see Goro compete and win the job. I only expressed my opinion after watching 2 years of poor qb play by LS. I do agree and have heard similar comments (from very reliable sources) about several position coaches from last years staff being awful coaches; especially qb and wr coaches. Be that as it may, in open competition Goro could not beat LS out. While I was not happy with last years coaching staff (outside of Hand and Caldwell), Goro just did not get the job done. I really doubt that "he wasn't liked by some other coach". Let's just agree that Goro did not get it done and with a fresh start and new staff that maybe he or someone on that staff can push LS. You obviously are taking comments about Goro very personal. I, like most Vandy fans, want to see the team win whoever is under center. I hope that Goro or Rogers beats out Smith because we have already seen that bad movie for 2 years now. Don't get so worked up in your defense of Goro....tell Goro to go take the starting qb job away from LS and hold off Rogers. It looks like the O-line will be better and that our young wr's will be ready to have an impact next season. So no excuses from the qb position even if Goro plays! The team will be better if Goro or Rogers pushes LS and eventually starts ahead of him.


I've said this to Charlie Goro's supporters and even some of his family members: Nobody's written more good things about Goro since he went to college than we have. We chronicled the progress he made last spring, and we thought it was an absolute travesty that he didn't take a snap last season.

You ask where we got our information. From his newly updated profile on the Vanderbilt web site, which says "A quality athlete, Goro has to continue improving his arm strength and accuracy."

You can read it at

We're not saying Goro's a bad quarterback or that he's not the best Vandy has to offer. We're simply stating how Vanderbilt University is presenting Goro to the public. This sports information department has always had a knack for embedding little clues about how it views a player. Last season, Walker May, Wesley Johnson and Jabo Burrow, who'd never played a snap, were portrayed as impressive talents in their February profiles. All of them became starters, and May and Johnson made freshman all-SEC.

Clearly, Charlie's got a tough uphill climb to get any playing time at all. He's got exactly the same amount of game experience as the three new quarterbacks hand-picked by the new staff. If he is the best quarterback on the roster, then he'll probably have a better chance of getting recognized by Franklin than he would have by Caldwell, who actually called him "sorry" when he missed class.

Nobody here's gonna be eating crow if Goro's a success. We'll be watching and rooting for the best guy to win, whoever that may be, and it would be cool if it is Goro.

Right now, we're just telling it like it is: The kid has a tough road ahead. He's going against a quarterback who's beaten him out the past two seasons and a quarterback who may or may not have some of the traits of his Super Bowl champion brother. Oh yeah, and two freshman quarterbacks the new coach sees as difference-makers and another freshman who's a project who'll get plenty of one-on-one coaching.

If Charlie can survive that, he can survive anything, and will be right there to sing his praises. We wish him all the best.

Vandygal78 said...

Having new coaches with fresh eyes should be a terrific motivator for these young men. I admit to being curious about Goro and hope he can do well under the new coaches. Btw, I am really looking forward to football this year. I think it could be very very interesting for us.

Unknown said...

Everybody is making good points and I like that. We are all Vandy fans who don't want to lose to the Wakes and Northwesterns anymore. I like the comment about "new eyes", I think we are all going to be surprised at several positions by the time the season starts. I'm reminded of an article I saw about Brian Kelley when he took over Cincinatti. He talked about coming in and being told there were no receivers or quarterbacks but as it turned out in his words he found a couple of all americans riding on the bench. I hope Franklin does the same thing for us.

Anonymous said...

I'm more optimistic for the start of this season for no other reason than I feel that Coach Franklin and his staff will be able to identify the best football talent on this roster...and there's plenty. I'm not convinced the best talent saw the field last season. And to Dimon's point, I feel we burned a few redshirts prematurely.

I saw C. Goro a bit last spring and was quite impressed with his athletism. I've watched C. Boyd and can't understand why he never saw the field. I've seen C. Spear kick FGs and feel that given the opportunity he can be one of the best in the conference. A couple of our young interior linemen who redshirted last season -- Woestmann, Bridges and Taylor -- have the potential to be stars. K. Reeves, who has since graduated, impressed me with his quality carries when given the chance. I realize he was buried behind some very good RBs, but did it really take 4 years for him to contribute on the field?

I could go on...

However, my point is that a fresh set of objective eyes will benefit the program and promote the on-field leadership I feel this team has been lacking somewhat. We simply need to play the best football players. Our new coaching staff will recognize talent, especially those players who demonstrate the passion, work ethic and competive drive to compete at this level and turn this program around.

Anonymous said...

I was one of many fans last season who could not understand with the poor quality wr play from previous season, why did we not integrate Mathews, Krause, and Boyd much earlier in the lineup last season. We started out with basically the same wr rotation other than Krause; eventually Mathews played wr late in the season in garbage time. It was hard to watch Mathewsat 6'4 wasted on special teams and Boyd at 6'4 not play at all. If you look around the SEC, all teams have size and athletes at WR with the exception of Vandy. Having said that, with the issues that we had at qb, the wr spot was a non-factor for most of the season. Krause was not a threat most of the season because defenses knew that the other 2 wr's were not requiring help or double coverage. All things being equal, I hope that the starting wrw's are Krause (Cole as backup); Boyd and Mathews. 2 wr's at 6'4 and a speed guy in krause at the slot will at least keep an SEC defense honest and create a mismatch for one of the wr's. With so many drops the last 2 seasons, I dont know how the coaching staff redshirted Boyd. From what Caldwell was putting out in the media, it looked to me like he wanted to play both Mathews and Boyd early in the season; but Charlie Fisher held them both back because "they were not ready". This new staff will likely be pleasantly surprised at the amount of young talent on both sides of the ball that went underutilized from last season. I always felt that the weakest assistant coaching was with the qb's. Call me crazy, but I don't think any of our qb's were ever really developed which set the entire offense back. I am also looking forward to spring practice to see which players step up. Go Dores !


In retrospect, I'm really glad that last year's coaches redshirted Boyd, because he's got four more years in black and gold.

Everybody's comments seem to hit on something: We've got talented kids on offense who are missing two things, a proper evaluation of their skills and proper training and instruction.

Great comment about Brian Kelly. He was told he had no offensive talent and yet he put together an awesome offense. Remember how Bobby Johnson used to always blame our offense on poor execution by the players? But the execution never got better and the players were never replaced. That's coaching, and I'm confident that our offensive coaching just got a whole lot better.

Unknown said...

I think this is some of if not the best dialogue on Vandy FB that I've ever seen. I love it. Cant wait for spring ball to happen. Even when we started 5-0 and pretty muched backed into a bowl during the second half season, you had to wonder what the deal was with these coaches.... Maybe they had too much job security and hid behind that mantra we all hate the dores can't compete because we have to have the smartest athletes, as though that weren't true for football and basketball. I'm with all of you, we have a lot of talent that I think is going to get uncovered. I hoping Franklin turns out to be the real deal and the SEC gets some DORES slammed in their faces..


I agree, Mike. This is some great dialogue — thanks for getting it started. Within the next week, I'll take a stab at Vandy's depth chart and how it might change once the true freshmen get here; decisions coaches will have to make concerning the rather large number of young players who can play both offense and defense; and what positions we're targeting for the 2012 signing class.

Anonymous said...

GO GORO!! By the way, maybe we might want to look at Goro's highschool qb coach, Charlie Bliss, who has just won his third straight state championship and something like 7 or 8 state championship games in the last ten years because of a spread offense that relies on talented quarterbacks. Bliss is no doubt a QB maker.

Anonymous said...

Your theory of Goro going to a "lower level" school is quite interesting. I mean if you're thinking "lower level" on the education side I do not disagree......but if you're saying "lower level" than Vanderbilt on the football front - it's laughable. Goro should've strongly considered a MAC team which have gone to Bowl games and are known for good football programs a whole lot more than Vandernbilt!

Anonymous said...

I don't intend to speak for Dimon, but I'm quite sure by "lower-level" he meant I-AA. That's not to say Goro doesn't have the ability to compete at I-A, or anything like that. It's because if a player transfers from I-A to I-AA, they're eligible to play immediately. If someone transfers to a MAC or Sun Belt school instead, they've got to sit out a year, and Goro's already used his redshirt.

Anonymous said...

You bring up a good point. I didn't know about Charlie Bliss. His resume sounds darn near identical to Gus Malzhan at Auburn. When I went digging into Bliss I saw that Goro was named the QB of the decade either for Chicago or Illinois, not sure by the article. With that kind of recognition you have to figure he had a lot of schools chasing him, so why did he end up at Vandy? My guess is he either wanted to compete in the SEC or wanted the Vandy education or both which is probably why he didn't leave when the rumors said he did. If he ends up on top I think it will say a lot about his character, having stuck it through this coaching wackiness. And not just him, all of these freshman and sophomores. Look at how many red shirts we blew this past season. I was told it got so bad that a bunch of players were talking about a mass transfer if Caldwell stayed. He certainly wasn't concerned with the future of the Vandy program.

BTW, saw he made a comment when he signed on as line coach with Clemson "it's going to be good to be in a program that wants to win". An obvious rap on Vandy but then again, he missed the fact that he was a major contributing factor to the losing.

Regardless, I cannot wait to see what happens on the field in spring. I'm curious to see how many players on both sides of the ball show improvement just because of the coaching change. When I look at all the 4.4 and 4.5 guys on our roster, I have to believe Franklin will find a way to make use of that talent.

Anonymous said...

I hope that Goro sticks it out and pushes LS in spring workouts. He clearly is very talented. I suspect that CJF will have a quick hook on the starter, if it is in fact LS, and Goro will be in the mix to compete for the starting job. While Rogers is still hurt, I doubt that CJF will want to turn over the offense to a true feshman against SEC defenses. If things go as planned, we will be very strong at RB and WR which means we will need the qb to manage the game and not do too much; make basic reads, throws and good decisions. I trust that Herb Hand will have our young line ready and it could be a breakout year for us if we can stay healthy on the O and D lines. Our new coaching staff if nothing else so far seems to be very solid and will not hesitate to get the best players on the field. From CJF public comments, seems like they are already preparing to open up the qb spot; even if LS earns it in spring, this staff will make a switch to Goro if there are poor decisions or a lack of execution by whoever is starting. I think last years wr class is really going to press the upperclassmen and our RB's are already very good. Coach Hand may be the most important guy in spring workouts with the responsibility to develope our young linemen. Go Dores !

Anonymous said...

Hey Dimon, just check the Vandy Rivals page depth chart and it list our 3 young wr's 1st in thier respective wr positions. Do they get that from coaches or are they just speculating. Interesting that Rogers is listed ahead of LS at qb. What do you thnk ?