Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hey, don't root for Larry Smith to fail

Hey guys, let's not read too much into what Coach Franklin says after practice. Many of our fans want to jump off a bridge when they hear him praise Larry Smith. But listen to what he says about him: Larry's got a strong arm. Larry's got a great body.

We already knew that.

Larry's the only quarterback he's got who's ever played in a football game. Why in the world would he come out and bash Larry?

And you know why he's praising Larry so much? Because the stupid reporters are asking him after a handful of practices who's going to start at quarterback next season. Well let's see... there's Larry, who looks great in the airport and has a cannon; there's Charlie Goro, who's starting his third season and has never taken a snap in a game; and there's Aaron Rodgers' little brother, who's still recovering from shoulder surgery.

What do you think he's going to say? He and Ricky Rahne and the other coaches are gonna coach him up and the light bulb's either gonna come on or it's not.

I think you'll see one of three scenarios by the season opener:

1. Larry Smith blossoms under the first real quarterback coaching he's had and easily wins the starting job over Rodgers, much to the chagrin of the Larry haters.
2. Larry struggles, Rodgers takes the reins when he joins full-contact practice and even dazzles everybody with his running and scrambling ability and wins the starting job.
3. Larry struggles, Rodgers struggles and the one who sucks the least gets the start while everybody calls for playing time for freshmen Grady and Thorougood, who look good in practice but aren't quite ready.

Clearly, Franklin doesn't want to go into his first SEC season with a brand-new quarterback. He's got an experienced guy, and he'll give him every opportunity to win the job. He also has a kid with Super Bowl champion bloodlines, and he'll give him chances too.

If he's got to throw a youngster into the fire, Grady's the most polished and could get the nod, but hopefully Smith or Jordan will grab the job and Grady will redshirt.

If that happens, Franklin has to decide what to do with Thourogood: Do you redshirt arguably the team's best athlete and let him develop as a quarterback or do you get him on the field as soon as possible and get him some touches?

We really, really need Larry to shine in the spring. That way, he'll either be our best option or he'll push Rodgers and if Rodgers wins the job then he'll likely be a solid starter. Then that takes the pressure off the freshmen and gives the staff time to evaluate both Thourogood and Grady as quarterbacks and athletes.


R-SO Blake Southerland has switched from linebacker to fullback, where his older brother started for Georgia. He'll compete with SO Fitz Lassing and R-JR Marc Panu. Not sure what role fullback will play in our offense, but I like Panu, a walk-on who's big and strong.

R-SO Javon Marshall and JR Eric Samuels have moved to safety. Franklin really likes Samuels as a big, fast athlete. Don't be surprised if he's our No. 1 nickel back.

JR Trey Wilson is having a great spring at cornerback despite tough competition from SR Casey Hayward, JR Eddie Foster and SO Andre Hal.

Don't be surprised if R-FR DE Kyle Woestmann and R-FR DT Vince Taylor start this season on the defensive line.


Anonymous said...

When will we know if any of the walk-ons from the excellent video made the team?

Anonymous said...

No mention here of Goro in the QB race. Is he really below 2 incoming freshman at this point? Is the consensus that he's just not SEC material?

Anonymous said...

Great post Dimon. I agree if LS is the starting qb that it will be because he was properly evaluated by the new staff and is our best option to win this year. This is the time for Goro and Rogers to impress if they are to make a major contribution this year. Looks like Coach Hand is getting improved line play from the big guys which will help the qb situation alot. This is the time for "Moral Victory" Nation to have faith in our new coaching staff. If Goro, Rogers, and Smith battle it out, it's hard to see how this new staff would error in not playing the best guy. I think this staff really wants to make a splash this fall and will play the qb who they feel can lead the team to wins. My view is that the offense (esp against SEC def) will really struggle with a true freshman starting. The new guys (QB's) need to redshirt, learn the play-book, and get use to the speed at this level. The other alternative is to use the freshman qb's in goal-line type run-option situations to give opponents a different look. I like what I am hearing out of camp so far with intense competition at all positions and our young guys pushing the upper classmen for playing time. Go Dores !

Dimon K-H said...

Good question. Since the student body tryouts were held, six names have magically appeared on the 2011 roster, which doesn't include our new class of signees. They are:
• Nick Aguirre, DB, 5-11, 190, Mobile, Ala.
• Jeff Gendelman, WR, 6-3, 190, Purchase, NY
• Daniel Hagaman, WR, 6-2, 195, Brentwood, Tenn.
• Jarron Lewis, DB, 6-0, 180, Atascocita, Texas
• Jarrett Wadler, DB, 5-9, 165, Houston, Texas
• John Townsley, QB, 6-4, 200, Upper Arlington, OH
Unfortunately, I don't think the list includes that bleach blonde surfer dude from the video who's never played football.

Dimon K-H said...

The only quarterback Franklin mentions these days is Larry. He doesn't act like injured players even exist, leaving their names out of interviews and off depth charts. And I hear that Franklin has moved the quarterbacks under center again and that Charlie, who's a spread guy, has struggled to adjust.

If Charlie's not in the discussion for the top 2 quarterbacks, then I don't think he's in the discussion at all. When the freshmen get here, if Grady or Thorougood look at least as good as Goro, then Franklin would probably go with either one over Goro if he's forced to play a third QB.

In fact, he might list one of them, say Grady, at third team QB but only play him if the first two guys get hurt, while he burns the redshirt off Thourogood as a goal line quarterback and spot receiver.

Anonymous said...

Dimon --

Still anxiously awaiting your view on emerging team leaders (and how you define 'leadership')... IMO, this element was severely lacking last season and is one of the biggest intangibles that could accelerate a turnaround in the program this year.

Am I the only one, or do others in here anxiously await Dimon's next blog (even if there isn't a lot of follow-up discussion/comments). These 10 day waits between posts put me into withdrawal. Dimon, you are THE man...

Dimon K-H said...

Thanks. It's always nice to be THE man. I'll work on that leadership stuff for you sometime.

Anonymous said...

ehhh...i'm also in the camp that anxiously awaits MV posts...I'd pay for a post a day.

Vandygal78 said...

Given the new coaches, improving receivers, and the elimination of the no huddle offense (please!), Larry could look like a new guy out there. Look the guy can throw the ball (maybe too hard at times). I will never forget Larry's first pass in the Music City Bowl; an absolute bomb down the field. I thought here we go! Larry has always tried too hard; which to my mind is much preferable to not working hard enough. I think he could be much better this year especially if the recievers do their jobs. While I want the best guy out there to get us our wins, I do hope that Larry can have a successful year. I'm sure he hears all the criticisms and is still working hard.

Unknown said...

Great comments by all.

Here’s my take on the QB situation. First we have coaches who want to win. I think in the past we had coaches more interested in hiding behind our higher standards and getting by on what was minimal. That means they need to find a qb who will make things happen. At the moment, they have 3 choices. Larry, the senior who has all the physical tools but has never been able to translate those into success on the field. Can a new coach turn him a round? Maybe but doubtful. That might constitute one of the greatest player turn-arounds in BCS history. I have to believe his 100 yard interception from the 5 yard line Saturday underlines that question mark.

Then there’s Rodgers. He’s been the media and fans darling since he arrived. But would he be if his brother wasn’t Aaron? I checked his JC stats. Looks like he only started 5 games and won no significant awards. He received one offer from Kstate that was withdrawn. During an interview before the Bears game, Aaron talked about his friendship with Cutler and pointed out that Jay helped his brother get into Vandy. I watched Jordan last spring and again in the summer. He has an exaggerated shoulder throwing motion which is completely different than his brother. One observer predicted he would have a shoulder issue which we now see happening. Unless someone changes his mechanics, I think he’s going to have a chronic issue.

That leaves goro who has yet to play a game. At the scrimmage I was told he clocked a 4.5 to end winter work outs this year. A lot faster than the other QBs. During the scrimmage he showed nice escapability and he handled his offense about as well as Larry did. Difference was that Larry had the 1st O vs the 2d D while Goro mostly ran the 2d O versus the first D.

Then there’s the freshman coming in. Thoroughgood gets most of the conversation. However, an internet check shows he didn’t earn any significant awards, not even all state. It appears his 4 star rating is tied to being “an athlete” instead of QB. Blogs at VAtech suggest he decommitted because he was told he would not be a QB. We are going to have to have 3 QBs. Smith and Goro are givens. Rodgers is iffy. One freshman, especially if he can play more than one position will should make it.

I expect that Franklin will focus the spring game around what the QBs can do under game conditions. He’ll give them plenty of freedom to improvise. We’ll see Larry throw long, Goro do some running. We may see Jordan but maybe not. When the season starts, we’ll see Smith and Goro both designated as starters. Eventually Goro will win out backed up by Smith and then either Rodgers or Thoroughgood.

Keep in mind that I also picked Ohio State of Kansas in this years NCAAs.

Anonymous said...

Just moved Dexter Daniels to DE and Al Owens to OLB. Which means more speed on the corners.This defensive staff actually gets it! Any specifics on the LB and DE position battles?

Anonymous said...

I may be in the minority here. But I believe we should start Larry this fall because he gives us the best chance to win now and hopefully the best opportunity to redshirt Thoroughgood. I think it is too much to ask a kid to come to one of the most difficult academic colleges and the most difficult college football conferences and ask him to balance both and learn a new offense right off the bat. To me that is crazy. Vandy is hard enough at 18 or 19 right out of high school. Let Larry start and red shirt Thoroughgood. Let Thoroughgood learn the offense and adjust to Vandy life. That gives him the best chance to win the job next spring and lead the commies for the next 4 years.

That's what Cutler did. He basically came to Vandy because he was an athlete that wanted to play QB and Vandy gave him a chance. He redshirted then won the job and started for 4 years. He ran a lot that first year and became more of a passer as he progressed. I hope we use the same model for Thoroughgood.

Long story short. Win now with Larry and let Thoroughgood learn and redshirt. This is the best answer for the long and short term.

Anonymous said...

Strong stuff Mike. All I want is to see is all QBs getting some playing time so we can have vindication that the best player is on the field. The last regime rarely ventured down the qb depth chart during games. I supposed we are to trust them (and I did and do), but I always felt like Kolvachek (sp?) was better than Nixon...and that Goro and Funk should've taken a lot more snaps. I mean...why not? Our passing attack has been straight up crappy.

I trust that Franklin will play the best...but I also think he will play a few QBs during situational arrangements. To me, his (perceived) willingness to mix up the personnel is a great thing ...especially after CoBoJo, et al refused to give backups a shot.

even more anonymous said...

I could never root against a player who has taken the kind of beating LS has endured for two years on behalf of Vanderbilt. He deserves a chance to show what he can do behind a well-coached offensive line.