Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Vandy football fact book features no depth chart but lots and lots of battles for starting positions

Just in time for SEC Media Days, it's the Vanderbilt Football Fact Book, the publication formerly known as the Vanderbilt Football Media Guide. Click here to check it out.

We already knew that Charlie Goro has transferred to one of the Dakotas, and that Jamie Graham is headed to UCLA for graduate school, where he'll play out his last year of eligibility, and that James Kittredge, who was sitting out the season for a violation of team rules, has apparently transferred to Michigan State.

We'd heard that Blake Southerland, a redshirt sophomore who'd moved from linebacker to fullback in the spring, suffered a career-ending injury. Not sure about that, but he's no longer on the roster.

Freshman Darien Bryant, whom James Franklin calls a "jumbo athlete" and who's been listed by all the recruiting services as a tight end, is now listed as a defensive end/linebacker. Freshman Jacquese Kirk is still listed as a DB/WR but is mentioned in the section on wide receivers. Don't be surprised if he plays offense this year and then moves over to defense after all those receivers in the 2012 class arrive.

Oh, and a bunch of our guys are listed as an inch shorter than they were last year or, for freshmen, on signing day. Those are OL Mylon Brown (now 6-6), DB Karl Butler (6-0), DB Casey Hayward (5-11), FB Marc Panu (6-1), WR Trent Pruitt (5-9), DE Jimmy Stewart (6-3), C Logan Stewart (6-4), DT Vince Taylor (6-1), OL Jose Valedon (6-3) and DB Trey Wilson (5-11).

But the most interesting thing is the lack of a depth chart. In the new spirit of competitiveness, there was no depth chart in this year's fact book. But you can get a good idea by reading the offensive and defensive outlooks and the various player profiles. Lots of battles up for grabs.

In fact, Vandy has nearly every starter returning on both sides of the ball, but only seven guys appear to have starting jobs sewn up: Brandon Barden, Ryan Seymour and Wesley Johnson on offense and Tim Fugger, Chris Marve, Casey Heyward and Sean Richardson on defense.

Sure, there are front runners like Larry Smith, Warren Norman, Jordan Matthews, Jonathan Krause, Logan Stewart and Kyle Fischer on offense and T.J. Greenstone and Kenny Ladler on defense, but the possibility exists that those guys could lose their jobs. And even the sure-fire starter had better be on his game — it's not out of the realm of possibility that a healthy Austin Monahan could unseat Brandon Barden as he's done in years past, or that Walker May and Kyle Woestmann both jump ahead of Tim Fugger as starters.

But for now, we include Barden and Fugger among those whose starting jobs are written in ink.

The nine seniors are featured on the cover of the fact book: Fischer, Greenstone, Barden, Marve, Smith, Fugger, Richardson, Hayward and WR Udom Umoh, the veteran for whom playing time is most in doubt. All of them but Richardson and Hayward are redshirts.

All of the seniors except for Smith, Fugger and Umoh are being touted for post-season honors. Junior running backs Warren Norman and Zac Stacy and sophomore offensive lineman Wesley Johnson are also being pushed for accolades.

Stacy and Johnson are featured on the back cover of the fact book, as are sophomore safety Kenny Ladler, sophomore receiver Jordan Matthews and redshirt junior defensive tackles Rob Lohr and Colt Nichter.

For whatever that's worth.

By our count, 18 guys are battling for 11 jobs on offense, and 23 guys are battling for 11 jobs on defense.

Now that's competition. Here's how it shakes down by position:

• Battle: R-SR Larry Smith (front-runner) vs. R-JR Jordan Rodgers
• Freshmen playmakers: Lafonte Thourogood, FR Josh Grady
• Freshman project: Kris Kentera

• Battle: JRs Warren Norman and Zac Stacy (front-runners) vs. R-SO Wesley Tate
• Freshmen challengers: Jerron Seymour and Mitchell Hester
• Role players at fullback: SO Fitz Lassing and R-SO Marc Panu
• Struggling for playing time: R-JR Micah Powell

• Battle: SO Jordan Matthews and SO Jonathan Krause (front-runners) vs. R-FR Chris Boyd and two-year starters R-JR John Cole and R-SR Udom Umoh
• Freshman challenger: FR Jacquese Kirk
• Other challengers: R-SO Brady Brown, R-FR Trent Pruitt, R-JR Akeem Dunham, R-JR walk-on Jamison Sackey

• Starter: R-SR Brandon Barden
• Challengers: R-JR Austin Monahan and R-SO Mason Johnston
• Freshmen challengers: Dillon van der Wal and Steven Scheu
• Backup: SO Fitz Lassing

• Starters: R-JR Ryan Seymour (right tackle) and R-SO Wesley Johnson (left tackle or center)
• Battle: Returning starters R-SR Kyle Fischer (right guard), R-JR Jabo Burrow (left guard) and SO Logan Stewart (center) vs. R-JR Caleb Welchans and R-SO Mylon Brown
• Redshirt freshmen challengers: Andrew Bridges, Chase White, Grant Ramsay
• Freshmen ready to compete: Jose Valedon, Jake Bernstein, James Lewis
• Freshmen likely to redshirt: Spencer Pulley, Joe Townsend

• Battle: Injured starter R-SR T.J. Greenstone, returning starter R-JR Rob Lohr and part-time starter R-JR Colt Nichter vs. SO Jared Morse and R-FR Vince Taylor
• Freshman challenger: Barron Dixon
• Struggling for playing time: R-JRs Josh Jelesky and Taylor Loftley

• Starter: R-SR Tim Fugger
• Battle for other starter: R-SO Walker May vs. R-FR Kyle Woestmann and R-JR Johnell Thomas
• Challenger: R-SO Thad McHaney
• Struggling for playing time: R-JR Dexter Daniels and R-FR Thomas Ryan
• Likely redshirt: FR Connor Hart

• Starter in middle: R-SR Chris Marve
• Battle for two outside jobs: SO Chase Garnham and R-JR Tristan Strong vs. R-JR Archibald Barnes
• Challenger: R-JR DeAndre Jones
• Freshmen challengers: Darien Bryant and Jimmy Stewart and possibly one of the safeties
• Struggling for playing time: R-JR Al Owens, walk-on Bobby Jewell, R-FR Blake Gowder, R-FR Andrew East

• Starter: SR Casey Hayward
• Battle for other starter: JR Eddie Foster vs. JR Trey Wilson, SO Andre Hal and SO Steven Clarke
• Freshman challenger: Derek King
• Other challenger: Walk-on Reggie Ford

• Starter at strong safety: SR Sean Richardson
• Battle for free safety: SO Kenny Ladler (front-runner) vs. JR Eric Samuels, SO Karl Butler and SO Andre Simmons
• Freshmen challengers: Larry Franklin, Jahmel McIntosh and Andrew Williamson
• Struggling for playing time: R-SO Javon Marshall

• Battle for placekicking: Spear vs. R-JR Ryan Fowler
• Starter for kickoffs: SO Carey Spear
• Backup for kickoffs: R-JR Ryan Fowler

• Starter at punter: R-JR Richard Kent
• Backup punter: R-JR Ryan Fowler

• Snapper on punts: R-FR Andrew East
• Battle for snapper on kicks: R-JR Rob Lohr vs. East

• Battle for kick returner: JR Warren Norman (front-runner) vs. JR Eric Samuels, SO Andre Hal and JR Trey Wilson
• Freshmen challengers for kick returner: Jerron Seymour, Mitchell Hester and Derek King
• Battle for punt returner: R-JR John Cole vs. JR Zac Stacy and SO Jonathan Krause
• Freshmen challengers for punt returner: Jacquese Kirk, Derek King

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