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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sportaholic College Football Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores

College Football is just around the corner with the first games scheduled on September 1st. So with that in mind, we here at the figured it was about time to rev up the college football machine and review some local team in our area. With our expanded roster, we now can cover teams from all over the nation but we will start with our home teams. Each week leading up to the season we will have capsules on the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, and Tennessee State University. We will follow those teams with some of the national powers as well, just to make sure we cover all of our bases.

To start things off, we will ask just a few basic questions on each team as: Offense, Defense, what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, who will be their impact players and what do you project as their season outlook just to name a few. We love college athletics here at the Sportaholic and this just one of many college football posts we have awaiting our viewers this season. So sit back and relax as we here at the Sportaholic preview some of your favorite teams from all over the nation.

Vanderbilt University Commodores:

By Taylor Cannon

After Head Coach Bobby Johnson resign before the start of the 2010 season, it started a rough ride for the Commodores which ended in a 2-10 record, but with a new offensive minded and driven head coach in James Franklin (For more on Coach Franklin read this one on one interview Carlos wrote on him at who hopes to turn a program who is well below .500 in conference play (.248) and barely cracking .500 historically as a program (.498) in wins.

1. Offense – The run game looks to be rock solid (maybe Vandy has one of the most talented backfield in the nation) With Warren Norman and Zac Staley. Franklin is going to have fun trying to find ways of getting them on the field at the same time (maybe he might move Staley to a slot receiver position), but the key has to be the QB position. Larry Smith is the starter but do not be surprised to see true freshman. Lafonte Thourgood seeing some playing time (Virginia Tech wanted him, but VU stole him they even called it one of the signs of the 2012 Apocalypse ) and JUCO transfer Jordan Rodgers (little brother of the Super Bowl MVP Champ Aaron Rodgers) . with receivers John Cole Jonathan Krause, Mackey Award Finalist Brandon Bardon, and converted wideout Wesley Tate hopefully this offense can be quite effective, as injuries plagued the offense last year and in 2009 but if they can stay healthy don’t be surprised to hear the Naval horn sounding off frequently during the season

2. Defense – Vandy’s D is experienced but could be better as upswing Chris Marve returns at LB. It remains to be seen if he can stay healthy, if so he will be a major help and at secondary. Sean Richardson, Kenny Ladler and Casey Hayward should make SEC QBs think twice about passing in their zone and the line is talented as well with Colt Nichter, Josh Jelesky and TJ Greenstone. If the team remains healthy they should be able to do great things and improve on the horrible 31.2 points allowed a game average from last year.

Vandy Coach James Franklin.

3. What are the team’s strengths? 19 starters, a young energetic and positive coach who should play some of his freshman class, a good run game, and a decent secondary. This team played mostly freshman last year, but now they have a year of experience and ready to prove to the conference that they aren’t the same Commodore teams of years past.

Lafonte Thurgood
4. Who are the team’s impact players? Running Backs Zac Staley and Warren Norman on offense. On defense Casey Hayward at Cornerback and Chris Marve at Linebacker. Look for Rodgers and Thourgood to push Quarterback Larry Smith for playing time this season and either one might give Vandy some upside should Mr. Smith is inconsistent or injured.

5. What is the team weaknesses? Youth (Most of last years starters were freshman), defense and adjusting to a new coach. The team hasn’t been healthy enough to show their talent. Offensive line may be a problem with only 9 players from the unit that participated in the spring game, but 5 of them were starters last year so they are experienced but must improve on the 36 sacks (most in the SEC they gave up. Plus a brutal schedule with a stretch of games at South Carolina, at Alabama and home against Georgia will test this young Vanderbilt team for sure

6. Season projection and predicted record: After watching video on Mr. Franklin talk and hearing him on the radio, Vandy has found its coach to take them to the next level and might win SEC coach on the year this season. This team is a sleeper if they can be healthy and feed off their energetic coach I predict 7-5 (key wins over Ole Miss Georgia and Kentucky) should have them here in the Music City Bowl. Even if they do not become bowl eligible this team might be the most exciting football team to watch in Nashville.

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