Monday, August 14, 2006

Vanderbilt Preview - Back to Reality (of sorts)

This will be the first of many previews for each of the ACC and SEC Teams. I will probably tinker with the format, but predictions will definetly be a part of the previews.

Offensive Starters Returning: 7
Defensive Starters Returning: 6
Last 5 Years Win Totals: 2-2-2-2-5

Looking at the above win total, one could say the Commodores had a breakout season last year and they would be right. If a botched FG had not happened against Middle Tennessee St, Vandy would have been bowling. This year, Bobby Johnson will have his work cut out for him, as he must find a replacement for QB Jay Cutler.

Look for Chris Nickson to get the nod early in the season at the QB position. Richard Kovalcheck and Michael Adams will trail him closely throughout fall practice. Kovalcheck, a transfer from Arizona, was a prep phenom in San Diego and has the most potential to replace Cutler in the long run. In the backfield, Cassen Jackson-Garrison is back as is Jeff Jennings. The two ran for 539 and 448 yards respectively last season in a pass-oriented offense. At wideout, Earl Bennett is ready to do some more damage in the fall as a sophomore. The Freshmen All-SEC player snatched 79 balls in 2005, an SEC record. Bennett will be relied on heavily in the early going and will definitely see double teams almost all year. The Commodores bring back 3 offensive line starters from last season’s. This group has struggled the last two years though allowing 24 sacks in 2005 and 33 the season before.
Key to Success: Getting the ball in Earl Bennett’s hands as many times as last year.

Back from last year’s d-line which ranked last in the SEC for sacks and tackles for loss is three reserve tackles and one starting defensive end (Chris Booker). At the linebacker position, Jonathan Goff looks to continue the tradition of NFL quality players from Vanderbilt. Goff racked up 63 tackles last season and will take on a bigger role due to the departed Moses Osemwegie. Vandy lost its two best DB in the offseason from a unit ranking 11th in the SEC in pass defense (223.8). Reshard Landford, another All-SEC Freshmen will lead the group.
Key to Success: Getting push from the defensive line to help out a young secondary

Recruits to Watch
TE Jonathan Massey
DB Alan Strong
DB Brent Trice
QB Jared Funk
OL Adam Smotherman

Statistical Rankings:
Rushing offense115.194
Passing offense: 280.519
Total offense: 395.646
Scoring offense: 27.253
Net punting: 30.2110
Punt returns: 6.398
Kickoff returns: 20.365
Rushing defense: 169.982
Passing defense: 223.869
Total defense: 393.772
Scoring defense:29.282
Turnover margin:-.1870

9/23Tennessee StWin
10/7@Ole MissLoss
10/21South CarolinaLoss

Prediction: 2-10, 0-8

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