>Pre-Season Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores

>Pre-Season Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores

zz College Football Zealots

>Pre-Season Preview: Vanderbilt Commodores

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>2009 Record: 2-10 (0-8 in SEC)
2009 Bowl: N/A
Final 2009 AP Ranking: Not Ranked
Head Coach: Bobby Johnson (29-66 at Vandy, 89-102 All-Time)
Non-Conference Schedule: Northwestern (9/4), at UConn (10/2), Eastern Michigan (10/9), Wake Forest (11/27)

2009 Offensive Statistics
Scoring: 16.3 points per game (last in SEC, 113th in Nation)
Rushing Yards/Game: 160 (8th in SEC)
Passing Yards/Game: 147 (10th in SEC, 111th in Nation)
Total Yards/Game: 307 (11th in SEC, 109th in Nation) 

2009 Defensive Statistics
Scoring: 23.3 points per game (8th in SEC)
Rushing Yards/Game: 197 (last in SEC, 105th in Nation)
Passing Yards/Game: 164 (3rd in SEC, 9th in Nation)
Total Yards/Game: 362 (9th in SEC)

2009 Misc Stats
Turnover Margin: +0.25 per game (5th in SEC)
Penalties: 50 yards per game (7th in SEC)

Returning Starters
Offense: 5
Defense: 5
Kicker/Punter: 1

Phil Steele All-SEC Pre-Season
LB Chris Marve (Second Team)
KR Warren Norman (Second Team; also made Fourth Team as RB)
CB Casey Hayward (Fourth Team)

Athlon Sports All-SEC Pre-Season
LB Chris Marve (First Team)
KR Warren Norman (First Team)
CB Casey Hayward (Third Team)
S Sean Richardson (Third Team)

Top Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: QB Larry Smith, Jr (106 of 227 for 1126 yds, 4 TD, 7 INT, 125 ypg, 213 yards rushing, 2 rushing TD)
Rushing: RB Warren Norman, Soph (145 carries for 783 yds, 3 TD, 5.4 ypc, 65 ypg)
Receiving: WR John Cole, Soph (36 rec, 382 yds, 1 TD, 3.3 rec/game)
Tackles: LB Chris Marve, Jr (121)
Sacks: DE Theron Kadri, Sr (3)
Interceptions:3 tied with 2

2010 Pre-Season Rankings
Athlon Sports: #78
Sporting News: #83

2010 Pre-Season SEC East Prediction:
Athlon Sports: #6
Phil Steele: #6

The Commodores went 2-10 last year and lost the second most lettermen in the SEC this year. They also have a tough out of conference schedule that includes dates with UConn, Wake Forest, and Northwestern. On the surface it looks like another tough year for Vandy. Vandy does have some talent to work like Chris Marve and Warren Norman but most are predicting a tough road this year. We caught up with Vanderbilt Sports Line, who was able to give us some answers while they cover the baseball teams attempt to make the College World Series. 

What are the major strengths and biggest weaknesses of the team?

Strengths –Secondary, LB, RB
Weaknesses – OL, WR, QB, DL

CFBZ Note: The LB group is led by Pre-Season All-SEC Chris Marve (who lead Vandy in tackles with 121 last year) and also returns their 7th leader tackler Senior John Stokes. The Secondary is more experienced than last year and Casey Hayward (CB) and Sean Richardson (SS) are both getting some pre-season nods for all-conference teams. The RB group returns Vandy’s top 4 rushers from last year in Warren Norman, Zac Stacy, Larry Smith (QB) and Kennard Reeves.

Looking at the schedule who will be the first major test?

LSU, week 2

CFBZ Note: If I was answering these questions I would have gone with the week one game of Northwestern because they are coming off of an 8 win season and Vandy only won 2 games last year. The LSU game means more because it’s a conference game but I think the Northwestern game is going to be a major measuring stick to see how Vanderbilt will fare this year. Vandy lost 23-9 last year against LSU but trailed by only 7 points going into the 4th quarter.

What team on the schedule do you fear the most?

Florida

CFBZ Note: I think this is the answer for every team in the SEC East. Like him or not Urban Meyer has built a top level program at Florida and they will be tough to knock off their perch. Last year Florida beat Vanderbilt 27 to 3. 

Who is the best player on your team that nobody talks about?

Brandon Barden (TE)

CFBZ Note: Barden caught 29 passes for 357 yards last year as a sophomore.

Who is the best offensive player on the team?

Warren Norman (RB)

CFBZ Note: Norman could become Vandy’s first 1,000 yard rusher sice 1995. Norman broke Herschel Walker’s (yes THAT Herschel Walker) SEC record for all-purpose yards for a Freshman last year with 1,941 and was named SEC Freshman of the Year.

Who is the most impactful defensive player on the team?

Chris Marve


CFBZ Note: Phil Steele lists Marve as the #20 Draft Eligible Inside LB. Athlon Sports also has him as a First Team Pre-Season All-SEC selection. He will be the anchor of a defense that gave up more rushing yards than anybody else in the SEC last year so he’s going to need some help from the DL.

What player(s) needs to step up this year in order for the team to reach it’s full capability?

Jordan Rodgers or Larry Smith (any QB)


In Chris Low’s Spring Wrap for Vandy he listed QB uncertainty as one of the top questions for Vanderbilt. It could be Larry Smith, JUCO Jordan Rogers (who could also redshirt if he doesn’t win the job) or Jared Funk that could wind up the starter. More than one guy might see significant action early in the year. It’s clear that Vandy needs to improve on a passing game that was among the worst in the nation last year.

Who is the top offensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

Chris Boyd (Freshman), RS – Wesley Tate, Transfer – Jordan Rodgers

CFBZ Notes: Boyd is a WR out of Roswell, Georgia. He had 43 catches for 733 yards and 9 TD as a senior in HS. Wesley Tate is a Redshirt Freshman that is the younger brother of former Notre Dame player Golden Tate. He’s 6’2″, 223 so he’s bigger than Norman or Zach Stacy but he’s also just as fast. Jordan Rodgers also has a more famous brother, Green Bay starting QB Aaron Rodgers.

Who is the top defensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

Kyle Woestmann (freshman), Walker May (RS)

CFBZ Notes: Kyle Woestmann is a DT out of Marietta, Georgia. When in doubt, recruit Georgia. Vandy needs help on the DL so he could see some playing time. He was named all-region and all-cobb country. He had 32 tackles and 4 sacks in HS in 2009. Walker May is also plays DL, so if he can plug the run he could see some time.

Gut feeling on the teams final record at the end of the regular season and what makes this a successful season in your eyes?

Gut feelings is 4-8 (wins over Eastern Michigan, UConn, Ole Miss, UT)

This year is an absolute success if we finish 6-6 and go to a bowl. Need to rebound from last years 2-10 record. If we finish 5-7 it’s a mild success. Anything less than that and it’s a failure.

Next Up: Auburn Tigers

2010 Previews
ACC- Maryland Terrapins
Big 12- Kansas State Wildcats, Missouri Tigers, Texas Tech Red Raiders
Big East- Cincinnati Bearcats, Pittsburgh Panthers, West Virginia Mountaineers
Big Ten- Michigan WolverinesMinnesota Golden Gophers, Northwestern Wildcats, Purdue Boilermakers
Conference USA- Houston CougarsTulane Green Wave, UTEP Miners
MAC- Ball State Cardinals, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, Temple Owls, Toledo Rockets
Mountain West- Utah Utes
Pac-10- Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, Washington Huskies
SEC- Kentucky Wildcats, South Carolina Gamecocks, Mississippi Rebels
Sun Belt- Troy Trojans
WAC- New Mexico State Aggies

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