Tuesday, August 12, 2008

VSL Hotline: Movement on the Line, Edition

While we're sure most of you have thought nothing about Commodores football with the onslaught of Olympic coverage, that's no going to stop us from doing our job in the VSL newsroom. The big story comes from (surprise, surprise) the Man We Love to Hait, who is reporting in today's Nashville City Paper of a "shuffling" (my word, not his) of the offensive line. Early season projections had junior Thomas Welch "replacing" Chris Williams at left tackle (for those who don't know, Chris Williams is expected to be out until at least November with a herniated disc). Now, according to Brett however, Welch has been working with the first team at right tackle, with sophomore Reilly Lauer playing on the left side. The tenor of the article makes it sound as is Reilly's emergence was almost completely unexpected. Based on the pre-season guides, that theory would seem to be backed up. The following appeared in Part I of the VSL's 2008 Football Preview:

There is no doubt that Offensive Line Coach, and Assistant Head Coach Robbie Caldwell will have to do his best coaching job yet to give the offense the kind of protection they need. According to The Man We Love to Hait, 300 lbs., 6’7 junior Thomas Welch is the man to “replace” Chris Williams. While losing a first-round pick at the anchor position on the line is difficult to replace, Brett sees junior Center Bradley Vierling as the “key” to the offensive line, who “took over as the unit’s leader” this spring. Junior Guard Ryan Custer is also “one to watch” according to Brett’s piece in Lindy’s. While the depth charts now have junior Drew Gardner (6’6, 300 lbs.) slated to start at Right Guard, Athlon sees a potential battle between promising red-shirt freshmen Kyle Fischer (6’6 305 lbs.) and James Williams (6’6 305 lbs) for the second (and perhaps starting) slot.

The depth charts in both Athlon and Lindy’s indicate that despite replacing all five offensive lineman, the line won’t be completely “green.” All the projected starters are juniors. Both previews have the line-up from left to right looking like this: Thomas Welch, Ryan Custer, Bradley Vierling, Drew Gardner, Eric Hensley. Athlon believes “depth will be an issue,” but also will “not surprised if there isn’t much of a drop-off from the line this fall.”

There's more "nuggets" (some golden) in Brett's City Paper reporting, including Vanderbilt landing it's 10th commitment, the contents of Bobby Johnson's IPod (I wonder if it includes any VSL Podcasts), and those players that sat out the Commodores first 2-a-day practice on Monday.

Mo Patton reports in today's Tennessean on Desmond Kitchings, Vanderbilt's 30 year old (and youngest on staff) Running Backs coach.

Brett Hait, on the Nashville City Ballerz site also draws our attention to Pedro Alvarez's stalled contract negotiations. The Pittsburgh Post-Tribune's Rob Biertempfel is reporting that Pittsburgh Pirates are willingness to offer Alvarez a major-league contract to the third player selected overall in this year's draft. So far however, Pedro, who is represented by Scott Boras, has not backed down for contract demands designed to make the Bucs pay-up as the August 15th deadline approaches. A similar stand-off occurred last year with Commodore David Price who was selected number 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Rays. Price signed at the last minute and was not represented by Boras. Is Pedro does not sign by August 15th, he will be eligible to return to college and play his senior year. Stranger things have happened, but Commodore fans shouldn't hold their breath.

Finally, the Tennessean's Steve Silver also writes in today's paper about "the arrival of incoming freshman and high school All-American, Brittni Hamilton" to the bowling team. Can you say dynasty?

That's all I've got other than to say I strongly dislike Seamus O'Toole and his Jets/Bobby O'Shea player hating in yesterday's comments. I can't wait for September 7th and the Brett Favre absolutely destroying the Dolphins to open up the year and announce the Jets presence (and the beginning of the Brett Favre era) with authority. If I were you Seamus, I'd pick up one of these before the 7th.

Bobby, OUT

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