Tuesday, August 5, 2008

VSL Hotline: Practice is Underway, Edition

The Vanderbilt Football Commodores started their pre-season training Friday, and as was to be suspected, there is much news to report on. Due to the ending of summer jobs, a grandma celebrating a milestone, and a general desire to leave our fans wanting more, we've been a little deficient. Anyway, the following post should change all that (at least for the time being).

The biggest news thus far is the suspension of red-shirt freshman running back Jermaine Doster. As usual, the best reporting came from the Nashville City Paper's Brett Hait. After sitting out last year, Bobby Johnson announced Doster will not suit up this season after being arrested in Tampa in July on the charge of disorderly conduct. VSL's poll wasn't close, although the more we think about it, the more it appears to me that CBJ got it right. I have no idea whether other SEC coaches would have been as harsh as Bobby was. Frankly, it doesn't matter. Coach Johnson did the right thing and Vanderbilt fans should be proud. I happen to think given what Bobby's looking at at running back, other SEC Coaches would have acted similarly, if only to say they were "tough." I think Bobby's record on matters like this speaks for itself; there is no reason to think his motives weren't pure.

Chris Low's got a profile on Chris Nickson that appeared on ESPN.com Friday. Here's perhaps the most telling quote from Nickson: "It was an awkward season for me last year...I embrace this opportunity more than anything, especially with it being my last year. I look at it as another opportunity to show the world what you're made of and who you really are deep down inside. I plan to play every down that way." Nickson sounds ready, and as Mo Patton wrote in Saturday's Tennessean, the would-be starter was "strengthened by the scars of '07."

Beyond Chris Nickson, the focus thus far has been on dynamo D.J. Moore. Mo Patton's piece in Sunday's Tennessean highlighted the expanded role Moore is expected to get with the offense. Brett Hait's Vanderbilt Notebook in Monday's Nashville City Paper highlights how D.J. has become the football equivalent of a Renessance Man. As always, the notebook has other nuggets including the emergence of freshman wide receiver John Cole. Mo Patton goes as far as saying that Cole is the next Earl.

Another player getting some attention is the two-sport stud Jamie Graham who, according to Mo Patton's article in Friday's Tennessean, is "hyped about his first 'real' football season."

The Man We Love to Hait chronicled "elder statesmen" Safety Reshard Langford in Monday's City Paper.

Another interesting piece worth a gander was Mo Patton's Sunday article on how Vanderbilt has become a hot-spot for football transfers. Given Vanderbilt's policy against mid-year transfers (remember JP Prince?), football rather than basketball is the sport most likely to benefit. Still, the Vanderbilt coaches have always been good about spotting talent where it was otherwise neglected. There is no reason that can't also apply to transfers.

Another interesting note: while Earl Bennett has impressed with his "receiving," his fielding of punts has left much to be desired according to Vaughn McClure, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune on ChicacgoSports.com.

We'll try and stay on top of all the happenings from Commodore practice. Before my permanent relocation to Nashville, I'll be basking in the glory of Bobby's Betty's company and our nation's capitol for a few more days. As a result, my internet access is limited to trips across the street and free wireless wherever I can find it.

VSL Nation, we want to hear from you. Get excited Commodore fans, we kick off in 23 days.


Douglas James said...

Great post guys. I am super pumped about this year. I think this is going to be a key year for the future of Vandy football. We are putting together an excellent recruiting class, we have several key guys emerging on the field and I think both DJ and Reshard will be playing in the NFL next year. DJ has a real chance to be a 1st round pick and not many college programs put players in the 1st round two years in a row. Put that with a bounce back year from Nickson and I think we have a shot at a bowl game.

Anonymous said...

There really is nothing more important to '08 success than Nickson. He will be the starter, and it will be on his shoulders. I feel good about that, because nothing is more dangerous than someone with something to prove.

Stanimal said...

I couldn't disagree more about CBJ's decision to suspend Doster for an entire year. That is an incredibly extreme measure for a first-time offender. I don't condone Doster's behavior by any means, and even support a more lengthy punishment than just 1-3 games, perhaps half a season. To punish a kid to this magnitude without prior discipline problems (that we are aware of)is extreme.

I agree with Jason, this season is all about Nickson. If he steps up and shows us his talent from his sophomore campaign, the loss of all of last year's talent will be lessened. But it's on his shoulders and he needs to step up.

Anonymous said...

3 key factors this year:

1) nickson play
2) defensive line getting to QB to support a strong secondary
3) running backs - can they have success

Diezba said...

You meant "Renaissance Man," right? Or did I miss the joke...

Stanimal said...

Bobby does Vanderbilt sports, not the ESPN Spelling Bee