Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Afternoon Digest

A few quick injury notes:

Jared Hawkins practiced with the team for all of the Tuesday and Wednesday practices, but the foot is still bothering him. I feel bad for the guy but am beginning to doubt that he'll play this season, especially with the way the Stacy-Norman-Reeves backfield has started the season. Any chance we could get him a medical redshirt? That looks like the coaches' plan for Ryan Hamilton, as Bobby noted earlier this week.

Jeff Lockridge has a good piece in the Tennessean about how so many players have to learn two (or even more) positions, and how that approach at least theoretically mitigates some of the depth issues Vanderbilt faces over the course of a hard-hitting SEC schedule. In that vein, it appears that Joel Caldwell will get the nod as Hamilton's replacement at safety, although LB Brent Trice -- who was converted from safety and knows the position well-- will likely see some plays there as well. This multi-position capability also leaves Robbie Caldwell with a number of options in replacing James Williams at right tackle. While redshirt freshman Caleb Welchans appears to be the front-runner, Reilly Lauer can basically play any position on the line and is a great utility player who can fill holes according to needs and injury situations. I just hope, given the experience we have on the O-line, that we don't have to start relying on freshmen like Wesley Johnson, notwithstanding how well he performed in camp.

Final words:

- I'm predicting Chris Marve will be at least a second-team All-SEC pick this year. The guy is an absolute beast and has forced 3 fumbles already, tops in the nation and only one short of his total from last year when he led the SEC in strips (who can forget Ole Miss?).

- With the injury to Paul Posluszny against the Patriots, Marcus Buggs is now the starting mike linebacker for the Buffalo Bills. An impressive feat considering he was undrafted and had to fight just to make the practice squad.


Anything but Gatorade said...

I like the optimism with players working in multiple positions, but I fear that will absolutely gas them as the season moves on. More minutes is nice, but time for recovery is pretty important.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Bob, I share your concern, although I'm of the mind that you want your 11 best players on the field in whatever capacity you can best use them. If that means shuffling around positions, so be it. That doesn't mean making a habit of playing guys both ways of course, but for example, if you can keep Brent Trice on the field (at free safety) and replace him at LB with an experienced guy like John Stokes, I'd like to have that option instead of being forced to rely completely on a less experienced safety like Joel Caldwell.

The point is that it sounds counterintuitive but you actually increase your depth by having guys who can play more than one spot. To use the current situation, CBJ can now rotate three guys at two positions (Trice, Stokes, and Caldwell at OLB and FS) instead of putting all of his eggs in the basket of a FS who's been a backup his whole college career. Two-thirds experienced is better than one-half experienced. So goes the theory, anyway.

Anonymous said...

awesome about buggs. hope he plays well. marve deserves first team if he keeps this up. he's a beast. man that guy can hit hard.

Anonymous said...

we just got ranked last in sec for game day atmosphere. while i have to say i agree that really sucks. i wish we had a bigger fan base and could pack it out in all black and gold. that would be really special. oh well.....

Stanimal said...

Vandy is an 8 point favorite this weekend for those of you curious about the line.