It was a beautiful April day in Nashville as over 1,500 Commodore fans came out to get a sneak peek of next year's football team. What they saw, or at least what I saw, didn't exactly jive with the blue skies overhead.
Vanderbilt's offense picked up where they left off last year...much to the chagrin of this particular Commodore fan.
Before going any further, I should note that my attention was focused on the offense. I wanted to see if the team looked different from last season. Unfortunately, they don't. Some of the personnel might have changed, but the overall effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) was exactly the same.
The Commodores trotted out 5 different quarterbacks during their 14 series, all of whom made at least 1 play. Whether it was more then 1 is debatable.
The real story was Jordan Rodgers, who was seen for the first time in a Commodore uniform. Rodgers got 4 series (Larry Smith got 3, Charlie Goro got 4, Jared Funk got 2, and Matt Casas got 1). To me, Rodgers looked like the most "in command" of the 5 quarterbacks. His passes were crisp, he hung in the pocket (no small task given the porousness of the offensive line), and was able to make something happen with his feet without tucking too early. He wasn't error-free, but I thought he looked good.
Larry Smith started the scrimmage, and played 3 series. He made one great throw that was dropped in the end zone, but besides that, was probably the least effective of the quarterbacks. Based on what I saw today, I will personally be surprised if Larry Smith is the opening day starter.
Red-shirt freshman Charlie Goro's play was a pleasant surprise. He made some very good throws, took for good licks, and was able to make some gains with his feet. He will definitely be a factor going forward.
Vanderbilt had 14 possessions, of which 4 started at the 20. They scored one touchdown in those 14 possessions. They were 6 of 17 on 3rd downs, had 4 false starts, and gave up at least 6 or 7 sacks. The play-calling was as inventive today as we've come to expect (which is to say it wasn't at all). If there's one thing Commodore fans can take to heart: they didn't run the reserve at all.
Other news from the scrimmage:
Senior offensive guard Chris Aaronson suffered a concussion and was carted off the field
Jeff Lockridge's summary in the Tennessean
Bottom line: the offense looked bad and it's impossible to know how good the defense is given the offense. Not exactly the formula for an optimistic outlook.