Thursday, August 26, 2010

VSL Hotline: Scoping it Out, Edition

Vanderbilt's leading rusher, sophomore Warren Norman, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday morning to determine the cause of swelling that kept the All-SECer out of practice since Sunday. The Tennessean's Jeff Lockridge and the Nashville City Paper's Mark Wheeler both report that Warren is "questionable" for the Commodores' opener against Northwestern 9 days from today. Right now, beyond when the Stone Mountain, Georgia native will return to action, the mystery is when Norman sustained this injury. According to Coach Robbie Caldwell, that is unknown.

Mike Organ pens a story in today's Tennessean about the Commodores need to get more sacks this season. A pretty compelling state from the previous two season, in 2008 when Vanderbilt won the Music City Bowl, the team was 5th in the SEC with 30 sacks; last year, where the Commodores went 2-10, they only recorded 20 sacks, good enough for 10th in the league. The article focuses specifically on the DE's, who only recorded 8 sacks.

Coach Robbie Caldwell notes that it wasn't all the defense's fault: "Our defense played real well last year and obviously as an offense we left them on the field too long . . . [b]ut coming up with more sacks, putting some more pressure on the quarterback, is something we're stressing this year." As a point of emphasis, being too focused on sacks can be problematic if there is over-pursuit and missed tackles.

The article also notes the addition on the coaching staff of a position coach focused soley on the DE's. Previously, Rick Logo was coaching the entire D-line, however former Coach Bobby Johnson hired Mike Pelton in March to coach the ends, shifting Rick Logo's attention to the tackles. With this additional emphasis, it's possible Commodore fans will see improvement in both the team's pass pressure and run-stopping ability.

Jeff Lockridge's story from yesterday's Tennessean is worth a read, especially in light of the Commodores attrition at running back. A team that needed offensive production through the air, no matter what, will certainly need plays to be made down the field if the team is going to be successful with such a beleaguered running-back corp.

The Tennessean and Nashville City Paper both have stories about the Commodores (men's and women's teams) kicking-off ESPN's College Basketball GameDay in Knoxville on January 15th, 2011. VUCommodores.com's Brandon Barca is reporting the complete men's basketball schedule will be released sometime today. VSL will report the release as soon as humanly possible.

2 comments:

Bob Loblaw said...

Given the attrition to Vanderbilt's run game (i.e. Norman's nicked-up knee) combined with no new information to suggest that the offensive line is much improved and that the passing game is probably about the same as last year plus some inexperienced freshmen, I think there should be a poll for an over/under on how many touchdowns the Commies score this season. In 2009, the Dores scored 21 touchdowns. In 2008, Vandy's best season in our lifetimes, they scored 30. In 2007 they scored 32, and 35 in 2006. Not bad, really, but last season was a clear decline in trips to the endzone.

For 2010? Put me down for 25.

'Bilt said...

Do you think our sacks may have gone down based on how poor our run defense was? Without looking at any numbers, I would guess opponents ran fewer pass plays last year, which have at least partially contributed. Plus, we had two option teams on the schedule last year. I guess the number will go up at least a little this year.