2009 VANDERBILT COMMODORES FOOTBALL REVIEW
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Sorry, but not a lot of good stuff to say about Vanderbilt Commodores Football this past year. 0-8 in the conference; 2-10 overall. Beat Rice and Western Carolina. Hard to make much of that. Played South Carolina tough.... OK, time to look ahead to 2010.
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One thing that may be a concern to the Commodores as the enter the 2009 season is that, while the team does benefit from the return of a number of key contributors from the 2008 squad, the team does not have many truly exceptional players that can be viewed as nearly automatic sources of high offensive production. As such, it is going to be highly dependent on a few key elements, including sound coaching, innovative game-planning, and valuable contributions from a number of different areas, for the team to once again elevate itself to the level of bowl worthiness.
One player upon which much of the offensive burden will fall this season will be that of senior running back Jared Hawkins, who is widely considered to be one of the most unheralded running backs in the SEC. While not particularly elusive or shifty, Hawkins has an uncanny ability to find a way to create yardage when it seems there is none to be had. Last season he managed to amass over 600 yards on the ground, and he did it in four yard increments, rarely breaking big runs, but also, rarely being shut down without at least gaining a few. He also scored 5 TDs. Both of these numbers need to rise in 2009 for the Commodore offense to have a chance against the elite teams in the SEC.
The continued high performance of Hawkins is particularly important given the volatility of the passing game. In fact, entering the fall of 2009, there still is a somewhat open quarterback competition. Many feel that redshirt sophomore Larry Smith has the upper hand, after losing the QB battle to Mackenzi Adams in the fall of 2008. Smith does add an element of athleticism that Adams does not, and this may allow him to secure the starting position in 2009.
Regardless of who heads the offense, however, this is a team that will be reliant on its defense to keep it in ball games. And despite the loss of an elite cornerback DJ Moore following the 2008 season, the secondary remains the strongest unit on the team, and is one of the best secondaries in the SEC. The leader of that unit for the 2009 season will undoubtedly be senior cornerback Myron Lewis. In 2008, Lewis managed 76 tackles in addition to 5 INTs. And what may be even more amazing, some creative blitz packages also resulted in 5 sacks for this hard hitting corner. This level of play is essential for the team's fortunes in 2009.
Vandy has a tough schedule in 2009. In addition to the traditional SEC matchups, the non-conference schedule, while not overwhelming, is not loaded with pushovers, unlike some other SEC powers. Teams like Western Carolina, Army, and Rice are typically competitive. As such, another 6-6 season will be a challenge to attain, but not a completely unreasonable expectation.
More Vanderbilt Football Pages:
- 2008 Vanderbilt Commodores football
- 2007 Vanderbilt Commodores Football
- Vanderbilt Commodores Football History
- Bobby Johnson Biography
- Vanderbilt University Nashville Trip
- SEC Football Predictions
- 2008 SEC Football Tickets
- Vanderbilt Commodores Apparel
- Vanderbilt Commodores Merchandise
- Vanderbilt Commodores Tailgate Party Shop
- Vanderbilt Commodores Fan Store
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