Three questions for Vandy spring practice

It may not yet feel much like spring but football is back in the air and the 'Dores are back on the gridiron. This was the first week of spring practice for the Commodores who will practice for the best part of a month before wrapping up with the Black & Gold Spring Game on April 13th.

It may not yet feel much like spring but football is back in the air and the 'Dores are back on the gridiron. This was the first week of spring practice for the Commodores who will practice for the best part of a month before wrapping up with the Black & Gold Spring Game on April 13th.

With the strides the program has made over the last two seasons the interest in the spring session is at an all time high, both on campus and with various media outlets. We will look more at specifics over the next few weeks, but here are three broad questions facing Vanderbilt now that the clocks have changed.

1) What is next?

Or to put it another way, where do Vandy go from here?

This success is something the football program is not used to and it is only logical to think that there will be a time where the growth plateaus for a time. Franklin has lost a great deal of senior leadership from his back to back bowl seasons and though the last two recruiting classes have been off the charts, those players need time to grow into the system. This will be a stern test of the players recruited three to four years ago as a team that is young, and perhaps limited in experience in key spots, will try to keep the momentum that has been built up going. Franklin, of course, knows what he is doing and at this point it would be stupid to underestimate his ability to get the very best out of his players.

2) Can Vandy replace the team's heart?

Replacing Zac Stacy as a pure running back is doable. The question is whether one back, or a stable of backs, can replace everything else Stacy was able to do. When you factor in his ability to pass block, run snaps out of the wildcat, his decision making, and his pure leadership ability, Stacy is certainly going to be a tough act to follow in the Vanderbilt backfield. One of Franklin's most critical roles this spring will be to find the right mix of backs to keep the machine working.

3) Is the defensive line going to be an issue?

As if it wasn't enough that Vandy are graduating three starters from the defensive line there have been problems with the returning players which have forced Franklin to juggle his mix defensively. With Jared Morse off the team for a rules violation and Barron Dixon out injured the team suddenly has a very different look in the trenches. Hopefully this play time will result in an unexpected player or two impressing, but the youthfulness and inexperience involved has to give Franklin pause for concern.

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