Five thoughts from the Black & Gold Game

The Commodores annual spring game took place last weekend with the Black squad coming out on top of the Gold 17-15. While being on the winning side is great for campus bragging rights the games primary purpose is to show the coaches just where the team is at right now. Here are five takes from Saturday's gridiron action.

The Commodores annual spring game took place last weekend with the Black squad coming out on top of the Gold 17-15. While being on the winning side is great for campus bragging rights the games primary purpose is to show the coaches just where the team is at right now. Here are five takes from Saturday's gridiron action.

1) Running game keeps on rolling

Zac Stacy may be gone but there is no sign that the Vandy running game will slow down any time soon. Wesley Tate went for 60 yards on nine carries and Brian Kimbrow added 39 yards on just five touches. Each had a run of 25 yards or more as the two top backs in the Commodore rotation displayed the kind of top end speed and acceleration which will see them combine to tear up defenses in 2013.

2) Pass rush dominates

The two teams combined for 12 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss in a game which was largely dominated by defensive line play. Gold team players Darien Bryant (2.5) and Torey Agee (2) had the most sacks on the day and it will please the coaching staff to see underclassmen stepping up and making an impact on a line which has been hurt by graduation. Though it is common for the defense to be ahead of the offense at this point it is worth noting that the talent on the defensive side of the ball is probably the greatest it has been in James Franklin's tenure to date.

3) The future at quarterback looks strong

It is clear that Austyn Carta-Samuels is established at the top of the depth chart but there are signs that the men backing him up have the talent to push for a starting spot as the season wears on. Redshirt freshman Patton Robinette and early enrollee Johnny McCrary combined to go 17-of-28 for 209 yards with each flashing accuracy and arm strength as well as knowledge of the offense. This is especially impressive from McCray, whose peers are still in high school, as he threw the longest completion of the day with a 49 yard strike to Tip McKenzie

4) The 'Dores stayed healthy

Though the game is great for fans and players alike, there are a couple of reasons the coaches could probably do without it. The number one reason for that is, of course, injury as there is nothing worse than a key player going down in what is essentially just a glorified practice. Thankfully for Vandy they came out of the game with nothing but the expected bumps and bruises allowing Franklin to breathe a sigh of relief.

5) The fans came out in droves

In 2011 the attendance for the Black & Gold game was 6,000 people. Last year that number increased to 8,500. On Saturday though Vanderbilt drew almost those two numbers combined as an announced crowd of 14,000 enjoyed both the weather and the action. Proof positive that Nashville continues to care more about Commodore football by the day.

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