Five keys for Vandy's preseason practice

Vanderbilt gets started with football practice today at the John Rich Practice Facility. Look inside for five keys to Vanderbilt's fall camp success.

Determine the new starting quarterback.

Austyn Carta-Samuels appeared to be in the driver's seat during the spring but head coach James Franklin has yet to name a starter. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the Vandy staff could opt to go with either redshirt freshman Patton Robinette or true freshman Johnathon McCrary. Robinette is a heady quarterback and extremely accurate passer while McCrary, who practiced with the team in the spring, has all the tools to be a fine college quarterback.

Find a replacement for punter Richard Kent.

This might not be on many's Vandy to-do list but I think it's critical that a capable punter be found, with the graduation of Richard Kent. Kent was absolutely outstanding and averaged almost 45 yards a punt last season. True freshman Tommy Openshaw or or redshirt freshman Colby Cook could end of up with the job.

Establish a third wide receiver.

Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd are the Commodores' dynamic duo when it comes to wide receivers. That pair could combine for 170 catches this season. What Vandy needs is someone to step up and be the No. 3 wide receiver. Senior Jonathan Krause has 56 career catches but had only nine receptions in 2012. Krause certainly has the tools to make 30 or 40 receptions this season but the Commodores might end up going with a heralded freshman like Carlos Burse or Jordan Cunningham.

Bolster both lines.

Games are won and lost in the trenches. It's possible Vanderbilt could be its strongest and deepest in years on both sides of the line. The coach's tough job is to hash out who starts and who doesn't. Guys like offensive tackle Wesley Johnson and defensive end Walker May are a given but after that there will be some serious position battles, which is a good thing for Vanderbilt football.

Get the team focused on football.

The off season alleged sexual assaults which resulted in the expulsion from the team of four players cannot be a distraction from football. Coaches need to ensure that the players keep their minds on football and beating opponent No. 1 (Ole Miss) on August 29 and not on Metro Police investigations.

Other keys:

Establish a work horse running back.

Tight end. Who will step up?

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