Vanderbilt spring practice keys

Vanderbilt starts spring drills on Tuesday at the John Rich Practice Facility. Look inside for several areas of emphasis for the Commodores during spring practice.

FIND WIDE RECEIVERS

Vanderbilt lost All-American Jordan Matthews and Jonathan Krause who caught the vast majority of passes for the Commodores in 2013. The Dores most find capable replacements in order to avoid being one dimensional in 2014. Sophomore Jordan Cunningham (15 catches) and Kris Kentera (10 catches) who played tight end last season should get looks along with redshirt freshmen C.J. Duncan, Gerald Perry and DeAndre Woods.

INSTALL THE OFFENSE

The word we keep hearing is "balance" when Derek Mason is asked about the offense. However, in one interview he acknowledged that Vandy is more run ready than pass ready. Regardless of what face Vanderbilt gets offensively, the key is to have an offense that will put points on the board. The new packages of plays have to be installed and the players need to learn them first by chalk board, then by walk through before finally executing by live speed. The good news is that the Vanderbilt offensive line should be solid. A good line makes it easier on all the other components of the offense.

INSTALL 3-4 DEFENSE

Vanderbilt hasn't run a 3-4 defense since the days of Woody Widenhoffer. The 'Dores were actually pretty good defensively back in those days. However, their offense had lots of problems scoring. It'll be interesting to see players like Kyle Woestmann and Caleb Azubike playing outside linebacker. Hopefully the Vandy defense can be close to as good as Stanford's was last season.

REBUILD DEFENSIVE SECONDARY

All four starters from last season are gone. When you consider the size and corresponding slower speed of the outside linebackers like Woestmann and Azubike that will be used in the 3-4 set you realize that they won't be able to assist the secondary as much in pass protection as is normally the case in a 4-3 defense. Conversely though, you also have to feel for an opposing quarterback that has to worry about an Azubike coming off the edge in a blitz. Inside linebackers like Darreon Herring and others should be able to support in passing situations. The Coaches will need to find some tough cornerbacks and safeties that can hold their own in the secondary. Darrius Sims and Paris Head have the potential to be starting corners based on their solid play last season. Jahmel McIntosh and Andrew Williamson both look good at safety. Depth is also an issue. Because layers get tired or hurt during games capable backups will need to be found for the secondary. Some of the true freshmen that arrive in the summer may be able to help out in that department.

EVALUATE THE QUARTERBACKS

Patton Robinette, Josh Grady and Johnny McCrary will all compete at quarterback in spring drills. Robinette by far has the most experience although the word on the street is that McCrary is physically a beast and has a strong arm. It'll be interesting to see who comes out on top. I think the goal will be to settle on the starter by the end of spring so you can give that person the majority of first team practice reps during preseason practice. My money is on Robinette.

2014 VANDERBILT SPRING ROSTER BY POSITION

OFFENSE

WIDE RECEIVERS
85 Trey Wilkins 5-11, 205, Sr.
82 Kris Kentera 6-4, 230, Jr.
84 Jordan Cunningham 6-1, 178, So.
46 Curtis Graves 6-1, 200, So.
81 Alex Grecco 5-10, 175, So.
86 Latevius Rayford 6-1, 185, So.
19 C.J. Duncan 5-11, 188, R-Fr.
16 Gerald Perry 5-10, 168, R-Fr.
43 Nigel Walker 5-10, 170, R-Fr.
15 DeAndre Woods 6-3, 212, R-Fr.

QUARTERBACKS
7 Josh Grady 6-0, 202, Jr.
4 Patton Robinette 6-4, 214, So.
2 Johnathan McCrary 6-4, 218, R-Fr.

RUNNING BACKS
25 Brian Kimbrow 5-8, 185, Jr.
33 Derek King 5-11, 208, Jr.
3 Jerron Seymour 5-6, 200, Jr.
26 Ralph Webb 5-10, 195, R-Fr.
42 Kellen Williams (FB) 6-1, 230, Sr.
41 Chris Martin (FB) 5-10, 232, Jr.
45 Joseph Hoffman (FB) 6-0, 225, Jr.

TIGHT ENDS
81 Steven Scheu 6-5, 255, Jr.
89 Dillon van der Wal 6-6, 260, Sr.
83 Nathan Marcus 6-5, 240, R-Fr.
98 Mack Weaver 6-5, 260, R-Fr.
88 Mitchell Parsons 6-4, 250, Fr.

OFFENSIVE LINE
52 Andrew Bridges (T) 6-6, 280, Sr.
57 Joe Townsend (C) 6-3, 310, Sr.
53 Jake Bernstein (G) 6-4, 305, Jr.
79 Ryan Brockway (T) 6-4, 285, Jr.
77 Spencer Pulley (C/G) 6-4, 300, Jr.
66 Blake Fromang (T) 6-7, 300, So.
56 Barrett Gouger (C/G) 6-4, 310, So.
74 Will Holden (G/T) 6-6, 305, So.
78 Kevin McCoy (G/T) 6-5, 305, So.
50 Andrew Jelks (T) 6-6, 305, So.
64 Delando Crooks (G) 6-5, 315, R-Fr.
72 Sean Dowling (T) 6-5, 285, R-Fr.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE
44 Barron Dixon 6-4, 308, Sr.
53 Vince Taylor 6-2, 305, Sr.
94 Torey Agee 6-4, 290, So.
93 Ladarius Banks 6-2, 295, So.
69 Adam Butler 6-4, 305, So.
74 Jay Woods 6-3, 290, R-Fr.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
34 Andrew East 6-2, 230, Sr.
22 Casey Hughes 6-1, 225, Sr.
92 Kyle Woestmann 6-3, 252, Sr.
55 Caleb Azubike 6-4, 260, Jr.
54 Jimmy Stewart 6-4, 240, Jr.
45 Stephen Weatherly 6-5, 255, So.
99 Landon Stokes 6-4, 235, R-Fr.
49 Jonathan Wynn 6-4, 238, R-Fr.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS
35 Darreon Herring 6-1, 232, Jr.
13 Jake Sealand 6-2, 230, Jr.
11 Harding Harper 6-2, 240, So.
40 Ja'karri Thomas 6-1, 230, So.
48 Nigel Bowden 6-1, 235, R-Fr.
41 Zach Cunningham 6-4, 225, R-Fr.

NICKEL BACKS
20 Oren Burks 6-3, 210, R-Fr.

CORNERBACKS
38 Alex Hysong 5-10, 175, Sr.
21 Paris Head 6-0, 182, So.
5 Torren McGaster 6-0, 192, So.
6 Darrius Sims 5-9, 180, So.
4 Tre Bell 5-11, 170, R-Fr.
3 Taurean Ferguson 5-9, 180, R-Fr.

SAFETIES
49 Josh Gregory 5-11, 180, Sr.
27 Jahmel McIntosh 6-1, 205, Jr.
32 Andrew Williamson 6-1, 210, Jr.
39 Dane Stubbs 5-11, 195, Jr.
24 Jalen Banks 5-11, 188, R-Fr.
14 Ryan White 5-9, 185, R-Fr.

PLACEKICKERS
16 Colby Cooke 6-3, 208, So.
91 David Holtgrave 5-10, 170, So.
17 Tommy Openshaw 6-2, 178, R-Fr.

SNAPPERS
34 Andrew East 6-2, 230, Sr.
61 Connor Morrison 6-0, 235, Jr.
96 Gaither Barker 6-1, 230, So.
37 Wilson Johnson 6-1, 220, So.
60 Jacob Schultz 6-4, 240, So.

PUNTERS
29 Taylor Hudson 6-3, 225, Jr.
16 Colby Cooke 6-3, 208, So.
17 Tommy Openshaw 6-2, 178, R-Fr.

KICKOFF RETURNERS
25 Brian Kimbrow 5-8, 185, Jr. 6 Darrius Sims 5-9, 180, So.

PUNT RETURNERS
84 Jordan Cunningham 6-1, 178, So.
6 Darrius Sims 5-9, 180, So.
19 C.J. Duncan 5-11, 188, R-Fr.

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