What to do With the Quarterbacks?

Anyone who even casts half a glace the way of the Vanderbilt football team will tell you that 2014 has been a tough year for the Commodores. With all the personnel losses on both sides of the ball from 2013, plus the loss of a coaching staff and the mass exodus of recruits, this was always going to be a tough year for any head coach, let alone a first year guy like Derek Mason.

With that being said, the biggest loss has clearly been the steadiness and leadership provided by departed quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels.

Carta-Samuels may not have blown up the record books last fall, but with the help of wide receiver Jordan Matthews he was able to provide enough of a steadying hand to keep the Commodores alive in almost every contest. Here is how Carta-Samuels end of season stats compare to those of the various Vanderbilt passers this season.

Name – Completion Percentage – Yards - Touchdowns – Interceptions - Rating

Austyn Carta-Samuels – 68.7% - 2,268 - 11 – 9 – 143.0

Wade Freebeck – 47.2% - 376 – 1 – 5 – 81.8

Johnny McCrary – 54% - 365 – 3 – 4 – 119.1

Stephen Rivers – 39.7% - 334 - 0 – 3 – 74.7

Patton Robinette – 71.9% - 240 – 2 – 0 – 155.5

There are many interesting ways to read and interpret these stats, but here are a few things to think about as the Commodores move forward:

1 – The Patton Robinette benching/injury combination really hurt this team. The benching in the Temple game made no sense at the time (66% completion percentage) and though Robinette did not play against the better defenses on the schedule his completion percentage and rating are actually better than that of Carta-Samuels last year. This is especially interesting given that his tools to work with are not of the same standard.

2 – With four games left the Vandy quarterback rotation has thrown for 1,315 yards with six touchdowns and 12 picks. That means the quarterbacks would have to double their yardage total to get to where Carta-Samuels finished last fall.

3 – It is hard to quantify how much of a disappointment Rivers was. He came to the quarterback competition late, but at just 5.3 yards per attempts and with a couple of awful plays which will stick in the memory his short spell as a Vanderbilt quarterback will go down as one of the worst in program history.

4 – Wade Freebeck should never have had his redshirt taken away. Just a look at his numbers this fall shows that he wasn’t ready. Thankfully this can be remedied next year by using Robinette and McCrary as the one and two on the depth chart and sticking with just using those two unless injuries strike.

5 – Johnny McCrary should start the rest of the year. Concussions are a big deal and getting McCrary the game time at this point can only help his development. Robinette can heal and come back next fall to a team which will be loaded with skill position players with that extra year experience. It may not seem so looking at these stats, but the future is actually pretty bright in Nashville.

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