2004 Vanderbilt Football Season Preview

<b>Head Coach:</b> <!--Default NodeId For Bobby Johnson is 391050,2002--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:391050]>Bobby Johnson</A> (62-56 overall) <br><br> <b>Last Season's Record:</b> 2-10 (1-7 SEC) <br><br> <b>Last Bowl Appearance:</b> 1982 Hall of Fame Classic (28-36 loss to <A HREF=http://airforce.TheInsiders.com>Air Force</A>) <br><br> <b>Key matchup(s):</b> Sept. 4, <A HREF=http://southcarolina.TheInsiders.com>South Carolina</A>

Star Power: QB Jay Cutler, DE Jovan Haye, LT Justin Geisinger, LB Moses Osemwegie, WR Erik Davis

Notable Additions: LB Curtis Gatewood, LB Jonathan Goff, OT Hamilton Holliday, RB Cassen Jackson-Garrison, TE Brad Allen, K Daniel Lee

Notable Subtractions: TE Nick Getter (graduation), P Abtin Iranmanesh (graduated), OL Tom Sorenson (church mission), OL Steven Brent (ineligible)

Notable Returnees: DT Robert Dinwiddie, CB Bill Alford, OL Kenan Arkan, DE Chris Booker, DT Aaron Carter, FB Matthew Tant, DB Kelechi Ohanaja, DB Andrew Pace, WR Brandon Smith, WR Chris Young, OL Brian Stamper, RB Norval McKenzie

09/04/04South Carolina
10/02/04Mississippi State
10/23/04Eastern Kentucky
10/30/04@Louisiana State
Offensive Overview: Expect the Commodores to do more of the same in 2004; a no-nonsense passing and running scheme with a taste of the option. Jay Cutler gives The Commodores a seasoned, capable leader at quarterback. Running back should be in good hands with Norval McKenzie and Kwane Doster sharing the load. Brandon Smith and Erik Davis are outstanding wide receivers that should flourish in 2004. The offensive line is anchored by 330-pound senior Justin Geisinger, probably the strongest player ever to wear the black and gold. Brian Stamper, Mac Pyle, and Kenan Arkan are also steady, reliable performers on the line, but depth there is a key concern.

The center position is the big worry for Bobby Johnson. First, sophomore Tom Sorenson delayed his sophomore season to participate on a Mormon mission for two years. Backup Adam Dossett tore his ACL in spring practice. Chris Williams, a redshirt freshman who was expected to compete with Steven Brent for the starting spot, was declared ineligible. The unthinkable happened in July when Steven Brent was also declared ineligible. True freshman Hamilton Holliday, who has never played center, may be forced into action.

Defensive Overview: Vanderbilt's defense continued to improve in 2003, but the defense must improve even more in order for the team to excel. All 11 starters return. DE Jovan Haye led the SEC in sacks in 2003, and Aaron Carter should start at the other end. Senior Robert Dinwiddie should finally be able to go full speed and should hold down one tackle position. Moses Osemwegie, the team's best playmaker, led the SEC in total tackles (126) in 2003. Junior DB Dominique Morris led the team with three interceptions last season.

Building depth in the defensive line is a priority for the staff.

Special Teams Overview: The Commodores must find a punter and a placekicker in fall camp. Field goal kicking was the team's most glaring weakness in 2003. Sophomore Patrick Johnson, 1-of-2 last year in field goal attempts, will battle true freshman Daniel Lee for the placekicking job. Punt returner Ronald Hatcher has graduated and is expected to be replaced by Erik Davis. Kwane Doster returned 26 kickoffs for a 21.8 yard average last season.

The team's goal, simply put, is... to break the school's 21-year bowl-less streak. The Commodores have steadily improved over the past two seasons, though it hasn't shown up in the record. The players have benefited from continuity in the coaching staff and system. A manageable schedule this season should definitely allow the Commodores to improve on the 2-10 records of the last two years. Non-conference Games against Eastern Kentucky, Rutgers and Navy look winnable; and the team should not be overmatched in conference games vs. Mississippi State, Kentucky, Ole Miss and South Carolina.

Look for the Commodores to improve that win/loss record by winning 3-6 games in 2004 with a non-cellar SEC East finish.

TheInsiders.com 2004 College Football Preview
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