VU football '07: The Defense

The 2007 football season is still next year but it's never too early to talk Vanderbilt football on VandyMania. Today we continue our quick position-by-position look at the 2007 football squad and look at the defense. Sure, position changes and roster moves are bound to happen but lets have some fun taking a look ahead.

DEFENSIVE END- Senior Curtis Gatewood returns after registering a team leading 7 sacks in 2006.   The Commodores must replace Chris Booker.   Look for Broderick Stewart (5 sacks) or Steven Stone  (6.5 TFL) to fill the void.   Red shirt freshmen Teriall Brannon and Austin Newton will also vie for playing time. 

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLE- Theo Horrocks, who had 5 sacks in 2006, returns for his senior season.   Big Ray Brown, who will forever be remembered in Commodore lore for his interception return against Florida, must be replaced.  Sophomore Greg Billinger seems to the most likely candidate as he served as Brown's backup in 2006 and had 6 tackles.  Other candidates are veteran Gabe Hall (Horrock's backup) sophomore Derrius Dowell, junior Brandon Holmes, and red shirt freshman Adam Smotherman.

 

LINEBACKERS- Senior middle linebacker and team leading tackler Jonathan Goff will hopefully spurn NFL aspirations and return for his senior season.   Fellow senior Marcus Buggs, who led the team in tackles for losses, will return at the strong side.   The Commodores must replace weak side linebacker Kevin Joyce who will graduate in the spring.   Sophomore Brandon Bryant, who backed up Joyce in 2006, appears to be the most likely candidate.  Other players who could end up at Joyce's old position include Patrick Benoist, Quavian Lewis, Nate Campbell and Chris Johnson. 

 

CORNERBACKS-  Vanderbilt returns a good group of players with starting experience to the cornerback position.   Junior Josh Allen (10 starts), sophomores D.J. Moore (9 starts) and Joel Caldwell (11 starts) and junior Jared Fagan (1 start) will all compete for the two starting positions.  Sophomore Darlron Spead, who significant action as a true freshman and had 3 interceptions, started the final game against Tennessee and could move into a starting position.  Sophomore Myron Lewis could also vie for playing time along with red shirt freshmen Marquez Hall and Alan Strong. 

 

SAFETIES- Free safety Ben Koger, who came on strong during his senior season, must be replaced.  Sophomore Ryan Hamilton, who started 7 games during 2006, should become the regular starter in 2007.  Strong Safety Reshard Langford returns for his junior season.   Langford had 7 defended passes, including 3 interceptions, during 2006.   Sophomore Brent Trice should see significant action in a backup role.  Red shirt freshman Roger Herndon will also vie for playing time. 


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