Robbie Caldwell talks O-line, part IV

Vanderbilt Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach Robbie Caldwell spoke with VandyMania recently and discussed the offensive line for the upcoming season. Today Caldwell talks some the 2008 recruiting numbers, pass vs. run, and makes final offensive line comments. (part 4 of 4)

VM: How many offensive linemen do you think Vandy will sign for the 2008 crop?

RC: This year we won't have many more scholarships than last year (15) but we'll have to sign 4 offensive linemen because we'll have 5 graduating. You see Elliot Hood left after signing date was over so we came up short one there but that's okay we can move one over. If one doesn't work out on defense I'll get him and we'll get something rolling.

VM: Running or passing, which one do you think the team should do more of?

RC: It's hard to say, we have to do more of what we do best. Some year it's running the football more and some years it's throwing. Right now we are pretty balanced; early here we did not have the speed at receiver so we had to rush the football. Then we started to get a little more speed at receiver and of course with Jay we started throwing the football that was good. We'd like to do both equally well but that is not always possible because in this league there is so much speed that that is not always possible. We'd like to be a little balanced if we could and with Chris Nickson developing the way he is he's going to surpass probably all of them with throwing the football. He has the ability to run as well. Hopefully this year with getting Jennings back, that'll help us get a little more balance there.

VM: I don't think Vandy ever missed a 4th-and-1 with him running the ball.

RC: That's right. He's a tough cat; he'll get you some yards whether you block anybody or not. Hopefully Cassen will step it up. He sure needs to.

VM: Please give some final thoughts on the offensive line.

RC: The offensive line, I don't count the whole team, only gave up 10 1/2 sacks, as much as we threw the ball; most of those were early. Sometimes we don't block them all and it's up to the quarterback to throw the ball. It's like up at Michigan last year we threw the tunnel screen where we don't block anybody. Chris, it being his first game, he didn't throw it and he got sacked twice on that; you're supposed to throw the ball away. But that's a growing and learning experience for him. In our group we stay on top of that, it's pretty good, because we are primarily dropping back and protecting him; that's the hardest thing you do but that also opens up the game more and it also prepares the guys for the next level, we like for them to have every tool we can there so it's good. Justin Geisinger is doing really well over there with the Titans. Hopefully they'll be a couple more added to the mix this year so that'll be good.

VM: Yes, I hope so. It seems like a Vanderbilt players are going to the pros in baseball, basketball and football. That's exciting, it means that the school is doing better in athletics overall.

RC: You know our guys are going with degree in hand, that's the fun. Jovan Haye just finished his degree in the May semester. He left early but came back and finished.

VM: So what are your vacation plans coach?

RC: My daughter is a horse rider, she's 12 and she has the state 4-H show this week down in Shelbyville. Hopefully I'll get to spend some time with here there. Then we'll go to South Carolina, North Carolina to visit family. Then we'll be back here ready to go to work.

#79 Ryan Vance, #74 Chris Williams, #72 Brian Stamper and #53 Hamilton Holliday (Photo by Stan Jones)

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