Five goals for Vanderbilt's preseason drills

It's hard to believe that preseason practice is upon us. However, Commodore players reported on Thursday and the first practice session is today. Inside are five goals for the Vanderbilt team as they head into preseason drills.


We still don't know the status of Terrence Jeffers. It would be huge for Vanderbilt if he can play but it doesn't look good, as he wasn't even mentioned in the new Vanderbilt media guide that was unveiled at SEC Media Days. He caught 44 passes as a sophomore at Connecticut and could easily be the Commodores best receiver this season, if he can play. To make matters worse veteran Justin Wheeler went down with an ACL injury in the spring. John Cole, Udom Umoh, Alex Washington will likely see tons of playing time in 2009 but there will need to be others in the mix as well. Washington caught a 75-yard touchdown pass in the spring game. Minnesota transfer Trey Herndon could vie for a starting spot. Turner Wimberly and red shirt freshman Akeem Dunham will both also work to earn some playing time. Walk on Chris Reinart is said to have the best hands on the team and will get a chance to show them again during the preseason practice. Incoming Texas freshmen receivers Brady Brown and Collin Ashley could work their way into the depth chart as well.


One cornerback spot is certain, All-American candidate Myron Lewis has that one locked up. D.J. Moore is a Bear but look for Jamie Graham, who was moved back to the secondary in the spring, to be the starter on September 5th. However, who will be the backups? Casey Hayward is a reliable player who can get the job done at one corner spot. Veteran Alan Strong was counted on to return in the spring but shockingly, like Jeffers, he is not mentioned in the new media guide. Rumors are floating that he has transferred to TSU. Walk-on Rich Tompkins could see action during the season if injuries mount. At least one true freshman is likely to see playing time in 2009 that could be either Eric Samuels or Trey Wilson.


It seemed like Reshard Langford was at Vanderbilt forever, however, now it's time to replace him. Sophomore Sean Richardson and senior Joel Caldwell look like the best candidates with Richardson having a big edge for his performance in the Music City Bowl. Caldwell has experience on his side and played in every game last year, backing up Ryan Hamilton. Brent Trice, who formerly played safety but is now a linebacker, could be moved back to safety but he did really well in the spring at linebacker so the coaches might just keep him there.


According to the rumor mill, Larry Smith will be the starting quarterback in September. I'm sure Mackenzi Adams will have something to say about that in preseason drills. Also Jared Funk and incoming freshman sensation Charlie Goro might want to throw their names into the ring as potential starters. One thing is for sure, if Mackenzi doesn't get the starting nod he'll go down as the greatest backup quarterback in Vanderbilt history. He only needs 459 more passing yards to pass Fred Fisher and enter Vanderbilt's elite list of top 10 all-time career passers. One thing is for sure, the VU coaching staff needs to make up their minds (if they haven't already) so as to give the starter ample reps with the new no-huddle offense.


It was the secret of the spring drills Vandy was going to a no-huddle offense. It's not so secret anymore. Vanderbilt will need to get the offense straight on the no-huddle. As mentioned above, the Vandy staff will need to decide on a starting quarterback and get him plenty of practice time. This also goes to for the wide receivers. The VU staff needs to decide who will be the main players and get them plenty of snaps. As mentioned above, as long as he's recovered from his injury, Jared Hawkins will likely start at tailback but he'll need a good backup. Make a decision and get that player plenty of practice. It may be one of the three heralded freshmen running backs and in that case because they didn't participate in spring drills they'll need even more practice to get ready for the season.

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