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McCrary says he is Vanderbilt’s 3rd string QB

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McCrary says he is Vanderbilt’s 3rd string QB

Posted on 23 August 2014 by Allen

McCrary Vanderbilt

The dust has settled on West End and Patton Robinette has emerged as the starting quarterback at Vanderbilt. Coach Derek Mason made the announcement on Thursday. Robinette beat out Stephen Rivers and Johnny McCrary to win the job after Josh Grady, Wade Freebeck and Shawn Stankavage were eliminated from the competition early on.

Although Mason announced the starter he did not announce who was the backup or how the depth chart shook out at QB for week one. But yesterday McCrary posted on Instagram that he is the third string QB.

If McCrary is indeed the third string QB that means that Rivers is the backup and would come in if something happened to Robinette.

It was thought that McCrary would be the starter this year after redshirting. Former Dores coach James Franklin was very high on him and was grooming him to take over. But with a new coaching staff all bets were off and McCrary had to battle against 5 other QBs. Robinette won out but hopefully it will motivate McCrary to work harder and he won’t become a distraction the team.

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Vanderbilt interested in football series with Stanford and more neutral site games

Vanderbilt interested in football series with Stanford and more neutral site games

Posted on 19 August 2014 by Allen

derek mason vandy

Vanderbilt Athletic Director David Williams did an online chat recently and touched on a variety of topics that impacted the school. One of the most interesting things he brought up was scheduling for the football team. The SEC requires teams to play 8 conference games and one game against another “Big 5″ conference. In the past Vanderbilt has scheduled Northwestern, UConn, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech. Williams brought up the schools he is in talks with and the first one he mentions is very interesting.

According to Williams;

We are talking to a lot of schools including Stanford, Virginia, Duke, Boston College, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Indiana, Kansas State…the real issue is trying to find dates that fit both schools. It is a slow, tough process but we are moving forward and are close to having a few of these signed.

We start with our six SEC East opponents, we then add our West opponent partner which is Ole Miss and then we include our rotation with another member of the SEC West. After that we are scheduling home and homes with members of the other four big conferences, the Big 10, ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12. After that we will try to schedule one or two games with teams from the next series of conferences including the Conference USA, Mid-American, Sun Belt and American. We will also talk to independents such as BYU and the military academies. In many of these will will try to do home and homes when feasible. Finally we are in discussions about neutral site games with major opponents and we will continue our efforts to play FCS teams at home. Our goal will be to have no less than seven home games although we will have to settle for six games once in a while and we will have as many as eight home games on occasion.

With Derek Mason’s ties to Stanford a home and home is very possible. Vanderbilt and Stanford have very similar academic standards and have done well recently in their respective conferences. Williams also touched on the possibility of neutral site games. A Stanford-Vanderbilt kick off classic to start the season would be a lot of fun. But given both schools small alumni bases and miles in between it might be hard to sell out Cowboys Stadium or another neutral site NFL venue.

Next year Vanderbilt will play MTSU in Murfreesboro on Sept. 5th. That game could easily be moved to LP Field where it could draw a pretty good crowd. The next week they host Western Kentucky. That game too could easily be moved to LP Field if Williams is serious about wanting to do more neutral site games. The Hilltoppers aren’t too far from Nashville and they could easily fill up LP Field.

With games against teams in the other “Big 5″ conferences it will force Vanderbilt to schedule teams like Syracuse and Virginia that will be more appealing to season ticket holders who have been grumbling about the cupcakes like Templ, Charleston Southern, Old Dominion and UMass.

Vanderbilt is really starting to take their football program seriously and if they can schedule some teams like Kansas State and Stanford and win the Dores could be taken seriously around the country.

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Andre Hal snags 64 yard pick 6 against Falcons

Andre Hal snags 64 yard pick 6 against Falcons

Posted on 17 August 2014 by Allen

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Former Vanderbilt cornerback Andre Hal picked off Atlanta quarterback TJ Yates in the fourth quarter and ran it back 64 yards for a touchdown in the Texans 32-7 win over the Falcons. Hal finished the night with 3 tackles, a deflected pass as well as the interception. The seventh round draft pick from West End is doing a good job in camp but is still no a guarantee to make the Texans 53 man roster.

With Jadeveon Clowney getting all the attention in Houston the big night was crucial for Hal who is in a dogfight for a position on the roster. With Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson intrenched as the starting Texans corners Brandon Harris, A.J. Bouye, Josh Victorian, Elbert Mack and Marcus Williams are competing with Hal for a Texans roster spot.

Harris was a second round pick in 2011 who seems to have fallen out of favor with the new coaching staff and won’t likely make the cut. Mack didn’t play against Atlanta due to injury but played well in the first preseason game against Arizona. Josh Victorian also played well against the Cardinals but only had two tackles and a pass defended against Atlanta.

Hal has done well in camp. The former Commodore has been working hard and has impressed the coaching staff in recent weeks. On Monday Hal deflected a pass at the last minute against DeAndre Hopkins that turned some heads and has done well when matched up against Andre Johnson. In his first preseason game against the Cardinals he had 3 tackles in very little playing time. With corners Joseph and Mack sitting out Friday night Hal took advantage of his playing time with the pick-6. Hopefully he can keep making plays and earn a roster spot.

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Austyn Carta-Samuels becomes a graduate assistant for Missouri

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Austyn Carta-Samuels becomes a graduate assistant for Missouri

Posted on 16 August 2014 by Allen

carta

Former Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Smauels has traded in his black and gold in the SEC East for a different black and gold in the SEC East. Carta-Samuels is now working for Gary Pinkel and will begin his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Tigers.

Carta-Samuels wasn’t drafted and didn’t keep it a secret that he wanted to go into coaching once his playing days where over. And with a shakeup at Vanderbilt after James Franklin left it also didn’t work out for the former Commodore QB to stay on West End. Instead he will be in Columbia to welcome the Dores on Oct 25th when Vanderbilt plays the Tigers on the road.

Being a Commodore was a family tradition for Carta-Samuels. His grandfather, Tom Samuels, had played on the Vanderbilt baseball team in the late 1950s. Carta-Samuels came to Vanderbilt in 2011 after transferring in from Wyoming. He had to sit for a year but played in a handful of games in 2012. In 2013 Carta-Samuels was named the starting quarterback and had the Dores at 3-3 with Georgia coming to town. Vandy was hanging tough but late in the second quarter Carta-Samuels went down with an injury. Patton Robinette came in and led the team to the win and started the next two games. But Carta-Samuels showed how tough he was when 4 weeks later he returned to play against Kentucky. He finished the season playing in wins over Tennessee and Wake Forest. It was revealed after the game against Wake Forest that Carta-Samuels had been playing with a torn ACL all along.

Carta-Samuels is tough and a winner. He should do well at Missouri. Hopefully he can continue to learn and one day come back to Vanderbilt where he belongs.

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Matthews dominates in Eagles 2nd preseason game

Matthews dominates in Eagles 2nd preseason game

Posted on 16 August 2014 by Allen

Jmatt

Jordan Matthews had a pretty bad outing last week in his first preseason game against the Bears. The sure-handed receiver dropped 3 balls and was scrutinized by Eagles fans for his effort. But last night against New England Matthews blew up and caught 9 passes for 104 yards from 3 different QBs. He didn’t miss a single pass all night.

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was thrilled with the effort.

“The Jordan that we have seen in practice if the Jordan you saw today. I’m happy with his performance today.”

The former Commodore should continue to bloom in Kelly’s offense. There will be hiccups and a learning curb but last night Matthews showed he can be a receiver in the NFL.

The Eagles lost the game to the Patriots, 42-35.

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Derek Mason takes the ALS Ice Bath Challenge

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Derek Mason takes the ALS Ice Bath Challenge

Posted on 15 August 2014 by Allen

derek mason vandy

Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason is the latest person to take the ALS Ice Bath Challenge. Mason took not just one, but two baths from his players. The new Commodore football coach called out Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Dolphis safety Michael Thomas and challenged them to take the ice bath as well.

Mason noted he would also make a donation in addition to taking the ice bath.

The ALS ice bath has really became the cool thing to do. With social media leading the charge celebrities are challenging other celebrities and they are raising a ton of cash for Lou Gehrig’s disease. UFC women’s champ Ronda Rousey, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Saints QB Drew Brees, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and musician Keith Urban are just a few of the famous people who are taking the ice bath to raise awareness and money for ALS.

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Vandy announces Blackout for Temple

Vandy announces Blackout for Temple

Posted on 12 August 2014 by Allen

PJWalker

Vanderbilt announced today that they want a complete blackout at Dudley Field when Temple comes to town on Aug. 28th to usher in the Derek Mason era. The Commodores will host the Owls at 8:15 and the game will air live on the SEC Network.

All fans coming to the game are urged to wear something black to the game.

Incoming freshman will take place in the Anchor Dash and run across the field before the game leading the team onto the field. This started a few years ago but has become an annual tradition

The Dores are a 16 point favorite against Temple. The line started out at 17 but has dropped a point in the past few weeks.

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Dare Odeyingbo commits to Vanderbilt

Dare Odeyingbo commits to Vanderbilt

Posted on 10 August 2014 by Allen

Mason

Derek Mason picked up another big commitment for his 2015 class when Dare Odeyingbo decided to announce his commitment this weekend. Vanderbilt had offered the 3 star athlete in June.

Odeyingbo took to Twitter to announce the news yesterday.

Odeyingbo chose Vanderbilt over Missouri, Winsconsin, Iowa, and several other schools. It’s not known whether the 6’1 225 lb. Texas native will play on offense or defense. Though Mason has told Odeyingbo that he believes he is a better fit on defense. Odeyingbo plays both running back and inside linebacker for Cistercian Prep., a small Catholic school in Irving, TX. He is the school’s all-time leading rusher.

As a junior Obeyingbo ran for 291 yards against Pantego Christian last September. But the most memorable moment of the game was a 94 yard touchdown run. With stats like that Mason ought to give the kid a look running the ball.

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Matthews has 4 catches in first Eagles preseason game

Matthews has 4 catches in first Eagles preseason game

Posted on 09 August 2014 by Allen

Matthews

Former Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews made his debut as an Eagle last night in Chicago against the second and third teams. Matthews went in the second round to Philadelphia in the NFL Draft in May.

Matthews caught for passes for 14 passes but dropped three balls in the third quarter that he probably should’ve caught. The former Commodore had been on fire in camp and had been catching everything in front of him while he was at Vanderbilt and in camp so far.

It was Matthews first game in the NFL and you have to think he will bounce back. He did dominate the SEC and every defensive coordinator in the conference knew he was going to get the ball. I wouldn’t give up on JMatt just yet.

The Bears defeated the Eagles 34-28.

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Mason says offense dominated defense in Wednesday Scrimmage

Mason says offense dominated defense in Wednesday Scrimmage

Posted on 07 August 2014 by Allen

derek mason vandy

After all the hype about Derek Mason’s 3-4 scheme many thought the defense would be the strength of the team. But according to the new head coach the offense dominated the defense in a scrimmage yesterday.

It went well. I was surprised with what the quarterbacks did. I thought they did a good job of taking took care of the ball. I thought our offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. I thought it was a dominant day. Every back we had ran hard. Rivers ran hard Kimbrow ran hard. Webb broke one off.

A lot of things are controlled in scrimmages and guys can’t touch the quarterback so we will have to wait until the Temple game to see how the defense actually does.

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Josh Grady moves back to receiver

Josh Grady moves back to receiver

Posted on 05 August 2014 by Allen

josh grady

The 6 man quarterback race has been trimmed to 5. Former QB turned wide receiver Josh Grady asked Coach Derek Mason if he could play at receiver yesterday.

Mason explained the situation after practice Monday afternoon.

“Josh came in and talked with the coaches. And really I think he made a smart decision. It gives quarterbacks reps, but by the same token it makes us better. Josh is a good enough athlete to step out and run routes, put his hands on the ball and give us a guy who understands the offense. He wasn’t acquiescent to the whole idea that he can’t play quarterback. But he just sees the need at receiver and says to himself, ‘You know what, why not me? I know the offense, I know all the adjustments, I am mature enough mentally and physically to get in there and help us out, so why not?’”

With Jordan Rodgers intrenched as the starter and Austyn Carta-Samuels as the clear #2 in 2012 Grady switched to receiver as a redshirt freshman. He did play in every game and saw some snaps at quarterback when Coach Franklin ran the wildcat.

As a sophomore Grady got some mop up duty against Austin Peay and UAB before going down with a knee injury against Texas A&M.

The move to receiver really isn’t a surprise. Grady seemed to have grasped new offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell’s playbook but it was clear the pack was pulling away from him in the QB race on West End. Patton Robinette, Johnny McCrary, and Stephen Rivers were standing out as the frontrunners with Wade Freebeck also catching the coaches attentions.

But the position change may work out well for him. Vanderbilt lost Jordan Matthews and Jonathan Krause to graduation and Mason will have to find someone to step up at receiver.

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Ladler shines in his Bills debut

Ladler shines in his Bills debut

Posted on 04 August 2014 by Allen

Kenny Ladler

Kenny Ladler may not have been drafted but he was showing out last night at the Hall of Fame game. The former Vanderbilt safety signed with Buffalo as an undrafted free agent in April after the NFL Draft.

Last night Ladler had 4 tackles in limited playing time and was all over the field as the Bills lost to the Giants 17-13. Ladler had been nursing a sore hamstring in camp and it was good to see him playing hard last night in Canton. It is thought that he is competing with fellow defensive back Jonathan Meeks and Deon Broomfield for a spot on the roster.

Ladler wasn’t the only former Commodore on the field last night. Chris Williams made his first start with the Bills on the offensive line. Williams played with Jay Cutler in Chicago from 2008 to 2012. He then played two years in St. Louis. In March he signed a four-year, $13.5 million deal with the Bills.

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Breaking down the Vanderbilt QB Competition

Breaking down the Vanderbilt QB Competition

Posted on 02 August 2014 by Allen

McCrary Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt has an open competition at quarterback as camp opened this week on West End. With Austyn Carta-Samuels graduating the Commodores are looking for a starting QB. New head coach Derek Mason has stated that it’s anyone’s job to win and with Patton Robinette likely the favorite due to his time under center last year when Carta-Samuels went down. But LSU transfer Stephen Rivers and redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary are nipping at his heels. Josh Grady could be a factor and actually saw some playing time last year as well before going down with an injury. Freshmen Wade Freebeck and Shawn Stankavage also have some hype behind them as camp began.

Here’s how we break down the likelihood of each getting the starting nod against Temple.

Johnny McCrary 35%
When Johnny McCrary signed with Vanderbilt two years ago there was a ton of hype behind him. James Franklin beat out Alabama, Georgia, Florida State, and a few other big time programs to get the 6’4 Dual-Threat Quarterback from Georgia whose father played in the NFL. McCrary graduated high school early and enrolled in Vanderbilt in January instead of the Fall to get acclimated with the school and his teammates. With Austyn Carta-Samuels as the starter McCrary knew he wouldn’t get much playing time and was redshirted last year.

It was rumored that Coach Franklin had been grooming the 4 star quarterback for the starting job this season but now that he is at Penn State all bets are off. Now that Derek Mason is calling the shot and his new offensive coordinator is bringing in a West Coast offense it could be a perfect fit for McCrary’s big time arm and athleticism. In the Black and Gold game in the Spring McCrary went 10-for-18 for 94 yards and had a pretty good game. The only problem could be learning Karl Dorrell’s complicated playbook. There have been rumblings that McCrary has undeniable talent but the only downside was he was having a hard time learning everything in the playbook. Coach Mason mentioned yesterday that he looks confident on the field and his reads and accuracy is right on. I still believe that it’s McCrary’s job to lose.

Patton Robinette 30%
Robinette came in against Georgia last year and led the team to a big come from behind win at home over the Bulldogs. He also played well in big road games against Florida and Tennessee. In fact, his fake jump pass against the Vols is now legendary to Vanderbilt faithful who are celebrating two straight against UT.

We have seen that Robinette is great at running the ball but in the pocket he looked uncomfortable at times in the season. In the first half of the Compass Bowl the Maryville native threw for 154 yards but a big chunk of that were screen passes to Jordan Matthews. In the second half he didn’t complete a single pass and threw an interception and coughed up the ball on the Vandy 6 yard line. Both turnovers led to Houston touchdowns.

In the Spring Black and Gold Game Robinette looked good with 9-of-11 passing for 89 yards but ran for minus-22 yards.

Coach Dorrell’s West Coast offense isn’t a perfect fit for Robinette but he could get the starting job based on his experience. Coach Mason went out of his way to say earlier this week that Robinette’s grasping of his offense and throwing is like night and day so he could be making an impression on the coaches. But if he can’t get comfortable in the pocket I believe the job will go to the better passers Rivers or McCrary.

Stephen Rivers 20%
Rivers really is the wildcard in the QB race on West End. The 6’7 QB from Athens, AL got lost in the shuffle at LSU and transfered to Vanderbilt this summer. Rivers certainly has the pedigree to play in the SEC he is the brother of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. He certainly has the size and arm to compete for the job. But you have to wonder if he has enough athleticism to overtake McCrary and Robinette on the depth chart. I think Rivers gets some playing time this season but it’s mop up duty as he will likely be a backup.

Josh Grady 5%
Grady saw a little playing time last season at QB after spending time at receiver in 2012. He started the season as the backup to Carta-Samuels but by midseason he was bumped to the third string. He did take some snaps in blowouts against Austin Paey and UAB when the game was already decided. But an injury against Texas A&M cut his season short. Now Grady is competing for the starting job and he has a tough road ahead of him. At 6’0 he is the shortest quarterback on the roster. He is very athletic and can make plays with his feet but in Dorrell’s offense he’s not the best fit. With a depleted receiver corps he might see more playing time if he wanted to go back to wide receiver.

Wade Freebeck 5%
It’s pretty much a given that Freebeck will redshirt this season. At 6’4, 212 lbs the Ft. Lauderdale native could use some time to develop in the program. He has a bigtime arm and had an offer from Florida before committing to Pitt. Coach Mason swooped in and got him to flip before signing day. It’s doubtful Freebeck sees any playing time in 2014 but he has a lot of upside.

Shawn Stankavage 5%
Stankavage was also another kid that Mason flipped before signing day. The 6’2 Raleigh native had originally committed to East Carolina. In his Senior season at Cardinal Gibbons Stankavage threw for 3,564 yards and 34 TDs. He also is pretty good on his feet as he rushed for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. Like Freebeck he has tremendous potential but he likely will redshirt this season.

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Chris Boyd turning heads at Cowboys training camp

Chris Boyd turning heads at Cowboys training camp

Posted on 01 August 2014 by Allen

Boyd

Former Commodore receiver Chris Boyd made a spectacular catch yesterday during the Cowboys training camp. Boyd appeared to be covered by corner B.W. Webb but made an amazing grab anyway.

Boyd signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent in April. The sure handed receiver was kicked off the football team for his participation in allegedly trying to cover a rape that happened on campus. Boyd cooperated with authorities and received an 11-month, 29-day suspended sentence for criminal attempt to commit accessory after the fact.

The Cowboy brass appear to be high on Boyd as he has performed well in training camp so far.

The folks on West End know that Boyd can play and hopefully he will have a chance in the preseason to make an impact on Jerry Jones. Undrafted free agents don’t have a great shot at sticking to the roster but it does happen every year on each team.

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Scores

Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24

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