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Vanderbilt Commodores 2012: 9-4 (5-3)

Nashville, TN (Dudley Field)

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Vanderbilt Commodores 2013 Season Preview


Introduction: The 9-4 (5-3) Vanderbilt Commodores have a great opportunity to win eight games in the regular season for the second year in a row.  Their schedule for 2013-2014 consists of four non-conference opponents, Austin Peay (FCS), UMass (MAC), UAB (C-USA), and Wake Forest (ACC). Each one of these teams are beatable, and Vanderbilt certainly has the talent this year to win all of these games. As far as their SEC schedule goes, the Commodores definitely have a chance to have a winning record in the conference again.



Offense: Last season, the Vanderbilt Commodores established themselves as a high-scoring offense. The Commodores used their offensive firepower to score 27 points or more in seven out of thirteen games last season. However, the two arguably best players on offense, QB Jordan Rodgers and RB Zac Stacy, have graduated, and the two Vanderbilt stars are now in the NFL. Their replacements will have huge shoes to fill. QB Austyn Carta-Samuels and RB Wesley Tate are both seniors, and they both look like they will be prepared to take on the starting role in the Commodores’ offense. Sophomore RB Brian Kimbrow will also be looking to make an impact as the second-string running back. Other than quarterback and running back, the rest of the offense consists of returning starters. At receiver, the two leading catchers will be returning for this season, Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd. Both of these receivers caught at least 50 passes this past season. The offensive line is also returning its starters, with no freshmen starting this season. The Vanderbilt Commodores offense is looking to blow up the scoreboards again this season, and it has the firepower to do so, only if the new QB and RB can fulfill their expectations.

Defense: The Commodores defense will look to build off of last season, where the Vanderbilt defense allowed only 18.7 points per game. There is no reason to believe that the Commodores defense will not be able to improve from last season. They are returning 11 out of 12 starters, the only loss being CB Trey Wilson, who is looking to make an NFL roster this summer. The strongest group on defense will definitely be the linebacking core, who is returning all three of its veteran linebackers, Karl Butler (SR), Darreon Herring (SO), and Chase Garnham (SR).  Garnham finished the season with 83 total tackles, Butler with 51, and Herring with 33. All of these guys are looking to improve, and lead their defense. Behind the linebackers on the field, the two returning safeties are also a very strong group. The two safeties, Kenny Ladler (SR) and Javonn Marshall (SR), are coming off of a fantastic season, where each of them racked up at least 80 total tackles. This season, the Vanderbilt Commodores will have a strong defense, with most of its starters returning to the team. The Commodores defense will certainly be a strongpoint this season.

Special Teams: The Commodores will be expecting senior Carey Spear to handle all of the kicking. Spear converted 20-24 field goals last season. It is unclear who the punter will be for the 2013 season, but it is between redshirt sophomore Taylor Hudson, and redshirt freshman Colby Cooke.  Vanderbilt is also looking to have a successful return game, with WR Jonathan Krause returning punts, and Brian Kimbrow and Andre Hal both returning kickoffs.

Outlook: Vanderbilt’s schedule this year seems relaxing when you see opponents such as UAB, Austin Peay, UMass, and Wake Forest. However, they will be tested in their conference with Ole Miss, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Also, the Commodores will also have the extreme challenge of facing off against Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Florida. With all that said, I still strongly believe the Commodores will be able to match the record last year, but the window for achieving a 10 win season is exceedingly slight.


Follow me on Twitter: @FriesNick

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