Thursday, July 17, 2008

Commodore Banter (7/17)

A few links to pass along on this Thursday evening as we count down the days until football season...

Former Commodore Brandt Snedeker is tied for 15th after shooting a 2-over 72 in the first round of the British Open at Royal Birkdale. Snedeker bogeyed five holes on the front nine, but responded by shooting 3-under on the back nine, including back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18, to keep himself within striking distance.

Fan-favorite Rocco Mediate is tied for the lead at 1-under with Graeme McDowell and Robert Allenby, while Greg Norman is one shot back.

Meanwhile, Shan Foster continues to play well in the Las Vegas Summer League. He scored 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting to go along with two rebounds in 20 minutes as Dallas defeated Detroit 79-73. While the league continues through July 20, the Mavs are done. In five games, Foster averaged 8.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

Even more promising is the fact that Foster seemed to outplay some of his teammates who are competing for the same roster spot(s), including Rayshawn Terry and Richie Frahm. Foster shot 49 percent from the field, which was tops among the Mavs' perimeter players. Foster proved what we already know -- that he's a very efficient offensive player -- and also displayed a well-rounded game that had to please Dallas coaches and execs.

Foster's old teammate Derrick Byars has been OK in New Orleans. Byars scored five points (2-for-7 from the field) to go along with three rebounds in 20 minutes in the Hornets' 80-76 victory over the Clippers this afternoon. Through three games, he's averaging 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists, but still can't seem to find his stroke. Byars is shooting just 33 percent from the field.

Another former Commodore Matt Freije is on fire through two games with the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 10 points on 64 percent shooting, including 5-for-6 from 3-point range. Freije plays again tonight at 9:30 p.m. CT.

In football news, Bobby Johnson made some additional comments about wide receiver Terence Jeffers in this Nashville City Paper piece. Jeffers transferred from UConn and will have two years of eligibility remaining starting in 2009.
“He’s a good player,” Johnson said. “He made some big catches for them and played in some big games. When he gets through his sit-out year, we’ll have a guy who’s ready to go.”

Vanderbilt coaches watched tape of Jeffers playing at UConn before choosing to offer him a scholarship. Johnson said the player has the ability to be a deep threat as well as take a pounding underneath.

“He can do it all,” Johnson said. “He’s got a big, strong body. He’s not a thin guy. He’s got plenty of courage to go over the middle and the body to back it up.”'s Chris Low thinks that Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore is the third most underrated player in the SEC. We agree.

Two interesting (or maybe not-so interesting) facts about David Price: he doesn't snore and is obsessed with video games, particularly Halo on XBox 360.

Our friends over at VSL have put up their offensive and defensive previews so be sure to check those out.

Mr. SEC's Ace Reporter Jimmy Hyams takes a look at which SEC teams will better and which will be worse this season. Here's quick overview of his column:

Ole Miss
South Carolina

Mississippi State

On the Commodores, Hyams says:

I like Bobby Johnson as a coach, but I don’t see how the Commodores can lose the SEC’s all-time leading receiver and all five offensive line starters and improve. Remember, a year ago, Vandy lost to Georgia and Tennessee – teams that combined to win 21 games – by a field goal in going 5-7. The record won’t be much different, but I don’t see Vandy pushing to the limit some of the SEC’s better teams.

Prediction: 4-8.

My quick take: I don't think the offensive line is going to be as awful or inexperienced as Hyams and most media members suggest. And, of course it won't be easy to replace Earl Bennett, but if the Commodores receive more consistent quarterback play and are more creative in their play-calling, especially with athletes D.J. Moore and Jamie Graham expected to contribute, the offense could actually be better.

The running game (with Jared Hawkins, a leaner and stronger Jeff Jennings and an elusive Gaston Miller, and without Cassen Jackson-Garrison) should improve. I'm also excited about the group of tight ends, which includes Brandon Barden, Justin Green, Austin Monahan and Jake Bradford.

With that said, it's hard to argue with the 4-8 prediction. Hopefully the Dores learn to finish games and prove us wrong...


Tony Arnold said...

Brandt is struggling today, 7 over in his round with 2 holes for +9 total. At the moment, he would miss the cut, but there are a lot of players ahead of him that have not teed off, so I suspect many others will struggle and hopefully Brandt will at least play the weekend.

Tony Arnold said...

Tough +9 round for Brandt for +11 total. Current cut is at +8. Not looking good for weekend play.

Bargo said...

Jared, you're not worried about the line? I agree that the whole "5 seniors starting" thing is a little overblown with Stamper and others underachieving, but thin at the line is an understatement for this year's team.

To me, Vierling is the only lineman on the team without a significant question mark. Twelch could easily be in the NFL someady but he's only played LT (arguably the 2nd most important position on the field..) for a couple seasons and his game time experience has been limited. Hensley hasn't played much either and is coming back from a shattered ankle from the spring game. I don't doubt that guys like Fischer or Custer have great potential, but Vandy's O-line has plagued the squad for years. Until it plays with some authority, that improvement in our runningback cast (which I agree with, by the way) won't mean a damned thing.

At least we know our QB will be mobile.

Jarred Amato said...

Barge, you're definitely right that the o-line is thin, but when is it not? I think it will probably take a few games for the unit to hit its stride, but my only point was that there are a bunch of upperclassmen, not just freshmen, who have SEC experience. Will the line be as good as last year? Probably not, but I don't think it's going to be as bad as some are suggesting.

Also, don't underestimate the "me against the world" factor. All summer these linemen have heard that they're going to suck. You can bet that they're going to be fired up to prove all of the haters wrong this fall.