Thursday, July 24, 2008

Commodore Banter (7/24)

We've got a whole bunch of links to pass along following Vanderbilt's press conference at SEC Media Days so we might as well get the bad news out of the way first.

Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said the team should decide on the future of running back Jermaine Doster within the next week, according to Brett Hait of The Nashville City Paper. Doster was arrested last week and faces three misdemeanor charges. It's a tough call for Johnson.

Now, onto the good news.

The Commercial Appeal's Scott Cacciola has a must-read story about Vanderbilt's George Smith. Here's a glimpse:
A sixth-year senior at Vanderbilt, Smith spent 45 days in an intensive-care unit as a true freshman after he was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disorder. He survived. Two years later, he was shot in the arm breaking up a fight. He lived.

"I feel blessed," said Smith, whose latest challenge -- fitting into his new role as Vanderbilt's primary receiver, post-Earl Bennett -- seems trivial by comparison. "My whole outlook on life has completely changed. You just know when you have a bad day, it's like, 'Hey, I've been through worse.'"

Brett Hait's notebook is full of a number of good tidbits, including:

*Memphis boys John Stokes and Chris Marve could start at linebacker
*Gaston Miller adds elusiveness and speed to the backfield
*D.J. Moore will play some offense
*VU ticket sales are up 25% from this time last year

As expected, the QB job remains up for grabs, writes Hait.

“I think we have enough time in the preseason to identify that guy,” Johnson said. “That’s why I feel so good about it. I think we have four good quarterbacks, and the guy who beats out those other three has to play well in the preseason.”

To get the program where it needs to be, Johnson is focused on the "athlete" in "student-athlete," writes The Huntsville Times' Allan Taylor.

D.J. Moore has come into his own at Vandy, writes Matt Cobbs.

Something tells me Commodore fans are going to like the way center Bradley Vierling plays football.

Former Vanderbilt left tackle Chris Williams is a man of his word as he signed a five-year, $15 million contract with $9 million in guarantees just before the start of training camp. Congrats, Chris.

Finally, in baseball news, the Pittsburgh Pirates are frustrated that Scott Boras and his client Pedro Alvarez are going to hold out until the final hours of negotiations.

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