#48 Vanderbilt Football 2013 Preview

Vanderbilt Commodores

Overall Rank: #48
Conference Rank: #10 SEC

Vanderbilt Team Page#48 Vanderbilt Football 2013 PreviewBuy Vanderbilt Football Tickets

The Vanderbilt Commodores enter the 2013 season looking to build off the huge momentum gained from last year’s nine-win season. The nine wins for Vanderbilt were the most in program history since 1915. Third year Head Coach James Franklin and staff have done a great job changing the culture in Nashville. However, with a recent dismissal of four players for an alleged sex crime, the overall mental toughness and depth of the program will be tested. There is enough talent to win plenty of games this season, but now this program will be a target in the Southeastern Conference instead of a doormat.

2012 Record: (9-4, 5-3)
2012 Bowl: Music City Bowl vs. North Carolina State (W 38-24)
Coach: James Franklin (15-11 at Vanderbilt, 15-11 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: John Donovan
Defensive Coordinator: Bob Shoop

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Brian Kimbrow, RB, 413 yards
Passing: Austyn Carta-Samuels, QB, 208 yards
Receiving: Jordan Matthews, WR, 1,323 yards
Tackles: Kenny Ladler, FS, 90
Sacks: Chase Granham, LB, 7
Interceptions: Andre Hal, CB, 2; Kenny Ladler, S, 2

Other Key Returnees: LT Wesley Johnson, C Joe Townsend, RT Andrew Bridges, RB Wesley Tate, DE Walker May, LB Chase Granham, S Javon Marshall

Key Losses: QB Jordan Rodgers, RB Zac Stacy, OT Ryan Seymour, DT Rob Lohr, LB Archibald Barnes, CB Trey Wilson, OT Ryan Seymour, DT Rob Lohr, P Richard Kent

Vanderbilt’s defense was one of the best in 2012 and has enough pieces in the back seven returning to be very formidable in 2013.  Walker May, Kyle Woestmann, and Caleb Azubike will be relied upon heavily to generate a pass rush, which in turn, helps the secondary, led by senior cornerback Andre Hal, let loose and play aggressively. The Commodores were a top 15 pass defense in the nation in 2012. The three returning starters in the secondary should make it very difficult for opponents to throw the ball effectively. Offensively, the receiving duo of senior Jordan Matthews and junior Chris Boyd, are going to have to carry the way for the offense until the quarterback situation stabilizes.

The offense was effective but not always explosive last season. The offensive line will need to protect a new starter at quarterback, Austyn Carta-Samuels, as well. If the line, led by left tackle Wesley Johnson, can protect Carta-Samuels, this should allow the offense to make more chances for big plays. The defense is good enough that the offense should be able to be more aggressive as the year progresses. The depth at defensive tackle could be problematic if injuries occur. Defensive tackles Barron Dixon and Vince Taylor have to stay healthy and be great at stuffing the run so the defensive ends can aggressively rush the passer. The kicking game needs to replace the consistency of punter Richard Kent, as field position in SEC games is very important.

The Bottom Line:
The schedule is an interesting one, as Vanderbilt will miss Alabama in 2013. The road trips to South Carolina, Texas A&M and Florida will be the biggest tests of the season. If the Commodores can steal one of those three games, they should be in great position to get up toward eight or nine wins again. Also, replacing Zac Stacy will be huge in creating a balanced offensive attack.  If Vanderbilt can develop a strong enough run game, it will save the wear and tear on the great defense that the team should have in 2013. The ability to handle s bit of a target on their back, along with dealing with the loss of four players from the offseason incident, will be key tests for this program. If they can overcome the tests, it will cement a foundation for a Vanderbilt program that will be staying on the SEC and National radar for a long time to come under Coach Franklin’s watch.

Projected Bowl: Liberty Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 166.3 (57th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 213.4 (80, 10)
Total Offense: 379.7 (80, 7)
Scoring Offense: 30.0 (55, 7)
Rushing Defense: 142.2 (38, 8)
Pass Defense: 191.8 (14, 3)
Total Defense: 333.9 (19, 5)
Scoring Defense: 18.7 (15, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (58, 8)
Sacks: 2.38 (36, 6)
Sacks Allowed: .1.85 (57, 6)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#40 Jordan Matthews

Madness 2013 Recruit Rankings:
#209 Jay Woods


See All College Sports Madness Top 104 Football Previews