Projecting Vanderbilt Football 2020: Offense
The 2020 college football season, with all the unknowns attached, is fast approaching, and the forecast for the Vanderbilt Commodores is dim, at least on paper.
Following 2019's 3-9, 1-7 campaign head coach Derek Mason seems squarely on the hot seat, at least with fans, if not his administration. To hopefully improve both his team's record this season, and his future on West End, Mason undertook a massive shakeup of his coaching staff, which at least on paper seems to be a positive move.
Enter Todd Fitch to run the offense and Ted Roof on defense, along with some other position coaches like Pete Rossomondao and Kenechi Udeze. They have shown immediate value on the recruiting trail.
But will it be enough to improve the Commodores fortunes this year vastly?
Quarterback: Regardless of which one gets the nod, they will be a first time starter in the SEC. It's also possible a true freshman could win the job.
Candidates: Jerem Mussa, Danny Clark, Ken Seals, Michael Wright.
Each candidate brings something different to the table for Mason and Fitch, with Mussa and Clark having some college experience at the JUCO level. At the same time, Seals is an accomplished passer and Wright, a blazing-fast dual-threat prospect.
The winner of this battle will play a significant part in the overall success of the team this year.
Winner: While it could change from game to game, especially early in the season, we at Commodore Country feel that Seals and Wright will be the two top players from this group. Seals has an early advantage having been the only member of this group to have taken a snap in the shortened spring practice. Wright's exceptional speed and running ability could provide a young offense with another dimension and allow for a threat of run from the pocket if things break down and pressure comes.
Opening Game Starter: Ken Seals
Running Back: There is an exciting mix of talents here, though none with real experience or the overall ability of last year's starter and current NFL player Ke'Shawn Vaughn.
Candidate: Jamauri Wakefield, Ja'Veon Marlowe, JR Tran-Reno, Keyon Brooks, Rocko Griffin.
Winner: Committee, at least early on as, like the quarterbacks, each back has different strengths to bring to the table. It would not be a surprise to see three or even four backs in a regular rotation, with Fitch and Mason rising a hot-hand on any given Saturday.
Griffin, who has potential game-changing speed, should get more than just a freshman glance because of his speed, and if he can produce, he could seize the job, but he has a lot of work to do.
Opening Game Starter: Jamauri Wakefield
Wide Reciever: Cam Johson is the man. Highly regarded when he signed with the Commodores, it is his time to take a lead role, and he seems ready.
Amir Abdur-Rahman, who missed last season with injury along with Chris Pierce and James Bostic have some game experience and talent. One, or more, must step up right away to give the quarterback a second- and hopefully third- receiving option on the outside.
Opening Game Starters: Cam Johnson, Amir Abdur-Rahman, and Chris Pierce.
Tight End: Gone is Jared Pinkney, who was a special player, though 2019 was not a good one for him. Now Ben Bresnahan and Gavin Schowenwald must fill his shoes, as both saw time last season.
Opening Game Starter: Ben Bresnahan.
Offensive Line: Tyler Steen is the leader and a possible All-SEC candidate, but he will need help.
LT- Tyler Steen, LG- Bryce Bailey, Center- Grant Miller, RG- Cole Clemmons, RT- Jonathan Stewart.
This year has been tough for everyone, and should we get a football season, it seems likely to be tough on Mason and the Commodores.