Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Travisodes: Helmet Sticker (Dore Prize)

by Barca Blog - Commodore fans, you have until Friday at noon CT to participate in the latest Dore Prize giveaway.

Watch the video (below) to find out more on the contest and then go to our Facebook Fan Page to submit your guess.

Whoever is the closest, wins. If more than one of you gets the right answer, then we'll pick one winner from the group. Maybe you'll share your prize with intern Travis.

Casali balancing rehab with practice

by Travis Young - On June 9, Curt Casali underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his torn ulna collateral ligament. After the surgery, Casali spent countless hours rehabbing during the summer.

"The first four weeks after the operation were rough because I had a brace on," Casali said. "Since then the rehabbing has progressively been getting better."

This past Sunday (Sept. 27) marked the first day Casali had picked up a ball to start throwing.

Click Here to Read More

Commodore Time Machine - Ole Miss Series

by Barca Blog - Less than 1,200 tickets remain for Saturday’s SEC tilt with Ole Miss (click to purchase). If you haven’t been to the games in this series during the Bobby Johnson era, then odds are you’re in for an exciting finish, so reserve your seats today!

“It probably is (one of our best rivalries),” Johnson said. “It’s always pretty close. Some controversial things have happened and some crazy things have happened. It’s a good one to see. I hope everybody comes out and enjoys the game.”

Johnson is 3-4 against Ole Miss, taking three of the last four meetings. The margin of victory in the six of the seven games is 8 points or less. Let’s look back at some of the pivotal moments from those games:

2008 – Vanderbilt 23, Ole Miss 17 in Oxford
Chris Marve’s game-saving strip of Dexter McCluster on the two-yard line in the final minutes preserved the win.

2007 – Vanderbilt 31, Ole Miss 17 in Nashville
VU broke open a 14-10 lead by outscoring the Rebels 17-7 in the final quarter.

2006 – Ole Miss 17, Vanderbilt 10 in Oxford
The Commodores outgained the Rebels in total offense, 400-179, but were done in by five turnovers. VU had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but Mackenzi Adams’ pass was intercepted at the OM nine-yard line.

2005 - Vanderbilt 31, Ole Miss 23 in Nashville
Ole Miss drove to the VU 15 on their final drive, but Moses Osemwegie sacked Robert Lane and recovered his fumble to seal the victory. The Commodores were up 24-3 at one point but the Rebels roared back with 20 unanswered points.

2004 – Ole Miss 26, Vanderbilt 23 (OT) in OxfordThe Commodores couldn’t hold on to a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter and eventually fell in overtime. Two plays shifted the momentum: Matthew Tant’s 66-yard TD run was called back in the third quarter... and then the no-call when Jay Cutler’s facemask was pulled on fourth and four at the OM 30, causing him to come up one yard short. VU was up 23-20 with six minutes remaining at the time.

2003 – Ole Miss 24, Vanderbilt 21 in Nashville
Vanderbilt led 21-14 in the fourth quarter, but Jonathan Nichols’ 54-yard field goal with 3:52 left capped off 10 unanswered points by the Rebels to edge the ‘Dores.

2002 – Ole Miss 45, Vanderbilt 38 in Oxford
Vanderbilt fought back from a 21-point fourth quarter deficit to pull even with the Ole Miss, only to witness the Rebels score a clinching TD in the closing minutes. Kwane Doster had one of the finest games in VU history with 344 yards in total offense.

2010 SEC Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournament tickets

By A. Boggs - Got this release from the SEC Office...

Public tickets for the 2010 SEC Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments will go on sale Thursday, October 1 through or by calling (800) 732-4849.

The SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament will take place March 4-7, 2010, at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. Reserved Books are available for $90 and General Admission Books are available for $60. Both books provide one ticket for each of the six sessions of the tournament. Single Session tickets for the women’s tournament will go on sale beginning Monday, March 1.

The SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will take place March 11-14, 2010, at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn. A very limited number of Reserved Books will be available for $275 each.

Tickets will go on sale beginning Thursday at 8:00 a.m. CT.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nutt: Vanderbilt 'plays extremely hard'

by Barca Blog - Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt gave his thoughts on the Commodores during Monday's session with the press.

"They are always sound. Offensively, they have an athletic quarterback. They will have an offense a lot like Memphis’ – shotgun, bootlegs, inside zone and option. They spread you out and try to keep you off balance. Defensively, they are very sound.

"I’ve been going against Bobby Johnson for a long time and you know that you are going to have a hard-fought ballgame. These guys are running around. Broderick Stewart – their defensive end - is very talented. They have had a couple of injuries – one safety and another defensive end has gotten hurt.

"I thought they’ve really had a chance to win every game when you look at it – Mississippi State and LSU. They could easily be 4-0 if the ball had bounced a little bit differently and they had played a little better at certain times. They have a good team. They are a sound team and they blitz at times you don’t think they are going to be blitzing. The number on thing they do is they play extremely hard."

To read more of Nutt's comments to the media, click here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Week 5 Injury Report

by Barca Blog - Add two more starters to the list of injury-riddled Commodores.

Head coach Bobby Johnson announced Monday that wide receiver John Cole suffered a broken hand and safety Sean Richardson tore a tendon in his thumb during Vanderbilt's 36-17 victory over Rice. Both players underwent surgery on Sunday.

"Hopefully there's a chance (Sean) can play Saturday (vs. Ole Miss)," Johnson said. "He would obviously be in a cast and padded up but it’s asking a lot to handle the pain anytime you have surgery on a Sunday and than play on the following Saturday.

"We are hoping John can come back fairly quickly from his injury but he is doubtful for this weekend. They believe they can splint his hand which would give him a chance to play, but that's asking a lot of a wide receiver to play with a broken hand."

More Injury Updates

After missing the first three games with a sore foot, tailback Jared Hawkins had a solid debut to his senior season with 11 carries for 61 yards against the Owls.

"(Jared) looked fresh, ready to go, and hungry to make some good runs and he did that," Johnson stated. "He was sore after the game, but right now he looks pretty good."

Tailback Zac Stacy, who started the first three games in Hawkins' absence, is still bothered by a sprained ankle. Stacy was limited to a season-low four carries for five yards at Rice.

"(Zac's) just not the same player right now. (His ankle) has been affecting him in just about everything he's doing. He's not getting the same number of reps in practice because of it, which is what he needs as a freshman."

Defensive back Jamie Graham, who missed last week's game after suffering a concussion against Mississippi State, is still questionable. Defensive tackle T.J. Greenstone is also questionable with a sore knee.

Week 5 - Game Notes and Depth Charts

by Barca Blog - I just posted Vanderbilt's and Ole Miss' game notes and depth charts on our Gameday Central page.

Go here and look at the drop down menu underneath the team logos of the left side of the page.

I'll have an injury update on the Commodores later today.

Johnson's Presser, Call-In Show Monday

by Barca Blog - Two quick Monday reminders...

*Coach Johnson will field questions from the press about this week's matchup vs. Ole Miss today at noon CT. We will webcast the event live on

*The Bobby Johnson Call-In Show, presented by Martin and Zerfoss Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance, will be broadcast tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT inside the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. For out-of-towners, the show can be heard live on Click Here

NFL Week 3 Recap

by Barca Blog - Check out how these former Commodores performed in Week 3 of the 2009 NFL season:

Chicago Bears: Defeated Seattle, 25-19
QB Jay Cutler - Started, 21-27 passing, 247 yds, 3 TD, INT
LB Hunter Hillenmeyer - Started, 5 tackles (one for loss)
OL Chris Williams - Started at right tackle
WR Earl Bennett - Started, 4 rec, 80 yds (long of 31)
DB D.J. Moore - Inactive

Tennessee Titans: Lost to NY Jets, 24-17
DT Jovan Haye - Started, 4 tackles

Buffalo Bills: Lost to New Orleans, 27-7
LB Marcus Buggs - 3 tackles

Washington Redskins: Lost to Detroit, 19-14
TE Todd Yoder - Tackle on special teams

New York Giants: Defeated Tampa Bay, 24-0
LB Jonathan Goff - Played but no stats recorded

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Players of the Game - Rice

by Barca Blog - Each week during the season, Vanderbilt's football staff recognizes outstanding player performances on the gridiron. Here's the list of honors for the Rice game:

Offensive Player of the Game
QB Larry Smith
WR John Cole

Defensive Player of the Game
DB Myron Lewis

Specialist of the Game
K Ryan Fowler

Week 4 SEC Scores, Standings

Results - September 24 & 26
South Carolina 16, No. 4 Ole Miss 10
No. 7 LSU 30, Mississippi State 26
No. 3 Alabama 35, Arkansas 7
No. 1 Florida 41, Kentucky 7
No. 21 Georgia 20, Arizona State 17
Tennessee 34, Ohio 23
Auburn 54, Ball State 30
Vanderbilt 36, Rice 17

Updated Standings - SEC Record (Overall)
Eastern Division
Florida 2-0 (4-0)
Georgia 2-0 (3-1)
South Carolina 1-1 (3-1)
Kentucky 0-1 (2-1)
Tennessee 0-1 (2-2)
Vanderbilt 0-2 (2-2)

Western Division
LSU 2-0 (4-0)
Alabama 1-0 (4-0)
Auburn 1-0 (4-0)
Miss. State 1-2 (2-2)
Ole Miss 0-1 (2-1)
Arkansas 0-2 (1-2)

Watch Rice highlights

by Barca Blog - I just uploaded free highlights from last night's 36-17 win over Rice on

Watch John Cole blaze down the sideline on a reverse to score his first career touchdown... Trey Wilson deliver a bone-crushing hit on kickoff return coverage... Patrick Benoist and Eddie Foster get their first career interceptions and Myron Lewis record his first multi-pick game... Larry Smith fool Rice defenders on a sweet fake pitch to score easily from 6-yards out... Warren Norman break through tacklers at the line of scrimmage and take it to the house... And much more... Click Here

Wirth, Fever make WNBA Finals

by Barca Blog - Congratulations to Christina Wirth and the Indiana Fever for advancing to the WNBA Finals after defeating defending champion Detroit 72-67 on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

As a rookie, Wirth has seen an increase in playing time during the postseason. She's appeared in three of the Fever's five playoff games, averaging 6.3 minutes per game and 1.3 points per game.

Indiana will face Phoenix in the best-of-five WNBA Finals starting on Tuesday, September 29.

Photo courtesy of

Commodore Soccer on TV Sunday

By Travis Young - Tune your television to CSS today as the Vanderbilt women's soccer team plays the defending SEC Champions and 10th-ranked Florida in Gainesville, Fla. The game with Commodores (6-2-1, 0-1 SEC) and Gators (7-3-0, 1-0 SEC) will get underway at 1 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium.

It will be a warm one for the 'Dores, who are wearing their black jerseys with gold lettering.

Game time temperature: Partly Cloudy, 86 degrees, heat index is 94 degrees.

Don't forget your second wind

by Barca Blog - With plenty of opportunities but only a 10-10 tie to show for it, Vanderbilt regrouped after the half to dominate the rest of the game and secure a 36-17 victory over Rice Saturday night in Houston.

Credit the Commodores' offense for not folding after a couple of costly mistakes killed drives and left points off the board in the first half. Yes, VU's lack of execution in key moments early on mirrored their struggles against Mississippi State a week ago, but the 'Dores responded with some big plays to pick up the much needed win.

"We came up a little short in the first half with only 10 points," said quarterback Larry Smith, who set new career highs in passing yards (268), attempts (41) and completions (23). "They were blitzing quite a bit and we just had to change some minor protections to give me more time to throw the ball down the field."

The turning point on offense occurred late in the third quarter when Smith connected with sophomore receiver Udom Umoh on a 54-yard strike down the sideline. Vanderbilt's longest pass play of the season set up a six-yard touchdown run by Smith to push the Commodores ahead 20-10. Two series later in the fourth quarter, freshman tailback Warren Norman rumbled 58 yards for a touchdown on the first play to put the contest out of reach.

"We made the adjustments in the second half and executed on all cylinders," Smith added. "The offensive line did an excellent job of protecting me and the running backs did an excellent job of running. It was good for us to bounce back from last week's poor performance. It gives us a little confidence back."

You can watch postgame press conference footage of head coach Bobby Johnson, linebacker Patrick Benoist, cornerback Myron Lewis and quarterback Larry Smith by clicking here.

(photo by Stan Jones)

I'll leave you with the song of the day.... Billy Joel reminds us to never forget our second wind.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More pregame photos

by Barca Blog - I just uploaded Stan Jones' pregame photos at Rice Stadium. Click Here to view

Rice, Rice baby

by Barca Blog - Here's a photo of Rice Stadium only an hour and a half before game time.

Good weather conditions at the moment... It's 88 degrees and partly cloudy with only a 15 percent chance of rain. Wind is minimal at 1 mph. The Commodores will be wearing white jerseys with gold pants. Also, today's officials were assigned by the SEC.

You can follow the action live on starting with Joe Fisher's pregame radio show at 6 p.m. CT, one hour prior to kickoff. The game will be televised on CSS at 7 p.m. CT.

Rice Gameday Prep

Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-2 SEC) at Rice (0-3, 0-1 C-USA)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT

Location: Rice Stadium (47,000) in Houston, Texas

TV: CSS (Stewart, Oliver, Golden), GamePlan not available

Radio: 104.5 the Zone, XM 243 (More affiliates)

Web: Live Audio, Live Stats, Twitter, ESPN360 not available

Weather: High 88/Low 70/0% Chance of Rain

Series: VU leads 3-1 (VU leads 2-1 in Houston)

Last Meeting: VU won 38-21 in 2008

Commodore Gameday Central: Click Here

Other Games in the SEC (CT): Live Scores
No. 7 LSU at Miss. State, 11:21 a.m. CT (SEC Network)
Arkansas at No. 3 Alabama, 2:30 p.m. (CBS)
No. 1 Florida at Kentucky, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Ball State at Auburn, 6 p.m. (FSN)
Arizona State at No. 21 Georgia, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Ohio at Tennessee, 6 p.m. (PPV)

Houston, we have arrived

by Barca Blog - The Commodores got their first feel for Rice Stadium during their hour-long walk-through last night inside the facility. Click Here to view Stan Jones' photos from the session.

Two notes about Rice Stadium:

Did you know... It was the site of Super Bowl VIII. In that game, the Miami Dolphins easily defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in front of 71,882 fans. Rice Stadium is one of only three campus facilities still in operation that have hosted a Super Bowl (Sun Devil Stadium and Stanford Stadium).

Did you know... Rice also has a brand new scoreboard in the north end zone which bears the name of Commodore legend Jess Neely (shown in photo gallery). Neely is the most successful coach in Owls' history with 144 wins and seven bowl berths.

Finally, good news from Storm Tracker Travis. According to, there is a zero percent chance of rain at kickoff tonight (7 p.m. CT). Dry conditions would be a nice change of pace considering it's been raining in Nashville the last 10 days... and our last two games have been affected by inclement weather.

Mason Rudolph in two-hour delay

By A. Boggs - The second round of the Mason Rudolph is in at least a three-hour delay, with heavy rain and thunderstorms in the Vanderbilt Legends Club area in Franklin.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Getting closer to hoops

by Barca Blog - Can you believe we're only three weeks away from the official starting date of college basketball practice?

It's true. Vanderbilt's men's and women's teams will begin their 2009-10 hoops journey on Friday, October 16.

To keep you entertained until then, we have photos of both squads being recognized during last Saturday's football game against Mississippi State. The women's team was honored for winning the 2009 SEC Tournament and making the NCAA Sweet 16, while the men's team was presented with a full-size, hand-crafted surfboard to help commemorate their upcoming trip to the Maui Invitational in November.

Remember, you can order men's season tickets for as low as $104, and women's season tickets starting at only $32. Click Here to reserve your seats.

Commodore Soccer on TV Tonight

By Travis Young - The Vanderbilt soccer team will open SEC play tonight in Columbia, S.C., as they square off with undefeated and 12th ranked South Carolina. The Commodores (6-1-1) and Gamecocks (8-0) will play at 6 p.m. CT tonight on Fox Sports South. Check your local listings for television information. Due to the game being televised by Fox Sports South there will not be a webcast of tonight's game on

VU leads the all-time series with South Carolina 13-1-2. To see a preview of tonight's game with No. 12 USC and Sunday's game at No. 10 Florida click here.

Commodore Time Machine - 1975

by Barca Blog - Today we’ll look back at the last time Vanderbilt played Rice in Houston.

The year was 1975. The media guide (pictured above) featured first-year head coach Fred Pancoast with senior safety Jay Chesley (7) and senior tight end Barry Burton (89) – both preseason All-Americans. The Commodores were coming off its second-ever postseason appearance, a 6-6 tie against Texas Tech in the Peach Bowl.

Vanderbilt headed into the Rice game looking to move to 2-0 after defeating Chattanooga, 17-7, in the opener. In front of 18,000 fans, senior kicker Mark Adams, who earned all-SEC honors in 1974, accounted for all of the Commodores’ points with three field goals… just enough to edge the Owls 9-6.

Adams, who also doubled as a linebacker, ended up playing a significant role in the ’Dores 7-4 season. In fact, his field goals provided the margin of victory in four of those wins.

Leaping buildings in a single bound

by Barca Blog - Check it out... Vanderbilt senior center Bradley Vierling does his best Clark Kent on the cover of this week's Nashville Scene. You can read David Boclair's feature story on the state of the Commodores' football program here.

Speaking of Superman, I'm hoping Rice doesn't have a pocket full of kryptonite so we don't return to Nashville with Jimmy Olsen's Blues. Enjoy some Spin Doctors!

Jamie Graham to miss Rice game

Jeff Lockridge has the report here.

Fore! Live

By Weinman - Play has begun at the 2009 Mason Rudolph Championships at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin. VU junior Ryan Haselden is pictured above driving down the middle on the first hole of the South Course.

If you can't make it out to the course, keep up with all the action live at Golfstat.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Home events this weekend - Sept. 25-27

M/W Golf - Mason Rudolph Championships / Friday-Sunday
Come out to the Vanderbilt Legends Club this weekend to see the best collegiate golfers in the country compete in the 2009 Mason Rudolph Championships in Franklin, Tenn. Play for both tournaments begins with fixed tee times on the number one and 10 tees on Friday morning at 8 a.m. CT. Admission is free. Tournament Preview

Watch video interviews with Vanderbilt senior Hudson Johnson and sophomore Marina Alex below:

TV information for Rice

by Barca Blog - I've received several emails from fans asking about the television coverage for Saturday's game at Rice.

CSS Officials responded with the following info: The Vanderbilt-Rice game will be an exclusive presentation of CSS. It will not be available on ESPN GamePlan,, Direct TV or the Dish Network.

Putting my foot down

by Barca Blog - Jeff Lockridge gives a report on the status of tailback Jared Hawkins and defensive end Steven Stone in Thursday's edition of The Tennessean - click here to read.

Since Lockridge's article focused on foot injuries, I thought I'd throw in a video of the biggest foot problem ever known to man. I'm still shocked to this day that John Lithgow didn't win an Oscar for his performance in this 80's flick.

Watch the movie trailer below:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

SEC Football Week 4 Matchups

Click Here for's Preview; All Times Central

Thursday, September 24

No. 4 Ole Miss (2-0, 0-0) at South Carolina (2-1, 0-1)
6:30 p.m. ; ESPN (Fowler, James, Palmer and Andrews)

Saturday, September 26

No. 7 LSU (3-0, 1-0) at Mississippi State (2-1, 1-1)
11:21 a.m.; SEC Network (Neal, Ware and Capuano)

Arkansas (1-1, 0-1) at No. 3 Alabama (3-0, 0-0)
2:30 p.m.; CBS (Lundquist, Danielson and Wolfson)

No. 1 Florida (3-0, 1-0) at Kentucky (2-0, 0-0)
5 p.m.; ESPN2 (Jones and Davie)

Ball State (0-3) at Auburn (3-0, 1-0)
6 p.m.; FSN (Rathbun, Archer and Hildreth)

Arizona State (2-0) at No. 21 Georgia (2-1, 2-0)
6 p.m.; ESPNU (Collins and Huard)

Ohio (2-1) at Tennessee (1-2, 0-1)
6 p.m.; Pay-Per-View

Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-2) at Rice (0-3)
7 p.m.; CSS (Stewart, Oliver and Golden)

Football Stat of the Week

From our football game notes...

The Commodore defense has allowed just three total touchdowns – and none through the air – in its first three outings in 2009. The 38-point opponent total is the fewest points allowed by Vanderbilt in a three-game span during the Bobby Johnson Era.

Also, the Commodores rank 15th in the NCAA in pass efficiency defense, 17th in scoring defense and 21st in total defense.

September Student-Athletes of the Month

by Barca Blog - Congratulations to Rachel Bachtel (Women's Soccer) and Jermaine Beal (Men's Basketball), Student-Athletes of the Month for September.

They were chosen on the basis of the all-around student-athlete... effort and excellence in academics, leadership, integrity, dedication to team, campus involvement, community service and the ability to serve as role models for current and future Vanderbilt students and student-athletes.

Click here to read Q&A's with the two honorees.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Graham not an option on offense for now

by Barca Blog - Some of you have asked if defensive back Jamie Graham would be incorporated into the offense to provide a spark like he did a year ago.

Sure, it's not a bad idea considering the former receiver/tailback showcased his ability to make big plays with four touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. Head coach Bobby Johnson explained, though, that Graham couldn't be used in that fashion right now for two reasons: (1) too many injuries have hurt the team's depth on defense and (2) Graham suffered a concussion against Mississippi State, which could impact his status for the Rice game.

“Concussions have to be watched extremely carefully,” Johnson said, “and Jamie has to be symptom free for several days before he can practice. He’s not quite clear right now, but we think he will be.”

More Injury Updates from Johnson's Presser

*Defensive back Casey Hayward missed the second half against Mississippi State because of migraines, but is expected to play against Rice.

*Johnson seemed more optimistic about the health of tailback Jared Hawkins. Hawkins' status will depend on how his foot holds up during drills this week.

*Tailback Zac Stacy "should be alright" after hurting his ankle against the Bulldogs.

*Defensive end Steven Stone, who is recovering from a broken foot suffered in mid-August, is "jogging a little bit now" but not ready to return.

*Defensive back Eric Samuels, who missed the last two weeks with an ankle injury, is questionable. Samuels did go through warm-ups against MSU but wasn't cleared to play. He will be evaluated during practice this week.

*Johnson said he'd like to have Jay Fullam back at safety. If Fullam can fully recover in the near future, he may not be redshirted according to Johnson. The Chattanooga native has been sidelined since tearing a ligament in his hand during preseason camp.

Kiser calling offensive plays

by Barca Blog - During Monday’s press conference (video), Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson stated that Jimmy Kiser, the passing game co-coordinator & quarterbacks coach, has been calling the offensive plays this season, opposed to previous years when it was the responsibility of offensive coordinator Ted Cain.

“I like to have a guy who knows what the quarterback likes,” Johnson explained, “and what he knows the quarterback has seen in practice and what he is thinking on the field, which is why we made the change.”

Johnson said the play calling was fine in the Commodores' 15-3 loss to Mississippi State and that the offensive woes stemmed from a lack of execution. He said that every area was to blame for the breakdowns and that the unit just didn’t respond to the pressure applied by the Bulldogs’ defense.

“We should have reacted to some of the things they were doing to us," Johnson added. "We had it built in, but we just didn't do a good job of making sure those things were taken care of, and when we did, we didn't execute. If we had (Larry Smith) protected, we either had bad throw or a drop. "

QB Controversy?

by Barca Blog - Don't expect to see a change at starting quarterback this Saturday against Rice, even though head coach Bobby Johnson didn't dismiss the idea during his press conference on Monday. (Full Transcript)

“We consider everything,” Johnson said. “We've got confidence in Larry (Smith) and we have confidence in Mackenzi (Adams). If Larry shows us in practice that he cannot and will not improve, we'll have to make a change, but I don't think that is going to happen. Larry is a hard worker and he wants to do the right thing every time and I think he will answer the call."

Johnson further elaborated on the topic during his appearance on the 104.5 Wake Up Zone Tuesday morning. (Listen Here)

“It would have to be pretty major (to cause a change). Larry has a great arm and makes all the throws that we want. He prepares hard and works hard. He would have to have a pretty bad attitude change for us to abandon the guy we have a lot of confidence in.”

My take from it is that the coaching staff is committed to the development of their redshirt sophomore QB... but don't be surprised to see Adams in relief if the Commodore offense repeats its struggles from last Saturday.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Baseball practice start date pushed back

by SID - Because of the wet weather that has seemed to stall over Middle Tennessee over the last week or so, Coach Corbin has decided to push the start of fall practice back a week. The Commodores were scheduled to start on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m., but instead will start next Tuesday, Sept. 29. The current pattern of rain is expected to last throughout the week.

Check later this week for an interview with Coach that will cover the start of fall practice, the addition of assistant coach Josh Holliday as well as other topics of interest.

Week 4 - Game Notes and Depth Charts

by Barca Blog - I just posted Vanderbilt's and Rice's game notes and depth charts on our Gameday Central page.

Go here and look at the drop down menu underneath the team logos of the left side of the page.

Ole Miss game time announced

by Barca Blog - Just announced... Vanderbilt's home tilt with No. 4 Ole Miss on October 3 will kickoff at 6 p.m. CT. ESPNU will televise the game, making it the second time the Commodores will appear on the channel this season.

Single game tickets are still available for $50. Click here

NFL Week 2 Recap

by Barca Blog - Check out how these former Commodores performed in Week 2 of the 2009 NFL season:

Chicago Bears: Defeated Pittsburgh, 17-14
QB Jay Cutler - Started, 27-38 passing, 236 yds, 2 TD
LB Hunter Hillenmeyer - Started, 4 tackles, pass defended
OL Chris Williams - Started at right tackle
WR Earl Bennett - Started, 2 rec, 22 yds (long of 15)
DB D.J. Moore - Inactive

Tennessee Titans: Lost to Houston, 34-31
DT Jovan Haye - Started, 3 tackles (one for loss)

Buffalo Bills: Defeated Tampa Bay, 33-20
LB Marcus Buggs - Started, 6 tackles (one for loss)

Washington Redskins: Defeated St. Louis, 9-7
TE Todd Yoder - Played but no stats recorded

New York Giants: Defeated Dallas, 33-31
LB Jonathan Goff - Played but no stats recorded

Johnson's Presser, Call-In Show Monday

by Barca Blog - Two quick Monday reminders...

*Coach Johnson will field questions from the press about this week's matchup vs. Rice today at noon CT. We will webcast the event live on

*The Bobby Johnson Call-In Show, presented by Martin and Zerfoss Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance, will be broadcast tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT inside the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. For out-of-towners, the show can be heard live on Click Here

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Players of the Game - MSU

by Barca Blog - Each week during the season, Vanderbilt's football staff recognizes outstanding player performances on the gridiron. Here's the list of honors for the Mississippi State game:

Offensive Player of the Game
LT Thomas Welch

Defensive Player of the Game
DT T.J. Greenstone

Specialist of the Game
P Brett Upson

Week 3 SEC Scores, Standings

Results - Saturday, September 19
Kentucky 31, Louisville 27
No. 4 Alabama 53, North Texas 7
No. 1 Florida 23, Tennessee 13
No. 9 LSU 31, LA-Lafayette 3
South Carolina 38, Florida Atlantic 16
No. 5 Ole Miss 52, SE Louisiana 6
Auburn 41, West Virginia 30
No. 23 Georgia 52, Arkansas 41

Updated Standings - SEC Record (Overall)
Eastern Division
Georgia 2-0 (2-1)
Florida 1-0 (3-0)
Kentucky 0-0 (2-0)
South Carolina 0-1 (2-1)
Tennessee 0-1 (1-2)
Vanderbilt 0-2 (1-2)

Western Division
Auburn 1-0 (3-0)
LSU 1-0 (3-0)
Miss. State 1-1 (2-1)
Alabama 0-0 (3-0)
Ole Miss 0-0 (2-0)
Arkansas 0-1 (1-1)

Soul searching after tough loss

by Barca Blog - "We got it handed to us tonight."

Those were Coach Johnson's first words to the press following his team's disappointing performance against Mississippi State Saturday evening.

And he was right. For whatever reason, the Commodores just never seemed to get it going, and before you knew it, the Bulldogs left Nashville as the unexpected victor.

"We just didn't have the edge that we needed," Johnson said following the 15-3 loss. "We didn't take advantage of the opportunities and we just weren't mentally tough enough."

As a fan, there's not much you can pull from a game like this, other than the defense did a courageous job to put the team in position to have success. The offense, on the other hand, just wasn't able to execute. Simply put, 157 yards of total offense won't cut it at this level, especially against a Bulldog team that allowed almost 600 yards to Auburn a week ago.

It's gut-check time for the Commodores (1-2, 0-2 SEC). Memories of last season's bowl heroics are in the past. We'll see how the team responds to adversity starting with their trip to Rice next Saturday.

"We have a lot of soul searching to do," Johnson added, "but we're not going to give up. We have a lot of football to play. Nobody in our locker room is going to give up. There are some low guys in there right now and they're going to come out of this and learn from tonight."

Go to to find out what the guys had to say after the game -- click here

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Your Saturday Tweets

by Barca Blog - Just browsed Twitter to see what fans are saying about the Commodores on gameday.. and posted a few of the comments below. Remember, you can follow my page @BarcaBlog and football score updates @VandyFootball

@HeatherScott64: hoping for NO RAIN.... headed to cheer on Vandy tonight! GO DORES!!!

@srschermerhorn: Tailgating for the Vandy tailgate in the garage with the kegerator. Vandy tonight and Titans tomorrow! Go Vandy!

@Russell_Kramer: On the road again - headed to Nashville - Vandy vs Miss St. here we go DORES!!!!

@CoachK8: Time to get ready for the Mississippi State/Vandy football game today!! Hope the rain stays away!

@Pellican12: Who's goin to the Vandy/Mississippi St. game this afternoon?? ME ME ME!!!

@johnessary: Bummed to miss @sarawatkins and @seancwatkins at the station inn tonight, but Vandy vs. Miss St. calls.

@sherrigarret: rain rain go away I want to see Vandy play...

Mississippi State Gameday Prep

Mississippi State (1-1, 0-1 SEC) at Vanderbilt (1-1, 0-1)

Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT, Walkup Tickets Available $50

Location: Vanderbilt Stadium (39,773) in Nashville, Tenn.

TV: FSN (Rathbun, Archer, Hildreth), ESPN GamePlan

Radio: 104.5 the Zone, XM 200, Sirius 214 (More affiliates)

Web: ESPN360 Webcast, Live Audio, Live Stats, Twitter

High 78/Low 69/60% Chance of Rain

MSU leads 11-7-2 (VU leads 6-4-2 in Nashville)

Last Meeting: MSU won 17-14 in 2008

Commodore Gameday Central:
Click Here

Other Games in the SEC:
Live Scores
Louisville at Kentucky, 11 a.m. CT (ESPNU)
North Texas at Alabama, 11:21 a.m. CT (SEC Network)
Tennessee at Florida, 2:30 p.m. CT (CBS )
Louisiana-Lafayette at LSU, 6 p.m. CT (ESPNU)
Florida Atlantic at South Carolina, 6 p.m. CT (PPV)
SE Louisiana at Ole Miss, 6:30 p.m. CT (CSS)
Georgia at Arkansas, 6:45 p.m. CT (ESPN)
West Virginia at Auburn, 6:45 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

Friday, September 18, 2009

MSU Gameday Entertainment Notes

by Barca Blog - If you're coming to the football game vs. Mississippi State Saturday, here are some things happening around the event that might be of interest to you. If you don't have tickets... what are you waiting for?


Vandyville: Pregame Pigskin Party opens at 3 p.m. CT (corner of Jess Neely and Natchez)

Star Walk: Cheer on the Commodores as they walk into the stadium at approx. 5 p.m. CT (outside South End Zone tunnel on Jess Neely)

National Anthem: Spirit of Gold

First Quarter

Women's Basketball Presentation: At the second media timeout, Coach Melanie Balcomb and her 2008-09 squad will be recognized for winning the SEC Tournament and getting to the NCAA Sweet 16.


Styx and Stones: Performance by the Spirit of Gold featuring the music of rock groups STYX and the Rolling Stones.

Men's Basketball Presentation: Maui Invitational officials will present the 2009-10 Commodores with a full-size, hand-crafted surfboard to help commemorate their trip to Maui in November.

Redemption Week

by Barca Blog - Last season, Mississippi State spoiled Vanderbilt’s 5-0 start and No. 13 national ranking in Starkville.

This time around, the ‘Dores will be looking for revenge in Nashville.

"It’s redemption week," co-captain Bradley Vierling said. "We want to redeem ourselves from last year. We’re fired up about this game and we owe them a lot.”

In 2008, Mississippi State took advantage of a bye week to change their defensive scheme. The plan worked as the Bulldogs limited the Commodores to a season-low 107 yards of total offense while forcing two critical turnovers in a 17-14 upset victory.

“Offensively, we were awful,” Vierling recalled. “Our defense did everything they could to put us into position to win that game and we didn't. It was solely on our shoulders last year that we lost that game.”

The loss marked the beginning of a four-game skid that eventually knocked the ‘Dores out of the national rankings. And while the team will look for retribution Saturday, they will also have to overcome the emotions of last week’s hard-fought defeat at No. 9 LSU that left several players banged up.

“I can’t tell you how angry this team is that we lost to LSU,” Vierling added. “We want to get our second win. We want to get back over .500 and back to our winning ways. That’s the first thing this team talked about in the locker room after the game.

“We’re just ready to go and play the next game, and get the next victory. We lost guys to injury which means other guys are going to have to step up and play well. We’re just excited and ready to go."

I’ll end this blog with the Video of the Day. Sure, it’s only Week 3, but Saturday’s game is critical to Commodores’ season. They need to get the W. So with that being said, here’s Foreigner’s hit-single from 1981 titled Urgent.

Commodore Time Machine - 1988

by Barca Blog - I'm back with another edition of the Commodore Time Machine.

The front of the 1988 media guide featured senior quarterback Eric Jones (It's Showtime!), who received preseason Heisman hype after leading the SEC and ranking in the nation's top 10 in total offense and passing efficiency the previous season.

Vanderbilt opened the year against Mississippi State at Dudley Field. Trailing 13-10 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Commodores went ahead when Jones hit senior receiver Boo Mitchell for a 48-yard touchdown pass.

The Bulldogs responded with a touchdown of its own, but Vanderbilt took the lead for good when Mitchell hauled in a 50-yard scoring strike, this time from junior quarterback (and current Commodore color analyst) John Gromos. Gromos' only play of the day proved to be the game-winner.

The Commodores used two late defensive stands in the final three minutes to hold off the Bulldogs, 24-20.

Jones went on to lead the SEC in total offense for the second consecutive year, while Mitchell earned All-American status after breaking what once was the conference career receiving yardage record (2,964).

Bonus: Here's an action shot of Gromos

Commodore home events this weekend

Women's Soccer vs. Tennessee-Martin
Friday, 7 p.m. CT, VU Soccer Complex
Vanderbilt (5-1-1) will look to extend its undefeated home record (5-0) against Tennessee-Martin (3-3) Friday night. This will be the first ever matchup between the schools on the soccer pitch. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for 17-and-under, and free for youth wearing their league soccer jersey to the game. Game Preview

M/W Cross Country - Commodore Classic
Saturday, 9 a.m. CT, Percy Warner Park
The Commodores will host a talented field this weekend including a number of teams from within the state in Austin Peay, Bethel, Lipscomb, Memphis, Rhodes, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and UT-Martin. The men’s 8000-meter race will begin at 9 a.m., while the women’s 5K will start at 10 a.m. Admission is free. Meet Preview

Football vs. Mississippi State
Saturday, 6 p.m. CT, Dudley Field
Vanderbilt (1-1, 0-1 SEC) will look for its first conference win of the season Saturday as they take on Mississippi State (1-1, 0-1). Tickets are $50, but you can take advantage of a $15 discount if you bring a canned food item to the McGugin Athletic Box office before 5 p.m. CT on Friday. If you already have tickets, we encourage you to donate canned food items at the stadium entrances in support of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. Also, please note that there will be closures on I-440 westbound between interstates 65 and 40. Gameday Central

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baseball recruiting class ranked No. 8

by SID Collegiate Baseball released its annual recruiting ranking this morning and the Commodores class is ranked No. 8. All 11 members of the class are in school and are getting ready for fall practice that starts next Tuesday.

Click here to see the full rankings.

Buggs to get first NFL start

by Barca Blog - Buffalo middle linebacker Marcus Buggs will get his first career start against Tampa Bay this Sunday.

The second-year pro will replace Paul Posluszny, who will be out six weeks after suffering a broken arm in the Bills' 25-24 loss at New England Monday.

"I'm ready for the opportunity," Buggs told the Buffalo News. "I'm totally confident in myself that I'll be able to handle it."

Buggs becomes the second former Commodore to move into a starting role this week. Hunter Hillenmeyer, a seven-year veteran with 56 career starts, will get the call at middle linebacker for Chicago after Brian Urlacher had season-ending wrist surgery.

"My job is not to go try to be Brian Urlacher," Hillenmeyer said to the Chicago Tribune, referring to the six-time Pro Bowler and defensive captain. "My job is to go play the best that I can. It's not my burden. It's the whole defense's burden when you lose a guy like him."

With Buggs and Hillenmeyer moving up the depth chart, the list of former Commodores currently starting in the NFL increases to five with four starting for the Bears (Jay Cutler, Chris Williams, Earl Bennett and Hillenmeyer).

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Running just as fast as we can, continued

by Barca Blog - Since I used some lyrics from a Tiffany song in the title of the last blog, I thought it was only right to post the video.

In the late-80's, it was either Tiffany or Debbie Gibson. You were on one side or the other (sort of like Tupac and Biggie a decade later).

Their heated rivalry extended into a tour of shopping malls across America. I was never really sure who won the battle in the the end as both artists faded into the dark after their short stint in the spotlight.

To let the record be known, I was in Tiffany's corner... and am not afraid to admit it. Here's the video of the day:

Running just as fast as we can

by Barca Blog - With the emergence of freshmen Zac Stacy and Warren Norman plus the improvement of redshirt junior Kennard Reeves, finding enough carries for Vanderbilt's talented tailbacks seems to be a good problem to have.

Let's start with Stacy. The Centreville, Ala., native has been a rock as the first option out of the backfield, leading the team with 40 rushes and a touchdown for 222 yards (5.6 per carry). His 20 carries against LSU was the most by a Commodore against an SEC team since Cassen Jackson-Garrison ran 23 times for 119 yards against Ole Miss on September 15, 2007.

"(Zac) is one of those guys that has a nack for making great cuts at the right time," head coach Bobby Johnson said. "At the same time, he is physical enough that he can take the pounding and break tackles."

Reeves has earned increased playing time in 2009 by displaying his ability to run hard and hit the hole. The Duluth, Ga., native has already surpassed his career total in carriers and yardage in just two games this season. He's accumulated 97 yards on 12 rushes, which averages out to an outstanding 8.1 yards per rush.

Norman burst onto the collegiate scene with 18 touches for 105 yards and two scores in the opener against Western Carolina. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native didn't get a carry in Baton Rouge but did contribute on the kickoff return unit.

With three healthy options fighting for playing time, it can only raise the intensity during game week preparations.

"That's what competition does for you," Johnson said. "Hopefully, everybody works hard at practice to earn the right to get in there and play the game. Kennard did and that's why we put him in there (against LSU) and he responded. It's the same reason Warren got in the first game, and Zac's been in there both games. They've earned the opportunity."

Point of Attack: As a team, Vanderbilt is averaging 277.5 rushing yards per game so far, good for ninth in the NCAA. The Commodores will face a Mississippi State team that allowed 390 rushing yards in its 49-24 loss at Auburn last week. Establishing an attack on the ground against the Bulldogs will be critical if the Commodores' plan to earn their first conference win on Saturday.

"When you run the football," Johnson stated, "the other team just has to sit in there and figure out ways to stop you. It's just demoralizing if you're the defense because there's nothing you can do about it, and that grates on you."

Hawkins Returns: Jared Hawkins, VU's leading rusher from a year ago, returned to practice Tuesday after missing the first two games with a sore foot. His status for this weekend is TBD.

SEC Football Week 3 Matchups

Louisville (1-0) at Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
TV: ESPNU (Clay Matvick, David Diaz-Infante)
11 a.m. CT

North Texas (1-1) at Alabama (2-0, 0-0)
TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Andre Ware, Cara Capuano)
11:21 a.m. CT

Tennessee (1-1, 0-0) at Florida (2-0, 1-0)
TV: CBS (Vern Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
2:30 p.m. CT

La. Lafayette (2-0) at LSU (2-0, 1-0)
TV: ESPNU (Eric Collins, Brock Huard, Quint Kessenich)
6 p.m. CT

Mississippi State (1-1, 0-1) at Vanderbilt (1-1, 0-1)
TV: FSN (Bob Rathbun, Dave Archer, Jenn Hildreth)
6 p.m. CT

Florida Atlantic (0-1) at South Carolina (1-1, 0-1)
6 p.m. CT

SE Louisiana (2-0) at Ole Miss (1-0, 0-0)
TV: CSS (Doug Bell, JC Pearson)
6:30 p.m. CT

Georgia (1-1, 1-0) at Arkansas (1-0, 0-0)
TV: ESPN (Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge, Erin Andrews)
6:45 p.m. CT

West Virginia (2-0) at Auburn (2-0, 1-0)
TV: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Bob Davie)
6:45 p.m. CT

Video: Special ticket offer

by Barca Blog - Find out how you can get a ticket to the Mississippi State game at a reduced price while supporting a great cause - click here for details.

Watch a video message from wide receiver Alex Washington:

MBB sets game times, non-conference TV

By A. Boggs - Times for most of the men's basketball non-conference games have been set for the upcoming season - see the link here for the complete schedule, with times and television.

The Commodores will appear on the ESPN family of networks three times in Maui and once at home against Missouri (8:30 p.m. CT, ESPNU). Other non-conference games slated for television include VU's game at Illinois (7:30 p.m. CT, Big Ten Network), and home games with Southern Miss (2 p.m. CT, FSN) and MTSU (8 p.m. CT, FSN).

All weeknight home games not being televised will begin at 7 p.m., and all Saturday home contests not set for TV will tip at 3 p.m.

Games that will begin at 7 p.m. include the Commodores' exhibition with Alabama Huntsville on November 10, a home contest with Lipscomb at 7 p.m., and home games in December against Mercer (Dec. 21) and Manhattan (Dec. 30). Games tipping off at 3 p.m. include a matchup at Memorial Gym with DePaul on December 5 and a game with Tennessee State on December 19.

The only two games without game times are at St. Mary's on November 20 and the game against Western Kentucky at the Sommet Center on December 11. As soon as that information becomes available, we'll pass that information along.

For now, Vanderbilt will appear on television in 23 out of 30 regular season games, with 13 games being aired on the ESPN family of networks. The Commodores will appear on the SEC Network four times, FSN three times, and CSS twice this season.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Injury Updates

by Barca Blog - While I mentioned the loss of safety Ryan Hamilton and offensive tackle James Williams yesterday, here’s an update from Coach Johnson on the status of defensive back Jamie Graham (sprained ankle), tailback Jared Hawkins (sore foot) and defensive back Eric Samuels (sprained ankle) as the Commodores prepare for Mississippi State.

“Jamie’s injury is the same one that’s been bothering him," Johnson said. "Hopefully he can get settled down and get back in there. We had a situation where we had to put freshman Eddie Foster in the game at LSU and move Casey (Hayward) over to Jamie’s position at nickel. Casey did a fantastic job, so we have that option.

“Obviously, we’d like to be able to get veteran guys in there, and if Jamie’s 100 percent or can perform, we’d like to get him in there, but it’s got to be where he’s ready to go.”

“Jared Hawkins status hasn’t changed. They’re working him out to see if he can tolerate it. If so, he may get some practice time this week. It’s just one of those injuries that’s hard to tell. Even when he starts feeling better, you don’t know if he can go full speed. It’s a strange injury.

“On Eric Samuels, you never know until you get out and run. He’ll probably do some of that Monday. We’ll see how it goes.”

Graham sprained his ankle on a kickoff return to close the second quarter at LSU. Samuels was sidelined last Saturday after suffering his injury against Western Carolina. Hawkins has missed both games. All three Commodores will be tested during drills this week with their playing status still to be determined for Mississippi State.

Senior safety Joel Caldwell should get the first shot at replacing Hamilton, although Johnson mentioned a possible rotation at that position depending on the defensive situation. Reilly Lauer, Caleb Welchans and Kyle Fischer are the options to start in Williams’ absence.

“We’re going to have to rely on the depth we tried to build over the past few years,” Johnson added. “The people that went in for the injured in the last game did fairly well. When you start getting them prepared all week and getting them involved in more reps at practice, I think they’ll be even better. It’s an opportunity for somebody to come up. We’ve got to overcome a little adversity here and I think our guys know that. Hopefully it will pick up and those guys will come through. That’s why they’re here and it’s their turn.”

Coach Johnson's challenge

by Barca Blog - We had a very loud and active crowd for the home opener against Western Carolina two weeks ago... and Coach Johnson's looking for a repeat performance from the Commodore Nation against Mississippi State this Saturday.

"If we can make it loud, it makes it tougher on the opponent to run their offense," Johnson said during his call-in show on Monday night. "My charge to our fans would be to make it loud. Forty-thousand fans can be just as loud as 90,000 especially in our stadium since we're right down on the field."

If you haven't purchased your Mississippi State tickets yet, make sure you take advantage of a great offer. In support of the SEC's Together We Can initiative, Vanderbilt fans that bring in a canned food item to the McGugin Center Ticket Office by Friday have the option to purchase a ticket for a reduced price of $35 ($15 off face value). If you already have tickets, please bring canned food items to the game to be donated to Middle Tennessee food banks. More Info

Also, you can listen to a replay of last night's call-in show at this link.

NFL Week 1 Recap

by Barca Blog - Check out how these former Commodores performed in Week 1 of the 2009 NFL season:

Chicago Bears: Lost to Green Bay, 21-15
QB Jay Cutler - 17-36 passing, 277 yds, TD, 4 Int
LB Hunter Hillenmeyer - 2 tackles
OL Chris Williams - Started at right tackle
WR Earl Bennett - 7 rec, 66 yds (long of 21)
DB D.J. Moore - Inactive

Tennessee Titans: Lost to Pittsburgh, 13-10
DT Jovan Haye - 4 tackles

Buffalo Bills: Lost to New England, 25-24
LB Marcus Buggs - 1 tackle

Washington Redskins: Lost to NY Giants, 23-17
TE Todd Yoder - Played but no stats recorded

New York Giants: Defeated Washington, 23-17
LB Jonathan Goff - Played but no stats recorded

September issue of Commodore Nation

By Ryan Schulz - The September issue of Commodore Nation is now available online by clicking below. You can toggle between pages by clicking the arrows or you can zoom into the document by clicking it.

Included among other things in this issue are stories on Philadelphia natives Ryan Hamilton and Bradley Vierling, Vanderbilt's strength, speed and conditioning director John Sisk, the stability of Vanderbilt's football coaching staff and a Q&A with soccer player Megan Forester.

To view more archived issues, here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More on Hamilton

by Barca Blog - Take a few minutes to read VUcommodores' story on injured co-captain Ryan Hamilton. Hamilton's presence on the field will be missed. The senior safety has played a huge role in turning around the 'Dores program the last few years. Hopefully he'll be able to return for a sixth season, if he wishes to apply for a medical redshirt.

Also, we've posted video and quotes from today's press conference with Coach Johnson, Larry Smith and Bradley Vierling... so click here to start preparing for Mississippi State week.

Hamilton, Williams lost for season

by Barca Blog - Terrible news to report out of Coach Johnson’s Monday press conference

Redshirt sophomore right tackle James Williams and senior safety and co-captain Ryan Hamilton will miss the rest of the 2009 season after sustaining injuries in the loss to LSU last Saturday.

“James Williams, who has worked extremely hard to be a starter for us on the offensive line will be out with a dislocated ankle,” Johnson said.

“Ryan Hamilton has torn a pectoral muscle near his arm and will be out for the rest of the year. I think Ryan is an All-SEC caliber safety. He had a great year last year, and he started off with a great game against Western Carolina. He actually played about a quarter and a half with his muscle torn off his humerus bone against LSU, so that tells you how tough he is. He’s a captain for us and his injury is going to be really tough to deal with. I just want to let him know that we’re all thinking about him and also James.”

No word yet on if Hamilton will apply for a sixth season via medical redshirt. Johnson said the university would probably make that petition and Hamilton would probably have a good case to come back if he chooses to, and if NCAA approves it.

Both players will undergo surgery this week.

Campbell dismissed from football team

Redshirt junior Nate Campbell, a two-year letterwinner at linebacker, has been dismissed from the squad for violating university rules. He is no longer enrolled at Vanderbilt.

Campbell, who left preseason camp as a second team linebacker, did not play in either of the first two games.

Campbell played 25 career games, contributing 16 total tackles.

Week 3 - Game Notes and Depth Charts

by Barca Blog - I just posted Vanderbilt's and Mississippi State's game notes and depth charts on our Gameday Central page. Go here and look at the drop down menu underneath the team logos.

As you know, redshirt sophomore right tackle James Williams is out indefinitely with a broken ankle. The depth chart has either redshirt freshman Caleb Welchans or redshirt junior Reilly Lauer starting in his place. Jeff Lockridge from The Tennessean reported yesterday that redshirt sophomore Kyle Fischer could be in the mix as well. Lauer and Fischer would be switching from guard, although both played tackle last season.

Also, senior safety Ryan Hamilton is not listed on the depth chart after suffering an injury against LSU. Seniors Joel Caldwell and Brent Trice are the key candidates to replace Hamilton. Trice, who currently starts at linebacker, began his Commodore career as a safety, so if he makes the move, expect junior John Stokes to start at linebacker.

I'll let you know if I find out any more info on Hamilton's injury after Coach Johnson's press conference, which you can watch live on at noon CT.

Players of the Game - LSU

by Barca Blog - Each week during the season, Vanderbilt's football staff recognizes outstanding player performances on the gridiron. Here's the list of honors for the LSU game:

Offensive Player of the Game
OL Bradley Vierling

Defensive Player of the Game
DB Casey Hayward

Specialist of the Game
S Joel Caldwell

Scout Offensive Player of the Week
OL Wesley Johnson

Scout Defensive Player of the Week
DL Thad McHaney

Johnson's Presser, Call-In Show Monday

by Barca Blog - Two quick Monday reminders...

*Coach Johnson will field questions from the press about this week's matchup vs. Mississippi State today at noon CT. We will webcast the event live on

*The Bobby Johnson Call-In Show, presented by Martin and Zerfoss Insurance and Auto-Owners Insurance, will be broadcast tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT inside the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. For out-of-towners, the show can be heard live on Click Here

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Defense buckles down in 2nd half

by Barca Blog - Even with a banged-up unit (see previous blog), Vanderbilt's defense put up an impressive second half showing in the Commodores' 23-9 loss to LSU Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

"We came out of the locker room at the half knowing that we needed to stop them in order for us to win," said sophomore cornerback Casey Hayward. "We just wanted to give our offense a chance."

The defense did just that.

Trailing 16-7 midway through the third quarter, Vanderbilt forced the Tigers into three consecutive three-and-outs deep in their own territory. Hayward contributed tackles for loss on each of those possessions while two series ended with sacks by Patrick Benoist (one assisted by Brent Trice). Unfortunately, the offense wasn't able to capitalize on the field position and the momentum.

Overall, Vanderbilt limited LSU to only 94 yards of total offense and seven points in the second half after giving up 232 yards and 16 points in the first half.

"We just went out there and played 100 percent, full-speed," said linebacker Chris Marve, who had 11 tackles and a forced fumble. "With the injuries to our team, the second string just came out and played their hearts out."

Worth Noting

Hayward had an outstanding night in only his second career start. The Elko, Ga., native led the team with a career-best 13 tackles, including a career-high four tackles for loss.

"Casey's a very versatile player and doesn't mind mixing it up," head coach Bobby Johnson said. "He's a good player, which is just what we expected out of him."

(AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Missed opportunities

by Barca Blog - While inclement weather wreaked havoc on both team's inside Tiger Stadium Saturday night, lack of execution ultimately doomed Vanderbilt's upset bid of No. 9 LSU.

Each error -- from costly penalties, to dropped balls, to fumbled snaps, to subpar special teams play, to not converting 3rd downs while giving up key ones -- factored into the 23-9 loss and proved to be too much to overcome.

"There’s no excuse for the way we played," quarterback Larry Smith said when asked about the sloppy conditions. “We did a poor job of executing. We had several opportunities to get back in the game but we just failed to."

"Overall, it wasn't any one thing or any one person," head coach Bobby Johnson stated, "but just some opportunities that we didn't take advantage of. It seemed like so many little things happened that went against us, or things that we could have done better to give us a better chance to win the game."

The Commodores were penalized 7 times for 52 yards highlighted by two 15-yard facemask calls on the Tigers' first touchdown drive. On third-down conversions, Vanderbilt was just 4-of-15 partly due to a couple of dropped passes that would have moved the chains. On the other hand, LSU was 9-of-17 in those situations.

“We really shot ourselves in the foot," defensive end Broderick Stewart said. "I remember at least two or three third-and-longs where we had a chance to get them off the field. The two facemask penalties hurt us... You can’t have penalties when you play a good team.”

"It's frustrating," tailback Zac Stacy added. "I think we should have come out with a win. It just goes back to not executing plays. Emotionally and mentally it was a heartbreaker... but you can’t take anything away from LSU. They're a very good football team and really athletic on defense.”

Commodores suffer key losses

by Barca Blog - Head football coach Bobby Johnson commented on the injuries to sophomore right tackle James Williams and senior safety Ryan Hamilton following the Commodores' 23-9 loss at LSU.

"James has a broken ankle," Johnson told Joe Fisher during Vanderbilt's postgame radio show. "That's just tough for him because he's worked so hard to be ready to play this year. He was doing a really fine job. Somebody is going to have to step up and take over.

"On Ryan, I'm really afraid that he may be hurt significantly, but we'll just see how it goes. I think his bicep is hurt. If it's torn, I don't know how long that would be, if he comes back at all."

Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Caleb Welchans replaced Williams in the late third quarter while seniors Joel Caldwell and Brent Trice spent time at safety for the entire second half. Defensive starters Sean Richardson, Jamie Graham, and Patrick Benoist also suffered injuries but later returned to action.

With major gaps to fill, especially in the secondary, Johnson had to dig deep into his bench throughout the game.

“We were jerry-rigging that thing (on defense)," Johnson added. "We had linebackers at safety and safeties at linebacker... and we had a freshman playing corner (Eddie Foster). You don’t have a long shelf life when you are doing that. LSU caught up with it and did a good job of controlling the ball. They kept us off the field offensively and that was the ballgame.”

To listen to complete postgame interviews, click here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pregame photos at LSU

by Barca Blog - Here are some photos I took of the 'Dores when they arrived at Tiger Stadium two hours ago.

Remember, you can keep up with tonight's game at Commodore Gameday Central. Also, we'll provide score updates on Twitter @VandyFootball with notes @BarcaBlog.

Click the images below to enlarge.

We are... McConaughey

by Barca Blog - First star sighting in Baton Rouge! Actor Matthew McConaughey is in the house to watch tonight's matchup between Vanderbilt and LSU.

The Hollywood star was jeered by the Tigers student section for wearing a burnt orange Texas polo to the game. When he was given an LSU shirt to wear, the avid Longhorn fan opted to keep his current look to stay loyal to his alma mater.

I did my best TMZ impersonation and grabbed the above photo (click image for bigger picture). Enjoy!

WBB kicks off 2009 Kidney Walk

By Weinman - It may be game day for the football team down in Baton Rouge, but the Commodore women's basketball team is still two months away from tipping off its season. Student-athletes and support staff still were up bright and early on Saturday to volunteer at the 10th Annual Nashville Kidney Walk at River Park in Brentwood.

The team hosted shooting contests on the basketball court, giving away T-shirts and logo basketballs while interacting with many of those who gathered to participate in the fundraising event. The walk raised money for the National Kidney Foundation while raising awareness to the need for organ donation and kidney disease prevention. Recent studies indicate that kidney disease is on the rise and as many as 26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease.

Click here to see a photo gallery from Saturday's Nashville Kidney Walk

The Nashville community has always been integral in the Commodores' success (Vanderbilt went 7-0 against SEC opponents last year in front of the home crowd at Memorial Gymnasium) and opportunities to give back by volunteering in the off-season are especially important to the team.

Tidbits before kickoff

by Barca Blog - Some numbers from both team's game notes to get you ready for kickoff:

  • After week one, Vanderbilt's offense ranks among the NCAA leaders in rushing (2nd), total offense (4th) and scoring (T-18). The Commodores 433 rushing yards was the most since 1978.

  • Vanderbilt is 14-4 in September since 2005 and has won seven straight in the month dating back to a 24-10 loss to Alabama in 2007.

  • Vanderbilt is looking for its first victory in Tiger Stadium since 1951.

  • In the last three seasons, Vanderbilt has beaten five nationally-ranked opponents, including three last year. LSU comes into the game ranked N0. 9 USA Today/No. 11 AP.

  • Vanderbilt senior receiver Alex Washington will face two former prep teammates now starting on the LSU defense -- linebackers Perry Riley and Kelvin Sheppard. All three attended Stephenson H.S. in Stone Mountain, Ga.

  • Vanderbilt freshman cornerback Trey Wilson is the only Commodore from Louisiana (Shreveport, Evangel Christian Academy).

  • LSU has won 30 consecutive Saturday night games at Tiger Stadium. The streak dates back to the 2002 season (last loss: Alabama 31-0).

  • LSU will try to snap a 4-game SEC losing streak carried over from 2008.

  • LSU has won 17-straight games on the ESPN family of networks since losing to Tennessee in 2005. Vanderbilt was 5-2 on ESPN networks in 2008.

  • LSU sophomore Jordan Jefferson is the youngest starting quarterback in the conference. Last week vs. Washington, Jefferson became the youngest Tiger QB to start an opener since Y.A. Tittle in 1945.
  • Gameday Prep

    Vanderbilt at LSU - 6 p.m. CT

    Tiger Stadium (92,400) in Baton Rouge, La.

    TV: ESPNU - Eric Collins, Brock Huard, and Quint Kessenich

    Radio: 104.5 the Zone, XM 198, Sirius 216 (More affiliates)

    Web: Live Audio, Live Stats, Twitter (Not on

    Weather: High 82/Low 72/60% Chance of rain

    Series: LSU leads 20-7-1 (10-1-1 at Tiger Stadium)

    Commodore Gameday Central: Click Here

    Other Games in the SEC: Live Scores
    Troy at Florida, 11:21 a.m. CT (SEC Network)
    UCLA at Tennessee, 3 p.m. CT (ESPN)
    South Carolina at Georgia, 6 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
    FIU at Alabama, 6 p.m. CT, (PPV, ESPN GamePlan)
    Mississippi State at Auburn, 6 p.m. CT (FSN)

    Mike the Tiger's status: questionable

    by Barca Blog - Mike the Tiger may not make it to LSU's home opener on Saturday, reports USA Today.

    Apparently, Mike VI has been unwilling of late to get into the trailer that takes him from his on-campus habitat to Tiger Stadium.

    The famed Bengal Tiger is a fixture on gameday. LSU's official site,, describes his pregame activities as the following:

    Mike's ride through Tiger Stadium before home games in a cage topped by the LSU cheerleaders is a school tradition. Before entering the stadium, his cage on wheels is parked next to the opponent's locker room in the southeast end of the stadium. Opposing players must make their way past Mike's cage to reach their locker room.

    Tradition dictates that for every growl elicited by Mike before a football game, the Tigers will score a touchdown that night.

    Learn more about Mike by visiting this link. (Photo courtesy of