Four quarterbacks have played for the Vanderbilt Commodores this season. Sophomore Patton Robinette has proven to be the most effective during the limited time he’s been at the helm of the offense.
However, Robinette is recovering from a concussion and won’t start Saturday against the Missouri Tigers despite being cleared to play.
Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason already made 10 changes at the quarterback position through seven games. Freshman Wade Freebeck started last weekend against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers. Freedbeck was 5-of-7 passing for 20 yards before suffering a finger injury during the Commodores’ narrow 21-20 over the FCS program.
Freshman Johnny McCrary took over for Freebeck and played relatively well. The two then competed during practice this week to be the team’s starter. McCrary eventually won the opportunity to start this Saturday.
“When I step on the field, I can only do my best,” McCrary told The Tennessean‘s Adam Sparks Wednesday. “If my best isn’t good enough, I’ll take myself out of the game. You can tell if you’re not moving this team, but I want to stay tough and maybe something special will happen.”
If McCary doesn’t play at his best, he won’t have to pull himself. Mason has proven he’s more than willing to make changes at the position. Now that Robinette is healthy, McCrary could very well be on a short leash.
Derek Mason has made his first major decision as the new head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores.
The team’s quarterback competition is over. Mason was able to differentiate between redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary, senior Stephen Rivers and sophomore Patton Robinette with nine days remaining before the start of the season.
The result of the competition was announced on twitter:
Robinette played in nine games last year with one start. He threw for 642 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. He also added 214 rushing yards.
“I’m excited for Patton as we prepare this team for the season opener next Thursday,” Mason said in a statement. “Patton has really made strides and consistently improved from the spring to now. I believe he has worked to earn this opportunity.”
The wording within the tweet from the team is interesting. Robinette was named the starter for the team’s opener against the Temple Owls. It doesn’t necessarily mean Robinette will be the team’s starting quarterback for the entire season. If Robinette struggles during the first few weeks of play, Mason may insert either Rivers or McCrary into the starting lineup.
“We have three solid guys at the position now, along with the talented freshmen” Mason said. “Johnny and Stephen are very capable quarterbacks and both worked hard to make a strong case for the starting role. They made this a difficult decision.”
With Vanderbilt officially naming its starting quarterback for opening weekend, we’re still waiting on a decision from two more SEC teams.
You’re up Alabama and LSU.
(Hat Tip: Washington Post)
Vanderbilt has never won bowl games in consecutive seasons, but they are well on their way to doing just that with a big halftime lead in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Vanderbilt owns a 24-0 lead over Houston and has held the Cougars to just 23 offensive yards.
Jordan Matthews caught a pass on the left side of the field to Patton Roinette and sprinted down field with a blocker ahead of him for a 50-yard touchdown just five minutes in to the game. Later in the half Robinette ran in from eight yards out for his second touchdown of the quarter to give Vanderbilt a 14-0 lead while the Houston offense was forced to punt on eight out of nine offensive possessions in the half. The only time Houston did not punt the football away the drive ended with a lost fumble. In the second quarter Matthews added another 50-yard touchdown reception and has 143 receiving yards on five catches.
Vanderbilt kicker Carey Spear kicked a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter to extend the lead to 17-0. With the kick, Spear became Vanderbilt’s single-season scoring record holder with 93 points. Jack Jenkins had held the record since 1941.
It is hard to say what Houston needs to do in the second half to even make a game of this one. Nothing has worked on either side of the football.
Vanderbilt quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels will miss the BBVA Compass Bowl. Head coach James Franklin confirmed Carta-Samuels suffered a torn ACL in a game against Georgia in October and underwent surgery at the end of November. Freshman Patton Robinette will take over under center for the bowl game.
“That guy made the ultimate commitment to his team,” Franklin said, according to the Associated Press. “He’s had his surgery and will be back for pro day.”
Carta-Samuels played in 10 games this season, completing 68.7 percent of his passes for 2,268 yards with 11 touchdowns. His leadership on Vanderbilt’s roster was never in doubt and he was one of the most respected players on his team.
Carta-Samuels actually returned to the team for the final three games of the year with a brace on his knee. Franklin said a discussion about holding off on the surgery until after the bowl game against Houston could be possible, but doctors informed them that would require Carta-Samuels to miss out on potential pro workouts. Looking for a more long-term solution, it was decided it would be best for Carta-Samuels to have the surgery at the end of the regular season to allow for more rehab time to be in the bets shape possible when the NFL scouts start taking looks for potential draft picks.
Vanderbilt offensive line coach Herb Hand shared a message of support for Carta-Samuels on Twitter…
Robinette appeared in nine games this season. He completed 58 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and three interceptions and 488 yards. He also rushed for 177 yards and six touchdowns, so he should be capable of giving Vanderbilt some production on offense against Houston on January 4, 2014.
About an hour or so before the game kicked off it was confirmed Texas A&M would have starting quarterback Johnny Manziel ready to go, and boy was he ever ready to go. Manziel has thrown three touchdowns and has been very accurate with his throws as Texas A&M leads Vanderbilt 28-17 at the half in College Station.
Manziel had to be treated by the Texas A&M medical staff briefly last week but eventually return to give the Aggies a shot at getting the last strike against Auburn in a back-and-forth game. The one drive that ended up really costing Texas A&M last week may have been the one drive Manziel missed, but this weekend is a much different outlook. Texas A&M has been in from control against Vanderbilt, fresh off a home win over Georgia last week.
Manziel tossed three touchdowns to three different receivers in the first quarter, with Mike Evans and a 43-yard scoring play serving as the top highlight of the quarter. Texas A&M extended the lead to 28-0 on a Trey Williams touchdown run early in the second quarter and then Vanderbilt started to find some offense.
A short field goal by Carey Spear got Vandy on the board and minutes later Patton Robinette tossed a 30-yard strike to Jonathan Krause for a touchdown. Vanderbilt then added a late touchdown before halftime when Jerron Seymour worked his way in to the end zone from four yards out.
Texas A&M’s defense has been a problem all season, and Vanderbilt appears to have found something to work with on offense. Vanderbilt has all of the momentum right now but did they dig a hole too deep to climb out of? It is unlikely Manziel is silent in the second half, so Vanderbilt could still have their work cut out for them.