Vanderbilt released its week four depth chart on Tuesday. Outside of the offensive line, which we will get to in just a moment, most of the changes were due solely to injuries and not play.
Depth Chart changes from last week:
WR: Kris Kentera and Latevious Rayford continue to battle for the starting WR2 position, which is really good news as we watched Rayford go down last week with what looked like an apparent shoulder injury. From a depth perspective, Darius Sims and Caleb Scott appear to be battling for that back up WR1 spot. Also - Ronald Monroe has broken into the depth chart after seeing action last week for the first time. This is exciting to hear after the glowing practice remarks we heard from the spring and fall.
O-Line: The O-Line continues to struggle to help get the running game going with Ralph Webb only getting 54 yards last week. Not much has changed other than Blake Fromang and Justin Skule at RT. Delando Crooks has been listed as backup for Barrett Gouger at RG but we should see both play a healthy dose until we can get some consistency from the position. With the formidable D-Line that Ole Miss presents, the big boys up front need to be at their peak.
TE: In the most disappointing news of the week, DeAndre Woods has torn his ACL and is out for the year. While not listed high on the depth chart, DeAndre saw plenty of action in the first three games and was becoming an integral part of the team. With Jared Pinkney still not on the depth chart, we may see more Kyle Anderton or Nathan Marcus lined up in the hybrid TE position. On the plus side, Steven Scheu, while held out last week, has cleared concussion protocols and will be available this week.
The biggest change to the defensive side of the ball is the absence of Nigel Bowden from the depth chart. Bowden is still recovering from a concussion he suffered in the Georgia game and as of this afternoon's press conference, has not cleared concussion protocol. Losing Bowden against Austin Peay was manageable. Losing our best LB against Ole Miss is frustrating. While he as not been ruled out for this week, the chances do not look good for Bowden to be fully cleared by game day. In his place, Zach Cunningham will be tasked to continue his fantastic sophomore campaign with Khari Blasingame and Ja'karri Thomas backing him up.
Additionally, while Emmanuel Smith was not dressed for last week, he is still listed as the one of the two Nickel Safety starters along with Arnold Tarpley and has moved into an "Or" position as the 2nd string Strong Safety.
Last week we saw Torren McGaster take over as the primary punt returner and did a good job handling the punts with good vision and a good burst of speed.
New True Freshman who played last week:
DE: Dare Odeyingbo
What to Look For This Week:
Who steps up as an relief valve for Johnny McCrary. Sherfied's record breaking performance means he will be getting alot of attention from the Rebel defense. The question is who will step up to be a reliable pass catcher when McCrary finds himself under pressure. Can Steven Scheu/Nathan Marcus get over their below average start to the season? Will Caleb Scott step up to play a bigger role? Do we see Kyle Anderton step into the spotlight?
On the defensive side of the ball, do we see a big drop off in the LB core or will the depth that was talked about all off season remain and be a force? What kind of rotation will we see to keep the front seven fresh and make sure communication does not fall off?