Through the magic of video games, the Vanderbilt Commodores roster has turned back to 2018. Unfortunately, the schedule deviates heavily in ways that I cannot control. The roster is also limited to 70 players by the restrictions imposed by EA Sports, so not even all scholarship players are on the roster. The available players and their overalls, with editing done by the folks at Operation Sports in this thread, are below.
|Kyle Shurmur||QB||87||SR||Dayo Odeyingbo||LE||76||SO|
|Allan Walters||QB||73||FR||Luis Vecchio||LE||76||SR (RS)|
|Mo Hasan||QB||73||SO (RS)||Kade Mayle||LE||71||SR|
|Ke'Shawn Vaughn||HB||89||JR (RS)||Dare Odeyingbo||RE||82||SR|
|Khari Blasingame||HB||86||SR (RS)||Rutger Reitmaier||RE||75||FR (RS)|
|Jamauri Wakefield||HB||73||SO (RS)||Stone Edwards||RE||69||FR (RS)|
|Josh Crawford||HB||70||JR (RS)||Cameron Tidd||DT||72||SO (RS)|
|Ja'Veon Marlow||HB||69||FR||Drew Birchmeier||DT||72||SO (RS)|
|Jaire George||FB||74||JR (RS)||Josiah Sa'o||DT||70||SO (RS)|
|Kalija Lipscomb||WR||88||JR||Darion DeBrossard||DT||69||JR (RS)|
|Chris Pierce||WR||78||SO||Charles Wright||LOLB||86||SR (RS)|
|Donaven Tennyson||WR||77||JR||Caleb Peart||LOLB||76||JR (RS)|
|Cam Johnson||WR||77||FR||Andre Mintze||LOLB||75||SO (RS)|
|CJ Bolar||WR||77||FR||Salua Masina||LOLB||74||FR|
|Trey Ellis||WR||77||SR (RS)||Josh Smith||ROLB||82||SR|
|James Bostic||WR||70||FR (RS)||Kenny Hebert||ROLB||78||SO (RS)|
|Amir Abdur-Rahman||WR||69||FR||Michael Owusu||ROLB||75||FR (RS)|
|Jared Pinkney||TE||88||JR (RS)||Jordan Griffin||MLB||84||SR|
|Sam Dobbs||TE||76||SR||Dimitri Moore||MLB||78||SO|
|Cody Markel||TE||74||SO (RS)||Colin Anderson||MLB||78||FR (RS)|
|Gavin Schoenwald||TE||73||FR||Brayden DeVault-Smith||MLB||77||FR (RS)|
|Ben Bresnahan||TE||70||FR||Alston Orji||MLB||76||FR|
|Justin Skule||LT||86||SR||Joejuan Williams||CB||90||SR (RS)|
|Jared Southers||LT||77||JR (RS)||Donovan Sheffield||CB||78||SR|
|Cole Clemens||LG||81||SO||Randall Haynie||CB||76||FR (RS)|
|Saige Young||LG||81||JR||Elijah Hamilton||CB||75||SO (RS)|
|Egidio DellaRippa||C||82||SR (RS)||Tre Douglas||CB||74||FR|
|Grant Miller||C||74||FR (RS)||Allan George||CB||70||FR (RS)|
|Dan Dawkins||C||73||FR||LaDarius Wiley||FS||86||SR (RS)|
|Bruno Reagan||RG||87||SR (RS)||Frank Coppet||FS||77||SO (RS)|
|Sean McMoore||RG||74||SO (RS)||Dashaun Jerkins||FS||71||FR|
|Devin Cochran||RT||80||SO (RS)||Tae Daley||SS||77||SO|
|Bryce Bailey||RT||74||FR (RS)||Max Worship||SS||76||FR|
|Ryley Guay||K||78||JR||Brendon Harris||SS||75||FR|
|Parker Thome||P||78||SR (RS)|
It should be noted that I made a few changes if you download the roster file for your own entertainment. Alex Stump, Zaire Jones, Alim Muhammad, and Josh Higgins were all in the original file but were replaced with James Bostic, Dashaun Jerkins, Allan George, and Ben Bresnahan since the 4 former players all had minimal impacts while the others were young players set to have an impact in the future. I tried to alter the overalls to a reasonable level, but these were the only changes I made to ratings. Stump and Muhammad were both massively overrated at 77 and 78 overall, too. We could get into some other players that are probably overrated, but I am not going to get into how to nitpick which attributes needed to be boosted or dropped, much less in an attempt to result in the “right” overall.
The roster has some quibbles, but the schedule is a complete crapshoot. As I mentioned in the original post, EA Sports has the SEC playing a 9-game conference schedule. I also have no way to edit any of conference games. You all wanted the schedule to be as close to reality as possible, but it did not end up being very close. Middle Tennessee was not an option during any of my non-conference weeks. Oh, and the game scheduled me to start the season with 3 straight road games within the conference. Notre Dame was available for Week 4, which is only a week later than reality. Nevada got bumped to Week 7. None of the games fall on the right week. The SEC opponents are the same except for the extra game against Mississippi State, though only Tennessee, Missourah, and Arkansas occur at the right stadium. Here is the full schedule.
|Week 1||at Ole Miss|
|Week 2||at Arkansas|
|Week 3||at South Carolina|
|Week 4||at #12 Notre Dame|
|Week 5||vs #18 Mississippi State|
|Week 6||at Missouri|
|Week 7||vs Nevada|
|Week 8||vs #3 Georgia|
|Week 11||at Florida|
|Week 12||vs Kentucky|
|Week 13||vs Tennessee|
|Week 14||vs Georgia Tech|
Yeah, that is a really tough way to start a season. I also have two open dates because of how the game handles conference championship week and Army-Navy by placing them on the same weekend. It is unfortunate that they fall back-to-back, but I wanted to get Nevada as close to its actual spot as possible, and the only other option was to have them be Week 14 instead of Week 7, whereas they were played Week 2 in reality. This mythical world also allows for payback against Georgia Tech.
The last choice you all made was to use “What would James Franklin do?” when making in-game decisions. With that in mind, I created a custom playbook for both offense and defense to replicate the schemes used by Franklin at Vanderbilt on both sides of the ball. I have not used the Wildcat very much in the game because it never seems to work quite right. James Franklin with Ke’Shawn Vaughn at his disposal would have absolutely used the wildcat, so I will be doing so. That ideology also means I have switched to a 4-3 defense with a huge glut of linebackers.
The last part of the pre-season is deciding on who to redshirt. Allan Walters, Ja’Veon Marlow, Cam Johnson, Amir Abdur-Rahman, Gavin Schoenwald, Ben Bresnahan, Dan Dawkins, Kade Mayle, Salua Masina, Alston Orji, Tre Douglas, Dashaun Jerkins, and Brendon Harris are all planned to save a year of eligibility. Unfortunately, I cannot use the “4 games or fewer” rule to get them some experience. Walters is obviously a candidate to have that decision changed if an injury occurs to Shurmur. I am also considering redshirting Dimitri Moore with the move to a 4-3 and having other, similarly talented LBs. In real life, Colin Anderson was injured, and the 3-4 required more options at MLB. I will leave it up to you all if I should redshirt Moore or not. If you think any other players (Bolar?) should be/have been redshirted, let me know in the comments.
Speaking of decisions for you all to make, there are not many since most of the starters in 2018 were not up for debate, especially at QB where most debates revolve. The biggest question of playing time is probably how I should have the number of very similarly rated WRs. Give me ideas in the comments since there are too many options to try and make a poll. Also, who starts at LG between Clemens and Young?
Does Dimitri Moore get redshirted?
This poll is closed
Who starts at left guard?
This poll is closed
How often should I use the wildcat?
This poll is closed
Sparingly (Less than 5 times per game)
One full series
Heavily (More than 15 times per game)
Half or more of the offensive snaps
Polls will close at midnight Saturday night! Remember to “rec” or agree with ideas from the comments that you like or think will be entertaining. Also, I want to add that the game will be played on Heisman difficult with 5 minute quarters but no acceleration on the play clock. If you have other questions about the game settings being used, just ask.