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Let’s Try That Again: Preseason

The roster and major constraints are set, and games are almost ready to be played.

Tennessee v Vanderbilt
We get to see this guy in black and gold again!
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

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.


Name Position Overall Class Name Position Overall Class
Name Position Overall Class Name Position Overall Class
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)
Coach Anchor O’Gold’s roster for year 1

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 Opponent
Week Opponent
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 9 Open
Week 10 Open
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

  • 57%
    (20 votes)
  • 42%
    (15 votes)
35 votes total Vote Now


Who starts at left guard?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Cole Clemens
    (19 votes)
  • 44%
    Saige Young
    (15 votes)
34 votes total Vote Now


How often should I use the wildcat?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Sparingly (Less than 5 times per game)
    (14 votes)
  • 31%
    One full series
    (12 votes)
  • 23%
    Heavily (More than 15 times per game)
    (9 votes)
  • 7%
    Half or more of the offensive snaps
    (3 votes)
38 votes total Vote Now

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.