Vandy Football is thirsty for a bowl game appearance heading into Derek Mason’s third season as head coach.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Shurmur is the guy who can take Vandy bowling in 2016. Commodores took a small step forward by winning the first two SEC games in Mason’s head coaching career, but missed out on bowl season finishing 4-8.
Shurmur doesn’t need to play at an All-SEC level. Vandy only needs him to be… average.
Vanderbilt’s QB play was abysmal last year with Johnny McCrary’s turnover ridden season that ended with his benching and eventual transfer from the program. Shurmur wasn’t great, by any means, in his five games he appeared in as a freshman, completing less than 50 percent of his passes.
The good news for Vandy fans is, Shurmur wasn’t supposed to play last year. The plan was to redshirt the 4-star QB recruit. But, McCrary’s careless control of the football lost Vandy multiple games (Western Kentucky, South Carolina) and forced the freshman into action. Shurmur has taken over this offseason and taken control of this football team.
Another good thing for Vandy fans… Shurmur is learning from McCrary’s mistakes.
“Kyle’s been good,” Mason said earlier in fall camp. “He’s taking care of the football, making good decisions going touchdown to check down. Throwing with accuracy. He’s giving our guys a chance to make some plays.”
He’s done all he can in the off-season. Wide Receiver CJ Duncan noted Tuesday how Shurmur has taken control of the offense on the practice field, weight room and film room. Now it’s time to go win games.
Vandy needs six wins to go bowling. I think there’s room to grow in the SEC East for a Commodore climb. South Carolina and Missouri are going through heavy change, including head coaches. Kentucky has sputtered midseason under Mark Stoops to miss bowl games.
Vandy needs those three SEC wins to propel them to the postseason. It starts Thursday against South Carolina. It’s up to Shurmur to steady the ship and not put the stingy “Black Death” defense in terrible situations.