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VU announces depth chart for season opener

NASHVILLE – At least 16 Commodores with previous starting experience are expected to be in the opening lineup next Thursday night when Vanderbilt hosts Ole Miss before a national television audience.

At a press conference to announce the team's opening game depth chart on Wednesday, Franklin said three starting jobs remain up for grabs as the Commodores start their final week of preparations for the season opener. Coaches will wait to make a decision on starters at running back, one of two defensive tackle roles, and at punter.

As expected, Franklin announced redshirt senior Austyn Carta-Samuels, named as a co-captain two days ago, will be the Commodores' starting quarterback. Carta-Samuels, who started in last year's Vanderbilt win over Presbyterian, earned the job after competing with sophomore Josh Grady, redshirt freshman Patton Robinette and true freshman Johnny McCrary.

Potentially, all 11 offensive starters for the Commodores against Ole Miss could have previous starting experience.

The team's defensive depth chart features up to six seniors who are returning this year after starting as juniors. At least five defenders, including three linemen, could enjoy their initial career starts versus Ole Miss.  

Three running backs, all with valuable experience in the Commodore backfield, are competing to replace two-time All-Southeastern Conference recipient and current St. Louis Ram Zac Stacy. The three are redshirt senior Wesley Tate, redshirt sophomore Jerron Seymour and sophomore Brian Kimbrow. In 2011, Tate started for the Commodores as a wide receiver.

Competition remains at two line positions. Redshirt junior Chase White and redshirt sophomore Jake Bernstein, both former starters, are competing at one of the offensive guard positions. Senior Jared Morse and redshirt freshman Adam Butler also are competing for a starting job at defensive tackle. 

Redshirt sophomore Taylor Hudson and redshirt freshman Colby Cooke also are competing to become the team's primary punter.  

Either Morse or Butler will start alongside redshirt junior Vince Taylor, who is expected to enjoy his initial collegiate start. Besides Taylor, other Commodores expected to become first-time starters are redshirt junior defensive end Kyle Woestmann, sophomore linebacker Darreon Herring and senior cornerback Steven Clarke. 

Redshirt senior offensive tackle Wesley Johnson will make his team-high 39th consecutive start against Ole Miss.



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