VU’s Smith will be leaning on Mackenzi

Wednesday, September 2, 2009 at 12:23am

Larry Smith is atop the depth chart, but Vanderbilt’s sophomore quarterback still looks up to teammate Mackenzi Adams.

Smith was publicly named the starter on Monday by coach Bobby Johnson, and on Tuesday he said he plans to rely on the experience of Adams, a fifth-year senior, to help him during the season.

“He has more experience and he has seen defenses I haven’t seen yet,” Smith said. “He’ll be real helpful for me during the games as far as reading coverages and blitzes and things.

“I know when I come to the sideline I can come to him and ask him for help.”

Smith has played in just two games and attempted 34 passes during his college career. Adams has appeared in thrown 366 passes and has started nine times, including three last season.

The two competed throughout the off-season and preseason camp for the starting position.

“There’s always competition,” Smith said. “I didn’t come into camp thinking I was the starter or knowing I was the starter. I took it one practice at a time, and I knew me and Mackenzi were both battling for the job.”

Kicking question

Not every position battle has been settled for the Commodores.

Johnson said Tuesday he will decide later this week whether senior Brett Upson or redshirt-freshman Ryan Fowler will handle the placekicking duties.

Upson has been the starting punter for three seasons and was named the most valuable player of the Music City Bowl last December.

“Both of them are kicking well, so I think that’s going to be a pretty easy decision,” Johnson said. “I don’t think I can go wrong. We feel good about both of them right now.”


• Senior running back Jared Hawkins remained unable to practice due to pain in his left foot. The continuing issue has created doubt about his ability to play Saturday.

“You can’t get it by osmosis,” Johnson said. “You have to get out here and work it.”

• Several players have contracted illness in recent days. One of those who were unable to practice Tuesday was starting defensive tackle Adam Smotherman.