By Ron Wynn
The Vanderbilt Commodores added a former star to their 2020 football staff last week, while also getting news that their schedule, if there is a season, will be much tougher. The SEC announced that they were going to a total conference-only slate for this season, eliminating non-conference contests, an area where Vanderbilt has traditionally
been able to get the majority of its wins. That eliminates Mercer, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech and Kansas State from the schedule, replacing them with the likes of Alabama and Mississippi State among others.
The good news is they’ve added to their offensive staff as a graduate assistant one of the brightest offensive talents they’ve had in recent years. Former starting QB Kyle Shurmur, the holder of school records for career touchdown passes and passing yardage, has joined the Commodores’ staff as a volunteer coach. He will assist new offensive coordinator Todd Fitch. Considering there are four new players each bidding to be the starting QB, the Commodores are certainly happy to get Shurmur’s aid. Among many other accomplishments, he was the first Commodore QB to lead his team to three straight wins over Tennessee since the ‘20s.
“I just decided to apply for grad school – go to school and also help (Vanderbilt football) while I’m in Nashville,” Shurmur told USA Today Tennessee last week. “I had a great experience here during my four years, and I wanted to come back and help.”
The Commodores schedule now includes Alabama, Mississippi State, Georgia, Missouri, Ole Miss, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Texas A&M, Florida and Tennessee. They will be underdogs in virtually every game, with the possible exceptions of Ole Miss at home and Missouri on the road. Despite the three straight wins over UT, this season it will be their final game at home and by that time if things go true to form, the Commodores will have undergone a brutal year filled with losses.
But no one knows for certain there will even be a season. The SEC has delayed the start of the season till the end of September. They will announce complete schedules later this month, but should the year begin on time Vanderbilt begins the football season September 26.