Vanderbilt quarterback recovering from concussion
TERESA M. WALKER
Sep. 23, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vanderbilt quarterback Patton Robinette is recovering from a concussion and is questionable for the Commodores' first road game this season at Kentucky.
"You have to always err on making sure your guy is ready to go," coach Derek Mason said Tuesday. "Nowadays, with what that position means to you, you need a guy, especially playing in the SEC, that can play at 100 percent. Playing at 85 percent just isn't good enough, and really when you are talking about concussions you need to be fully passed with something like that."
The Commodores (1-3, 0-2) were up 14-0 with Robinette starting against then-No. 14 South Carolina, and he apparently got hurt at the end of a 10-yard run just before throwing a touchdown pass last week. Freshman Wade Freebeck replaced Robinette and would start if the redshirt sophomore isn't cleared.
"People knew exactly what it was," Mason said. "We're just looking to see how he comes back. He looked good when I saw him (Monday) and I talked to him this morning, but that's not up to me. We'll see what the doctors say about that."
Robinette also apparently was hurt after starting the season opener, missed a game and came off the bench in the Commodores' lone win this season on Sept. 13.
He came into this season with the most experience on the roster. Robinette came off the bench to lead rallies to wins against Georgia and at Tennessee, and he was the starter in a rare road win at Florida. In limited play this season, Robinette is 23 of 32 for 240 yards and two touchdowns. He also has run for another TD.
Freebeck was 11 of 20 for 168 yards and a touchdown and an interception in relief against South Carolina.
"They both have great tools, and they both offer different things," center Joe Townsend said. "You can't coach experience, and that's what Patton does have. I feel he's really good at managing the game. But Wade has all the tools. He'll be fine."
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said it will be interesting to see which quarterback plays for Vanderbilt against the Wildcats (2-1, 0-1). Stoops and his coaches are familiar with Freebeck from high school in Davie, Florida.
"He's going to be a special player," Stoops said.
The Commodores did rally against South Carolina with Freebeck at quarterback. Trailing 27-21, the Commodores drove from their own 5 down inside the Gamecocks 5 with a chance at taking the lead back. But they settled for a field goal and never got closer the rest of the way.
"As an offensive lineman, that hurt me, and that's something we can't accept," Townsend said. "And I feel like that was a really big momentum shift for them."
Vanderbilt has been in the midst of a big youth movement in Mason's first year, playing a combined 31 freshmen with 22 Commodores getting their first starts this season. Robinette's injuries have forced Mason to play three other quarterbacks, and he said it's part of college football.
"Hopefully we get a chance to get our leader back," Mason said.
AP college football website: http://collegefootball.ap.org/
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker