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Vanderbilt Football: Is Jordan Rodgers Benched for Good?

EVANSTON, IL - SEPTEMBER 8: Jordan Rodgers #11 of the Vanderbilt Commodores calls signals at the line against the Northwestern Wildcats during the game at Ryan Field on September 8, 2012 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Chad MintonCorrespondent INovember 9, 2016

Less than one year ago, Jordan Rodgers took the starting quarterback job from senior quarterback Larry Smith midway through the season.

Now Rodgers knows how it feels to be on the other end of that scenario.

In a surprising move by second-year head coach James Franklin, Austyn Carta-Samuels got the nod over Rodgers in what was a tune-up game for the Commodores against Presbyterian.

Carta-Samuels finished 13-of-20 for 195 yards and a touchdown in the 58-0 romping of a team that joined the FCS subdivision in 2007.

This move, and when it came, almost certainly suggests that Franklin plans to stick with Carta-Samuels for the long haul.

Rodgers was bitten by the turnover bug in the first two games of the season, both tough losses to South Carolina and Northwestern.

On the flip side, Carta-Samuels was the Mountain West Freshman of the Year in 2009, but there will be a vast difference between what he faced in 2009 and what he will face in the meat of the SEC schedule.

Go ahead and throw Presbyterian's defense into that mix of weak defenses, even though Carta-Samuels did have a solid effort against the Blue Hose.

You have to think that Rodgers would've had just as good of a performance, and it would've done wonders for his confidence moving forward.

This move is still a puzzling one considering it's only two games into the season. It's certainly no time to push the panic button, and Rodgers did have over 400 yards passing against two respectable opponents.

You also can't dismiss how tough it is on team chemistry whenever you make a quarterback change during any point of the season.

What is somewhat risky about this move: what if Carta-Samuels stinks up the joint against a very good defense in Georgia?

You can't flip-flop back to Rodgers after already pulling him after just two games.

Franklin must really like what he is seeing in practice from Carta-Samuels, because a single performance against an inferior opponent cannot be enough to overtake all of the positive things Rodgers has done in nine games for the Commodores.

Carta-Samuels is considered the more accurate quarterback, and there hasn't been this much talent for a Vanderbilt quarterback to throw to in quite some time.

Guys like Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd lining up on the outside will give Carta-Samuels a chance to shine, but only if he proves he's ready to transition to the SEC.

In all likelihood, Carta-Samuels will get the start in Athens against fifth-ranked Georgia, even though Franklin hasn't officially made that decision just yet.

This is the part of the Commodores' schedule where they can really make a statement to the nation that they're ready to take the next step.

It seems that Carta-Samuels is going to be the guy that attempts to take this program to new heights.

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