Throughout fall camp, Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason has hinted that the Commodores could rely on position changes to help cover for their depleted O-line. Thanks to the Commodores’ improved depth on the defensive front as well as the limited time for tight ends to bulk up, it seemed that that would likely come in the form of a defensive lineman transitioning to offensive guard or tackle.
Mason confirmed Thursday during an interview with 104.5 The Zone’s 3HL that redshirt senior defensive tackle Drew Birchmeier has changed sides of the ball and will play interior offensive line in 2020. Birchmeier was set to be a returning starter on the defensive line along with senior Dayo Odeyingbo and fellow redshirt senior Cameron Tidd.
“I think Todd Fitch has done a really good job of being able to understand that with some opt-outs there’s gonna be a certain amount of stress placed on the offensive line and putting the best group of five and the guys that are swing players — whether it’s tackle-guard or center-guard — and getting that next group of guys who are gonna have to fill in,” Mason said. “We’re gonna have to play some young guys. We helped ourselves — Drew Birchmeier has moved from defensive line to the offensive line, and that helps us. You’re talking about a fifth-year senior, a guy who’s 310 pounds, moves well for a defensive lineman and his dad played offensive line. He’s got a little brother who’s one of the top recruits in the country.
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