Vanderbilt is all but finished with injuries to its starting linebackers.
Chase Garnham, last season’s second leading tackler, returned to the depth chart this week as the Commodores prepare to play Florida (11 a.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee). The senior out of Fairhope, Ala., has not played since the opener against Ole Miss and was on crutches for several weeks after that contest.
He is listed second at middle linebacker behind sophomore Jake Sealand, who has topped the depth chart for the last seven contests.
“You see [Garnham] as the No. 2 because to expect him to go out and play 65-70 plays as your starter after missing [nine] weeks, I don’t think that’s realistic,” coach James Franklin said. “We’ll see how this week goes, try to get him a few plays in this game and build on that from there.”
Outside linebacker Karl Butler missed three full games in late September and early October but has played in the last two. He tied his career-high with seven tackles in the Commodores’ last outing, Oct. 26 at Texas A&M.
Darreon Herring, the other outside linebacker, is the only one who has started every game this season. He is second on the team with 57 tackles, including nine or more three times.
Garnham, who started every game last season and seven in 2011, made two stops in the opener before he was injured.
“He’s on the depth chart because we’re expecting to play him,” Franklin said. “… Having him back, just from an experience standpoint, we think is huge. We weren’t going to put him on the field if we felt like he wasn’t ready in a lot of different areas. We think he is.”