What the Vanderbilt Football Team Does Best
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What the Vanderbilt Football Team Does Best

Nick Roushabout 4 years


Article written by:Nick RoushNick Roush


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="2500"] Vanderbilt University[/caption] We learned after week three that the Vanderbilt football team is not good at talking trash when one player said, "Bama, you're next!"  After getting smacked in the face throughout October, the Commodores have returned to form to provide a physical matchup with Kentucky this Saturday in Nashville. "I think their staff does a great job," offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said yesterday.  "Vanderbilt's always tough to play there.  Everywhere I've been, when I was at Auburn or wherever I've been in the SEC, it was always tough to go play them.  They're going to be in the right place at the right time.  They're coached well, they play hard and they tackle well, so we'll have our hands full.  We'll have to play a really good game to win on the road." Vanderbilt started 3-0 until the incident against Alabama started a five-game skid against the toughest portion of their schedule.  Last week the Commodores bounced back with a 31-17 win over Western Kentucky, a game where they held the Toppers to -6 rushing yards on 30 carries.   "We all know that Derek [Mason] does a very good job with the defense," Mark Stoops said on the SEC teleconference.  "They're very big strong, guys, they're very multiple up there.  They can create some negative yardage plays. "I think the middle part of their season was a very difficult stretch of opponents they had to defend and you can see them now getting some confidence, getting better, getting healthy and they're really disruptive.  They do a very good job and it doesn't surprise me." Defensive back LaDarius Wiley is ranked sixth in the SEC in tackles with 73, just one tackle behind Mike Edwards, but Vanderbilt's success starts up front.  Just like Kentucky's last opponent, the Commodores are extremely active on the defensive line, one reason why they're fourth in the SEC in tackles for loss with 60. "They've got a great front four," Stephen Johnson said yesterday. "Those guys are really fast and really strong.  We're going to have to stay focused in on them." Offensively, this Vanderbilt team isn't who we thought they were.  Ralph Webb is on SEC rushing record lists, but has taken a backseat to Kyle Shurmur and the passing game.  Shurmur has the second-most passing touchdowns in the SEC (20) while throwing just 3 interceptions. "They like to keep you off balance," Stoops said on Monday.  "They run the ball so effectively and they’re so multiple in their formations.  And then they boot and play action to give them time to take their shots.” Vanderbilt isn't a name that strikes fear in an opponent.  A 4-5 record gives fans few reasons to be concerned, but make no mistake, Saturday will be a dogfight in Nashville. "We all go through times when your team gets beat up or gets beat down," said Stoops, "but I see them really getting healthy, playing really good and playing really confident right now."   [mobile_ad]

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