Sunday, October 21, 2007

Correspondent Chris Weighs in on Vanderbilt's HUGE Win over South Carolina

Chris sent this email into the VSL newsroom shortly after the game...the fact that this is as quick as I posted it is both bogus and sad:

I will be the first to admit it: I was a doubter. Vandy Football has had flashes of brilliance this season -- particularly against Alabama and especially last week in the heartbreaking last second loss to Georgia. But with a brutal schedule and inconsistency on offense I was not sure the'Dores could sustain the momentum needed to knock off some of the top teams in the SEC, not to mention the nation. Just look at the conference standings; every team in the SEC East is ranked in the top 22 of the BCS Standings...except Vanderbilt:

The game versus Georgia had 'Dore Nation excited, but the final score was devastating. On campus the letdown was palpable; Vandy was good enough to compete in the SEC, but not ready this year to take 'the leap'. But then something strange happened. Mackenzi Adams became the starting QB, the Vanderbilt defense played like a rabid caged dog, and the Commies came out swingin' in the first half against #6 ranked South Carolina.

The result? A 17-6 upset against longtime 'Dore nemesis Steve Spurrier (14-0 winning streak vs. Vandy) and the BCS-hopeful South Carolina Gamecocks. If it was not Fall Break here on campus I'm sure the student body would be busy lighting bonfires outside the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Aside from the Jay Cutler era, this is probably one of the biggest games in recent memory for the 'Dores. How did it happen? Stout defensive play, a bend but don't break offense, and South Carolina's inability to mount any offensive attack whatsoever.

There is reason to be excited -- Vandy is two wins away from becoming bowl eligible. Mackenzi Adams clearly showed his dual threat ability by throwing for 2 TD's and rushing for a team-high 86 yards. The Defense showed it's prowess by shutting down one of the nation's top offensive mind in the Ol' Ball Coach. Yes, I doubted the Commodores. I admit I was wrong. I'm not ready to crown them yet, but Vanderbilt showed the student body and Commie Nation they are ready to fight. All I can say is bring it on SEC, Vanderbilt is a force to be reckoned with.

Seamus and I watched the game and have a number of theories as to why this team emerged victorious (his lady friend wearing a Vanderbilt shirt for the first time all season is high up on that list). We'll be giving some more takes on the win soon and will get everyone prepped for the final 5 games of the season. Right now, we are predicting a 7-5 finish...regardless, this win feels good, damn good, and I guess it just goes to show you, "there are Vanderbilt's in the SEC," but that in your pipe and smoke it Ol' Ball Coach.


Anonymous said...

OK: Let's break it down and be rational, even in this exciting win afterglow...

1) Vanderbilt arguably has the best defense in the SEC, kids. That's correct: The best defense in the best football conference in this lovely nation of ours.

CBJ talked after the game about being aggressive...and they were: Multiple blitzes, but blitzes that were unpredictable on any given down...this was the key. Will the safety blitz through the A gap? maybe...A corner blitz? maybe....A delayed LB blitz?...maybe...

But let's not forget the D-line...those four guys got pressure on Mitchell/Smelley on passing downs late in the game when Vandy had 6 guys in coverage. This can't be overemphasized as we look ahead to the next 5 games...if the front four can continue to pressure the QB with the stallions we have in the defensive backfield, VU's defense will be scarier than it already is...

Re: the blocking was below average until the 4th quarter. But the pass blocking was superb through the entire game...Mac had plenty of time even in the face of SC's blitz...He improved from GA to SC, and there's no reason to think he won't continue to improve over the next 5 games.

Again, marginal offensive improvements are necessary--They should come. But this defense is truly special.

Anonymous said...

Good win..especially when the other team had Smelly and Suck-up.

american idol is the stinking suck-up of so-called "reality" t.v.

Anonymous said...

thats a huge homer call jason... LSU, Auburn, and Florida all have better D's...dont get carried away

Seamus O'Toole said...

I love the enthusiasm from Jason and there's no question we have a great defense, but I have to agree -- no way our defense is tops in the conference.

With that said, it's worth looking at the numbers:

LSU has the #2 total defense in the country by statistics, having played tougher competition than Vandy thus far. Auburn has the #15 defense, likewise having played tougher competition. However, Vanderbilt stands at #19 in the nation in total defense after the South Carolina game, and that's reason for cheer.

Now if we can just do something about that offense...#107 in Division 1-A. I agree that Mackenzi Adams looks increasingly comfortable and versatile in the pocket. There's no reason we can't go 7-5 this season.

Boyer in the District said...

Wow. I admire that enthusiasm.

I guess it's not a bad defense if you are forgetting that 35-7 beatdown at Auburn.

Anonymous said...

Good win for Vandy and all. But I do believe Jason's been taking the crazy pills. I'd recommend that he take a cold shower, pound a Red Bull and sober up. But this is the same guy who was dead certain that John Parker Wilson "COULD NOT BEAT" Vanderbilt -- so I guess he's slightly prone to hyperbole.


JP Wilson sure sucked this past Saturday, huh?

Anonymous said...

Vandy's D ranks behind LSU and AUB in overall statistics. True.

Perhaps we should run out the rest of the season using monte carlo simulation? We have a large enough sample from the first 8 weeks.

Last Saturday I saw VU's defense completely dominate an offense that had scored an average of 27 points and gained an average of 330 yards/game total offense vs. their previous 4 SEC opponents.

On the field, where the game is decided, I like the current trend.

Anonymous said...

And as I've posted before, all the more credit is due to Vandy's D because of their scheme...unlike AUB and LSU they do not have dominant D linemen who make plays at the point of attack. However, as we saw last weekend, their speed presents problems for pass protection.

Stanimal said...

Not enough credit is being given to Bobby Johnson in this victory because it was obvious the entire game that he'd done his homework coming in.

Three things won this game for us: Exceptional punting is one. But the other two came from watching film. The first is that we ran the spread option and QB draws all day and as a result Mackenzie Adams racked up 84 yards. South Carolina's defense for whatever reason has no idea how to contain the QB on spread option and shotgun draw plays. Part of that has to do with the loss of Jasper Brinkley I'm sure, but it was evident from previous contests that the Gamecocks simply don't know how to defend a mobile QB.

Second was the heavy pressure we brought all game. The d-line got immense pressure on Smelley and Blake Mitchell all game and we kept that pressure up which resulted in bad decisions and huge turnovers. D.J. Moore was in perfect position every time and Jonathan Goff did a great job stopping the screen passes to Cory Boyd and Mike Davis.

With our offensive gameplan driving down the field and a couple huge plays by George Smith and Justin Wheeler, we got the points we needed early. The defense slammed the door because South Carolina does not play well from behind (it's not a very good offense).

Also Bryant Hahnfeldt sucks and needs to be replaced.

Stanimal said...

And there is zero chance we have the best defense in the SEC

Anonymous said...

I'll give the optimists credit for being much much better than me at predicting.

Of course now I'm all superstitious, so I've gotta convince myself that we'll screw up and not get six wins -- so that we do, in fact, get six wins.