Sunday, October 7, 2007

Recapping the Crapping

I didn't really want to talk about yesterday's game, and I'm not going to say as much as could be said (the rest of you can fill in at will) but Maurice Patton of the Tennessean hit the nail on the headline when he said "Saturday's 35-7 loss to Auburn came down to one factor: tackling." I'll broaden it one step further though: fundamentals. It was downright depressing watching some of the missed tackles, but the combination of missing tackles, missing open receivers, and penalties (we're now averaging six of those per game) really made for a misery cocktail. I think most people watching the game were surprised at how one-sided it was, and it gave me the sense that this team might just not be as good as we -- and they -- thought.

The most positive thing that happened all game, aside from getting in the end zone on a touchdown gift after two pass interference calls against Auburn late in the fourth quarter, was Earl Bennett breaking Vanderbilt's all-time reception record. Problem with that was it came in a game where he was limited to four catches and 31 yards. Chris Nickson was a disaster and I supported the decision to replace him with Mackenzi Adams, who looked better (although not by leaps and bounds). I'm guessing Adams may prep as the starter this week. CBJ was characteristically holding his cards close after the game regarding the QB matter: "We will examine that situation and see what we are going to do," said the man whose ability to get the job done I'm having trouble resisting the temptation to doubt...

However, as bad as it was, Auburn played about as good of a game (at least in the first half) as they've played in recent memory. We can at least take some consolation in the fact that, despite numerous injuries, the Tigers executed much better than anyone thought they were going to. So I'm not going to mail it in and say this game was an accurate reflection of our worth as a team. With that in mind, let's take a look ahead.

The Road Less Traveled

Vanderbilt will have to figure a few things out if we hope to have any chance at a bowl game. We're 3-2 with games against Georgia and at South Carolina coming up. Assuming we beat Miami (Ohio), we'll have to beat Wake Forest in the season-ender and any one of the FIVE Top-25 teams we have remaining on the schedule (Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee) to get a bowl bid. Alas, the SEC currently boasts seven teams in the AP Top-25 Poll and Vandy is the only Eastern Division team not among those ranks. Ouch. Still, I'm holding out hope that we can knock off at least one of the remaining ranked opponents, maybe two (Georgia and Kentucky are the home games of that bunch).

If that is to happen and if the guys want to put on the pads in December, there's no question that our offense, currently ranked #97 in Division I-A, has to make some drastic improvements. If anyone has suggestions on how to make that happen, I (and I hope Ted Cain & Co.) are all ears.


Aaron said...

I think you had it right when you said this team may not be as good as we thought it was. D played terrible, and the offense only looked worse. Nickson sucked, again, and i dont think he needs to play if he cant get the job done. Again, i will call for CBJ to be fired!!!!! The penalties, the overall bad play, and the inability to get the team up to play in the big games is a product of coaching!!!

On another note, Ohio state will most likely play in the national championship this year again, and will most likely get destroyed again. You heard it hear first.

Bobby O'Shea said...

That is the greatest headline in the history of VSL.

Anonymous said...

Dammit, VU backers: Hold Fast.

Boston College is ranked 4th. Stanford beat USC. This is a topsy-turvy world in college FB this season, and we know that the Commodores can beat GA this weekend.

Nickson's play is baffling, but they're going to get it worked out.

Hold fast.