Monday, October 8, 2007

Vanderbilt Hotline: Correspondent Chris' First Dispatch from Campus, Edition

In what is sure to be a new feature on VSL, Correspondent Chris gives us his take on Saturday's game.

There was a sense of hope this week regarding the Auburn game, especially since Chris Fowler suggested a Vanderbilt upset and Kirk Herbstreit openly picked the Commodores to win in a 'letdown' game for Auburn (after beating UF last week).

However, the play of the Vanderbilt defense and the ineptitude of the offense vs. Auburn was shocking. Just embarrassing. But what can you do? It was the first road game of the season. Vanderbilt played with some passion in the second game vs. Alabama, but could not get anything going against the Tigers. I was shocked that the Vandy D let Auburn run right through them, especially for two long TD runs.

3-13 in 3rd Down Efficiency?
3.5 YPC for Vandy (as opposed 6.7 YPC for Auburn)?

Maybe the Auburn defense is just that good. I still think the spirits will be high here for the Georgia-Vanderbilt game during Homecoming next week...assuming Georgia beats Tennessee today. If not, it's just another above-average SEC game. [Err...looks like Chris' dispatch was in real time, even if our posting of it was not]. Vandy needs to let their game speak in the coming weeks to keep their bowl hopes alive. Hopefully the students here will get behind a 3-2 team whose biggest hope is an Independence Bowl invitation -- or spoiler against teams with bigger hopes like South Carolina and Florida.

- Correspondent Chris


Bobby's Take:

Seamus made this point below, and I think he is dead on...maybe this team just isn't as good as we thought. The only game where I remember Vanderbilt being less competitive than they were on Saturday was last season at home against South Carolina. They got manhandled by LSU on ESPN2 two years ago, but that was, if I remember correctly, limited to the 4th quarter. Saturday's performance was awful and became difficult to watch. To give you any idea, I actually stopped cursing mid-way through the 3rd. Mac should absolutely be the starter. Chris Nickson's numbers the past few games have been awful (see Mo's story in today's Tennessean). It doesn't help that the running game hasn't be particularly effective, but Chris is missing receivers that he should not be missing. I know this isn't fair, but it seems to me that every time CGJ gets the ball, he is being stopped behind the line. I don't know if the linemen like Jennings better or something, but I really feel like Jeff gives this team a better shot on the ground.

Looking ahead on Saturday, this is a tough game for the Commies. They haven't played well in weeks and Georigia will be understandably pumped up after getting embarrased in Knoxville on Saturday. While it would be unreasonable to say that this is a must win game aganist the #24 ranked team in the country, this is a certainly a game where the Commies have to show the fans something positive.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

UGA's RB Brown is out for the game against Vandy. Maybe that will help us.

andrew banecker said...

Take the gun out of your mouth. Auburn was a sleeping giant, and despite the votes of confidence from ESPN Gameday, and terms like "letdown game," we never really had a legitimate shot at that one. Auburn's letdown game was against Miss St. That they got their act together and beat Florida (a team with the two most understandable losses in the country... could anyone beat both Auburn and LSU this year?) was no fluke. It's just an area of being outsized. We can run with Auburn, but we can't move them. It's the same as when we played LSU two years back. Looking at the lines, (specifically the size of their D-line) you may hope to pull something out, but that's only the liquor and optimism talking. We can still hang with Georgia, South Carolina, UT, and Kentucky (you may disagree with the last one, but I'm basing it on personnel matchups, not arbitrary poll rankings). We were never going to beat Auburn this year. We knew that. Put the gun down and start thinking of ways to kick the Bulldogs in the ribs. Everyone get your ass down for Homecoming at give us a true home field advantage.

Bobby O'Shea said...

Andrew,

I completely understand your point. But have you honestly seen anything from the Commies that makes you feel good about them? Because quite honetly, perhaps with the exception of His Name Is, I haven't. Perhaps that's harsh, but the defense was effective against bad to mediocre offensive units. The warm and fuzzy feelings I had for the D were completely obliterated by Auburn's domination.

I am sure that in a day or two my pessimism will wear off, but right now I am having a hard time getting excited about what I've seen.

Georgia is most certainly a test game for the squad, and I am really hoping to see something this weekend to make me believe that the team I thought he had coming into this season is actually the team we've seen out there over these first 5 games.

andrew banecker said...

There's really been one big disappointment for me this season, and that's the play of Chris Nickson. Unlike Cutler, Nickson has a damn good offensive line, and an established weapon. I was expecting a lot more out of him. But honestly, I didn't expect much out of the defense, particularly the D-line, and pretty much knew they'd be mauled when they ran into the big boys. Every year I was at Vandy, the team won 2 games. The year after I graduated--the best shot we had at a bowl by the way--was when an uncalled 12 men on the field penalty by MTSU, and an Earl Bennett dance (still mad at that call) kept us from a bowl game. This team, as a whole is better than that one. But just as you can rename the sport hockey "Goalie," a football team is only as good as their QB. That's the only thing that's been pissing me off, so far.