Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Morning Quarterbacking: Vandy Beats South Carolina 24-17

The following represent several train-of-thought points that occur to me in light of Vanderbilt's 24-17 win over Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks last night in front of a national TV audience on ESPN. Feel free to add, subtract, critique, or affirm them at will.

1) We were lucky to be as close as we were given how badly we played in the first half.

2) Both the play calling and the offensive execution significantly improved in the second half, which is a huge sign of encouragement that this may really be, as the players are saying, a "new Vandy." A slight late-game letdown, but huge defensive stops and offensive first downs when we had to have them.

3) We've got to be better about not giving up big chunks of yards on D. This was a rare breed of game -- it's not often that you can get outgained 325 yards to 225 and come away with a win. In the SEC, it's almost unheard of.

4) Jared Hawkins has to be the starter at tailback after this game. Hands down.

5) I'd be happy to see more of Brandon Barden at tight end -- Austin Monohan was atrocious in both route-running and pass-catching in the first half (though to his credit he did make one nice catch later in the game).

6) When was the last time we saw a Vanderbilt team have the breaks go their way like they did in the second half last night? The punt flub, the penalties, the unforced Gamecock errors... More importantly, we capitalized when it happened, and didn't settle for "almost."

7) Ted: Stop running the option on big downs against fast defenses. Of the four times we ran the option in the first half, the most yards we gained on it was 3, and that was a misdirection play where we caught them off guard. Stop this nonsense.

8) What a great game for recruiting and national visibility. Fourth quarter was played after the Giants-Redskins game and after the Republican Convention. In the words of Michael Scott, "ergo de facto," we got some quality play on America's TV sets.

9) Maybe what I liked best about this win is the way that we handled it afterward. No monumental celebration, no ridiculousness, just a solid satisfaction at getting a nice win. This is exactly what we've wanted for the last several years -- to change the culture of losing and the downer attitudes. This was not a fluke, it was not a shock-the-world upset -- it was a great win at home. Period. EXPECT TO WIN.


Anonymous said...

Well put. The only addition is: The tough yards gained on the ground in the 2nd half was extremely important for this "questionable," "inexperienced" o-line going forward.

Gained when SC's defense knew what was coming and could not stop it.

Anonymous said...

bring on some fried rice

Tony Arnold said...

I am hoping that one thing we are seeing is that the Coaching staff has been too predictable because they wanted the offense to show they could execute the simple stuff. And that in the 2nd half they proved they could and the play book opened up.

So maybe the predicable options and QB draw calls will thin out a bit.

Anonymous said...

Great win, but we can't keep allowing big plays in 3rd and long situations if we want to keep winning. And there's no excuse for allowing a touchdown on 3rd and goal from the 19.

Go Dores!

Douglas James said...

Totally agree. Big plays on D and the blandness of the play calling are the two biggest problems. The 2nd to last Vany possession was god awful and could have cost us the game. I hope we don't look pass Rice the way other teams look pass us.

Anonymous said...

rice scored over 50 in their first game. they play memphis tomorrow. i'll be interested in how many pts they put on them because i don't think memphis is a bad team. if they put up a lot on them we need to be on serious alert.

Jim said...

The only thing I disagree with is No. 7 (stop the option). You've got to run a D that you think you can tire, and we did that. They were gassed enough to where we gashed them at the end. To Ted's credit, the QB draw was basically put away for an SEC game. Great play-calling and execution.

Anonymous said...

Rice: I watched a quarter of the Rice/SMU game last week:

1) Rice's defense was, on average, slower than Miami OH's...looking at their front 7, they don't have the ability to stop the run, nor the wheels to get to the outside to stop Nickson...VU should gain 200 yards rushing, bare minimum.

2) They spread the field and throw the ball: a lot. With pressure and the secondary focusing on not giving up the big play, 5-6 long drives from the offense should mean a large time of possession advantage.

BTW: Ole Miss/Wake today is a very interesting matchup of two future opponents.