So off we head to Nashville this Halloween to face the mighty Commodores of Vanderbilt led by head coach Bobby Johnson. CPJ & Bobby have a long history dating back to their Southern Conference days at Georgia Southern & Furman, respectively. So what will we see this Saturday? Hopefully a good old-fashioned GT ass-whoopin....
Is Saturday a "trap game" for the Jackets?
Vanderbilt is a very well coached team with a decent defense & a struggling, below average offense. They have the (mis)fortune of having played against the triple option earlier this year, losing to Army 16-13. So while not good, if we fall asleep at the wheel Vanderbilt has the ability to beat us. After all, they have "SEC speed", something we don't (now vomiting into trash can). The interesting thing about this game is how poorly Vandy matches up against us. Let's take a look:
- The Jackets lead the nation in time of possession at 34:50 per game. Vandy is fourth worst at 26:41 per game. What's this really mean? It means their defense is gonna be really, really tired by the middle of the 3rd quarter while our defense will be fresh & ready to go. Expect more of our long, grinding drives on Saturday night.
"Watch out here we come, we're a clock eater..." (apologies to Hall & Oates)
- Vandy's defense, while ranked 23rd in scoring (17.8 ppg) is ranked 85th against the run (164 ypg) & a solid 6th against the pass (155 ypg). So the strength of their defense is their secondary. Good for them if we had any intention of passing. I expect to see maybe only 5 pass attempts in this game by the Jackets as we pound away with the run. Why throw when you don't have to? Just for comparisons sake, Tech is second in the country running the ball at 292 ypg.
- Vandy is 38th in the nation in rushing (174 ypg) & only 111th in passing at 148 ypg. We all know by now that we defend against the run infinitely better than the pass (53rd at 127 ypg vs. 75th at 228ypg). Suffice it to say that Vandy QB Larry Smith is not Christian Ponder, Jacory Harris, or Tyrod Taylor. With our improved defensive line play (which in turn has led to much better linebacker play) watch for us to stack the box & dare Vandy to throw the ball.
So when you strip it all down, the match-ups on the field really favor Tech. A few other things to look out for:
- Vandy cornerback Myron Lewis. You've probably never heard of this kid but he is the best defensive back we will play all year. A certainty to play on Sunday's. Big at 6'3" & 205 pounds, watch for Lewis to matchup with BayBay all night. I don't expect us to throw much & Lewis is a big reason why. Strong & fluid with great hips, watch Lewis on Sunday night.
Watch for this guy on Sundays next year...
- The one that got away: Warren Norman. As a true freshman running back/kick returner, Norman leads the SEC in all-purpose yards & has taken back 2 kicks for touchdowns. Not bad for the kid from Stone Mountain. We offered him a scholarship but the SEC beckoned. Good little player...
The invincible Dusty Rhodes says this Halloween is all about "TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS...."