3T&COD: Shiny New Vandy

3 Thoghts and a Cloud of Dust

In the name of unity and negativity:

Where I come from, we have a saying we pull out around this time of year: SOV. It stands for "Same Old Vandy," because you can always count on a few things in life, such as death, taxes, and Vanderbilt being terrible.

But this ain't daddy's 'Dores. These boys can play, and after TSOWWDNS, it's not like a Commie win in Knoxville is still unprecedented. They've got Earl Bennett as we all know, but their vastly underrated defense is what's really worrisome to me.

Still, it's hard to shake the notion that somehow "behind every 'Dore is a Tennessee score" no longer applies. So in looking for reasons why Vandy has a real chance to beat the Vols, I was happy to find Vandy Sport Line's preview for the game, and keeping with Mr. Mayo's request for negativity, parsed below into 3 reasons Vanderbilt will beat Tennessee:

1.

Tennessee's offense is still very similar to the days of Manning.
Some would say it's similar to the days of Dewey Warren. But yes, this is even obvious to Vandy fans who are only subjected to watching the Tennessee offense once a year: not much changes in the Vol playbook.

The danger a Vandy fan faces in evoking memories is that, of course, Peyton never lost to the 'Dores. But, those were better UT teams against weaker Vanderbilt sides (arguably). And other than a 65-0 woodshedding in 1994, the Commodores always kept it close against Manning.

You can worry that Vandy has seen everything Tennessee has to offer, and they'll be prepared if nothing else.

2.

[M]uch has been made of TN's low sacks allowed...this is because the majority of their schemes are basic "slide" protections with each lineman picking up the guy in his strong side gap and the back picking up the first unblocked defender rushing from the weak side. Think of zone run blocking translated to pass protection. It's a pretty sound scheme but there are definitely ways to defeat this protection with overloaded blitzes to one side of the formation. If Vandy's defense does it right you can have TN's o-linemen following the protection scheme and VU defenders literally running untouched to the QB.
There might be some hyperbole there; hopefully there's nobody running literally untouched at Erik Ainge. And if there is, the fix should be nothing more than just a simple adjustment, because we know how fast Tennessee has been to adjust this year... oh, aw crap.

Could we get outschemed against Vandy? It happened against Bama, it happened in the second half against Spurrier. So it is something to worry about.

The paragraph quoted above does, however, ignore the fact that equal to the line's efforts in keeping Ainge upright is Ainge's own ability to get rid of the ball in a timely manner... but I went positive for a second there. Sorry.

3.

I watched some Alabama video and DJ Hall got off even with double coverage. Alabama paired him with other receivers and ran some creative combination routes (rub-offs, picks, etc.) to get him space. Again, Earl should have 10-12 touches.
Bottom line: Earl Bennett is better than DJ Hall, and if Bennett is given the same gigantic cushions Hall got, it could be a very long, frustrating Saturday for all of us in orange. It would be eerie if on the day of Inky Johnson's last run through the T, it's the inexperience of the secondary that gets us beat.

I just want to mention that writing all of this is making me feel very, very dirty; and I hope that I'm very, very wrong. But my sacrifice to the gods of negativity won't be complete with out the following:

Vanderbilt 28, Tennessee 24. Show your gold!

Ugh. I need a shower.

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