Tennessee Volunteers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores: game preview

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts and links to SB Nation game pages.

This is a long post full of moving pictures and stats, so I'm putting the conclusions and predictions both at the beginning and at the end.

Conclusions

  • To say Vanderbilt's passing attack is woeful is generous. They have had some success running the ball this season, though, so expect them to live or die with that.
  • The Commodores do an excellent job defending the pass, but have a Montario Hardesty-sized and -shaped hole in the running game. It's perfect for us!
  • Special teams should be an absolute battle of averages. They're nothing special, but neither are we.
  • Watch out for Warren Norman. Challenging Herschel Walker's freshman all-purpose record while dressed in a Vandy uniform is cause for amazement.

Predictions

  • Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 6

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

Vanderbilt Logo
Western Carolina Catamounts 9/5/09 win 45 - 0 coverage
@ LSU Tigers 9/12/09 loss 9 - 23 coverage
Mississippi St. Bulldogs 9/19/09 loss 3 - 15 coverage
@ Rice Owls 9/26/09 win 36 - 17 coverage
Mississippi Rebels 10/3/09 loss 7 - 23 coverage
@ Army Black Knights 10/10/09 loss 13 - 16 coverage
Georgia Bulldogs 10/17/09 loss 10 - 34 coverage
@ South Carolina Gamecocks 10/24/09 loss 10 - 14 coverage
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 10/31/09 loss 31 - 56 coverage
@ Florida Gators 11/7/09 loss 3 - 27 coverage
Kentucky Wildcats 11/14/09 loss 13 - 24 coverage

 

Vanderbilt and Tennessee against common opponents:

FULL SCREEN VERSION
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National Unit Rankings

Now on to the national rankings.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category
National
Rank
Actual
National
Leader
Actual
Conf
Rank
Southeastern
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Offense
47
163.36
Nevada
353.10
7
Florida
230.60
Passing Offense
113
144.73
Houston
428.20
12
Arkansas
310.00
Total Offense
108
308.09
Houston
562.60
12
Arkansas
450.10
Scoring Offense
114
16.36
Boise St.
43.60
12
Arkansas
37.60
Passing Efficiency
119
89.31
Cincinnati
170.01
12
Arkansas
159.97
Sacks Allowed
T-64
2.00
Boise St.
.50
8
Alabama
.90

Offensive observations. Yikes for them. A mediocre rushing attack coupled with a rotten passing attack that sifts out to triple digit national rankings in the majority of offensive statistical categories. I repeat: Yikes on them.

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category
National
Rank
Actual
National
Leader
Actual
Conf
Rank
Southeastern
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Defense
107
197.55
Texas
50.40
12
Alabama
72.80
Pass Efficiency Defense
33
115.47
Florida
87.18
8
Florida
87.18
Total Defense
60
357.36
Texas
232.30
9
Florida
233.90
Scoring Defense
47
22.64
Florida
10.50
8
Florida
10.50
Pass Defense
7
159.82
Air Force
127.91
2
Florida
139.60
Sacks
67
1.82
Pittsburgh
4.10
8
Florida
2.90
Tackles For Loss
56
5.82
Cincinnati
8.80
10
Mississippi
7.20

 

Defensive observations. Well, this is better. Vandy is excellent at defending the pass, so much so that when balanced with their rotten rush defense, the total defense climbs all the way up to middle-of-the-pack. Of course, that means that they have a huge hole in their defense, one that is oddly sized and shaped just like Montario Hardesty.

SPECIAL TEAMS AND TURNOVERS RANKINGS
Category
National
Rank
Actual
National
Leader
Actual
Conf
Rank
Southeastern
Conference Leader
Actual
Net Punting
70
35.28
Georgia
43.73
7
Georgia
43.73
Punt Returns
115
3.96
Central Mich.
18.47
12
LSU
16.23
Kickoff Returns
40
23.15
Stanford
30.78
9
Florida
26.12
Turnover Margin
48
.27
Rutgers
2.33
6
Arkansas
1.20

 

Special teams and turnovers observations. Eh. Okay at kickoff returns and turnovers. Not so much at punting and the opposite of okay (inokay? imokay? non-okay? misokay? malokay?) at returning punts.

Stastical Comparison

Here's how the two teams stack up against each other in each of the key statistical categories in Hooper's wizbang BlogPoll Computerer:

Team
WL
SOS
PED
RD
3DO
TD
PEO
OPPG
TO
3DD
RTT RANK
Tennessee Logo
64
24
17
60
72
25
41
31
57
25
36
Vanderbilt Logo
112
30
33
107
93
60
119
47
108
47
97

 

Well that's the first time this season that that's happened. All orange make Jackson say woo. Vandy's not shabby on defense, though.

Players to watch for

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
Rushing Warren Norman 75 64.55
  Zac Stacy   49.11
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Larry Smith   88.01
Total Offense Larry Smith   148.78
  Warren Norman   64.55
  Zac Stacy   49.11
Receptions Per Game Cole   3.56
Receiving Yards Per Game Cole   37.67
Interceptions Myron Lewis T-39 .36
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game) Brett Upson 24 43.25
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Alex Washington 54 4.72
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Warren Norman 29 26.73
Field Goals Ryan Fowler T-45 1.18
Scoring Ryan Fowler   5.27
  Warren Norman   3.82
All-Purpose Runners Warren Norman 13 162.64
Sacks Theron Kadri   .33
  Greg Billinger   .32
Tackles Chris Marve T-16 10.00
  Patrick Benoist 89 7.73
  Brent Trice   7.00
  Sean Richardson   6.91
Tackles For Loss Casey Hayward   .77


Observations

Running backs. All you really need to know here is this: "Stormin'" Warren Norman (1,789 yards) is very close to breaking Herschel Walker's freshman all-purpose yards record (1,805 yards), and it looks like he's going to get it against us. Nice. Still, that is about all they can do on offense.

Quarterbacks. Larry Smith is their quarterback. That is all. Wait. That is not all. Vandy's passing efficiency is the second-worst in the FBS. Now that is all.

Receivers/Tight Ends. Heh. Just who is this mysterious "Cole?" Poor man is missing his first name. Or his last name. And his position and class as well, unless "null" is oneathem fancy new classifications of the modern educational system. Now that I think about it, Nu'Keese Richardson's and Mike Edwards's positions and classes might as well be "null," too.

Defense. Sophomore linebacker Chris Marve is tied for 10th in the nation in tackling, and he's forced three fumbles this season. Theron Kadri and Greg Billinger combine to have nearly 2/3 of a sack per game. Perhaps the rounding occurred last week.

Special teams. Brett Upson is a solid punter, and there's that Norman guy again returning kickoffs. Somebody stop him because if he goes McCluster on us, well, I'd rather not think about that.

Head to Head Comparisons

  Tennessee Logo Vanderbilt Logo
Best Comparable
Result Against Best Comparable
Prediction
UT rush v. Vandy rush defense
161.30
(#51)
197.55
(#107)
Memphis
(183)
(#101)
137
180
UT pass v. Vandy pass defense
226.60
(#50)
159.85
(#7)
South Carolina
(163.64)
(#8)
142
140
Vandy rush v. UT rush defense
143.10
(#60)
163.36
(#47)
WKU
(177)
(#38)
34
100
Vandy pass v. UT pass defense
171.70
(#13)
144.73
(#113)
WKU
(148.70)
(#110)
49
120
UT scoring offense v. Vandy scoring defense
30.60
(#34)
22.64
(#47)
UCLA
(21.40)
(#35)
15
24
Vandy scoring offense v. UT scoring defense
21.20
(#31)
16.36
(#114)
WKU
(20.20)
(#104)
7
6

 

Again, not math, but informed guesses. I think we'll rush for more yards than we did against Memphis (because we came out passing against Memphis, but probably won't against Vandy) and have about as much success in the passing game against the 'Dores as we did against South Carolina. Based on how our defense has been playing the last six quarters, I can't believe that we'll strangle Vanderbilt like we did WKU. In the end, though, I feel pretty good about keeping them mostly off the scoreboard and hopefully out of the end zone and about us putting up points to within one score of our average.

Conclusions

  • To say Vanderbilt's passing attack is woeful is generous. They have had some success running the ball this season, though, so expect them to live or die with that.
  • The Commodores do an excellent job defending the pass, but have a Montario Hardesty-sized and -shaped hole in the running game. It's perfect for us!
  • Special teams should be an absolute battle of averages. They're nothing special, but neither are we.
  • Watch out for Warren Norman. Challenging Herschel Walker's freshman all-purpose record while dressed in a Vandy uniform is cause for amazement.

Predictions

  • Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 6

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