Anchor of Gold always does excellent work covering Vanderbilt for SB Nation, and friend of the podcast Christian D'Andrea traded questions and answers with me this week for Saturday's showdown. You can find my answers to his questions here.
1. What's been the biggest difference between Austyn Carta-Samuels and Patton Robinette, and do you expect to see one or both of them on Saturday?
Robinette has more potential, but he still need to grow into the position. He has a more accurate arm than ACS and is an elusive runner, but his timing has been unimpressive in his first few starts as a Commodore. He misses windows of opportunity to make plays that ACS doesn't. If he can get comfortable in the pocket he can be the better QB. Until then, Carta-Samuels give this team their best chance to win.
I think we'll see ACS on Saturday. He started against Kentucky, and while he still looked limited against the Wildcats, you have to think that inserting him in that game was Franklin's way of getting him ready for Tennessee - the toughest test left on Vandy's schedule. If he struggles, look for Robinette to make an appearance. Quarterback platoons, sadly, are a Vanderbilt tradition after all.
2. How critical is Jordan Matthews to Vanderbilt's offense, and who are the other reliable weapons for the Commodores?
3. Vanderbilt is +11 in turnovers in their last four games including the wins over Georgia and Florida. What's been the biggest difference here - great play by the defense, fortunate bounces, a little of both?
More importantly, it showcased a strong secondary that hadn't had a chance to shine earlier in the season. Vandy had been gashed by mobile quarterbacks earlier in the year, leaving the team's cornerbacks on an island and allowing passers like Connor Shaw and Bo Wallace to carve this team up. Recently, this team has been taking care of business up front, allowing for more comprehensive cover schemes behind them and seven interceptions in their last two games.
4. How have you continued to see the Vanderbilt culture change under James Franklin this season?
5. Is there a different feel surrounding this game after what happened last year? How important is this game for Vanderbilt right now?