Alabama Football Three Keys: Vanderbilt


Vanderbilt (3-1) and Alabama (3-0) are both three-win teams, but they have very different projections over the rest of the season. Here are the three keys for ‘Bama to stay undefeated by sinking the ‘Dores.

By Steve Wright

Know The Opponent

It is easy just to assume that Vandy is Vandy. The Commodores have consistently been the worst team in the SEC, with the James Franklin years sticking out as an exception to the mediocrity. While claiming that Vandy is a threat to Alabama is false, it is worth knowing that head coach Clark Lea has this team trending in the right direction.

Even suggesting that Vandy isn’t the worst team in the SEC would cause an eyebrow to be raised. Based on the 2022 season so far, however, you can argue for Vandy to be better than any of Auburn, Mizzou, or South Carolina. Alabama can’t fall into the trap of thinking “same old Vandy” because there is a feeling of optimism in Nashville that could catch the Crimson Tide cold.

Be Aware Of Quarterback Options

Vandy’s sole loss of the season was 45-25 against Wake Forest. Through that game, the ‘Dores quarterback was junior Mike Wright. Wright is a much better runner than a passer, averaging 10.3 yards per carry on the season. Wright, however, is pretty one-dimensional.

Lea moved to true freshman AJ Swan last week against Northern Illinois. Swann responded well, passing for 255 yards with four touchdowns and no picks against the Huskies. Vandy is staying tight-lipped over who will start on Saturday, so ‘Bama has to be ready for the rush-heavy Wright or the more versatile Swann.

Continue The Process

Alabama does better at using the first few games of the season to tune-up than any other team in college football. The one-point win over Texas acted as a jolt to the system, and after a dominant win last week over ULM, there are still things to work on.

Expect Bryce Young to be steady and efficient as he finds his targets against an overmatched Vandy secondary. The ‘Bama defense doesn’t allow opponents to convert third downs, and it has been the best overall unit in the SEC (which is saying something given how well Georgia is playing). In the end, this is another tune-up for the Crimson Tide.

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