Vanderbilt football hosts Tennessee on Saturday in Nashville. Here are your three keys to a Vanderbilt victory.
By Don Yates
1. Score in the first
Vanderbilt’s had trouble scoring in the first quarter all season. The Commodores have not scored a touchdown in the first quarter of seven of eight games played. In one other game, Vandy scored a field goal in the first. That’s something that has to be fixed to have a shot at beating Tennessee. Vandy has the edge at quarterback in this one. If they can get in the end zone in the first quarter that could deflate the Vols. Not scoring a touchdown or at least something in the first would likely have the same effect Vandy.
2. Be creative with personnel
I think something every team in college football should have done before the 2020 season was to cross-train every player to a position on the opposite side of the ball. For instance, defensive backs practice some as wide receivers and vice versa. We knew situations like this could come up. Some of that (cross-training) may have been going on, I’m not sure. I do see additional offensive linemen playing on defense this week and safety playing at defensive end. There are no backups at some positions. It’s going to take some creativity on the staff’s part. If Vandy somehow wins this game some members of the current staff should be strongly considered to be part of the next regime.
3. Stop the run
You can bet Tennessee is going to try to establish a running game early. If it’s successful they’ll continue to pound the Vandy defense until they can be stopped or the final horn blows. The Commodores have to force some punts, especially early on in the game. The Commodores are short-handed and the defense will tire quickly if they stay on the field too long and then it’s downhill from there on.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 3:00 PM CT (4:00 PM ET). You can watch this Vanderbilt football game on the SEC Network.