I got together for an interview with the good folks at the Vanderbilt Sports Line. See what they had to say about Thursday's game after the jump.
1. First things first. How did it feel last year finally to see the Dores humble Steve Spurrier? You should know that
VSL: All Commodore Fans, to say nothing of the VSL Masthead, remember Spurrier’s infamous words when he took the Redskins job: “Well, no Vanderbilt’s in the NFL.” If ever a quote rubbed the Vanderbilt faithful the wrong way, that was it. It was all the better that the win came on the road and with
2. Now that that's out of the way, this past week you beat
VSL: This team can score. Vanderbilt’s offense, as you allude to in question 3, was discriminated by graduation. There are no returning starters on the line, we lost Earl Bennett, and senior receiver George Smith is out for the first 4-6 weeks. Vanderbilt fans have come to rely on a stout defense, but it seems the offense has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory time and again for the past 2 seasons. Miami (OH), with 3 linebackers on pre-season watch lists, has a pretty good defense and yet Vanderbilt was able to put points on the board relatively easily.
3. If I'm not mistaken, you guys return no starting offensive linemen. Among others, you lost first-round draft pick Chris Williams. How did the line perform against
VSL: The line looked pretty good, but definitely had some breakdowns over the course of the game. Fortunately, a few of those breakdowns resulted in Chris Nickson breaking off for a big time run. Is the line ready for prime time SEC play yet? I’m doubtful, but we’ll have a better idea after Thursday night. Commodore fans should accept the reality that our offensive line is going to collapse under the pressure of SEC defenses at various points in the season. The two questions on everyone’s mind should be, (1) When that happens, what can Chris Nickson (and perhaps Mackenzi Adams) do with his feet to prevent disaster?, and (2) Will offensive coordinator Ted Cain finally display some imagination and take advantage of the vulnerabilities in SEC defenses that are forced to dedicate a player to spying Nickson on the run?
4. Heading into the season, there was some talk about a QB battle between Chris Nickson and Mackenzi Adams. Did Nickson secure the starting job with his strong performance last Thursday?
VSL: Yes. He looked like the quarterback of 2006. We have been going back and forth a lot on VSL about whether or not there actually was a “controversy,” or Bobby Johnson was just playing it close to the vest. After last Thursday’s performance, it’s hard to imagine that Mackenzi Adams and Chris Nickson were as close as it might have appeared. If they are, I think
5. Tell us how you think this season will go for Vanderbilt. Will you guys make a bowl?
VSL: God we hope so. This team is a largely unknown quantity and the expectations are (don’t laugh) lower this year than in year’s past. Back when we previewed this season, we circled this game against