This post begins our preview on the VU-USC matchup. Today we're focusing on Vandy's defense. My apologies for the brevity of this entry; today was busy for me, and I've only got just enough energy left to get a few thoughts up.
Statistically, this is a very good defense. The competition--Elon, UConn (and no, UConn is not good this year), and Ole Miss--has a lot to do with it, but Vandy is playing good defense statistically right now. They're 26th against the run, 22nd against the pass, and a stunning 5th in the nation in turnover margin.
Expect those rushing numbers to look a lot different next week. I never cease to be amazed at how well Vandy's defensive fronts seem to play against us, but I think we're going to run for a lot of yards this week. Vandy's front remains a bit less than what we typically face, and with Marcus Lattimore and our line performing at their current level, we should have no trouble running the football in this game. I would like, though, to see us get a backup TB in for a couple of series. I'm worried that we're running Lattimore too much; that said, of course, if nothing else is working, nothing else is working.
Pass defense is another story. In the bit of tape I've seen, Vandy's secondary looks legit. We knew Casey Hayward and Sean Richardson were good, but it appears that Vandy may have found someone even better in Trey Wilson. Stephen Garcia is going to have to play very intelligently and our coaches are going to have to show some ability to innovate a bit if we're going to move the ball through the air without risking a bunch of interceptions. One of the things that impressed me most about Garcia's game last week was his ability to resist throwing to Alshon Jeffery while #1 was triple-covered. It would behoove him to again play it safe when that's the case, because I fear that Vandy will make us pay if he doesn't.