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Previewing Vanderbilt at South Carolina: Topics for Discussion on the Vandy Offense

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  • How bad is the Vandy offense? Vanderbilt currently ranks 92nd in total offense, 110 in scoring offense, 38th in rushing offense, and 112th in passing offense. While the rushing numbers are impressive, they're probably more indicative of a team that typically doesn't put the ball in the air and fails when they do so. Moreover, the all-important 110 in scoring offense number tells you that while Vandy may pick up a first down or two with their running game each time they get the ball, their drives eventually stall. All in all, this isn't a good offense.
  • Can we stop Vandy's running game? Vandy's leading rushers are freshmen Warren Norman and Zac Stacy. Both players have filled in nicely for projected starter Jared Hawkins, who has had trouble getting onto the field due to a nagging foot injury. Norman has a bit more breakaway speed than either Stacy or Hawkins, which is important for an offense that could use big plays to offset general ineptitude. Watch for Vandy to try to put him in position to make something happen. Overall, though, I think we should be able to handle these guys for most of the night; this certainly isn't 'Bama's running game, and it's not Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke, either. A good, heady performance from our defense and we're set.0
  • Who's the quarterback? Vandy's starting quarterback is Larry Smith, but after a few weeks of bad offense and speculation regarding Smith's status, Mackenzi Adams got into last week's game against UGA and played well. I'm thinking we'll see more Adams this week as Vandy attempts to solve its passing-game problems. Smith is a good running quarterback, but he's an erratic passer. The same could be said for Adams, who has played on and off for a few years now. You have to try something different at some point, though, and Smith hasn't been playing well.
  • Wildcat? At the same time, I would expect you'll see Vandy come prepared with a wildcat package for Smith, who can run it and throw it well. Vandy's coaching staff has surely seen that we've had trouble with the wildcat late in games while our defense is tired, and if the game is close enough for Vandy to run it late, I would expect they'll try their hand at the wildcat, too. Vandy has a pretty solid offensive line and the right kind of quarterback, so they could have some success with the formation. Hopefully, our coaches will have prepared our defense to counter.