Scouting Vanderbilt Defense and Special Teams

Defensively, Vandy is not real strong, but this unit is a lot better than the Commodores offense, that's for sure. Vanderbilt held LSU to 27 points, Ole Miss to 14 and South Carolina to 21. They also gave up 40 to Connecticut, 43 to Georgia and 49 to Arkansas. Vandy is relatively easy to run on (177) and almost as easy to throw on (237, 64%) showing the same balance they have on offense.

The defensive line is a problem in that the ends don't make a lot of plays and the tackles are not big or strong enough to control the middle. Tackles Adam Smotherman (is that an awesome DT name or what?) and T.J. Greenstone have decent size but get moved fairly easily. The best lineman is DE Theron Kadri and their top sack man is a non-starter Rob Lohr who has three.

The linebacker corps is pretty good led by MLB Chris Marve who is a very good player. Marve can get caught up trying to fill gaps on run plays and is a guy Florida will try to influence with its zone reads. SLB John Stokes is very active and will try to make plays in the backfield. The third LB has not been as productive and teams have success running to the weak side. Vandy's issues on defense are exemplified by the fact that four of the top six tacklers are in the secondary.

Speaking of the secondary they have two solid players that Florida must be aware of. Strong safety Sean Richardson might be their best all around defender. He leads Vandy with 69 tackles, with 6.5 tackles for loss. Cornerback Casey Hayward has five interceptions, which is remarkable in that the rest of the team has one. He's a bit of a gambler and susceptible to getting burned especially on double moves. Of course, Florida doesn't run many if any double moves routes.

Overall, Vandy is not very strong on defense.

Scouting Vandy Special --- The Commodores are pretty good on special teams, but not as good as they would be if they had Norman returning kickoffs. John Cole is a pretty low risk/low reward punt return guy. He does have a 54-yard return, but his others average five yards. Eric Samuel has a similar resume. He has one 46-yard kickoff return to his credit, but his other 11 returns average 18.3. They have covered kicks pretty well. Punter Richard Kent is very solid and very consistent. He's averaging 41.3. He has 14 punts of 50-plus yards and has dropped 23 inside the 20-yard line. Vandy has allowed a total of 28 punt return yards this season --- and they punt a lot. PK Ryan Fowler is just 3-for-4 on field goals with a long of 30. They have blocked two place kicks so Florida better protect on those situations and not take it for granted.


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