Scouting Vanderbilt Offense

After an exhilarating victory in Jacksonville the Gator football team must transition its emotions and focus for a much weaker opponent this Saturday. The Vanderbilt Commodores got off to a great start this season, winning their first five games, but they have lost three straight.

While Vandy is nowhere near the team Georgia is, there's every reason to expect this game to be much closer. For one thing, Vandy has a history of making things difficult for the Gators in Nashville. Florida's two National Championship teams both struggled against the Commodores. The 1996 team escaped with a 28-21 win while the '06 squad hold to hold on for dear life to post a 25-19 victory.

The Vandy offense has really struggled of late, scoring 14 or fewer points in the last four games including just seven in a loss to Duke two weeks go. They are last the SEC in total offense at just 255 yards a game, but that's deceptive. They averaged 357 against Miami-Ohio and Rice, but just 222 in their other six games.

They switched QB from Chris Nickson (51.4, 311, 3/2) to Mackenzi Adams (51, 572 5/5) after Adams led them on the winning drive against Auburn. Both are decent runners and OK throwers and both could play. Adams is a little bigger, Nickson is quicker. I suspect the Gators will see both.

They struggle to run the ball against good teams with Jared Hawkins the lead runner with 441 yards and 3 TD. The quarterbacks are the next two leading runners. They also make use of a speedy wingback type in Sean Walker who carries it a couple of times a game and gets about nine per carry.

Walker is their top receiver with 23 catches followed by the TE Brandon Barden (18, 9.0, 2) who is as good as any TE Florida has seen this year. Their best receiver would have been Floridian George Smith (4, 12.0) but he's been hurt most of the year.

The offensive line is decent, but not real physical. They've allowed 14 QB sacks which is not bad at all, but that would be a higher number if not for the QB running ability.

Overall this is -- simply put -- a bad offensive team that can only succeed on missed tackles and big plays off broken coverage. They only topped the 300 yard mark against Miami-Ohio and Rice and those are also the only teams that Vandy has scored more than 24 points against.

Florida's defense should dominate these guys if they play with passion and remain focused. A sellout crowd and night game should be positive factors in getting the Gators revved up for this one.


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