Scouting Vanderbilt Defense and Special Teams

The Commodores have come by their record (2-7, 0-5) the old fashioned way. They've earned it. The offensive struggles have already been documented and while they've been better on the defensive side of the ball they certainly have issues there as well.

Vandy is coming off a game against Georgia Tech in which it gave up 597 yards and 56 points. Now Tech is a good team, but that's too much to give up to anyone. They also lost to Georgia 34-10 two weeks before that. For the year the Commodores surrender 160 yards on the ground and 191 through the air. Not horrible numbers, but numbers that are more than a little deceiving. They averaged allowing 222 yards a game to weaklings Army, Western Carolina and Rice and give up 415/game otherwise.

The defensive front is one of the weakest in the SEC. The most solid player there is DT Greg Billinger (28 tackles, 3.5 sacks). Backup DE Theron Kadri (20, 3) gives them some pass rush on the outside. Four of their opponents had their season-best rushing yardage against these guys.

The LB corps has two good ones in MLB No. 13 Chris Marve (90 tackles) who is about as active as any LB in the SEC. WLB Patrick Benoist (71) offers plenty of supports and is in on almost as many plays.

A big problem for Vandy is that five of their top seven tacklers are DBs. The best guy back there is CB Myron Lewis who is a bigger, physical corner with three interceptions. Florida can run by him if they choose to. The other corner Casey Hayward (2 int) isn't bad. The safeties are typical Vandy safeties in that they are solid tacklers and disciplined players but not play makers at all.

This defense is not very good, but it is decent at takeaways (16).

Vandy Special ---- Vandy is traditionally pretty good at this and they have a great weapon in Warren Norman who has three TD on kickoff returns against Army, South Carolina and Georgia Tech. His average is 28.4, but just 22 without the TDs. They have just one punt return more than 20 yards. Kickoff coverage is good (19.5), but punt coverage (11.8) not so much. Punter Brett Upson is pretty good (41.8) but he should be with all the practice he gets. He's punted 65 times already. Contrast that with Florida's Chas Henry who has just 21 punts. The FG kicker really struggles. Ryan Fowler is 10-of-15 on the year, but he's 6-of-7 inside 29 yards and just 4-0f-8 from 30-plus.


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