Lew Thomas: Vandy's best player

He's the best player in the SEC that you have not yet heard about.

Ever heard the name Lew Thomas?

Probably not, but maybe you should have. He is the second leading rusher in the SEC behind only Tennessee's Travis Stephens, who had a huge game against Georgia last weekend in Knoxville. Thomas has improved his rushing total four consecutive games in a row, which is a scary thought. If Thomas is able to improve on his running totals from two weeks ago, the Dawgs will be in trouble.

Against Alabama, Thomas ran for 89 yards on only 10 carries. That was an improvement of 17 yards from the first game of the season, Middle Tennessee. Then against Richmond, Thomas ran the ball 15 times for 93 yards, an improvement of 4 yards when compared to his game against Bama.

But his best performance of the season came two weeks ago against Auburn. Thomas ripped off 173 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. His ability to run allowed Vandy to come in striking distance of the Tigers at the end of the game.

Woody Widenhofer loves the enthusiasm that Thomas brings to Vandy, but he wants to make it known that Thomas is not only a great runner but also a solid contributor on special teams.

"He is excited about playing and hopefully winning and doing his part in it. He carried the ball 27 times last week. It was his first start, so he was going to carry the ball more."

"He is also doing a great job on special teams. He is on our kickoff team. He is the first guy down there on kickoffs. He is the protector on the punt team. He has a lot on his plate right now. He has accepted it and is doing very well. We would like to get him 25 touches a game."

Lew Thomas v. the opposition
Teams Yards Touchdowns
Middle Tennessee 72 1
Alabama 89 0
Richmond 93 2
Auburn 173 2

One thing that makes Thomas so dangerous is Greg Zolman, the Vandy quarterback. He is an impressive quarterback who's numbers are not as high as possible because of the Commodore's inability to catch the ball, and Mark Richt knows it.

"Zolman does a great job throwing the football around. I've heard they've had some trouble catching the ball so his numbers aren't as big, but our defensive coaches say he's really talented. The running has done a great job. They have a balanced attack, enough to make you play them straight up."

And playing Vandy straight up is not the best way to be successful. In the past the Dawgs have been able to focus on Zolman alone. Now Georgia must deal with a powerful running back along with a good quarterback, which is not normal at Vanderbilt.

Lew Thomas allows Vandy to control the ball, something that they will need to do Saturday in order to win. Georgia's defense has been solid at stopping the run, with the exception of the Tennessee game. But Georgia had yet to face a top-notch running back on this season's schedule.

Now the Dawgs must adjust to the now Vandy offense that appears to have a top-notch running back, just like Tennessee did.

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