Three Keys: Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky

The Commodores are 4-4 after crushing an overmatched UMass team last week and are right on the path to bowl eligibility. Next up is a trip to Lexington to take on the 1-8 Kentucky Wildcats. A win is a must if Vandy want to continue marching up the SEC standings. Here are this week's three keys.

The Commodores are 4-4 after crushing an overmatched UMass team last week and are right on the path to bowl eligibility. Next up is a trip to Lexington to take on the 1-8 Kentucky Wildcats. A win is a must if Vandy want to continue marching up the SEC standings. Here are this week's three keys.

1) Put a body on Avery Williamson Kentucky does not boast a whole lot that jumps off of the page at an opposing coach. They rank 116th in points for and 99th in points against and neither their running or passing game strikes any kind of fear into you. The Wildcats do however boast one player that needs to be schemed for every Saturday, middle linebacker Avery Williamson.

Last week in the losing effort against Mizzou Williamson made 14 tackles. For the season he ranks in the top 10 nationally in stops per game averaging over 10. Vandy will want to control the flow of this game by running Zac Stacy early and often. Last year against the Wildcats Stacy had 135 yards and 3 touchdowns, and a repeat performance is exactly what the Commodores want. To do that the offensive line will need to get to the second level and put a body on Williamson keeping him away from the play as much as possible.

2) Pressure Jalen Whitlow into mistakes

With the season essentially over Kentucky has decided to throw quarterback Jalen Whitlow to the wolves in order to get him some experience in the offense. The thought in Lexington is that the coaching staff is going to be out at the end of the year, so any progress Whitlow can make will be important two or three years from now. In limited action he has thrown for 444 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Unfortunately he is about to come up against a Commodores pass defense which has exceeded all expectations in 2012. Vandy ranks 5th nationally against the pass and gives up just 151 yards per game through the air. With a combination of good pressure and solid downfield coverage the 'Dores should be able to force the freshman into a mistake or two and capitalize from there.

3) Get Chris Boyd and Jordan Matthews more involved

Sometimes I wonder just what kind of numbers Matthews and Boyd could be putting up if they played in a spread attack like the one Texas Tech ran under Mike Leach. Both are supremely talented, yet for the year they have combined for just four receiving touchdowns. Obviously plenty of this is down to the scheme which sees Vandy run first, run second, and pass last, but this would seem to be an ideal game for one or both of them to break out with a high yardage and multiple touchdown effort.

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