Five Areas the Commodores Must Improve

The opening game of the season is always the one coaches fear most. Sure, Vanderbilt was taken down in a game for the ages by Ole Miss and the fan base is hurting, but at least there were plenty of positives to takes from the contest.

That being said the first game also showed clear areas where improvement is needed if the 'Dores are going to be competitive during the tougher games on the schedule this year. Here are five areas where James Franklin has to put some work in:

1) Stop the quarterback run game - Bo Wallace went for 48 yards and two touchdowns. His back up added two more scores on just four carries. As a fan nothing demoralizes me more than seeing that hole open up on the read option and a quarterback picking up a big gain. Though it will not be an issue this weekend the likes of Johnny Manziel and Jeff Driskel are waiting in the wings.

2) Develop a new kick returner - I understand they Brian Kimbrow is back there with the elusiveness and speed he possesses, but it is just too risky. The NCAA (and NFL for that matter) has been trying to eliminate the kick return game for a reason. The collisions happen with such force that it is an injury waiting to happen. Vanderbilt needs to find someone else to take that role because Kimbrow is way too important in the run game to be lost on a kick return injury.

3) Take better pursuit angles - It may have been a combination of adrenaline and tiredness but the technique and pursuit angles on the 75-yard Jeff Scott touchdown were terrible. Any one of four defenders could have taken a better angle and shut that play down for a 15-yard gain at most. The Vanderbilt defense is better than that, they just picked a terrible time to collectively forget their fundamentals.

4) Punting - A 40-yard per punt average isn't bad, but the heart in your mouth feeling every time Taylor Hudson dropped back after the shanked kick was not great. He will get better as the season goes along and he gets more comfortable with his role.

5) Find another offensive threat - Jordan Matthews put up 178 yards despite the defense knowing he is the only real offensive threat Vandy has right now. With Chris Boyd's status still entirely up in the air and none of the three running backs going for more than 43 yards someone is going to need to step up, and step up quickly. When you think about it in those terms it is shocking that Matthews isn't the Heisman front runner after opening weekend for almost singlehandedly keeping Vandy in the game.

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