"Sunday wasn't the best day I've had, but we got through it," said senior Dustin Dunning. "We saw that we didn't play as well as we should have."
"The meetings were when everybody was down and out," coach Bobby Johnson said of Sunday. "Once we got out on the practice field, I thought they did a good job getting our practice under way."
For Johnson, who has a habit of telling the media his team has good practices throughout the season, saying the players did a good job getting the practice under way certainly is not a ringing endorsement. No, the Vanderbilt players did not shake off the events of Saturday night in the first 24 hours, and who could blame them? They were one play away from being 5-0 heading into the LSU game, but a failed field goal magnified all the other errors that occurred in the previous three hours during VU's 17-15 loss.
"If we would have done certain things better, we would have won that game," Johnson said. "That was the disappointing part and that is why you have to get their confidence back. You can catch the ball. You can block properly so we can get a kick off. That is the confidence we need to rebuild."
They will have to rebuild it in a hurry, as No. 11 LSU visits Vanderbilt Stadium fresh off a 37-7 win at Mississippi State. The Tigers are expected to contend for the SEC championship in Les Miles' first season replacing Nick Saban, and the lone blemish to date is a 30-27 loss in overtime to Tennessee.
Johnson said his team will have to be fundamentally sound to compete with the talented and athletic Tigers.
"It is not that we are going to be overwhelmed," he said. "We just have to make sure we're good technique-wise and assignment-wise, because if we are not, we're not going to be able to make up or catch up. We won't have the ability to make up for mistakes.
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Before the LSU game gets here, however, Vanderbilt must pick up the pieces and put together some solid practices starting on Tuesday.
"I hope it is a little more up-tempo than usual," Dunning said. "We need to take this to heart and motivate us to play better next week."
Vanderbilt's remaining schedule features four teams currently ranked in the top 13 in the nation, along with South Carolina and Kentucky. If the Dores are to qualify for a bowl, they will need to pick up two additional SEC victories.
"We believe we can win any game on our schedule this year," Dunning said. "There is not one game out there where we are like, ‘We have to win this one.' As long as we keep that attitude, we'll be fine."
Bill Trocchi is the interactive editor for Athlon Sports.