With that being said, only time will tell whether the team we saw against Alabama will be the team we see for the remainder of the season. If it is, then there is reason to feel disappointed. If the Dores continue to play like that, it will be hard to find success this season. Plain and simple, it was just a bad game in many different areas for this team. However, you can't write the team off after one loss. It's way too early in the season. Now is not the time to start questioning everything associated with the program.
It's not the time to start questioning Chris Nickson's ability to lead this team to a successful season. All players have bad games, and the injury seemed to be bothering him from the first series and on. If Nickson is injured to the point where he doesn't give this team the best chance to win, then you can start talking about replacing him. But before you jump to conclusions, let's see how he bounces back from the injury, and how he plays this weekend against the Rebels of Ole Miss.
And quite frankly, it's not the time to start questioning Bobby Johnson's coaching ability. Everyone has their own opinions about coaching, but you can't place the blame entirely on the coaches. Before the season started, almost everyone was talking about how this was the most talented team in years, and maybe in the history of the Vanderbilt football program. I'd say Coach Johnson has a lot to do with recruiting that talent. Remember the wins at Tennessee and at Georgia? When's the last time a Vanderbilt coach won in Knoxville? No, we can't just be happy and satisfied with those wins, and not worry about the progress being made right now. But two games into the season is way too soon to start judging this football team. Even talented teams have bad games.
Again, the Ole Miss game on Saturday will say a lot about where we really stand in terms of the Southeastern Conference. So before you start rushing to make the claim that the Commodores will finish 2-10, and that Vandy hasn't made any progress under Johnson‘s watch, just wait to see how they bounce back this Saturday night. Unlike the Alabama game, this is a game most people feel the Commodores "should" win. Although the Rebels looked decent in their game against Missouri, Vandy still has the better team overall. With a win over Ole Miss on Saturday, all would be well in Nashville again. With a bye week to follow, and then hosting Eastern Michigan, there's no reason the Commodores couldn't still be 3-1 after four games. Three wins and one loss isn't a bad place to be after four football games.
Without a doubt, it all goes back to making adjustments in order to win against Ole Miss. Earl Bennett will undoubtedly be double teamed from here on out, so the offense will have to find a way to spread the football around to the other offensive targets. Defensively, adjustments will need to be made against the rushing game, as BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a very physical runner, and will likely be the focus of the Rebel offensive scheme. And this will be a chance to cause turnovers, as Seth Adams, a senior, still hasn't had much game experience. Special teams are still a big concern, although our return game is progressing very well, as Alex Washington had an excellent return against the Tide, even though it was called back due to a facemask penalty. We won't get to in-depth on the officiating though. It's probably better to leave that alone.
Another interesting aspect to look at as we approach this week's game will be fan support. Some of the players may begin to question their abilities, so the fans need to show up and give them encouragement and support this weekend. It wasn't really enjoyable to sit among 30,000 Alabama fans on Saturday. But, that is what we've come to expect, and perhaps we do play better in a road-like atmosphere. However, it's getting pretty old. Will the Commodore faithful show up and support their team this weekend? If fans judge this team on one loss, then I guess we know the answer to that question. But if we realize that one game doesn't define a team this early in the season, then hopefully we will see a lot of black and gold at Dudley Field on Saturday.
Hopefully the Commodores come out and prove they weren't the team we saw against Alabama. Hopefully they can get a win over Ole Miss, and get back on the right track. And hopefully the fans will come out to cheer this team on, and show the players and coaches they have our full support, even after a tough loss this past weekend.
But, only time will tell.