Morris: quarterback's confidence key

No one will be happier to see 5:00 Saturday night get here than the Vanderbilt Commodore players and coaches. They are looking forward to getting the bad taste of the loss at Auburn out of their mouths. Their task this weekend is not any easier. The #24 Georgia Bulldogs come to Vanderbilt Stadium with a bad taste of their own. The Bulldogs got crushed by the Vols in Knoxville last weekend 35-14.

The key for Vanderbilt's offense this weekend will be to find a rhythm early. The Commodores still have not announced who the starting quarterback will be on Saturday. It does not matter if it is Chris Nickson or Mackenzie Adams who starts, Vanderbilt offensive coordinator Ted Cain will need to call some plays early to help boost the confidence of the quarterback. Some short throws to Earl Bennett or one of the other Commodore receivers should help accomplish this goal. If the Vanderbilt quarterback can get some confidence under his belt early it will open up the offense for some big plays.

The Commodores will also need to establish a run game. The Bulldogs are averaging 29.5 points per game. The best way to keep them out of the end zone is to keep them off the field. If Vanderbilt can have an edge is time of possession it will make the defense's job a lot easier. Look for Cassen Jackson-Garrison and Jeff Jennings to get a good amount of carriers early in the game. If they can have some success it will not only keep the Georgia offense off the field, but it will open up the field for some big plays in the passing game.

Vanderbilt's defense will be playing with a chip on their collective shoulder on Saturday. They will be trying to prove that last weekend's performance at Auburn was an aberration. Proving this will not come easy against Matthew Stafford and the Georgia offense that is averaging 361.8 yards per game. The Bulldogs will, however, be missing running back Thomas Brown who has rushed for 413 yards on 76 attempts this season. He has also scored 6 touchdowns. This does not mean stopping the run will be easy. Georgia still has two very talented running backs in Knowshon Moreno (91 carries for 462 yards and 3 touchdowns) and Kregg Lumpkin who is returning from an injury of his own. The Vanderbilt defense will need to contain the run and make sophomore quarterback Matthew Stafford beat them.

The Commodores should match up pretty well against the Bulldogs passing attack. Stafford has been erratic at times this year and is only completing 55.9% of his passes. They cannot allow him to sit in the pocket and throw. Stafford can be forced to make bad decisions if the Commodores can get some pressure on him.

This is a big game for both teams coming off of embarrassing losses on the road. Their have been times in the past where Georgia was obviously the better team. That is not the case this year. This is a very winnable game for the Commodores if they can come out and execute their game plan. Top Stories