Morris: Coaches to blame for loss to UGA

Commodore fans left Vanderbilt Stadium Saturday night with a feeling that was all too familiar. The Commodores played a ranked foe tough all the way into the fourth quarter only to see the opposing team kick a winning field goal as time expired.

The mistake that led to the winning field goal was a Cassen Jackson-Garrison fumble on the Georgia 10 yard line, but that is by no means what lost the game for the Commodores.

This loss falls solely on the shoulders of the coaching staff. Rotating quarterbacks works for some teams. It worked for the Florida Gators in route to a National Championship last season. However, it is not the answer for this Vanderbilt team. Chris Nickson just is not getting it done right now, and Mackenzie Adams is. The coaching staff does not want to just bench Nickson because they are afraid they will lose him, but there comes a time where you have to forget about that and put the guy out there that gives you the best chance to win.

Coach Bobby Johnson said after the game that they had a package that suited Nickson well and a package that suited Adams well. The problem with that Saturday night was none of the plays with the Nickson package worked on the field. Adams was 7 of 10 passing for 125 yards and 1 touchdown. When a guy is putting up numbers like that, you cannot afford to take him off the field.

The other place the coaches dropped the ball against the Bulldogs was in the play calling department. The Commodores only threw 15 passes in the game. Only 5 of those 15 passes were attempted in the 2nd half. That is understandable if your running game is being very successful or your quarterback is playing really poorly. Neither of those was the case on Saturday night. If you exclude the rushing yards of D.J. Moore and Sean Walker, the Commodores rushed 35 times for 116 yards (3.3 yards per carry). Another problem with that total is that of the 35 rushing attempts 19 were by the quarterbacks. There are very few teams who can win games with their quarterbacks attempting more rushes than passes. Vanderbilt is definitely not one of those teams.

The offensive coaches should find more ways to get Earl Bennett the ball. When you have a guy on your team that is the caliber of Bennett, it is unacceptable for him to only touch the ball 3 times in a game. They need to find some creative ways to get the ball in his hands in the upcoming game at South Carolina.

The Vanderbilt defense played a decent game on Saturday. They held the Bulldogs' offense to just 113 total yards in the first half, but wore down in the 2nd half because they were on the field for 17:34.

The challenge does not get any easier this weekend as the Commodores travel to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks. The offensive coaching staff is going to have to find some answers against a very good Gamecocks' defense.


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