The Bobby Johnson formula

With football season starting up in just a few weeks predictions are everywhere. Besides a few notable minorities, one consistency Commodore fans are sure to notice is the lack of faith in the 'Dores chance of success this year. It seems that pundits, analysts, bloggers alike are writing off the 2008 season as an aberration. Here are a few reasons to look forward to the 2009 season.

The Offense

Let's be honest, Vanderbilt's offense was one of the worst in the country last year. Regardless, they still found a way to win four games in the SEC along with a bowl game. Vandy averaged 256 total yards a game in 2008, which was last in the SEC. Their scoring offense was ninth in the SEC with 19.2 points a game. They can only improve from here and it looks like they're going to do just that with the no-huddle offense. They have proven winners at quarterback with Larry Smith and Mackenzi Adams. They return their entire offensive line as well as tailback Jared Hawkins. The new no huddle spread offense will significantly improve Vandy's chances of putting more yards up. It will also give the ‘Dore's offense, which trailed only LSU and Florida in red zone success, a chance to put more points on the board.

The Defense

Vanderbilt's defense finished eighth in the conference, giving up 319 yards a game. The scoring defense actually finished sixth in the conference giving up just under 20 points a game. Vandy's defense also returns the entire defensive line and a solid line-backing crew that had 30 sacks last season led by all-conference pick Patrick Benoist. We will all miss last year's stand out and present Chicago Bear D.J. Moore. However, don't let that fool you for a second about the Commodore secondary. Myron Lewis and Ryan Hamilton will continue to make quarterbacks rethink throwing it their way. This pair combined for 9 interceptions in 2008.

Fundamentals

Fundamentals? Everyone knows the age old football fundamentals: "Hold on to the ball," "don't jump offside," "catch it then run" and "put your shoulder through the opponent on a tackle." What exactly does Bobby Johnson do differently at Vanderbilt? He REALLY emphasizes fundamentals. Vandy finished first in the SEC in penalties averaging only 36.4 yards a game while their opponents averaged 51.5 yards a game. Don't look for this statistic to change much at all this year with the entire offensive and defensive lines returning.

The Commodores finished second in turnovers with +9 on the year, which was second only to Florida in the league. If they can continue to take the ball away more often than they give it up it will lead to another successful football season.

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