Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vandy fans shouldn't make bowl reservations just yet

Nice game against Army.

We've got our starter at quarterback, and he thinks well on his feet and can tuck and run with the best of them. I've got some concerns about his arm strength. He threw some decent long balls but he didn't have much zip on his intermediate stuff. He's our best bet for the rest of the season, though I think we'd have blown out Army with Larry behind center too.

The O-line keeps getting better and better, Zac Stacy is the man, and Chris Boyd is emerging as our go-to receiver while Jordan Matthews look timid against Army and continues to be a disappointment.

Our depth at linebacker is a huge concern with Garnham ailing and Strong possibly out for the season, and junior Al Owens hurt too. Barnes looked confused on Saturday night, but he won't be defending the option much anymore, thank goodness. Karl Butler filled in nicely for Garnham at linebacker. We may be burning the redshirt off at least one guy who can play linebacker, which may be a true safety like Andrew Williamson or Larry Franklin or an athlete like Darien Bryant or Jimmy Stewart searching for a position.

Also, we've got to be concerned about facing a quarterback as accurate as Wilson of Arkansas. Aaron Murray and A.J. McCarron looked like All-Americans against us, and they're not.

Anyway, looking at the new BCS standings gives us a good idea about our best bets to win six games and become bowl eligible or even capture more wins.

Here's how we rank among our remaining opponents:

1. Arkansas (6-1, 2-1), No. 10 BCS
2. Florida (4-3, 2-3), No. 34
3. Wake Forest (5-2, 4-1), No. 39
4. Vanderbilt (4-3, 1-3), No. 48
5. Tennessee (3-4, 0-4), No. 57
6. Kentucky (3-4, 0-3), No. 80

Watching Arkansas struggle in Oxford last week, we may have a shot at upsetting the Razorbacks. I wouldn't bet on it, but I'm starting to get the feeling we're a much better team at home, even with our continuing problems filling our own stadium with our own fans.

If we did beat Arkansas, we'd be sky-high and might have a decent shot at running the table and going to a great bowl.

While it's nice to dream, that's unrealistic at this point. Going 6-6 would be a huge success. We should beat Kentucky, but even though we're a bit ahead of UT in the BCS standings, I never never never take the Vols for granted, especially if Bray returns.

While we've had Wake penciled in as a possible victory, and the Deacs struggled last week to beat Duke, they always play us tough, Grobe is a terrific coach, and they should be favored to beat us in Winston-Salem.

The guys at ESPN now have us tapped for the Liberty Bowl instead of the Compass Bowl. Don't know about you, but I'd much rather watch a game on New Year's Eve in Memphis than a game in Birmingham on Jan. 7.

But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.


jayden said...

Another good post. You're right that LB depth is a concern. Strong is 100% done for the year. The true freshman most likely to see the field at LB is walk-on Kellen Williams. Bryant is adjusting to the TE position and Stewart is still working at DE, and I dont think either is in a position to contribute at LB any more than someone already at that position

Dimon K-H said...

What do you know about Williams? Man, Sealand and Herring can't get here soon enough.

Another L-M VU Alum said...

My opinion is that Arkansas is a bit overrated and, all things considered, I will put them on par with Georgia. I've watched four years of Petrino-coached teams before his stint at Arkansas and his quarterbacks are generally pretty accurate, so it will take an extreme amount of pressure as he (Wilson) fires the ball to break him up (I look for 2-3 picks). Arkansas defense is like a sieve compared to Georgia's, so this may be the game that Rodgers hits his stride with passes out on the flats. The point spread is 10.5; the point spread with Georgia in Nashville was 14. All cylinders will have to click for Vanderbilt to win and it is winnable. Also, Vanderbilt is overdue for an SEC upset so it will be either Arkansas or Florida (any other choices??).
Oh, Yes, and "We're not going to back-down from anybody"

Anonymous said...

Great post. I too feel that we will get to 6-7 wins. The biggest change from the previous staff is this staff's willing to move players where they can be best utilized to help the team (on very short notice). We seemed to have some impressive athletes on the defensive side of the ball. While I have been very critical of position coaching in the past, I am very impressed with the position coaching to-date. Our wr's seem to be running crisp routes and learning how to block which perhaps was not an emphasis last season. Mathews, Boyd, Tate, and Krause look very much improved from last season. Boyd and Tate were especially impressive the last 2 games. Really surprised at how well the defense continues to play. If Rogers continues to get better during the remaining games, we will get to 6-7. Credit Coach Herb Hand with the improved O-line play recently; he is very well respected in coaching circles. It's only a matter of time before our offense plays a breakout game; maybe this Saturday against Arkansas ! Go Dores !