What You Need To Know About The Vanderbilt Defense
– For all of the chirping early on about having a real SEC defense, it got beaten up badly from the Alabama game on. Over the first three games, Vandy allowed just 13 points despite playing Middle Tennessee and Kansas State along the way. And then things got really, really ugly, giving up 34 points or more in seven of the last ten games, losing them all.
And now, with just four starters returning, there’s an overhaul about to happen, especially on the front three losing Jonathan Wynn and Nifae Lealao. Eight of the top 13 tacklers are gone, however …
– Tough tackler Oren Burks might be done, but the linebacking corps should be a plus as the season goes on with three of the four starters from the season-ending game against Tennessee back. Jordan Grifin was the team’s third-leading tackler, Charles Wright is a terrific playmaker in the backfield, and up front, Dare Odeyingbo is a decent veteran end. However, this entire group has to be far, far, far better against the run.
– The secondary was okay, but it has to make more big plays. Most good offenses spent their time grinding out the ground game and didn’t bother with the forward pass, but the Commodores were still able to keep most passing games under wraps.
LaDarius Wiley will be among the SEC’s better safeties, and Joejuan Williams is a broken up pass machine, but after losing three key parts of the puzzle, the pass D will be a work in progress until the right rotation is found.
Biggest Key To The Vanderbilt Defense
Takeaways, takeaways, takeaways. And this is where new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver comes in – expect the D to come up with more ways to do big things.
Yeah, that’s a big deal for everyone, but with a middling offense, getting the ball means everything to the Commodores. They generated five turnovers – all interceptions – in the first three games in the great 3-0 start.
After that, they came up with just two interceptions over the last nine games, and a mere four takeaways overall. How bad was the D at doing big things? It was dead last in the nation in recovered fumbles with just two.