4. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VANDERBILT DEFENSE
– The second-worst defense in the SEC last season had its moments, and it wasn’t quite as miserable as the stats, but when it wasn’t working, it really wasn’t working. The offense was good enough to keep up the pace in most games, but the Commodores were 0-5 when allowing more than 31 points. The big culprit was a pass rush that didn’t do nearly enough to consistently get into the backfield.
– Some good pieces of the defensive puzzle are returning – especially at linebacker – but the front three needs to generate more pressure. Dayo Odeyingbo is a good start, and there’s bulk all across the line, but something has to start kicking in for a D that generated more than two sacks just twice.
– Four of the top five tacklers are gone, but Dimitri Moore has all-star potential at one of the inside linebacker spots, and the safety combination of Frank Coppet and Tae Daley is good enough to work the secondary around. Overall, though, after allowing almost than 1,000 more yards than the 2017 D – to be fair, playing in a bowl game had something to do with that – and with six starters gone, it’s going to be a bit of a rebuild.