This should have been Frontpage'd on Friday, but I was stuck with wedding duty, so it's going up now. My apologies, since this is a pretty good recap of Thursday's action - CD.
IN WHICH a 40-year-old Commodore supporter with a handle of Bulleit and a job to go to the next morning tries to unpack the result of Vanderbilt's football game.
Much was made on Twitter of the late-arriving crowd, but as far as I could tell (I had Joe Fisher on XM up until 10-0) there was a pretty-much full and noisy house most of the way, and neutral observers thought the Vandy faithful were bringing it strong. This is a good thing and I hope it continues.
I don't think either squad played their A-game last night. Steve Spurrier must boil deep down to the bottom of his soul at being reduced to speed-option plays for yardage and racking an amazing 67 total yards in the air. Yet aside from another Air Jordan special, it didn't seem like our offense ever really got on track either. After seeing a Stacy-Norman-Kimbrow depth chart all week, I was surprised to see Wes Tate get the bulk of the second-back carries behind Stacy - but not as surprised as I was to see Stacy returning a kick. I'm not saying it's time to put Warren Norman's face on a milk carton (ask your parents, students) but given that #5 was electrifying enough to be SEC Freshman of the Year in 2009 on a 2-10 team, that's a weapon we can't afford to leave in the holster.
South Carolina did look a little gassed last night down the stretch - I don't know if that's down to the storm/humidity/sun factor or what, but if we can hang with teams in terms of conditioning, I think superior RB depth down the stretch could potentially make a lot of our games look less close than they were. Conditioning is better, speed is better (so sayeth the Ol' Ball Coach himself) - now we just need the bulk to make up a 40-pound difference across the fronts.
I may actually be rooting for South Carolina to run the table now - unlike way too many schools in this league, they didn't escape by the skin of their teeth and then go running their mouths about what a beatdown they laid on us. They got a tough win on the road last night, and they know it, and I appreciate that. Thing is, if they really are a top-10 team, then we're a hell of a lot better than last year and we'll be due for some attention sooner rather than later.
No moral victory here. We don't have those anymore. But we got clubbed by this team last year, and this year it was another one-score SEC loss against a higher-ranked opponent. It's improvement, it's progress, and I'm glad for that. It'll be interesting to see if we close the gap on some of those just-missed-it teams later on this year.
And yes, the triple-black uniform combination looks like a trillion bucks. I had hoped that the Blackout Curse wouldn't count if you already wear black anyway but hey, a good look is a good look. Look good, feel good, play good, right?
I still wore all my VU gear to work today. Or as we call it..."Friday".