clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lessons in Vanderbilt Football: Week 1 Study Guide

The best philosophical discussions are question heavy, right?

NCAA Football: SEC Media Day
Do you see how happy Pinkney is that talkin’ season is over?! Vanderbilt plays football today!
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Game one is today. We get our first chance to really learn something. With information so sparse, not many opportunities to learn something have presented themselves. If you need a refresher, here is what I said halfway through camp. Today, things are a little different around here. I will not be re-hashing topics touched in the previous edition. It is all about questions with next to nothing in the way of answers. In fact, we have more questions now than we had halfway through Fall Camp. You can refer to this as the “study guide” version if you want. I did. It fits.

Lessons We Will Study Further

How does Mason handle the QB situation? He has said the 1 and 2 are clearly separated, and the team has known for the entirety of game prep practices. The head coach did acknowledge that a “break glass in case of fire” situation may exist. Does that mean 2 stagnant drives? A bad first half by the starter? A couple INTs or particularly bad decisions? The expectation is that Mason has learned from the debacles of opening night in 2014 and 2016. To be fair, the “situational” drive in 2016 was still miles better than 2014, even with mitigating factors.

Does the depth chart really matter? We all saw it and have discussed it. My thoughts are that it is inconsequential and just semantics along with some silly gamesmanship. That thought is only a slightly educated guess. Facing a real opponent could give us some idea of how much it means.

Speaking of the depth chart, who won the position battles? The first depth chart was full of “OR” designations meaning the starter was either not decided or not publicly announced. Beyond the well-covered QB battle, 6 starting spots (if you count punter and long snapper) were listed as such. The 2nd DE spot is up for grabs between Andre Mintze (#48), Rutger Reitmaier (#94), and Elijah McAllister (#41). Two linebacker spots are up for grabs with Feleti Afemui (#17) battling Caleb Peart (#9) while Brayden Devault-Smith (#12) has staked a surprising claim to the spot assumed to be Dimitri Moore’s (#7). Likewise, both CB spots are shown as embattled with Cam Watkins (#31) and Randall Haynie (#4) wanting the same spot opposite either DC Williams (#5) or BJ Anderson (#16). Punter is between Harrison Smith (#95) and Jared Wheatley (#36). Either Scott Meyer (#59) and Zach Drevno (#49) will attempt to snap up the long snapper job.

Is Malik Langham cleared? Will he be cleared soon? Coach Mason said that we would know something as soon as they did. It might be under wraps though just like the QB situation. Keep an eye out to see if #35 is in uniform or takes the field.

How does this team respond to being punched in the mouth? It is almost certain that Georgia will make a big play at some point tomorrow night, whether it is a deep pass, gashing run, or forced turnover. The response to that play will go a long way to deciding whether Vanderbilt can keep the game competitive or do the magical.

Who will be the new crowd favorites? Every team, even the less successful ones, have cult heroes. They may be the one guy fans feel like is playing hard when the rest of the team has had their spirits crushed. It could be someone who makes a game-breaking play. Does one rise up tonight?

Who has my bail money? There is going to be a lot of really obnoxious Georgia fans in Vanderbilt stadium.

Do you have any questions? What things are you looking for tonight? Put them in the comments below. This is not a mailbag. I am not even suggesting that those questions posed below will be used in any way. However, it is always interesting to see what other fans are thinking. We all have different perspectives. Sound off like the Admiral!