So, Christian D'Andrea from our friends at Anchor of Gold had a little chat. It may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that Vanderbilt (the team that AoG covers) and Old Dominion (the team I cover here at Underdog Dynasty) are playing each other today at Foreman Field in Norfolk, Virginia. OK, that had everything to do with it.
Anyway, things haven't been good in Derek Mason's first year in Nashville, and ODU isn't exactly lighting the world on fire in their first year of FBS competition. Without further ado, here's what we covered (thanks, Christian! BTW, he profiled ODU here.)
--Vandy is 2-6 on the season with wins coming against UMass and FCS Charleston Southern (barely). Can you talk about what the biggest problem/problems have been with the team this year?
The offense has just been hot garbage. Mason's inability to stick with a quarterback has led to four different starting QBs for the 'Dores this season. In front of them, an offensive line that was supposed to be one of this team's strong points has struggled mightily under the new coaching staff. Finally, a young secondary has struggled to limit opposing passers. All in all, a bad combination.
--What's been the prognosis on Derek Mason as Vanderbilt coach thus far?
The jury is still out. He doesn't have many fans in Nashville, but it's still his first season. He's slowly learning how to deal with the media, but he seems to make a lot of correctable mistakes when it comes to managing this team.
--Every team has a standout player. Who is that standout for the Commodores and how will be figure into the game on Saturday night?
Let's go with Ralph Webb. The freshman tailback has been Vandy's most dangerous player on offense and has the potential to be the heir to Zac Stacy's throne in Nashville. Missouri shut him down last weekend, but if the Vandy O-Line can give him room he'll make the Monarchs pay on Saturday.
--This team averages just over 102 yards on the ground a game. ODU's rushing defense has been awful this season. How confident are you that the running backs can put up a big game this time around against a team that has struggled to stop the run?
Fairly confident. The running game has been Vanderbilt's offensive strength thanks to Webb, veteran Jerron Seymour, and true freshman Dallas Rivers. However, this coaching staff has often struggled to utilize those players well. Even if ODU struggles against the run, Vandy may still stick with a pass-heavy offense for reasons no one really understands.
--Finally, what's your prediction of the game's outcome?
It's a shootout. Lots of points, and lots of mistakes. Vandy 34, ODU 30.