How strange does it feel playing this game so early? Last time in Nashville it was freezing?
[su_spacer size=”40″] Is there reason for optimism that the Commodores will improve this year?
That won’t be the case this time for sure. With all the changes to conferences and structure, I guess it’s harder and harder to keep games in their traditional spots.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What is the take on the two new coordinators?
Last year, Vanderbilt by the numbers was one of the youngest teams in the nation, playing more true and redshirt freshmen than anyone else. So this year, it’s still a relatively young team, but with many guys having much more experience. Hopefully the quarterback situation will be a bit more settled this year than last, and that could have a big impact as well.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What does Vanderbilt need to do to win the game?
I give Derek Mason a tremendous amount of credit for not standing pat after one season. He came to the conclusion he needed changes to the staff and made them, which is something many coaches after just one year would be reluctant to do. He also had the presence of mind to decide that he knew exactly what he wanted defensively and realized the guy that could give him that was Derek Mason. Another reason he was able to do that was because of his confidence in Andy Ludwig as his offensive coordinator. Andy has won everywhere he’s been, with offenses that have amassed great numbers.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What would an upset of the Bulldogs mean to the program?
The most glaring issue is turnovers. Vanderbilt was -16 in turnover margin last year, and turnovers proved costly again in game one against Western Kentucky. That has to change for this team to improve. After that, it will take a consistent running game, and I believe, forcing a couple of turnovers to capitalize on as well.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Has the great success of the baseball team the last two years brought enthusiasm to the entire athletic program?
It would certainly help calm the nerves of some who got a taste of winning a couple of years ago and strive to return to that. It would certainly give Derek Mason a signature win as his first SEC win, and I’m sure would increase buy in from everyone that this program is back on track.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Who are your picks to make the playoff this year?
Actually that success has spread across the program in all areas. Baseball’s World Series title and return visit to the final was special. Women’s tennis captured the national championship this year as well, and I think the bar has been raised throughout the program that competing for championships isn’t a dream, but an expectation.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What is your favorite place in the state of Georgia?
I can narrow it down a little. I think the SEC will be represented with one or possibly two choices. It’s hard to keep Ohio State out of the discussion. Baylor and TCU will likely battle for a spot. My darkhorse is Georgia Tech (sorry Dawg fans). I think Paul Johnson has a combination of talent, experience and schedule that could have them in the mix at the end.
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As you know I love our visits to Athens, but we also enjoy the opportunity to visit St. Simons Island. Great beach, wonderful golf, and shrimp and grits to die for.
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