Three Keys: Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee

Cordarrelle Patterson

In a usual Vanderbilt season this game is written off as a loss. This, however, is not a usual Vanderbilt season. In a game which features two programs headed in polar opposite directions the freshly bowl eligible Commodores take on a Tennessee team which is winless in the SEC and which needs to win both remaining games to avoid missing a bowl for the second straight season.

In a usual Vanderbilt season this game is written off as a loss. This, however, is not a usual Vanderbilt season. In a game which features two programs headed in polar opposite directions the freshly bowl eligible Commodores take on a Tennessee team which is winless in the SEC and which needs to win both remaining games to avoid missing a bowl for the second straight season. Here are the three keys to a game which could shape the future of football in Tennessee for the next few seasons.

1) Stop the big play

Tennessee is a team which has relied heavily on the big play in 2012. Quarterback Tyler Bray has one of the best arms in the nation and he has a bunch of targets like Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter who can literally take over games. On the opposite side of the ball will be a Commodore defensive unit who ranks 15th in the country in points against (18 ppg) despite having little to no star power. The clash will be an interesting one to watch and if the Vandy unit game keep those big plays, especially scoring ones, under control then a win will be possible.

2) Be disciplined on special teams

The aforementioned Cordarrelle Patterson will not blow you away with his receiving numbers, he has 39 catches for 638 yards, but he is one of the more explosive multipurpose players in the country. He is one of those players who instinctively sees space before anyone else on the field and he has the speed and agility to take any kick return to the house in an instant. Tennessee has a powerful enough offense that they will score points no matter what, but Patterson can alter games with his ability to change field position. The Commodore coverage units need to be on high alert and make the Vols return game a non-factor.

3) Zac Stacy

Zac Stacy is a key in this game because no one really knows his status. Stacy is crucial in because the Commodores need to be able to count on his running and pass blocking to keep the game plan balanced. With Stacy in the lineup Wesley Tate and Brian Kimbrow can be used in the change of pace sub packages which increase their effectiveness. The pass protection Stacy provides allows Jordan Rodgers time to find his big play receivers downfield. Basically, for Vandy to take advantage of this opportunity to beat Tennessee the best running back in school history has to be in the game and he has to be effective in everything he does.

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