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UGA’s Richt Expects Some “Vinegar” When His Dawgs Play Vandy

At the end of last year’s Georgia-Vanderbilt game, there were some on-field fireworks between Commodore head coach James Franklin and UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.  Franklin didn’t like what a gloating Bulldog player said to him after the contest.  Grantham didn’t like Franklin bringing his complaint to him.

Franklin went on to deliver his now famous “we are not gonna sit back and take stuff from anybody” speech in the postgame presser.  Grantham was later told to tone things down by Mark Richt and AD Greg McGarity.

That episode hasn’t been forgotten.  Asked yesterday by a Dawg fan if Richt might send Grantham to the pressbox for this year’s matchup with Vandy, Richt laughed and said:

 

“Yeah, he may need to go upstairs.  You know what, I think the Bulldog Nation likes a little piss and vinegar…

We all as coaches have to set the right tone and that kind of thing.  But it was an interesting exchange, I’ll say that.  I don’t think we’ll have much trouble getting jacked up to play the Vanderbilt Commodores this year, I’ll tell you that.”

 

Here’s guessing Franklin would say the same about his team getting up for Georgia this year.

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Confident LSU Tigers Ready For The Razorbacks

Alex Groberman

The LSU Tigers can almost taste the BCS Championship game at this point, but there is still other work to be done. Namely, taking on the No. 3 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks, who will aim to shock the world this Friday and hand the Tigers their first loss of the 2011 college football season.

While admitting that there is a whole lot on the line this week, LSU players have taken to expressing a certain confidence about what lays ahead. They respect 10-1 Arkansas, no doubt about it, but they also fully believe that they are the best in the land and relish the opportunity to prove it.

Apparently, winning 10 out of your last 11 games by a double-digit margin (read: 30.4 points on average) will have that effect on a group. (The “Game of the Century” versus the Alabama Crimson Tide was the lone exception).

“We all have just one goal: Get to the national championship. And we don’t think anything can stop us from doing that but ourselves,” LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers told reporters this week.

“We’ve played top 5 teams, top 15 teams, it doesn’t matter,” LSU offensive guard Will Blackwell added. “Regardless of whether (Arkansas) was ranked No. 3 or No. 100, it would still mean the same.

“We’ve got some tough games left ahead of us, but we’ve played a lot of tough games this season and I feel like we’re prepared to take on that challenge, mentally.”

Head coach Les Miles was similarly secure in his team’s greatness.

“We play the style of football that, if we do what we are capable (of), it makes it very difficult on our opponents,” Miles said. “We move the ball efficiently without turnovers. Our defense does not allow an opponent to go down the field routinely. They get turnovers. … It does not surprise me that we have been able to have success.”

That positive attitude is key, especially given the kryptonite-esque role that Arkansas has traditionally played for LSU. Amazingly enough, the Razorbacks have beaten the Tigers in three out of their last four meetings.

But that was then, and this is now. This Arkansas team, although undeniably great, has shown a certain propensity for struggling when playing outside the comforts of home. It needed to rally from a 10-point hole to ultimately defeat the Mississippi Rebels, and similarly needed to muster up a comeback against a woefully bad Vanderbilt Commodores team.

Not that Arkansas is running away from their troubles. In fact, the players are the first to admit that their struggles — including a loss to Alabama — hardened them to the outside noise and shaped them into the unbreakable unit that they have become.

“A lot of people wrote us off there after the `Bama game,” Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette said this week. “We had some ugly wins afterward, but we’re playing well right now and we’re going to stay focused and try to get one more.”

As it stands, the Tigers have won their home games by an average of more than 34 points this season. They haven’t lost a game at home, for that matter, since the middle of the 2009 season. The oddsmakers have them keeping the streak alive, listing them as two-touchdown favorites.

Will LSU stay perfect and knock down the latest obstacle placed in front of them en route to a National Championship? Can Arkansas shock the world and turn an already tospy-turvy BCS on its head?

We’ll find out soon enough.

Get more great sports analysis over at OpposingViews.

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Vandy’s Franklin Would Like A Bit More Fan Support

James Franklin has his Vanderbilt Commodores off to a 2-0 start and now there are two things he’d like to see happen:


1.  He wants to see Vandy fans start showing up in greater numbers to support his team.


“I don’t know if I necessarily notice the empty seats, but what we want is sellouts.  I think we’re a pretty good story right now.  I think we’re showing enough signs that the people that are on the fence… I think these kids deserve it.”


2.  He wants talk of “same old Vanderbilt” to be put to rest.  On Saturday, Franklin said he heard a fan shout those words from the stands when the Dores fell behind to UConn in the fourth quarter (before coming back to win).


“I wanted to go up in the stands and let him know how I felt.  But I thought it was more important that I directed my energy toward my team.  And I’m glad he did it, because it made me recognize maybe that’s what we were thinking, too, and I needed to swing that (momentum) back in our direction.”


The fact that Franklin actually heard an individual shout from the stands during a game speaks to the fact that Vandy is averaging fewer than 30,000 fans per game. 

The fact that he was bothered by what that fan said suggests Franklin will have to toughen his skin a bit if he’s going to stick around Vandy.  ‘Cause whether he likes it or not, it’ll take more than a two-game win streak over Elon and UConn to banish the thought of “same old Vanderbilt” forever.

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SEC Headlines – 5/8/2011

1. Terrance Jones is staying at Kentucky.

2.  “Timing is right” for Scott Hopson to leave Tennessee.

3. Firing Houston Nutt would cost Ole Miss $6 million.

4. Stephen Garcia may be a suspended quarterback but he’s also a college graduate.

5. Tennessee looks forward to progress in the passing game.

6. On the verge of another season-ticket sales record for Mississippi State football.

7. A 2011 preview of the Vanderbilt Commodores football team.

8. While waiting for the NFL lockout to end, Alabama tight end Preston Dial delivers disaster aid.

9. Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow – reunited on the golf course.

10. Georgia’s Academic Progress Report (APR) is trending in the right direction.

11. The Bulldogs future at the QB position.

Extra

12. Which Big Six conference race will be the most interesting this fall?

13. Dick Vitale’s battle against cancers that afflict children.

14. Arizona’s Sean Miller turns down the Maryland job – who are the next most likely candidates?

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Commodores in NFL, Week 11

NFL Week 11 recap of former Vanderbilt Commodores in the NFL on VUcommodores.com.
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Vanderbilt Commodores 20, Kentucky Wildcats 38: Postmortem

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Larry Smith dominated the Wildcats in the first half.  Not so much in the second.

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Ed Reinke – AP

Larry Smith dominated the Wildcats in the first half. Not so much in the second.

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Today was Randall Cobb day in the the Bluegrass.  Thanks in large part to Cobb’s heroics, Kentucky is bowl eligible again and will not have a losing season.

Nice effort by the Vanderbilt Commodores, who dominated the first half in almost every conceivable way.  Fortunately for Kentucky, they were only able to visit the end zone once in the first half, instead of three.  As maligned (and rightly so) as Kentucky’s defense is, they did manage two critical stops that forced field goals.

The Commodores really came to play today, but the injuries and lack of depth took a toll that eventually had them worn down.  At that point, Cobb, Hartline & Co. took over the game and put up 28 points to Vanderbilt’s 7 in the second half.  Both the Kentucky offense and defense played much better in the second half, eventually burying the Commodores under a fusillade of points.

I know most Kentucky fans will join me in the frustration I feel toward this team.  They do the most senseless things, from drive-killing penalties to end-zone celebrations to dropped passes to fighting and getting ejected.  It’s just not what we are used to seeing, and I am not really enamored of this new “Catitude” that I have been seeing lately.  Kentucky has been whistled for a ton of personal fouls this year, and I am getting sick of it.

The good:

  • Mike Hartline.  He threw the ball very well, hitting receivers in the right places all day.  He threw maybe one bad ball all day, an back-footed pass to Cobb that almost got picked.  But overall, he was very good.
  • The Kentucky offense.  It was a tale of two halves for them, but overall, they got the job done in style.
  • Special teams.  The punting unit did a good, if not great job.  The kickoff team was pretty good overall.
  • Danny Trevathan.  He’s always good, and had 10 tackles again today, at least two of them were touchdown-saving.
  • Derrick Locke.  He got better as the game went on, culminating in an 83-yard touchdown run.

The bad:

  • The defensive secondary.  They allowed a non-passing team to rack up 198 yards on them.
  • Chris Matthews.  Yes, he caught a touchdown, but he was personally responsible for 40 yards in penalties and dropped a perfect pass.  He sometimes plays out of control, and today was one of those times.
  • Martavius Neloms.  Not only did he get beat repeatedly on defense, he lost his mind and punched a Vanderbilt player.  He is likely to be suspended for at least one game, and I wouldn’t be upset if he didn’t play again until the post-season, if there is one.
  • The fourth and goal play that Vandy stopped.  What the heck was that?
  • The defensive line.  This is a close call, as they played much better in the second half.  Still, it took them until the second half to bring any pressure, and they repeatedly got moved out of their gaps allowing many big plays.

The studly:

  • Randall Cobb.  Wow.  He took the game over in so many ways, it’s just hard to grasp.  279 total yards is an amazing statistic for any player, but Cobb’s diversity of skill is breathtaking.
  • Winston Guy Jr.  Guy’s performance wasn’t flawless, he made several mistakes in coverage and gave up some big yards.  But 18 tackles in a game is studly, and that’s why he gets mentioned in here.

Overall, it was a typical Kentucky performance — lousy first half, stellar second half.  I don’t get it, but I suppose we can’t complain about a convincing win even if we had to wait a whole half for Kentucky to take control.  I continue to be frustrated with the play of this team on both sides of the football, but they could have thrown in a clunker here and refused to do so, mostly due to the inspiring performance of Randall Cobb.

Next up, the Tennessee Volunteers, who own the longest winning streak in the NCAA against the ‘Cats.  As you might expect, they have suddenly emerged as a dangerous team due to the emergence of freshman quarterback Tyler Bray.  Bray tossed for 323 yards today against the Mississippi Rebels and the Vols blew them out 52-14.  This is the same Ole Miss team than handed UK a loss down in Oxford.

But that game is two weeks away.  Perhaps we can be ready to end the streak by then.


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Kentucky Wildcats vs. Vanderbilt Commodores: Notes on the ‘Cats and Commodores

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

Kentucky's Mike Hartline will look to have a big day against the SEC's 10th ranked pass defense.

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James Crisp – AP

Kentucky’s Mike Hartline will look to have a big day against the SEC’s 10th ranked pass defense.

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The Kentucky Wildcats (5-5,1-5) will look to make it six victories in the last seven match-ups with the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-7, 1-5) this afternoon at Commonwealth Stadium (12:21 EST kickoff).  And as big games go, it does not get any bigger than this.  UK certainly does not want to go to Knoxville in two weeks looking to become bowl eligible … it’s much more prudent to take care of that distinction today.

With the Commodores now without their two top running threats (more on that later), Kentucky, playing at home on Senior Day, simply has no excuses.  If the ‘Cats are at all interested in ending a mildly disappointing season on a high note, today’s contest is one they absolutely must win.

The Commodores, on the other hand, will play their hardest to upset the Big Blue apple cart, something they successfully did only two years ago in Lexington in a 31-24 victory over UK. 

For the particulars on both Kentucky and Vandy, follow me after the jump:

Vanderbilt Personnel

Quarterback Larry Smith: 6-2, 220 lb junior — Smith has completed 96 of 194 passes (49.5%) for 1,058 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.  He’s also rushed for 193 yards (359 positive yards) on 82 carries (2.4 yards per carry) and scored two rushing touchdowns.

Smith is a dual-threat quarterback the ‘Cats will try to force into throwing the ball. 

Running back Wesley Tate: 6-2, 220 lb freshman — Tate has 34 carries for 121 yards (3.6 ypc) on the year.

The Kentucky game will be Tate’s first collegiate start.

Running back Kennard Reeves: 6-0, 205 lb senior — Reeves has 26 carries for 77 yards (3.0 ypc) on the season.

Warren Norman, the usual starting RB is out (probably for the year) with a dislocated wrist.  Back-up RB Zac Stacey is also out (probably for the year); he sustained a head injury versus Florida last week.  Norman had rushed for 459 yards (6.0 ypc) and four touchdowns, while Stacey had accumulated 331 rushing yards (5.0 ypc) and three touchdowns.  The two were also pass catching threats, combining to make 20 catches for 142 yards on the year.  Norman also returned kick-offs: 22 returns for a 25.4 average.  Norman averaged 140.9 all-purpose yards per game.

Tight end Branden Barden: 6-5, 250 lb junior — Barden, the team’s leading receiver, has caught 24 passes for 281 yards (11.7 yards per reception) and three touchdowns.

If Barden gets matched up with a UK linebacker, watch out, he can eat up yardage.

Wide receiver John Cole: 5-11, 182 lb sophomore — The Somerset native has caught 17 passes for 224 yards (13.2 ypr) and one touchdown.  Cole has also returned 15 punts for a 7.5 average.

Wide receiver Jonathan Krause: 5-11, 168 lb freshman — Krause has made 15 receptions for 145 yards (9.7 ypr).

Wide receiver Udom Umoh: 6-0, 180 lb senior – Umoh, the Commodore’s long-ball threat, has made nine catches for 166 yards (18.4 yr) and two touchdowns.

Linebacker Chris Marve: 6-0, 20 lb junior — In eight games, Marve has 68 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.

Marve was named 2nd Team All-SEC after the 2009 season.  He’s listed on the following watch-lists: Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, and Lombardi Award.

Linebacker John Stokes: 6-5, 235 lb senior — Stokes has 59 tackles and 4.0 tackles for loss.

Safety Sean Richardson: 6-2, 215 lb junior  – Richardson has made a team-leading 74 tackles.  He also has 6.5 tackles for loss and five pass breakups.

Defensive back Casey Hayward: 6-0, 185 lb junior — Hayward has 56 tackles, five interceptions and eight pass breakups.

Defensive tackle Rob Lohr 6-4, 235 lb sophomore — Lohr has 6.5 tackles for loss and a team-high 4.0 sacks.

Defensive end Tim Fugger: 6-4, 25 lb junior — Fugger ranks fourth nationally with four forced fumbles. 

Ball-carriers beware.

Commodore Results

Lost to: Northwestern 23-21; LSU 27-3; UConn 40-21; Georgia 43-0; South Carolina 21-7; Arkansas 49-14; Florida 55-14.

Beat: Ole Miss 28-14; Eastern Michigan 52-6.

Commodore Facts

Vandy has fumbled the ball 28 times this season, losing seven … The Commodores have been outscored 45-21 in the first quarter of games this year … The Vandy quarterback position is on pace to finish the year with less than a 50% completion rate for the third year in a row … Last year, UK’s Derrick Locke ran for a career-high 144 yards in the 24-13 Wildcat win … Florida held Vandy to only 109 total yards in the 55-14 Gator victory … In Vandy’s 28-14 week three win over Ole Miss, the ‘Dores held a 3-0 turnover advantage … Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett passed for 409 yards and three touchdowns in the 49-14 Razorback win over Vandy … South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns on 31-39 passing … SC running back Brian Maddox ran for 146 yards (6.1 ypc) in the Gamecocks 21-7 win … UK leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt 40-38-4 … In Lexington, the Commodores are 14-21-2 all-time.

Wildcat/Commodore Statistical Comparison (SEC rank in parenthesis)

Points per game: UK 34.4 (3), VU 17.8 (12)

Scoring defense: UK 29.8 (10), VU 30.9 (11)

Total offense: UK 427.7 (4), VU 267.0 (12)

Total defense: UK 341.7 (7), VU 421.3 (12)

Rush offense: UK 149.8 (8), VU 131.9 (10)

Rush defense: UK 176.3 (11), VU 180.1 (12)

Pass offense: UK 277.9 (2), VU 135.1 (12)

Pass defense: UK 165.4 (2), VU 241.2 (10)

Sacks by: UK 14 (11), VU 18 (9)

Sacks against: UK 13 (3), VU 25 (10)

3rd down conversion: UK 44.4% (5), VU 20.7% (12)

Opp’s 3rd down conversion: UK 38.7 (9), VU 38.0 (6)

TO margin: UK -4 (11), VU -2 (t9)

Red Zone scores: UK 35-41 (85%, 5th SEC), VU 13-17 (76.5%, t9th SEC)

Red Zone defense: UK 35-36 (97.2% 12th SEC), VU 30-37 (81.1%,7th SEC)

‘Cats & ‘Dores in the (SEC) Top Ten 

Kentucky

Mike Hartline: 2nd in passing average (267.4 yards per game); 3rd in total offense (264.0 ypg).

Randall Cobb: 2nd in receptions per game (6.3); 4th in receiving yards per game (78.3); 7th in touchdowns (11); 5th in punt return average (8.9 yards); 8th in kick-off return average (23.1 yards). 

Chris Matthews: 5th in receiving yards per game (71.5).

Ryan Tydlacka: 3rd in punting average (45.2 yards).

Danny Trevathan: 1st in tackles (110, 11.0 pg).

Winston Guy: 10th in tackles (73, 7.3 pg).

Vanderbilt

John Cole: 7th in punt return average (7.5 yards);1st in all-purpose yards (176.8 per game).

Richard Kent: 9th in punting average (41.7 yards).

Chris Marve: 5th in tackles (68, 8.5 pg)

Sean Richardson: 7th in tackles (74, 8.2 pg).

Casey Hayward: 1st in passes defended (13, eight pass breakups & five interceptions); 1st in interceptions (5).

Tim Fugger: 1st in forced fumbles (4).

** The latest reports suggest UK running back Derrick Locke will suit-up and see action today against Vanderbilt.

Thanks for reading and Go ‘Cats!


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Liveblog: Joker Phillips press conference

Kentucky
Content provided by John Clay’s Sidelines.

I’ll be at the Joker Phillips press luncheon today, previewing Saturday’s clash with the Vanderbilt Commodores. The coach usually takes questions starting around noon.

Liveblog: Joker Phillips press conference

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Broadcast Information: Florida at Vanderbilt

There are several options for fans interested in watching or listening to the Florida Football team's game in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday at 12:21pm ET. The game can be seen live on TV and online, and the audio broadcast is also available in multiple formats.
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