It was good to be back watching this one live. Wait, no it wasn’t. My wife got sick Friday night, causing us to have to burn two tickets to Wicked at $75 per. And now I’m riding back to Nashville because my baby boy has a fever that keeps spiking to 104. Beverage of choice was, well, not a damn thing. I had four drinks total all weekend, including a Yeungling that I quaffed inside the PF Chang’s right before kickoff. Worst road trip ever. Thank God for Pail Eells verifying on Halloween weekend that ghosts, in fact, are for real.
But what the hell, let’s get to it.
I told my wife when the score was 28-20 that we would win if we didn’t let them score again. I told her we WOULD get to 30, and if the defense could keep them in the 20s, we’d walk away with the win. Not exactly how I drew it up, but it was the only call I made all weekend that was the right one, starting with the Apple Rum Chop I selected last night at Tin Angel, and most certainly ending with the McDonald’s I just scarfed around Buffalo, TN. Or maybe it was Blaze…?
If we had lost the game, I think the thing I’d be coming back to is the missed opportunities on both sides of the ball, but especially defense. Thomas missed an interception that was in his hands on a drive that ended with Vandy scoring. Rasner missed an interception that was in his gut on a drive that ended with Vandy scoring. Franklin missed a tackle on third down that gave them a first down, on a drive where Vandy eventually scored. And of course we allowed a fake punt for a first down on a drive that ended with, you guessed it, Vandy scoring. It sounds ridiculous and Nuttish, but the game could have easily been a blowout. We have to execute.
Of course, Vanderbilt can play the same game. How many almost pick-sixes did Tyler throw? He’s got to make better decisions. Smothers and Peacock need to keep him from getting killed as well, but Tyler gets a generous serving of the blame.
Whatever Vandy was doing with that little trap play never got 100% figured out. Looked like the line adjusted to it, but our linebackers got sealed so cleanly that it almost didn’t even require a cut. I think Petrino might say something about setting the edge on the coaches show. We DID manage to hamstring Rodgers a bit post-halftime, though. Probably made the difference.
If you’re wondering, Petrino got outcoached by a rookie today. Franklin used the perfect combination of using his go-to plays for success, and mixing it up enough to keep us off balance. Outside of their first two plays of the second half, I don’t think he made any play calls that were just throw aways. Not having his red hot quarterback get his hands on the ball on those two plays was definitely a gaffe, though. We should have made them pay with it for more than just a field goal, however.
I wouldn’t mind seeing more plays that give Tyler an opportunity to throw from outside the pocket. He doesn’t set his feet anyway, and he can throw it pretty good on the run. We almost always have success with that play-action rollout pass where he can go to Gragg shallow or Adams/Wright intermediate.
I didn’t think our defense played that poorly in he second half. Tackled much better. Ends were much savvier to the read option. We got beat bad on that one long run that killed us the entire first half, and we got snookered by the delay that they converted on third or fourth down that got Vandy down to around our 30. The long pass to the tight end on the last drive was just a phenomenal throw. The next conversion that took them to our 10 was more of an accidental underthrow than a called one, I think. Play for play, though, I felt like we had their number in the second half.
Casey Heyward got his name called all day long. Dude can play. I’m assuming he’s another son of Craig?
I don’t know what to make of the Wade ejection play. I knew the ball was short and I was watching it instead of the returner. I watched a replay on YouTube, though, and I know #25 got up looking for the ball like Wade had dislodged it with the hit. Maybe Wade had thought he already caught it. I don’t know. Doesn’t look good for Wade, though. The attitude made it worse. Looks bad for Arkansas, too.
Still waiting for a big play action pass. Been weeks now.
I don’t want Petrino to be too authoritarian, but at the same time I’m tired of seeing our players tweet until midnight or later, and come out and lay an egg in the first half of an 11:00 game. Happened three times now. GO TO BED! Crap, all I have to do is watch, and I try to be asleep by 1:00.
Hey, men. At the end of the day, a lot of teams would like to be 7-1. Winning on the road two consecutive weeks is tough as hell in the SEC, no matter who you’re playing. We lucked out that our stretch this year was Ole Miss and Vandy. Next week, Carolina comes to Fayetteville after playing in Knoxville today. We need to roll them up, dammit. We’re still rolling downhill, despite playing like ass two weeks in a row.
Garrick said it in the Depth Chart special. First thing you have to do to win the SEC is to win every home game. Well, we’ve got three in a row, and we desperately need to build some momentum before we go to Baton Rouge. I think we can do it. Hope the players feel the same way.
Edited to fix some crappy iPhone typing