Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How Good is Vandy's Secondary?

Casey Hayward

"Oski Oski" has become a very popular phrase among Vanderbilt defenders this season. The Commodores oddly enough are leading the country in interceptions with 14. Even more amazing than the interception total is the fact that the Dores have done this in only 5 games. The Dores have 3 defensive backs with 2 or more interceptions.

This group of ball-hawking playmakers is led by starting corners Casey Hayward and Trey Wilson, who have 4 and 3 interceptions respectively. Hayward's 4 picks is good enough to place him in a tie for 2nd nationally with UGA's very own Bacarri Rambo.

Remarkably Vandy has returned those 14 interceptions for an eye-popping 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. Did someone clone Eric Berry and place him in the Vanderbilt secondary?

Hayward and Wilson have channeled their inner Eric Berry/Deion Sanders once getting there hands on the ball. Wilson is 2nd in the country in return yardage with 109 and has scored 2 touchdowns. Hayward has been equally impressive and is currently 4th with 96 yards and a touchdown.

Despite the lofty int. numbers, Vanderbilt is ranked eighth in the SEC in passing yards allowed per game at 199.0. They are holding opponents to a respectable 56.1% completion percentage, but have yet to play a team ranking higher than 72nd (nationally) in passing yards per game.

Trey Wilson
Opponents UConn, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Alabama, and Elon aren't exactly lighting up opposing secondaries this season. Excluding Elon, that group has thrown a combined 25 picks.

Furthermore, of the quarterbacks Vanderbilt has faced only A.J. McCarron of #2 Alabama (#40) ranks inside the top 90 nationally in quarterback rating. Subsequently McCarron threw for 237 yards and 4 tds with zero ints. against the Dores.

So in conclusion, Vanderbilt's secondary is getting their hands on a lot of balls, but has yet to face an accomplished quarterback or polished passing attack. So their early season success may be simply a mirage.

UGA signal caller Aaron Murray has struggled at times this season and will be without his top wideout Saturday, but is a solid performer and should more than hold his own against the Commodore secondary.

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