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Vanderbilt Scouting Report Part I


Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shurmur may be the best SEC quarterback that you haven’t heard much about this season. The junior has thrown 20 touchdowns passes and just 3 interceptions while leading Vanderbilt to the SEC’s 5th rated passing offense. The Commodores started the season red hot by beating Middle Tennessee State, Alabama A&M, and #15 ranked Kansas State. There was talk of entering the Top 25. Then the miscalculated “Bama’s next” comment proved to be foolish and premature false bravado. The Tide welcomed Derek Mason’s squad back to reality to the tune of a 59-0 butt whoopin.

Vandy’s mid-season stretch of competition was brutal. Following the Bama beat-down the Dore’s played at Florida, Georgia, at Ole Miss, and at South Carolina before getting back on the winning track by defeating WKU 31-17 a week ago. The Toppers threw for 355-yards and the game was much closer than the 14-point spread.

2017 Schedule/Results

@Middle Tennessee State (4-5)

W 28-6

Alabama A&M

W 42-0

Kansas State (5-4)

W 14-7

Alabama (9-0)

L 0-59

@*Florida (4-4)

L 24-38

Georgia (9-0)

L 14-45

@*Ole Miss (4-5)

L 35-57

@*South Carolina (6-3)

L 27-34

WKU (5-4)

W 31-17

*Common Opponent

**Vanderbilt is a 3-point favorite.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

OFFENSE

Vanderbilt recently produced two 400-yard games against Ole Miss (417) and South Carolina (440). It rolled also up 394 in its recent win over WKU. Shurmur’s 209 pass yards per game is good enough for 5th in the SEC. Running back Ralph Webb proclaimed that he was the best running back in the Southeastern Conference during an interview at SEC Media Days. Monstrous claim, but hey I appreciated his confidence. The program’s all-time leading rusher is not experiencing the senior season that he boldly projected. Webb has rushed for 546-yards and 6 touchdowns. He averaged 5.13 yards per carry in 2016 but that number has dropped to 3.91 this season.


Vanderbilt is averaging 23 points and 103 rush yards per game. It has a zero turnover margin and ranks 13
th in total offense with 323 yards per game.

OFFENSIVE NOTES

— Vanderbilt runs the football on 47.9% of all snaps. It throws 52.1% of the time.

— 21 of 24 trips to the red-zone have produced points. Of note; all 21 scores have been touchdowns.

— The Commodores have accumulated 142 first downs. 44 have been the result of a run, 91 through the air, and 7 by penalty. This is important to note as these numbers indicate more confidence in QB Kyle Shurmur than RB Ralph Webb.

— Averaging 5.5 yards per play, 12.9 per completion but only 3.6 yards per rush.

— QB Kyle Shurmur throws the football as well as any QB that the Cats have faced in 2017. He is not as mobile as others that have applied RPO pressure.

— Shurmur’s pocket presence, mechanics, and awareness extend plays. He’s extremely cerebral in processing opposing defenses.

— Vanderbilt spreads the football to multiple skill players. WR runs off the jet sweep, quick hitch routes when numbers are advantageous, and utilizing multiple TE’s.

— Commodores operate from multiple formations and personnel packages. This includes QB under center, in shotgun, and pistol alignments.

— RB Ralph Webb is the feature back, but power RB Khari Blasingame provides an additional tough yardage element.

— Primary run scheme is the zone-read relying upon cutbacks due to defensive over pursuing action.

— Will throw several quick hitting passes (hitch routes) if defense’s load the box to stop the run. WR’s excel in runs after catch.

— Excellent group of receivers led by Trent Sherfield. Joining Sherfied are Kalija Lipscomb and C.J. Duncan. Not Ole Miss good, but dangerous and highly capable.

— Sherfield, Duncan, and Lipscomb account for 92 of Vanderbilt’s 154 catches (60.5%).

— Ranks 118th in the nation with 323 total yards per game but has drastically improved with 400-yard performances against South Carolina and Ole Miss.

— Has allowed only 11 QB sacks (SEC-4th) and 34 tackles for loss (SEC-3rd).

— Will overload one side of field with trips or multiple receivers to isolate backside receiver in one-on-one matchups. Prefer slant routes in these scenarios.

— TE’s will pull to lead RB’s during edge runs.

Projected Starters

Quarterback

14 Kyle Shurmur

6’4, 227 Jr.

Running Back

7 Ralph Webb

5’10, 202 Sr.

Receiver

10 Trent Sherfield

6’1, 205 Sr.

Receiver

19 C.J. Duncan

5’11, 203 Sr.

Tight End

83 Nathan Marcus

6’5, 242 Sr.

Left Tackle

58 Justin Skule

6’6, 310 Sr.

Left Guard

56 Saige Young

6’3, 315 So.

Center

61 Bruno Reagan

6’3, 315 Jr.

Right Guard

76 Egidio DellaRipa

6’4, 300, Jr.

Right Tackle

77 Devin Cochran

6’7, 315 Fr.

Fullback

28 Dallas Rivers

6’1, 225 Sr.

Top Performers

Passing

Kyle Shurmur

142/254, 1884, 20 TD’s, 3 INT’s

Rushing

Ralph Webb

139 carries, 546-yards, 6 TD’s

Receiving

Trent Sherfield

32 receptions, 540-yards, 3 TD’s

2017 Results/SEC Ranking

Scoring

23.9 ppg

SEC-12th

Rushing

103.2 ypg

SEC-14th

Passing

220.4

SEC-4th

Total

323

SEC-13th

3rd Down

39.52%

SEC-8th

Red-Zone

21TD’s

SEC-8th

Turnover Margin

0

SEC-10th

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

DEFENSE

Vanderbilt’s defense has sorely missed the services of All American linebacker Zach Cunningham. Before we dive into the Vanderbilt D it’s imperative to review its schedule which you can see above. The Commodores have played several teams with top-level scoring offenses.

NOTES

— Extremely, extremely well coached.

— “Multiple” scheme based off a 3-4 concept. Frequently utilizes a nickel defensive back.

— LB Oren Burks is the team’s defensive leader. He’s second in total tackles with 62 and has contributed 5.5 tackles for loss.

— 13th in the SEC allowing 237 rush yards per game. Numbers are skewed as Alabama rushed for 496-yards and Georgia totaled 423 on the ground. But, it did hold WKU to -6 and Alabama A&M to 59. 

— Defensive backs and linebackers are interchangeable in size, aggressiveness, and speed.

— Linebackers align 5-7 yards off the line-of-scrimmage. This is deeper than most and intended to stop running plays from additional yardage and preparation for pass defense.

— Will play man-free during blitz situations. CB Tre Herndon is the Dore’s best cover cornerback.

— Jonathan Wynn, Nifae Lealao, and Dare Odeyingbo construct a solid defensive front that excels against the run.

— Odeyingbo has registered 8 tackles for loss and 3.5 QB sacks.

— Linebacker Charles Wright is the team’s top pass rusher and leads the SEC with 8 QB sacks. He’s also totaled 9 tackles for loss.

— Safety Ryan White is extremely active and varies in alignment and assignment. He and LaDarius Wiley cover a great deal of ground and are physical at the point of contact.

— Allowing 402 yards per game and registered 23 QB sacks, 5th in the SEC.

— 40 tackles for loss, 4th in the SEC.

— OLB/DE Charles Wright leads the league with 8 QB sacks.

Projected Starters

Defensive End

49 Jonathan Wynn

6’4, 265 Sr.

Nose Tackle

77 Nifae Lealao

6’5, 315 Sr.

Defensive Tackle

34 Dare Odeyingbo

6’2, 272 Jr.

Outside Linebacker

11 Charles Wright

6’3, 240 Jr.

Inside Linebacker

20 Oren Banks

6’3, 230 Sr.

Inside Linebacker

4 Emmanuel Smith

6’2, 235 Sr.

Outside Linebacker

9 Caleb Peart

6’1, 235 So.

Cornerback

8 Joejuan Williams

6’3, 208 So.

Cornerback

31 Tre Herndon

6’1, 188 Sr.

Strong Safety

14 Ryan White

5’10, 190 Sr.

Free Safety

2 Arnold Tarpley

6’1, 203 Sr.

Top Performers

Tackles

LaDarius Wiley

73

Tackles for Loss

Charles Wright

9

QB Sacks

Charles Wright

8

2017 Results/SEC Rank

Scoring

29.2 ppg

SEC-11th

Rushing

211.56 ypg

SEC-12th

Passing

191.3

SEC-7th

Total

402.9

SEC-10th

3rd Down

36.15%

SEC-8th

Red-Zone

83.87% (20 TD’s)

SEC-6th

QB Sacks

23

SEC-5th

Tackles for Loss

60

SEC-4th

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker

17 Tommy Openshaw

2/6 FG’s

Punter

19 Sam Loy

39.4 yards per punt

Kick Returner

16 Wakefield 

24.7 yards per return

Punt Returner

16 Kalija Lipscomb

6.3 yards per return

-Kicker Tommy Openshaw’s 2/6 on field goals is noticeable.

-For the first time in the season UK will face a punter that does not average at least 40-yards per kick.

What does all this mean?

The Cats aren’t exactly going to face a daunting crowd that occupies the Swamp or Death Valley on Saturday. Normally, that structure (stadium) is quiet with the majority of attendees wearing the visiting team’s colors. But, that hasn’t guaranteed victories. In fact, UK has lost 3 in a row to the Dores on the road. Kentucky’s last Nashville experience was horrific.

Kentucky is coming off an anger inducing home loss with a chance to move to seven wins. Motivation should…no-better be as high spirited as its head coach appeared to be on his weekly radio call-in show. Vanderbilt has a very good quarterback that hasn’t dominated headlines but has thrown 20 touchdown passes to just 3 interceptions. His primary pass catching targets are savvy and proved to be highly successful vs. South Carolina and Ole Miss. RB Ralph Webb is not having an overly productive senior season but is still capable to hang a hundred on the Wildcats. Head coach Derek Mason is an excellent defensive mind. Bowl eligibility is still a possibility for his team and it must beat Kentucky to get there.

Saturday presents yet another winnable game that’s ripe for the taking. Saturday is all about the Kentucky Wildcats. You can listen to a more in-depth scouting report on Thursday’s Depth Chart Podcast.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

11 responses to “Vanderbilt Scouting Report Part I”

  1. Rick_S

    Don ‘t care..It’s BB time

    1. UK Big Board Update

      You cared enough to post, redneck.

    2. TBW3011

      GFY.

    3. Rick_S

      TBW.. eat a big one..

  2. Wildcat85

    Same. Just F#($*%!%@ FIRE EDDIE GRAN

  3. UKinIN

    When UK has a third quarter lead, are the problems really with the play calling or is it with execution?

    1. JPGott2

      UKinIN, I totally believe it is all about execution and not the actual play. It is not about what is actually called, but rather, can the team actually execute it. That harks to the issu of basic fundamentals, which the staff has had to go back to in practice.

      My question is, why are the cats going back to basics mid season? Why is our secondary (corners) so lost and incapable of remotely playing the position? D Tackle development has been ZERO (Freshmen starting)…..Why? Why is Steven Johnson still overthrowing the 15 to 20 yard throws?

      Again, it harks to fundamentals. 5 years in why is this still happening?

    2. UK Big Board Update

      Going by those points of emphasis, Stoops>Petrino.

    3. Rembrandt

      Turnovers, missed blocks, underthrown passes, and missed tackles are execution problems. The O could have played better than it did earlier in the season, but at this point the D isn’t cutting it. All the missed tackles appear to be fatigue, and the safeties have been blowing some over the top coverages. But if we win this week, we will be 7-3 overall and 3-1 on the road, representing progress no matter what anyone says. Time to separate the men from the boys.

  4. KYcats11

    Comparing there schedule to ours, I really don’t see how they are favored.

  5. KYcats11

    Kansas state is currently 4-5, not too big of a win there.