Hatcher’s return will be very helpful
Jason Hatcher is close to 100% after sitting out of the Georgia game and other games this season. After a good week of practice, the coaches are happy to have the junior linebacker back. Hatcher’s return “gives us more more depth and more speed at that outside linebacker/defensive end spot,” Eliot said. Having Hatcher back changes the defense’s third down play with his speed and athleticism. With the recent lack of pass rush, the defense will be glad to have Hatcher back.
On Vandy’s offense
Vanderbilt’s offense is not as productive as their defense, but they do have some weapons the defense needs to look out for. “They have a lot of different ways to attack you and their players execute their scheme very well. You’ve go to be sound, you’ve got to be physically and ultimately you have to tackle well too,” Eliot said.
Forrest described one of the Vandy running backs as “small and shifty”, but that both backs are really good players. The defense has to respect them and make good tackles in order to restrict their running game.
Not only do their running backs run the ball well, but their quarterback does too. Johnny McCrary is second on the team in total rushing yards with 303 in 63 attempts. Kentucky has not been historically good at stopping a running quarterback, so hopefully they will be able to shut McCrary down.
Eliot will continue to coach from the box
Coach Eliot told the media that he will coach from the box for the three remaining games. Josh Forrest said that he would prefer Eliot to be on the sideline, but the defense is adjusting well to their coach being in the box. “I’d still rather have him down on the sideline just because that’s my coach. We talk back and forth. I understand him a little better than some of the other coaches,” Forrest said.
The players know how critical Saturday is
The fans know that Saturday is a must win game for the Cats, and so do the players. “This is definitely a must win game,” Forrest said. Forrest said that the energy has changed among the team this week. Stoops told the team on Monday that they “need to bring the swag back and be a little energized.” I bet we some some of this swagger and energy on Saturday.