Vanderbilt was an extremely schizophrenic team last season.
These 2015 Vandy football statistics are really unusual. Normally a team’s defensive statistics are enhanced when a team’s offense keeps the other team from getting the ball. And defensive statistics degrade when a team’s offense is unable to move. Look at the Vandy stats highlighted in the table below.
Vanderbilt’s defense was great at getting the other team’s offense off the field (4th nationally). The Vandy offense was terrible at converting first downs (115th nationally). The Vandy offense also turned it over at a high rate (109th nationally).
With a defense like Vandy, there is reason to hope for a good season. All Vandy needs is to generate a bit of offensive consistency to go with that D, and Vandy could go bowling.
Vandy’s offense showed potential in the spring game due to improved quarterback play. Vandy quarterbacks completed 17 of 25 passes for 221 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 42-31 win for the offense. Projected starter, Kyle Shurmur was 7-of-9 passing for 96 yards. (Shurmur is the son of long-time NFL coach Pat Shurmur.)
Receiver C.J. Duncan, recovering from a season-ending torn Achilles tendon, caught two passes for 50 yards, piling up YAC in the process. Shurmur stated t
hat Duncan is,”awesome [and] a huge weap
on for us.”
The defense looks to be good once again. It registered eight sacks and recovered two fumbles. Linebacker Charles Wright who
had two sacks, said defensive-minded Head Coach Derek Mason has “big bag of tricks” in his scheme for the Gamecocks.
Vanderbilt actually finished ahead of the Gamecocks in the SEC East last season. Losing to South Carolina would undermine the Vandy bowl game probability so they are going to be sky high for the opening game.
Gamecock Head Coach Muschamp is going to be under immediate pressure to produce in this 2016 opener against a quality opponent whose normal position is as the doormat of the SEC East.