Our lead story today is that Chris Nickson is likely to start against the Rebels of Mississippi tomorrow, according to Maurice Patton in today's Tennessean (and that's definitely better news than one of the other tidbits in Maurice's game notes for today, which tells us that Vanderbilt is 12th of 12 in net punting -- yikes).
Chris took "the majority of snaps" at practice on Thursday after spliting snaps with Mackenzi Adams on Wednesday.
Phew. I was starting to get worried. I definitely applaud what Mackenzi did against the 'Tide last week (our only touchdown of the game), but I feel a lot more confident about beating Ole Miss with a (mostly) healthy Chris under center tomorrow.
Coach Orgeron, we learn in Maurice's piece from yesterday, doesn't seem too concerned with who the quarterback is, and he told Maurice that "whoever the quarterback is, you've got to defend Earl Bennett" (too bad he didn't end with "yoh, yoh... footbaw").
Maurice also let us know about the mindset of Vanderbilt's senior left tackle, Chris Williams (and there's a great quote from Chris Williams to Chris Nickson: "I tell Chris [Nickson] he should be able to stand in the pocket all day").
Today there are two nice player-spotlight pieces: one, in the Tennessean, about Bryant Hahnfeldt's desire to avenge his performance against Ole Miss from last year; and the other, in the City Paper, about Marcus Buggs' confrontational style in dealing with teammates, opponents, and everybody.
In the heat of the night, down in Jackson (I love getting to make lurid Mississippi references -- this one was about that TV show that took place in Sparta, Mississippi -- you remember the one I mean), our ground game is giving Ole Miss concern.
Apparently Coach O remembers that we had 350 more yards of offense than his team last year and reckons it'd be hard to win against that sort of onslaught on Dudley Field (of course, with refs like last week, it wouldn't be-- ugh, I promised Mark I wouldn't bash the refs -- oops).
The Jackson paper also has a nice feature on Earl Bennett and how Earl "finds a way" to get things done in Nashville.
Parrish Alford reminds his Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal readers that Vanderbilt remembers last year's ugly loss at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
Over in the land of the Tennessee Waltz, Scott Cacciola writes that Ole Miss fullback Jason Cook is vital if BenJarvus Green-Ellis (again, that's just an amazing name) hopes to continue his pursuit of Rebel school rushing records.
Back in the heart of Commodore Country, Will Gibbons (senior, public policy major) writes in the Vanderbilt Hustler that the Dores are out for revenage against Ole Miss, and I couldn't agree more.
In a publication many of you may not read (or even know about, unless you're from or have lived in Nashville), the Nashville Scene sportswriter Randy Horick points out that the SEC refs were in midseason form last week against Vanderbilt. And, he picks the Dores over the Rebs, 24-17.
In the Sporting News, the AP brings out that great Bobby Johnson quote about "frustration with a capital 'F'," and previews the Vanderbilt-Mississippi game.
Athlon Sports also has a preview and prediction; they take the 'Dores by 3 after some pretty in-depth analysis.
Over on VandyMania, the valiant "VandyMania Staff" has linked us to the CollegeFootballNews.com SEC predictions for this week, and they pick the Dores, 26-20 (gosh I hope all this pro-Vandy picking doesn't come back to bite us in the butt like last year).
Pete is back with his Pigskin Prognostications, and he has his usual pseudo-cynical look at this week in the SEC. Despite the fact that he thinks an Ole Miss pick could stand up to scrutiny, this long-time Vandyfan goes with the Black-and-Gold by 3.
VandySports has what I'm sure is some great content, but (as usual) I can't get to it.
On to the message boards, then. On the VM boards, Brent's daily post is up.
There seems to be some confusion as to how and whether the UM-VU game will be on ESPN GamePlan (as we reported earlier this week). VM poster "Hungoveragain" starts a discussion.
Remember that Bobby-Johnson-equals-Woodyball post from a couple of days ago? Well, that thread has blossomed to six pages of argument, discussion, vitriol, and name-calling. Apparently, Coach Johnson still has plenty of defenders who aren't quite ready to concede his program-building efforts (like me), even after the Alabama fiasco.
In his first post of VM, "CollegeFootball11" asks should Vanderbilt be in the ACC? Enjoy.
VM visitor "ChristianRebel" tries to dispel some notions about Ole Miss that he believes, from his reading of the VM boards, that many Vanderfans harbor. Some of the more hilarious VM posters respond to form.
On VandySports, I literally laughed out loud as I was reading the responses (and efforts to "translate") to a post by "RedNeckRebel." One word: Com-a-quats.
There's a nice post by a kindly Bammer, "bamaprepaid" (ooooh what an appropriate screenname after last week's officiating job-- oof... that was Mark elbowing me in the gut to shut up about the officials), who boldly proclaims that we're going to "slaughter Ole Miss." I appreciate the sentiment, but what would The Bear say about your using "you guys" instead of "y'all"? Isn't that illegal in the Yellowhammer State?
Say it with me, folks: "cummm own, baaahhh-muh!" If you were there last week (in the rain), you know what I'm talking about.
Well, okay, so maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the Tiders. Apparently, according to "tdBama11," some of the 'Bama boys who bought our season tickets so they could see dear ol' Saint Nick in Nashville are coming back to Dudley this week to cheer on the Dores against Ole Miss. I have to admit: that's pretty cool.
Hey: if you're one of the Bammers coming back this week, get there early, come to the Star Walk (one hour prior to kick-off on Jess Neely Drive, near Natchez Trace), and get one of the free gold shakers the cheerleaders hand out. Believe me, it's fun to "show your gold."
In the blogosphere, the Vanderbilt Sports Line has their Ole Miss-Vanderbilt preview posted. I agree that we've got to establish our running game so that we can let our hard-working defense get a breather. Bobby aruges that this is a statement game: if we don't win against a team that's "even" with us in our own stadium after last week's butt-whuppin' (my term, not his), then it spells bad news for the Black-and-Gold faithful. Surprisingly, considering the analysis that precedes the pick, VSL's Bobby picks Vanderbilt by 13. Ballsy.
VSL also has some Rebs answer some questions about this year's Mississippi team. And there are some very interesting answers.
On Who Ya With, Marv makes his prediction for this Saturday. Like Bobby at VSL, he sees a double-digit margin for the 'Dores: by 10 -- VU 28, UM 18. Folks, I'm getting that itchy "uh-oh" feeling, here. I just don't think we're 10 points better than the Rebs. Are we?
Elsewhere on the web, VUCommodores.com has some great content up this week (as usual). First, there's the transcript of Bobby Johnson's press conference on Monday. Second, there's the weekly feature Things to Know About [this week's opponent]. Finally, Joe Fisher has posted his keys to the game for the Commodores (why don't they play this on the JumboTron before the game any more -- or did they, and I missed it?).
In non-football news, Maurice has a piece about the Diamond Dores as they begin their first fall practice after, as Maurice says, "becoming the first team to sweep the SEC regular-season and tournament championships in 11 years." Damn, that sounds good.
As it usually does, the Hustler has great coverage of the "future-revenue sports" (I've always loved this name, it's got such a great "propaganda" feel to it), including women's golf setting their sights on a national championship; men's golf starting off strong; and women's soccer continuing to improve (does that mean that they're not so hot this year?).
Well folks, that's it for today. Let's see if we can get that Victory Flag flying tomorrow night.